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Meet James Barren of JBP Events (a.k.a. JBP Entertainment) and MADE Nightlife in Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to James Barren.

James, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Not sure how brief I can make my story, which began 24 years ago in 1995 as a junior in high school at Harvard-Westlake; where and when I had my first taste of event planning and party promotions. To give you some background, this is also around the time when I bloomed in the “cool kid” popular scene (LOL). I grew up with a ton of kids whose parent/s were in the entertainment biz, such as Neil Diamond, Randy Newman, Bob Newhart, Rod Stewart, etc.) as well as kids who later became famous as adults like Kim and Kourtney Kardashian, Lake Bell, Jake Gyllenhaal, Kim Stewart, Cash Warren, Casey Jenner, Ayda Field, Nicole Richie, Chris Ovitz, Jason Segel, Jason Reitman, and many more. To sum it up – I knew a lot of people – A LOT OF PEOPLE which led to my first introduction to the [underage] club scene by a buddy of mine who attended Beverly High named Justin Trugman.

I started promoting underage clubs like The Roxbury (original Roxbury on Sunset), Club Yes, Sugar Shack, Tequila Sunrise, and many more while I was a junior and senior in high school (around 1994-1996). I loved it, and I wasn’t too bad at party promotions. To fast forward a bit, I soon met my next “sort of mentor,” Larry Pollack who, before he owned and operated Miyagi’s on Sunset and Saddle Ranch venues, used to throw a ton of underage clubs as well as mansion parties that I eventually was part of (in regards to promotion and production, but on a small scale). This also was fun as hell for me, but Larry wasn’t the “person” who opened the door to the LA nightlife scene for me. I credit that (or rather “my intro”) to Adam Goldstein aka DJ AM, who I first met years ago at UNION, which was the name of the actual venue (or just the name of the promo) that was located somewhere in the vicinity of former House of Blues on the Sunset Strip. Adam was passing out flyers at a mutual friend’s birthday at in the club (yes, back then, it was all about passing out flyers rather than online promo). We started talking and hit it off great (by the way, I was about 17 or 18yrs old at the time we met).

Now, let’s fast forward again. I can’t exactly remember how it happened (I do remember it was when I first started at Pepperdine as a freshman in 1997), but Adam (DJ AM) brought on as a promoter in training at Club Lingerie (which no longer exists at a location currently occupied and known as Warwick) where he was the resident DJ every Sunday for a party called Club Pornography (and yes the night was also in conjunction with a porn company, LOL!). The sh*t I witnessed and the famous names involved… let’s just say, I have a ton of unforgettable memories and crazy stories related to my time at Club Lingerie. All in all, Adam started it all for me. If it weren’t for him, I might not be doing what I do today.

Back then, nightlife was true nightlife (at least during my generation). There was probably only 20 (more or less) nightclub-type active LA hot spots and, moreover, one or two spots per night on each and every night of week that were THE places to go. It was awesome and included (many Im about to name no longer exist), for example – Monday night at Louis XIV (on La Brea in Hollywood) AND Martini Lounge on Melrose; Tuesday night at TNT at the Firehouse on SM Blvd in WeHo AND Crazy Girls (which used to be an industry night on tues) AND (later) BARFLY on Sunset; Wednesdays at Opium Den on Ivar AND The Gate (now Nightingale Plaza) AND (later) Garden of Eden; Thursdays at Grandville which I was part of (now Delilah) with Rick Calamaro – who also was someone who mentored me that I worked for and with for years); Fridays at Billboard Live (my night with Mark Bruser – Billboard is now 1 OAK LA); Saturdays at SNL at Hollywood Athletic Club – this was the main event of the week when and where almost every main/big promoter all worked together and it was off-the-hook!! Last, Sundays, well that night was reserved for whatever.

One of my craziest club nights… there was one night in particular that stands out as the most memorable being my 19th birthday party at Billboard Live, wow, that was an incredible night! I charted a bus for that night filled with over 50 of the hottest girls from my college (Pepperdine) and 3 guys, one being the bus driver. I remember pulling up in front of the club, walking off the bus followed by (in a single-filled line) all the girls I came with, and walking them into the club. Let me tell yah, the security and front door people laughed and I can’t even begin to explain the chaos that occurred at the front door, 100s of people trying to get in. I remember sitting with one of my promoter partners on the stage that night overlooking the crowd and him saying to me, “how the hell did you do this?” That night was one of Billboard’s biggest promoter-night-event by a single promoter, over 900 people and they were all there for me invited by me – which is not easy to do anymore on your own.

Around 2003 or 2005, I developed a relationship with a company called LA Party Bus which led to work relationships with over 50 other party bus companies. This became my niche in nightlife. I soon earned the rep as the party bus promoter which would sometimes generate tallies of 300+ people that I would have on a given night I was promoting and also led to my next nightlife relationship and job with Mark Tung and Made Nightlife (www.madenightlife.com) where I became the director of online marketing (more info available upon request), producing and promoting celebrity events with and for some of the biggest celebrities especially in hip hop and sports plus established special event (ie. Halloween / New Years) contracts at/with large venues like W Hotels, Lucky Strike, and more across USA. In addition to promotions, MADE Nightlife also led me to my first venture as a part owner of a short lived venue called LA Vida Hollywood which was in association with Sunset Entertainment Group. I learned a lot and wished I had done even more… but it was what it was (until one day it happens again hopefully sooner than later).

I could write forever, and there is so much I haven’t mentioned. But to sum it up and answer “how I got to where I am today,” well there’s definitely a lot I could say about how I got to my present position. It’s not easy stay out in the public eye. I’ve been promoting for over 21 years and I’ve seen more promoters come and go than I’ve seen last, believe me, there is only a handful of promoters that have been (and still are) promoting since I first started. If I were to name a couple of the most important and key things: (1) don’t just do an event. Even more so, don’t get greedy and caught up in ego. (2) Always give people a reason why they should choose to attend your event instead of another. (3) Get personal with your guests and greet people. Go through the party and make sure everyone’s having a great time. (4) Keep track of those people who are my “regulars”, the people who comeback week after week and make sure to introduce yourself to them and offer them your business card, maybe even buy them a drink or something. (5) Do it yourself! I personally get annoyed when I get called/ invited to club by someone hired on behalf of the promoter. Every event I have done – I invite people and call them myself. People appreciate it more and don’t feel that they are just another name on a “promoter’s call list.” (6) Also, research and preparation for putting together an event is important. A promoter’s work isn’t just the night of their event, there’s also a lot of work I do beforehand. I spend countless hours searching through the internet for ideas for special events, contacting people, studying what other people have done at their events, etc. I also go to other promoter events and take notes on what they do. Again, there’s a lot of work and a lot more to say, but in the end- it’s a lot of fun- but not all fun and games… so many times, people tell me, “you’re a promoter, your job is to party – it’s not real work nor a real job”… well those who believe that are wrong and those promoters who live by that fail.

Why did I want to start promoting clubs? What keeps me doing this job? I’ve always loved the production of an event, putting it together and the event itself. I love seeing people having a great time, smiling, laughing…overhearing how awesome the night is. I love the creativity involved in an event. I treat every night like a project, like (not to sound too cheesy) my baby. I love the limelight, the escape, the excitement. What keeps me going? People. I love when people shake my hand, call me; email me to thank me for inviting them. I love people telling me they had an amazing time.

JBP Events (JBP Entertainment) is a full-service event marketing and promotions company based in Los Angeles, California. Our mission is to provide quality nightlife. JBP is committed to building long-term relationships with our clients, ensuring they receive value from and are satisfied with our services. Since 1997, JBP has produced spectacular nightlife events ranging from intimate gatherings of 150 personal guests too much larger functions with 2,000 guests or more. We strive to innovate, captivate and inspire a new concept to every event we manage. JBP is founded solely on the purpose to continue the good times motivated by the support of our crowds and clients.

JBP Events specializes in booking parties at top nightclubs in LA. Whether you are planning an action-packed girls weekend, guys night out or reveling in another bad-ass birthday, JBP is your one-stop party guide and nightlife in LA source. So, let’s make it a night to remember! We can set up bottle specials, VIP sections, special bottle presentation, no-line club entry and reduced or no cover at top LA night spots. JBP works with only the best places in the city to guarantee your best possible experience.

For over 21 years, we have produced nightlife-related events at the most in demand night spots like 1 Oak LA, Bootsy Bellows, Poppy, Nightingale Plaza, Playhouse Hollywood, W Hotels, Avalon, Roosevelt Hotel, Ohm Nightclub, Hyde Sunset, Lure Nightclub, Le Jardin, Boulevard3, Academy LA, and more.

Take the guesswork out of planning. We plan amazing parties. It’s simple; and what we do. Find your next great night out in LA at jbpevents.com / bottlemenuservice.com. Give us a call for special events services, guest list, VIP table-bottle service and…

TUE: 1 Oak LA • THU: Playhouse; The Argyle; Hyde Sunset • FRI: Poppy; Playhouse; Club Lure; Le Jardin • SAT: Playhouse; Lure Hollywood; Bootsy Bellows; The Argyle • SUN: Greystone Sundays at Nightingale.

Websites: madenightlife.com | facebook.com/jbpentertainment | newyearsnightlife.net | partybusnightclub.com | hollywoodblvdcrawl.com | and many more. (lol!)

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Image Credit:
MADE Nightlife, JBP Events, California Nightlife

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