For the past 9 months, I've spent countless hours that have somehow rolled into days & months on the behemoth job that is reimagining & reinventing the world's largest & most opulent gentlemen's club empire in Spearmint Rhino.
Since my relationship with Spearmint Rhino began in god awful sub zero tri-state winter conditions, complete with a December slush and hale storm that pelted my leather jacket mercilessly on my walk across Times Square and the Broadway District from Grand Central to Hell's Kitchen- everything else produced by us has been quite the opposite of temperatures.
Apparently it's that hot that Youtube put restrictions on all of these short films.
Not even going to waste my time dropping anchor with the dad joke that sailed away.
Cred: Kennie Earle
For months, we flew from Connecticut to California, Dallas to Sin City, and hunkered down for weeks at a time in LA multiple times to take the Rhino brand and experience into a bold new era.
My Electric Halo partner Evan Hamilton lead all things motion picture centric, directing, cutting and grading every second of footage for the global franchise, along with one of my oldest homies and multi-hyphenate collaborators Kennies Earle, focused on the still frames and the actual chromaticism.
His keen eye massively contributed to the gorgeous gold and mixed pastel branded pallet for all Rhino content. We wanted it to be both ominous and hyper-alluring at the same time, to truly show the duality of the brand and industry as a whole, at the same time.
It needed to transfer across all forms of visual assets for the new brand crafted at the top of 2023. It needed to reflect and give the emotion that an experience of it's high street caliber, albeit shrouded in an air of mystery, vice, and excess would feel like. We sought to make the viewer feel like fully diving headlong into the frame, all the while feeling like what's on the other side was a sensuality with a snarl- and anything could, and does happen.
Surrounded by the falling money from the mezzanines above, we found both the beauty in the darkness and the art in the taboo. And we had to capture it the way a child captures fireflies in a mason jar.
It was paramount that juxtaposition won, and that unlike 99.9% of the adult entertainment industry, composition and attention to presentational detail was highly conscious and thoughtful. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that the gentlemen'c club world as a space doesn't often think past tomorrow. It knows that the beast will be fed, that sex sells, and the ringing of the register is akin to slot machines in Vegas. This couldn't be that.
It couldn't be the same old horse shit, shaking asses and titties while a cringey DJ in a garbage ass suit tells you to get your bills out for some chic who changes her mood-ring-inspired-stage-name as often as an actual mood ring changes color. The bar was already too high. The story existed. What was missing was how to tell the story, and what temperature it must be set for.
The first night I went into the NYC Rhino, the owner of a massive NYC sports franchise was there, having a cigar on the sky deck with one of the top dogs at the NASDAQ, several pro athletes, a hedge fund tycoon from Greenwich I knew by face from Times articles and one of Manhattan's most celebrated restauranteurs. I'd never say names, and that's the point.
Rhino's Never Tell.
While that mantra gets repeated at Rhinos the world over, particularly in the highest of roller rooms in every location with a laugh, its less funny and more fact. Since 1989, the brand has inadvertently built secret societies (ironically, often with the same members as the more political or academia sort because the New World Order loves a PAWG, too.) that kind of naturally formed in every location from London to LA. The high roller tribe knows the unwritten rules of being a Rhino.
No pictures. No publicity. No front doors or main entrances, and no discussions- save for secret rooms behind bookcases or velvet ropes.
As we drove into Vegas, roaring through hours of Breaking Bad-esque dusthead desert and odd outpost towns that felt eerily built in collaboration by both Wyatt Earpe and Rob Zombie, I turned back to Evan and Kennies in (Spearmint Rhino's Global Marketing Director) Mike McShane's Jeep and just admitted like a child caught in a lie he must reverse for his parents "Yo, I've never been to Vegas."
It didn't matter, they said. Everyone who has can't remember it anyway, and even if they could, what happens in Vegas apparently stays there. Haven't you seen a fucking bumper sticker, Joey?
Besides, even if they did, Rhino's Never Tell, anyway.
The American Tour starts in Vegas, dances through Dallas with porn star Abella Danger, and ends in the city that doesn't sleep, in my Hell's Kitchen hood of NYC.
Press play when your mom is in the other room.
"What Happens In Vegas" Spearmint Rhino : The Worlds Most Iconic Gentlemen's Club (Episode 1)
"Below Midnight- Dallas" Spearmint Rhino : The Worlds Most Iconic Gentlemen's Club (Episode 2)
"XXX Superstar ABELLA DANGER x RHINO DALLAS 15 YR ANNV." Spearmint Rhino : The World's Most Iconic Gentlemen's Club. (Episode 3)
"Own The Night- NYC" Spearmint Rhino : The Worlds Most Iconic Gentlemen's Club (Episode 4)