Saturday, February 26, 2011


UPDATE: I've been cleaning up some of the HTML issues.

The lobby of the Marriott Wardman Park packed with CPAC attendees


The speeches have ended, the panel rooms empty, the internet/AM radio bands are silent, the bars are empty and  the Bank of Kev staff is safely back home in their respective corners of the country.

What a ride it has been these 12 months. To be honest I cant talk about CPAC 2011 without talking about CPAC 2010 first since they are linked in many ways. 

                            ACU Chairman David Keene speaks in the main hall at CPAC 2010

When I first started the Bank of Kev presence at CPAC in 2010 in many ways it was relatively easy to get noticed. Despite a lack of funding, organization, experience and infrastructure we had several factors working in our favor:

-       We were the new kids in town so we had no previous record to be judged by.
-       We did panels/events that no one else was doing at the conference.
-       The Bank of Kev Productions name created a high level of curiosity in who we were and what we were doing.

These factors along with our high quality content led us to a great inaugural year at CPAC. The conference ran so smoothly from the travel (clear weather no delays for anyone on my staff) to the panels/events that it even I was shocked at how well it went.  This came home to me on Saturday night after the conference ended when a woman came up to me and just simply said “congratulations”. While I did not recognize her at first she told me how she met me on Wednesday night before the conference had began and how I gave her an overview of our panels/events at the conference. She then said this (paraphrasing):

“When I saw you walking through the bar I could tell you were tired but I could also tell your events went really well by just looking at your demeanor. I could just tell it was a great success.”
She also went on to tell me how she kept hearing about how much fun these “Bank of Kev panels” were to attend and then asked if I was planning on attending as (then what was called) a Co-Sponsor next year. I gave the standard answer of “I haven’t made a decision yet” to which she replied.
“I hope you do come back, we NEED people like you who do what you do.”
Uh-Oh pressure!

While breaking new ground is difficult and labor intensive it also has some advances since the bar of success can often be quite low since you have no competitors. This came up during a discussion with one my staffers when I told them that “Breaking new ground is easy, holding on to that ground and building on it is hard.” 

               My amazing Bank of Kev CPAC 2010 Staff. These people made it all happen while I took pictures.

I knew right when that woman spoke to me the bar that we would have to not only hold but build on the ground we took in 2010.  Experience has taught me that is not an easy thing to do and often those second years are far more difficult than the first.

Flash forward to Monday February 7, 2011. There is a major snowstorm bearing down on the middle of the country and threatens to shut down the DFW airport (which already was disabled by a snowstorm the previous week.) and several other airports that my staffers are going to fly out of. I’m frantically on my cel phone re-booking my and several of my staffers travel plans to avoid the storm.  These re-booking made one of my staffers land in D.C. at 1 a.m. Wednesday morning and I and Joy McCann having to take a red eye to MIA (on a 757 in coach which sucks donkey) and on to D.C. so we would not get stuck in DFW. 



  When this happens at DFW you need to start making other arrangements or you gonna get stuck.

 SIDE NOTE: When I landed in DC went on to and looked at our flights from our original itinerary and saw that all the flights we were to take out of DFW to DCA were cancelled. Had I stuck with the original plan it would have been a disaster!

While everyone all arrived safely and we began to gather I was already super tired (from no sleep and super stress from traveling) but I got what I call the CPAC surge and my energy level was high ready to take on the tasks ahead of us. 


Last year we did the Stage Right Show live from the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel lobby bar and it was a rocking place to be. Great people, amazing guests, cool drinks and entertaining show (both on the radio and at the bar) for all concerned. However, not this year, the hotel ordered us to vacate to the “CPAC side” of the hotel so that’s what we did. Luckily @PJTV Exec Producer Owen Brennan came to our rescue and graciously let us use the PJTV booth space to Wednesday nights show.

This one of the things I like about CPAC, is how many people/groups will come to your aid when you need help.  While I knew some individual employees there (  really did not know PJTV on corporate level , yet they stepped right up and offered us help when we needed it. 


Yes we were thrown a curve ball but my staff  with a great assist from PJTV came through and we turned a dead area (at that time) of the hotel into a rocking place. As we did the show we could not help but notice that the bar was much quieter than last year. Watching this all unfold in front of me, I was reminded of the famous quote from Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

“Act like wherever you are, that's the place to be.”


Last year when we did this panel it was just Larry O’Connor (now Editor in Chief of Breitbart.TV) and myself. We spoke to a standing room only crowd and there was a surprising amount of press coverage. This year we had two new additions Big Hollywood Editor in Chief, John Nolte and founder Lisa Mei Norton Having Larry, John and Lisa join me on the panel was great and even better was the turnout we had more people than last year and even hit


     Lisa Mei Norton (left), Kevin McKeever (center left), John Nolte (center right), Larry O'Connor (right) at CPAC


John Nolte wrote a great write up on the panel and here is an excerpt.

No bitterness, no complaining, no excuse-making. They weren’t there to hear how bad it is for conservatives in the entertainment business or to make excuses for why they haven’t sold a script yet. They were there as conservative actors, writers, filmmakers and musicians for advice on how to succeed and move forward in a very tough business. Between O’Connor’s good humor and experience in theatre and McKeever’s production background, the main message was pretty clear: be an artist first, learn your craft, make contacts and keep your politics to yourself.


 Out of all of us, though, Lisa Mei Norton of Big Dawg Music Mafia is probably the most important example for conservatives eager to enter the arts. Rather than wait around for Hollywood to have some kind of moral awakening to their ideological totalitarianism, she went ahead and started her own company to give conservative musicians an outlet to publicize their work. That’s what I like to see…

Yes go read the whole thing.
One thing this panel represented was the amount of depth that is starting to come thorough on the Bank of Kev panels. Having both John and Lisa Mei added such great depth and fun to these panels and I look forward to working with them both in the future. 

A great video from ReasonTV about the party. Watching the video will give you a good idea of what it was like.Be sure to watch the whole thing so you can see the interview with Sophie B Hawkins.  
Much has been written about the “controversy”  of GOProud at CPAC. With out going into to it too much I will simply state that I am honored to be a supporter and an ally of GOProud. I attended their Homocon headlined by Ann Coulter in New York City in September (much fun even when I got stuck in the elevator) and consider GOProud’s leadership team of Jimmy LaSalvia, Chris Barron and Bruce Carroll to be my friends. 
                       Sophie B. Hawkins rocks the house at the GOProud BIG PARTY 
So lets be blunt: The GOProud/Andrew Breitbart Big Party was an amazing success. Here is what the founder of PJTV Roger Simon thought of it.
The party staged by Andrew Breitbart for GOProud — the gay Republican and conservative group — was as close to a game changer as things get and the most interesting event at CPAC by far, at least to this point — and that’s meant as no insult to CPAC. With sexy Sophie B. Hawkins singing to a boisterous, supportive crowd, the party almost obliterated in one night the conception that Republicans are anti-gay and gave the impression that young libertarians — and some not so young — are taking over the GOP.
So a word about my friend Andrew. I’m told he got a lot of flack for staging this event. But as I said to his business partner Larry Solov, every time you do something important or new or even interesting, you are going to get flack. And I must say this of Andrew, he is the only man I know who could have pulled something like this off with such elan. Forget for a moment the dissension such developments always engender. Andrew Breitbart proved them wrong with a party. Party on, Andrew.
I completely agree with Roger here. This party was a game changer, the question is how big of a game changer it was. We wont know for a while but I think it will benefit everyone in the long run. 


Well one thing I like about GOProud is that they make a concerted effort to work with people on things they can agree on. What even better is that  if you disagree with them on issues they will still welcome you with open arms. Numerous times during the party I saw Chris Barron personally welcome people who would be classified as "Social Conservatives" (they have the resume to prove it) and  have publicly stated that DADT should not be repealed, think marriage should be between one man and one woman.  Chris, Jimmy and the entire GOProud staff (not to mention everyone at the party) welcomed with out a second thought. 
    GOProud's Chris Barron is interviewed by Larry O'Connor at the BIG PARTY while Producer Meredith Dake looks on.
Everyone who was there wanted to have a good time and that is exactly what happened. During the party people would stop me just to say thank you for sponsoring such a great party. Several people told me that this is what CPAC needed to have: A place where we could have fun and celebrate! 
   Producer Meredith Dake (left) hangs out with Editor-In Chief Dana     
Hearing people say that made it worth every penny. 
SIDE NOTE: The next  morning I ran into GOProud's Jimmy LaSalvia and he said it the best: 

 "That was the best party I have ever been to!" 
I could not agree more!


This at CPAC we had a booth. Well sort of. I worked out a deal with the group Students For Liberty and its executive director Alexander McCobin. You might remember Alexander from CPAC 2010. 

"Freedom does not come in pieces!"

This is my type of guy! So Alexander got his booth crew together and ran the Students For Liberty booth. These guys work so hard that when I told them to start slacking this was the nest they could do.

When I ask them to start slacking this is the best they could do. 

Alexander told me the booth was mobbed during the whole conference.


To give an idea how far things for the Bank of Kev have grown one needed only to attend the Andrew Ian Dodge and the World Of Tomorrow panel on Friday. At the start of the panel Andrew announced he was running against Olympia Snowe for the Republican Nomination for Senate in 2012. The place was packed with press and here is a sample links of the impressive coverage he generated.

 You can access Andrew's Campaign Website here. 

                                 The Bank of Kev Blogger Free-For-All powered by Sheep Gas!

 Saturday I gathered my bloggers and piled them into a room for my annual Bank of Kev Blogger Free-For-All. So you are probably wondering what goes on at my blogger Free-For-All? Well Gay Patriot has a nice description. 
I was honored to be on the panel with Tony Katz from the Tony Katz Radio Spectacular, Tania Gail from Midnight Blue Says, Joy – aka – Little Miss Attila, Alexander McCobin from Students for Liberty, and Doug Welch from Stixblog. The whole affair was sponsored byKevin McKeever from Bank of Kev Productions.
Our discussion truly was a free-for-all.  We ranged from topics like our 2012 Presidential outlook (Mine –> grim.); how to become a well-read blog; and what the definition of “conservative” is all about.  These are great conservative bloggers and I always love to be in their company.
There was this report from
Gay Patriot and I have a friendly wager going regarding the 2012 election, which he sees as a potential replay of 1996 and I see more in terms of 1980. In other words, he thinks Obama is likely to win reelection, and I think he is not.
The bet originated during the BankOfKev Blogger Free for All, and the stakes are dinner at CPAC 2013. If I lose, I buy dinner for him and his boyfriend; if GP loses, he buys it for me and my husband, if I’m able to bring him out there that year. (The GP mate agrees with me, and as far as dinner is concerned, he notes that “either way, I win, since Bruce is paying.” As you can imagine, there’s been a lot of smack talk, and every time one of us makes a good point to support our point of view, it’s generally underscored with a remark about our expensive tastes in food.)
Yes the bet does exist and I will make sure the loser of that bet pays up even if I dont get any food. (hey wait a minute)


    Lisa Mei Norton of (left), Larry O'Connor of Breitbart.TV (center) and 
   Meredith Dake Producer of the Stage Right Show (right) at CPAC 2011 on Friday night in the bar. 
Despite some bumps early on CPAC 2011 was an amazing success for Bank of Kev Productions in all respects.  Not only did we hold our ground from last year we actually strengthened our position and came out of CPAC with a great deal of momentum. It worth getting the CPACPlague and being sick the whole next week.
                                     Relaxing in the bar on Saturday night after CPAC had ended.

On Saturday night as most of my crew hung out in the bar an attendee came up to me and asked if I was going to do it again. As before I gave him the standard answer of how I have not made a decision yet. He responded like so:
  "You got to come back! It wouldn't be CPAC without the Bank of Kev here!"
It was then I realized that CPAC 2012 is closer than you think.

See you all next year! 

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