Pop Culture Mondays/2.14.22

The “LOS ANGELES” Edition

Welcome to my brain…

Happy Valentine’s Day my darling pop culture junkies. What a Monday! THE day after the Super Bowl which was a great game even for someone like me, a non-football person and truly one of the greatest halftime shows of all time. I love how there is a debate as to whether it was a halftime show for Millenials or for Gen Xers….babies, Dre and Snoop, and Mary J and Eminem were my COLLEGE years so let’s not even debate it. Was amazing to see Kendrick Lamar for sure, but we were talking GOOD OLE FASHIONED 1990s and I was here for it. OK, more on that later. Anyway, you don’t want me to ramble so let’s get to it. We have SuperBowl, we have some cool moments from the Olympics…we have CRYPTO Bonnie and Clyde and a whole lot of trends and memes so get cozy, grab some headphones and enjoy…

Credit: Jason Calacanis

CON ARTISTS ARE HAVING A MOMENT:

We have a bit of a winding and weaving post on some con artists of late so let’s just dive into it.

FIRST, we have The Brooklyn Bitcoin Bonnie and Crypto Clyde:

Last week, Heather (AKA Razzlekhan AKA The Crocodile of Wall Street) Morgan and her husband of a couple of years, Ilya “Dutch” Lichtenstein (not THAT Lichtenstein) were arrested for laundering $4.5 billion in crypto. I will link to articles below that explain this MUCH better but basically it has been a mystery of mysteries where several years ago something like $70 million in Bitcoin was stolen but the way the whole blockchain works theoretically is that this is all transparent and visible so while it was stolen it was sitting there for people to see. The price of Bitcoin skyrocketed and that money grew to be worth a lot…up to $4.5 billion. And then it MOVED. And as THIS NEW YORK TIMES article explains way better than I can, everyone assumed the hackers had finally made their move.

BUT alas it was the Federal Government who SEEMINGLY has finallllllly started to figure out the world of crypto. If you are old like me then your mind immediately goes to thinking the FEDS brought on someone like PENELOPE GARCIA from Criminal Minds:

OR…Abby Sciuto from NCIS:

I would really like to imagine it was someone like these two badass ladies who took the Feds into the 21st Century. BUT I digress.

Were the hackers ALLEGEDLY responsible for the theft, a bunch of nameless faceless hackers from some far-off land? NOPE. It was this young Brooklyn couple and the wife again AKA Razzlekhan is a “rapper” (I am sorry to all rappers by this statement) as well as a writer for outlets like Inc. as an entrepreneur. Before we go on…I apologize but here are a few of her videos. Look, she rhymes CEO with DIRTY DIRTY HO so it’s um…catchy? 👀

And here are a few must-see TikToks:

And here she is, someone who lives on YouTube and TikTok giving her take on the problems with social media…whilst filming a TikTok about her fluffy pancake while dressed like Aunt Barb from 1976…but I digress…

And just so you get an idea of her hacker hubby…

And then interesting her last TikTok on the day she was arrested was about the thing that plagues so many of us you guys…NAIL SERVITUDE.

I love Trevor Noah’s take (natch) on this whole thing…

By the way…something I have been meaning to weave into PCM is the term HODL. If you are into crypto then you know what it means but if you are not but you have kids or colleagues who are here is your tutorial. It stands for “HOLD ON FOR DEAR LIFE” and also a play on the word HOLD. ANWAY, I am not the expert…so for more on HODL go here:

Look…the thing about this is..it’s all about CONTENT. Because it took Netflix THREE days before a show on this was already scooped up and in development. Why? Because we eat this shit up. From the Tinder Swindler to Fyre Festival to Anna Delvy…we cannot get enough. SO alas here we are:

OK…so I am going to dive into another topic whilst still in this one as the theme is CON ARTISTS.

Let’s talk ANNA DELVEY aka Anna SOROKIN.

The Netflix series called “INVENTING ANNA” is out and many many many of us have binged it. It was created by Shonda Rhimes but it is all down to the incredible reporting by Jessica Pressler when she was a writer at NEW YORK MAGAZINE.

Look, I am able to speak to this story first hand because I had a minor role in this crazy story. There are some things I cannot get into but for now, here you go. First, if you haven’t read Jessica’s original cover story, here you go…I am the unnamed Silicon Valley Publicist (cringe but whatever) in this story:

So I am assuming most of you know something about this story. A young woman who passed herself off as a German heiress conned some of the biggest names in finance and entertainment and tech and hotels. Gets arrested. Leans into her con forever and a day and more details come out as she sits in Rikers and tells her story to a features reporter. You must watch the Netflix show but sidenote on two things:

  • She is back in prison today
  • She was once a roommate of Billy McFarland, the founder of Fyre Festival WHILE he was planning it.

ANYWAY….I first MET Anna after being connected to her via email by several very credible and BONAFIDE people. Simple. This young woman was building what I was told was an incredible members-only club around arts and culture and she wanted to bring in the tech world and wanted to talk to me about partnering with her on it.

I will never forget the day Anna came sauntering into my Soho office.My office at the time was one big room with everyone’s desks in rows with the glass-doored conference room in the back. She was wearing all black…a cape and gloves and a hat and her reddish hair was disheveled but she had giant black sunglasses on and it was a lot.

She didn't say hello to anyone in the office. Think MIRANDA PRIESTLY in “Devil Wears Prada”. She basically threw her cape and very expensive handbag onto my assistant's desk. I was meant to have someone in the meeting and perhaps they were but I do remember her saying she was more comfortable with it just being me at some point.

And that is where my story of Anna begins. She proceeds to tell me all about the club. That it will be wrapped by Christo. It will house incredible art. And have the world’s most interesting and important people as members. And then she lays on the charm. In her very weird non-German accent (which they nail in the Netflix show) she proceeds to tell me she believes she cannot do ANY of it without me. That she just KNOWS I am meant to be her partner. “Imagine the world we can create together Brooke? With my money and connections and your network and media experience, we will be unstoppable.”

Look, I love flattery like anyone, but this was just not hitting me right. She then made her offer after more than 90 minutes. I would be brought in as a partner and get a percentage of the business in exchange for my HANDING OVER MY CONTACT LIST of all Tech people…she said she believed a personal note or text or call from her would go a LONG way. I mean can you imagine?

After she left, my team and I deconstructed everything that happened and admitted something was NOT right. I let the people who introduced me know I felt it was not only NOT for me but that something seemed off. She hounded me for a while after that and began commenting on all my Instagrams and then even SHOWED UP at the CODE conference in Palos Verdes, CA, the exclusive and invite-only conference then led by Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg. I was running to a meeting somewhere in the hotel when Anna called me to say she had arrived and if I would be a dear and arrange for her to have a badge so she could attend the conference. I was like, excuse me what? I explained it was a $10K ticket and sold out and there was nothing I could do. She assured me she needed to be there as she had loads of meetings and I should just get her a guest pass. I hung up tbh. And I silenced her number and avoided the lobby as best I could.

Fast forward to a few months later as I was in my apartment in NY with my friend Reyna having a bottle of wine when I got a hysterical phone call from Anna. Once she calmed down she told me the news was going to break about a total misunderstanding around an arrest and the NY media is out to get her and telling lies while her father who was a billionaire had cut her off and now she is in dire straits. She wanted me to call Page Six and other outlets and kill the story. She wanted to come over to my apartment and what I now believe was hide from everyone. I was concerned for her mental health so I was trying to help her and then she hung up. And I heard nothing again until Jessica Pressler contacted me as Anna implied from Rikers that I was not only her dear friend but also her publicist. SO…that’s about as much as I can say but the thing is, she was a brilliant con artist. Famous people are actually the biggest star fuckers. So it just takes ONE…one person to make the intro or speak highly of you and the gates open up. And again…this wasn't even about money in my opinion. It was about CLOUT. The thing that is plaguing this world right now.

WOWZERS right?

If you haven’t it, watch it. Here is the trailer:

And some funny memes…

And then let’s tie it all up with ONE more con…and the two come together perfectly…

SO, last CON I promise for THIS week. Last week, I told you to watch “The Tinder Swindler” which is a bananas look at this guy who conned many women into thinking he was a billionaire — -and he backed it up by flying them in private jets and staying at the most amazing hotels. But he did so by conning the women before the woman he was with, out of hundreds of thousands. He was a poor kid from Tel Aviv living the life of Lambos and G5s. But the crazy thing is, that mother fucker is free as a bird and continuing the con. SO the memes have gone wild (he did delete his Insta though so there is that…)

He was still on Tinder after the film aired:

So, for more on THIS con, read this:

Stay safe kids….

SOFI SUPER BOWL

SUPER BOWL 2022:

I shall keep this quick. Most of you watched it. SO many of you were actually there. I was dreaming of wings and nachos but was actually flat out on my living room floor from pulling my back out because apparently I am 86 years old. I was able to crawl…yes crawl…to my TV room and watch what I thought was the most fun Super Bowl of all time. You had everything. The youngest coaches ever in a Super Bowl. Two QBs with exceptional talent and one with such a beautiful personal story as his wife fought a brain tumor while also being the mom to young kids. You had the new SoFi stadium which looked badass. And you had the most amazing, in my opinion, half-time show of all time. Credit to Casey Wasserman who was the Chairman of the Super Bowl Host Committee and he should run all of them always. AND a VERY good omen for the 2028 Olympics in LA and also chaired by Casey. Casey and his team should be SO thrilled because it was all awesome.

OK, no one wore masks. BUT my understanding is everyone had to test to be there. But that’s not my place to talk about because we have more fun things.

IN case you missed the halftime show, here are snippets because the NFL does not allow you to share which is stupid tbh…But I digress..this sparked some amazing memories. Flawless.

If you want to watch the whole thing I encourage you to…go to YouTube. Reports say the vibe was so amazing that even some of the players didn’t go back to the locker room and instead watched the show on the sidelines.

ICONIC.

OK, so I am not going to break down football here that would be silly. Instead, here are some of the ads that went viral. Most of which was the Coinbase one which is the first QR code ad in history and which I am assuming left a great many people very confused. Coinbase also crashed…obviously:

I loved this one tbh:

And here is one for my fave thing mayo…literally, I broke up with a guy who refused to allow mayo in his house but whatever. The reason I bring this one up specifically is that it includes Pete Davidson who was another star of the Super Bowl this year but not because of this:

But because of THIS guy:

So, yes, Kanye is very happy to let you know he was trending above the Super Bowl yesterday. But that’s because he was having yet ANOTHER manic episode for all of us to see. He decided to choose violence yesterday which is so sad as he was also taking his kids to the SUper Bowl but how he paid attention to them while posting MANY MANY pics on Instagram degrading and threatening Pete Davidson is beyond me. I assume the people close to him are YES people and too afraid to be cut off…but it is so sad to watch this man behave this way in public. Sad for his kids. He has picked battles with Billie Eilish, a young woman. And PEte for dating his ex-wife. Kid Cudi for being friends with Billie. The list goes on. He posted this…NO joke:

OK, it is all so icky. And sad.

I need to move on because I feel dirty even writing this but if you need to know more:

AND JUST A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS (AND SOME DESPICABLE ONES TOO…)

  • Yulia Gerasimova broke the Internet…she is the Ukrainian volleyball player in the Olympics and we must protect her at all costs.

We love her.

  • Community boards are LIT. Seriously…if you are on one I think you should think about your life choices. because you are either this guy talking which has gone viral…or the guy next to him who is all of us and wishing he was anywhere BUT there. May I present to you, ICE SHANTY GUY:
  • Dead Name trend. I love this and has been going on for a while but I haven’t yet written about it. Dead name refers to the same someone was given at birth but they have transitioned to a different gender and name. The trend is to use this sound and show them before transition and now:
  • People have lost their minds on the new PINNOCHIO movie. Here’s why:

THAT IS IT my darlings.

I have missed some memes and trends but I have been sitting here for 6 hours so I need to just step away from the machine.

ALSO…I AM TAKING OFF NEXT MONDAY as it is President's Day and you guys are all off on some holiday so I will take a break and be back the following week. Have a beautiful Valentine’s Day!

Stay safe and healthy my beauties. Stay kind. Stay funny AF.

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