Q&A Sessions: Tom Kirlin – Pancakes & Booze Founder

About Tom Kirlin 

Tom Kirlin was born in Tucson, Arizona, USA. He is known for his work on The Apprentice (2004). Four years ago, he rented a warehouse space in Culver City and turned it into a small photo/film studio after leaving his cameraman life in the film industry. In order to utilize the space on empty nights, he started throwing art shows, And so in May 2009, Pancakes & Booze was born. Currently, the event (www.pancakesandbooze.com) is organized up to three times annually in (20+) major cities. In 2013, the show expands into 5 more cities, including New York and Toronto (not in Vegas yet)

Check out our pictures from the last Pancakes & Booze Zombie Night!


You mentioned Pancakes & Booze started as a random night “Craigslist and we’ll make more of a party of it. We’ll get beers. I went to Home Depot, got some wood, some lights, built a little bar”


numb1What made you want to pursue this as a career?

I was burnt out on working in film and was looking to start my own business.


numb2What unexpected opportunities has Pancakes & Booze brought your way?

The success of Pancakes & Booze was so unexpected all in itself. I’ve been able to not only meet hundreds of amazing artists but have been able to travel pretty much non-stop for the last 5 years.


numb3What does a typical day look like for you? Do you have “normal business hours”?

I’m a work-a-holic so I work 60+ hours per week on putting the shows together. I’m doing one in a different city pretty much every week, so it’s a lot of emails and prep for each show. When running the event itself, it’s about a 22hr day for me. It’s a TON of work and very exhausting but I love doing it!


numb4What is the best part about putting together musicians, designers, and artists together?

What makes you excited to continue? I blows my mind how much unseen talent there is out there. I love being able to provide an outlet for artists to get their work out there. It’s the most rewarding part.


numb5What was the hardest part about starting your own business?

Having the balls to take the risk. Learning from your mistakes and not freaking out about them.


numb6How do you manage traveling and curating art shows in more than 20 cities?

Hours and hours of hard work 🙂


numb7Did it shock you how fast Pancakes & Booze blew up?

At first I was shocked, but then I just realized how much people actually love pancakes.


numb8How is life for you being that tall?

Ha ha, I hit my head on things a lot.


numb9How was the change from cameraman to traveling art show curator?

Working as a cameraman you travel a lot as well, so I was used to the travel part. But the biggest difference is just being my own boss. In film, you are collaborating and most often working for someone else’s vision. Pancakes & Booze is my vision and I’m my own boss. It’s a lot less stress and BS dealing with yourself than with a hot-head director, ha ha.


numb10What other cities would you like to bring the show to?

Currently working on Las Vegas, San Diego, and Melbourne. Also working on getting some international shows (other than Canada) under my belt. I used to live in Bangkok so it’s my goal to do one there by the end of the year. As well as London and Sydney. Possibility is endless.


numb11Where do you see your career in 5,10 years?

I never thought I’d be doing Pancakes & Booze for 5 years, ha ha, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see it go for at least another 5-10. I’ve learned a lot about throwing events so in 10 years I see myself running several different events with a larger team of people. Who knows maybe Pancakes & Booze will be in every major city across the world, ha ha.