Editor's Note: "A Conversation With..." is a series of Q&As which periodically profile local people and groups who are making efforts to keep the area's entertainment scene interesting. If you know someone who deserves recognition for their work in local music, art, nightlife or restaurants, drop us a line here to nominate them.
By Tom O’Dare • firstname.lastname@example.org
Some people are looking forward to it. Some aren’t.
It’s the Sunday night premiere of TLC’s “Welcome to Myrtle Manor” that has the Grand Strand abuzz.
The show is the latest “reality” offering from the cable network that has enjoyed recent success with another Southern hit — “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.”
It’s set in Patrick’s Mobile Home Park in Myrtle Beach and features the daily lives of an array of characters who live in the neighborhood that goes by the name Myrtle Manor in the show.
A few tweaks have been added to the park including the installation of an above ground pool and a large sign letting everyone know they’ve arrived in Myrtle Manor.
One of the stars of “Welcome to Myrtle Manor” is local entertainment promoter Taylor J. Burt.
Burt, well known throughout Myrtle Beach entertainment scene for throwing some of the area’s biggest parties and nightlife events, along with his mother Anne and his dog Gus, will be featured throughout the series.
Burt took some time this week to let the Herald know about his newfound TV status.
How do you feel about becoming a national TV star?
I guess at this point that is something I haven't really given much thought to.
Currently, my career puts me in the local spotlight, so I guess anything national would just be an exaggeration of that.
I just hope that I can continue to stay humble and polite and not let it change me as a person if it does happen.
How did you get the spot on the show?
When Jupiter Entertainment came to Myrtle Beach, they kept hearing my name pop up a lot of places they went.
After that they tracked me down to help them scout locations and establish a network locally.
After a few days of meetings, they asked me if I was interested in living in a trailer park and being on the show....and the rest y'all will just have to stay tuned to TLC Sunday nights and see for yourself!
What's been the best thing about being involved with Myrtle Manor?
The entire experience has brought me closer to my neighbors and friends in ways that would have never happened if we didn't share the experience together.
It was a huge opportunity and I’m very fortunate to have been and hopefully continue to be a part of.
How does this fit in with your career as a local promoter?
A crucial part of promoting is having a huge network and database which to promote to.
Any exposure from the show airing can only increase those two things, resulting in even better events.
What have you learned about TV and showbusiness by doing Myrtle Manor?
Prior to filming “Welcome to Myrtle Manor,” I already had what I thought was an understanding of reality stars and their lifestyles because I have booked events with so many of them and continue to maintain close friendships with them as well.
Well, what I thought I knew was only a very small part of the reality of reality television ... and this is only the beginning.
Who will be the biggest star: you, mom or your dog?
I’m just a guy with a lot of tattoos that throws a lot of parties.
My mom is so quirky and off-the-wall that she is sure to be popular … but my dog, Gus, has fame written all over him.
He’s the sweet, most handsome and loveable dog around.
What’s been your friends’ reaction to you being on TV?
There is a lot of controversy surrounding the show and it hasn't even aired yet.
A lot of my friends have turned their backs on me because they say I’m taking part in something that is going to ruin Myrtle Beach, make it look trashy, make us look like inbred hillbillies, etc.
They forget that Myrtle Beach is my home and always will be. I have it tattooed across my knuckles. I love my city.
What they fail to understand is that the show isn’t just about Myrtle Beach.
It’s about a community of people that could live anywhere in the country, it just happens to be here.
Personally, I think the 'trashiest' thing anyone can do is make such a negative, ignorant judgment of something just because it was filmed in a trailer park. What a terrible way to stereotype something.
That only makes the person judging look awful.
In all honesty, some of the best, most honest and sincere people I have ever met live in Patrick's/Myrtle Manor.
The Patrick family itself is amazing and maintain a wonderful, clean, safe place to live.
Some of the worst people I have ever met have lived in mansions, if I really want to put it out there.
Myrtle Beach is a wonderful place to live and visit alike. But in the end, it wasn’t the TV show that gave this city the name "dirty myrtle." That was already there.
When you were at Cathedral Hall Academy here in Myrtle Beach, did you ever dream of being on national TV?
Being on TV has never been something I’ve pursued or given thought to.
I’ve always wanted to be on stage as a musician, actually, which is probably one of the reasons I love being on stage hosting events currently.
But I am so thankful and humbled that this TV opportunity has taken me in and made me a part of such a cool, once in a lifetime experience.
Does the show accurately reflect life in Myrtle Beach?
Myrtle Beach has a lot of different ways of living: mansions, parties, families, college, service industry, prostitution, retail, beach bum, homeless ... and yes, even trailers.
We are just a group of neighbors that live in a city we love, and each one of us live differently every day.
I throw parties, Amanda turtle hunts, Chelsie sells hot dogs, Shellie runs a heavy metal bar.
We are all different on the show, just as Myrtle Beach has many different ways of life.