Downtown Denizen: Justin Weniger

Downtown Denizen: Justin Weniger

Justin Weniger
Cofounder WENDOH Media, CEO of Life is Beautiful

What is something about you that most people don’t know?
I’m a closet hippy. I’ve been to close to 100 Phish concerts. Ryan Doherty introduced me to them in 2001 and it changed the way I thought of live performance completely. In 2004 they announced they were breaking up so we put together a crew, rented an RV in Rhode Island and drove up to Vermont for what were going to be their last shows. The roads were closed due to a massive rain storm, so we found a backcountry route and parked in the lot of an old church, set up camp, and walked through the knee-deep mud in the woods to the festival grounds to see the shows every day. They got back together a few years later. (We were there, too.)

What was your favorite subject in school?
Is football a subject? I really enjoyed that. Kidding aside, I loved logic courses. I wanted to take the LSAT just to see how I would do.

If you won $100 million, what would you buy first?
I can think of so many things to do with $100 million. I would love to be able to provide opportunities for friends and family to experience their dreams. Or, I can think of a number of causes that could make a huge impact with a sizable donation. Oh, I could also make all Life Is Beautiful tickets free for everyone this year.

If you had to choose just one place to vacation every year for the rest of your life, where would it be?
That’s almost impossible, but my first thought is Mammoth Lakes, California. Growing up, my brothers were professional snowboarders. They lived in Mammoth so I spent as much time as I could up there snowboarding, fishing, and mountain biking. I came to Las Vegas for college and then got busy starting the business right after that so didn’t get a chance to go back for six or seven years. I had the opportunity to get back there over the winter break, and it brought back so many incredible memories. It’s a tremendous escape.

If someone were to make a movie about your life, who would you hope would play you?
I would like to think that it would be an epic drama and I would be played by Leonardo DiCaprio, but the way its shaping up it might end up being Ryan Reynolds or Daniel Tosh.

If you could be on any television show, which would you choose?  
Game of Thrones, obviously. Though it would likely be a short stint

What are some of the different jobs that you have had in your life?
I was a bag boy for a bit and I later worked at Kids Foot Locker. Never graduated to regular Foot Locker where you get to wear the real referee uniform. Got stuck with the baby blue stripes. Oh, I was also a stuntman. A good friend of my dad’s was the original stunt driver for The Dukes of Hazzard. He got me into it. I got my Screen Actors Guild card by playing quarterback in a football scene in a Disney show. That opened a lot of doors for me. I actually worked on Rush Hour 2 here in Vegas when they imploded the Desert Inn hotel to make way for the Wynn.

When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up? 
When I was young, I wanted to be a marine biologist. That was, until I realized how much schooling you needed. I was an athlete growing up, so after realizing that marine biology wasn’t going to happen, I thought I would become a sports agent. Then I realized that I’d need a lot of school for that, too. After college (and hearing Phish) I became a huge fan of live experiences and music festivals. They became my escape from the norm. I feel like somewhere along the way, I might have manifested myself into the role I’m in now. It’s truly a dream.

Do you have a favorite quote or saying that inspires you?
“Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you’re going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater then oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long run – in the long run, I say! – success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it.” – Viktor E. Frankl