Sep 102003
Authors: Chris Hess

If you ask any college student what they did last night, they’ll probably say they went to a football game and froze or went to a show and now they can’t hear or sat on their butt and played video games. But, what you probably won’t hear is that they went to a rave and ended up on Judge Judy.

One night last December, production company Planet Plur organized a rave at Fort Collins’ own Starlight Theater. Toward the end of an otherwise successful evening, the event producer and several of her employees were ticketed by police in the alley behind the theater for drug use. Starlight owner Eric Rabinowitz then took the matter into his own hands.

“I shut the event down. I don’t stand for that kind of stuff at my club,” said Rabinowitz of the incident.

Having been shut down early, event organizers sued the Starlight in small claims court for breach of contract. Soon after the case was filed, the producers of a certain courtroom television show contacted Rabinowitz.

“Judge Judy’s producers called me up and wanted the case on their show,” Rabinowitz said. “Because small claims court cases are open record, they searched and found mine and thought it would make good television.”

At first, the theater owner was reluctant to appear on the show. However, after talking to his lawyer and learning that he would be paid for appearing on the show and everything from food to possible losses would be covered, it became a sure thing.

Once in Hollywood, it became apparent to Rabinowitz just how badly the producers wanted the case to be on the show. The show’s staff answered to his every beck and call, giving him whatever he asked for while waiting in the green room.

“It was pretty funny,” Rabinowitz said of the horde of kids running around waiting on him.

However, once he entered the courtroom full of 200 people and cameras probing at every angle, the fun and games came to a screeching halt. The infamous Judge Judy took control, asking provocative questions and trying to get a rise out of Rabinowitz and the plaintiff. Apparently, what we see on television isn’t an act.

“I got my fair share of shh’s and classic Judge Judy, but I just stayed focused and made sure to answer all the questions so the case swayed my way,” said Rabinowitz of his thought process in the courtroom. “Once that happened, I just kept thinking what an idiot the other girl was. She had tears welling up in her eyes. I don’t even think she contacted a lawyer.”

Rabinowitz said he and the judge even teamed up a little, but that we will just have to watch and see.

Despite the free pampering before the taping and the good time had by all in the house that Judy built, Rabinowitz claims that the best time was had after they were victorious in the courtroom. “The whole thing was electric, but celebrating was the best,” Rabinowitz said. “They gave us our money and we partied in L.A. for 40 hours straight, basically for free. It was pretty great.”

The episode of “Judge Judy” featuring The Starlight will air on Saturday. However, if, like most college students, you are too lazy to check your local listings, it will also be shown at the Starlight later that night. For $3 you can catch the episode followed by a concert featuring up-and-comers Lucero and Drag the River.

“Come down and you’ll get to see the Starlight on the big screen and two of the best alt-country bands in the country,” Rabinowitz said. “It should be a good time.”

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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