My name is Craig Sumsky, and I am the Director of Cutting Edge Entertainment.
I like the term ‘Director,’ because I think it best describes the role I play in the company. I am many other things, like an owner and a founder of the company (there were two, and now there is one), but wearing the ‘boss’ hat has never been something I’ve relished. I can probably count on both hands how many times I have had to evoke the “because I’m the boss” phrase, and more than to my credit, I think it’s simply because I’ve been fortunate enough to hire well. I have never been comfortable with referring to myself as someone’s boss, but instead prefer to introduce employees of the company as people I work with.
So, for starters, our blog is going on two years now and I realized that although I’ve authored quite a few posts that make up this blog, I had yet to actually blog about myself. I guess I wasn’t sure where to start, so probably best I start at the beginning, how I became a DJ, and how Cutting Edge Entertainment came to be… so here goes.
I started my journey into world of entertainment as a DJ at Jamison Roller Skating rink in Bucks County back in 1983. The rink transformed into a teen dance party (called J.R.’s) on Friday nights, and the house was packed every weekend with kids from local high schools, and although I was originally hired for the skate nights, I inherited the teen dance when the veteran DJ didn’t bother to show up. Let’s just say I learned to be a quick study, and being a DJ seemed a natural fit. I already had a love for all things music, so in that regard I was right at home, but even more thrilling was the rush of the crowd reaction. I remember when Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ was first released, and how the whole place screamed when we first played that track. From there on in I was hooked.
In my freshman year of college (1987) I had left J.R.’s, and got a job doing mobile DJ work with a company on Bustleton Avenue in Philadelphia called ‘Fascinating Rhythm.’ It was there I began to hone my skills. I brought on a friend – Joe Quinn – who would become my partner in crime (and later in business) for the next decade. Our stint at Fascinating Rhythm was short lived, as we went on to work at bars and nightclubs in both Bucks County and Philadelphia.
I had a college internship at WPST in Princeton, New Jersey, but would later have the privilege of sitting in with Philadelphia radio greats like Pierre Robert (WMMR) and Harvey Holiday (WOGL) for some ‘extra credit.’ My mind was like a sponge, and I just couldn’t get enough. I often worked seven nights a week, and watched trends like ‘sports bars’ and ‘post modern’ come and go. I was there when Delaware Avenue (now Columbus) first evolved into a nightclub mecca, spinning at one nightclub while now famous Philadelphia DJ Robbie Tronco would be spinning at another right across the street.
So many bars and clubs from those days have since died off or closed. Places like Binney & Flynns, The Aztec, The Fizz, Bleachers, Club Zadar and The Bank are mere memories, but were once part of a Philly club scene that thrived and flourished, spawning DJ’s like Robbie Tronco, Moe Green, DJ Johnny S, Chaz Paris and DJ Beercans. They made the Philadelphia club scene in the early to mid 1990’s, and many of them continue to DJ today.
It was at the height of that era that Cutting Edge Entertainment was born. I’ve tried to inject much of my own wisdom, knowledge and experience over the years into the company but alas, it had a mind of it’s own. I could never have predicted the industry changes, but as it changed Cutting Edge evolved, and I just followed it’s lead. With a constant influx of young talent and fresh new ideas, C.E.E. has easily made the transitions necessary to stay on the ‘cutting edge.’ I may have been the spark, but the cast and crew of the company have been the fuel to the fire. It is to the C.E.E. staff over the years (past & present company included) to whom I owe a never ending debt of gratitude for their hard work, loyalty and dedication.
What started out as a DJ company has grown to include dancers, vocalists, musicians, lights, multi-media and much more. DJ, Entertainment or Production Company, we have almost outgrown such restrictive definitions to become a hub of talent and energy that has and will continue to leave a footprint, one that I could have never envisioned back in 1994. Cutting Edge Entertainment has been the launch pad for so many talented professionals who have gone on to make careers in the entertainment industry that I am in awe of their collective accomplishments.
In many ways, I am grateful that they would choose me as their ‘Director.’
K.C. KoKoruz – a colleague of mine from Chicago – recently told me “The staff of Cutting Edge Entertainment definitely drink the Cutting Edge Kool-Aid”, to which I smiled, laughed to myself at the reference and said, “Oh Yeah.”
Cutting Edge Entertainment
Photo by Kevin York – www.kevinyorkphotography.com