The Notice Networks


For anyone who has ever asked: Who is Moe?

We all know Moe as the branding expert behind nightlife & entertainment design companies MoeKnowsBest and Miami Design House, as well as the founder of and the brains behind The Notice Networks, and the co-owner of Cypher Circuit, but with his web presence comprised solely of his design work and network of websites, only a select few know the full story of how Moe came to Know Best. This chronicle of Moe introduces the man behind the work; think of it as your inside hookup to the behind-the-scenes story of how Moe got to where he is today. For anyone who has ever asked, "Who is Moe?": Keep reading as we detail Moe's personal history in weekly installments.

Chapter 1

setting the stage

Most people don't set foot into a nightclub until they are at least a teenager, if not older, but not Moe. Moe has been on the scene since before he could walk or talk. Moe's father was a saxophonist on the national circuit who played most notably with Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and in the bands Full Hand, Spyro Gyra, and Special Effect. Moe spent his early childhood in the nucleus of the scene, interacting with reggae greats, both at home and backstage. His family's life was totally immersed in the culture at that time, centered on all the different gigs, practices, yardie parties, etc.

Moe’s family lived in Rocky Point, Long Island, until Moe was two, when they moved to a six-bedroom house in Port Jefferson, Long Island. They converted one of the living rooms into a permanent recording studio, and rented out their extra bedrooms to touring musicians and artists. Their home became a revolving door of reggae greats who would visit or stay with them while in town for the New York stop on their tours. Moe was constantly around artists and musicians, who showered him with meaningful attention. It was like having dozens of aunts and uncles coming and going all of the time, stopping often to offer encouragement and advice; nourishing the type of personality that would learn to thrive in a maelstrom of chaos and creativity.

Moe learned to play the drums by the age of five and was encouraged to play them in the studio whenever he pleased. When he was jamming on the drums, he was easy to keep track of, but when he was nowhere to be found, his mom would often discover him in Al's room. Al Anderson was Bob Marley's lead guitarist, who played with Full Hand when he wasn't on tour with The Wailers. Although at the time many of his friends and acquaintances noticed that Al seemed very depressed, no one knew that he had just returned from a trip to Germany to stay with Marley in a cancer clinic. He hardly talked to anyone, but even during those dark days, Moe always cheered him up. They hung out together and played on Al's guitar. Al developed a close personal relationship with Moe, whom he always called "Buddy."

When Bob Marley and The Wailers played the Apollo Theatre in 1979, Moe’s family was given free tickets for all four nights. They attended every show, but usually watched from backstage. His mom recalls that, "One night after the show, Bob sat in a corner in his obscenely crowded dressing room, looking really tired (no one knew he had cancer at the time). He reached out his arms to Moe and sat him on his lap. Bob looked happy for a minute."

Moe may not personally remember all of the details of this time in his life, but the influence it had on his future endeavors is undeniable. These experiences set the stage for everything he would go on to accomplish. Moe’s formative years gave him a taste of the energy, power, and adrenaline of the nightlife scene at large.

Moe's mother was an academic who was studying biology at StonyBrook College when Moe was born. She went on to become an Assistant Professor at the Feinberg School of Medicine, and the Associate Director of the Graduate Program in Genetic Counseling at Northwestern University. Her esteemed research work has been published in a variety of respected medical journals.

Moe's parents’ uniquely differing personalities, talents, and intellects have shaped how Moe tackles what life throws his way, providing the balance necessary for him to be successful in the myriad of endeavors he's pursued. Moe has been blessed with the distinctive intelligence of his mother, and the charismatic personality of his father, and this combination has made him the person he is today.

Chapter 2

Street Kid Entrepreneur

Sure, the moniker MoeKnowsBest is a reference to Moe's position in the nightlife and entertainment industry, but it's also an homage to the graffiti tag—MOES—that he had back in his New York street-kid days of tagging, rapping, and breaking.  

While in his teens, Moe lived in Smithtown, Long Island—a nicer part of the Island—where families were well off and living the American Dream. But Moe's family wasn't well off, and was only there because they had nowhere else to go. Moe's parents had split and his mother married Moe's stepfather, Bill, and had another son, Moe's half-brother, Alex. Money was tight, so the four of them moved into Moe's grandfather's house. The living situation bred tension and animosity, resulting in an unhealthy atmosphere for everyone involved. To add insult to injury, Moe found himself the only black kid at a school filled with privileged white kids. 

Moe met and befriended Coal Cash, another outcast. This was the beginning of everything; meeting Coal was a major catalyst in the adventures that followed. Like Moe, Coal wasn't accepted in the traditional sense at school—a world where jocks were cool and rock music ruled—so instead of trying fit into something they were not, they bonded, said fuck you, and built their own brand of cool, comprised of the things they liked.  

Moe's interest in drawing was a constant throughout his life. He spent his time sketching in black books and covering Long Island in graffiti tags and murals. He was arrested for illegally painting at age 13—and since he enjoyed painting so much, his mother thought a long summer of painting houses in the hot sun with his Uncle Justin was an appropriate punishment for the arrest. At the time Moe protested, but looking back I think he appreciates the summer he got to know his uncle and the ins and outs of his painting business.

Moe may have acted unaffected, but he wanted the same sneakers and haircuts as all the other kids. Without the luxury of being able to buy the status quo, Moe took control of the hand he was dealt, saved his dollars, purchased his first set of buzzers, and gave himself a haircut. Almost immediately his friends wanted in. Moe became the barber for his circle, hanging out, drinking 40s, smoking weed, and cutting hair in his grandfather's garage after school and on weekends. He carved his first business from minimal knowhow, willing guinea pigs, and a creative leap of faith. He was willing to take a risk, a model that would prove consistently successful throughout his life.  

But then Moe did something no one else had thought of: he intuitively applied his drawing skills to his fades, using the clippers to cut graffiti-style designs into his friends’ hair. No one had seen anything like it. Soon there was a line at the garage door every Saturday for $5 haircuts, and his first business was born. His custom designs became so popular, he was scouted by local barbershops. Too young to get a barber’s license, Moe declined and continued working out of his garage. He could finally afford the Jordans and Hilfiger, Polo, and Nautica gear for himself. What would have been seen as an unfair shortcoming to complain about to most kids was taken as an opportunity to innovate by this young entrepreneur. Had he simply been handed a weekly allowance for a haircut, he would never have built bonds chilling with his crew after school at his grandfather's crib, nor would he have changed the game of cutting hair in the scene. 

Applying his artistic talent to something even more illicit than graffiti, Moe mastered the art of chalking IDs, giving his crew a serious advantage over other kids their age. Moe became the go-to guy for this service; its popularity rivaled that of his barber business and won him a certain clout and cred in the scene.  

By 16 Moe and his friends were taking the train into Manhattan to frequent nightclubs Limelight, The Expo, Concrete Jungle, Palladium, and Runway 69, and hanging at Caffeine in Long Island. This was Moe's first taste of the club scene since the early days backstage with his dad, and he knew he wanted to be involved for life.  

Moe and his crew could get down on the dance floor with house dancing, but when they were introduced to the breakdancing scene in the clubs, they knew this had to be their next move. This was before the days of YouTube, when a simple search yields thousands of breakdancing videos in seconds. Back then, your only option was to get your hands on a VHS copy of Beat Street and watch the five minute B-Boy battle scene on repeat until you learned all the moves, which is exactly what they did. 

Moe knew the bubble of high school was insignificant and created a world for himself outside those walls. By age 17, he was attending hip-hop events, tagging graffiti, rapping, and breakdancing. His crew founded Influential Flavor, of which Moe, Coal Cash, Lenny Lipinto, Bobby Peachtree, and Justin Pandel were members. The crew made regular trips into the city, threw parties—sometimes during school—and painted graffiti murals around the Island, making a name for themselves among the OG hip-hop heads repping Long Island.  

Moe built an identity on the successes of his haircutting and chalking businesses and the discipline he learned mastering breaking, and the name it won him around the Island. He was unsatisfied with the state of his life and the options it offered, but instead of sitting around crying about it, Moe created the world he wanted to live in, while bringing like-minded people along with him. He’s relied on this model throughout his life, earning the wealth of personal and professional respect and success that followed. 

Chapter 3

Making Something from Nothing

After living their entire lives in New York, Moe, his mom, and his brother, Alex, packed their belongings into a U-Haul and drove to Pittsburgh, PA. His mother started a new job and his brother was still in middle school, but Moe, newly 18 and accustomed to the New York culture, lifestyle, and pace, felt lost, bored, and completely disconnected. He fell into a deep depression after the move. His mom recalls that he didn't get out of bed for weeks.  

After those few weeks of nothing, Moe started filling his days practicing breakdancing moves in his bedroom. It was his only connection to life back in New York. The confined space—similar to that of a typical breaking circle at the club—taught him control. He experimented with new moves and perfected staples, bringing a level of purpose back in his life, but it only satisfied him to a point: Moe was hungry for social involvement.  

When he finally emerged, Moe ventured out to the Pittsburgh clubs to test drive his new moves. He was excited to be back in an environment that fed his soul, but disappointed with the state of the scene. Compared to what he was used to in New York, Pittsburgh was lame. This didn't help with his depression, but Moe kept at it, exploring different brands of Pittsburgh nightlife.  

Moe met Ian Robinson and Alex Gray in a breakdancing circle at Club 168. They were part of crew called the Jedi Monks, and were responsible for putting on the party that particular night. Alex's first impression of Moe: cocky asshole. Alex recalls Moe walking in acting like he owned the place and dominating the circle, even though it was Alex's crew who put on the event. Moe, still an outsider to the scene, didn't know the details of the social dynamics, and was there just being himself, having a good time, and getting down. To make matters worse, Moe nearly kicked Alex when he was breaking in the circle. Needless to say, the situation escalated, things got heated, and they did not get resolved that evening.  

But the scene was small, so small that almost every time Moe went out to dance he ran into Alex and his crew. Over a short period of time Moe and Alex realized they had a lot in common, put their first meeting aside, and joined forces. They built what grew into a lasting friendship, remaining close to this day. Moe was invited to be the fourth member of the Jedi Monks, of which Ian, Alex, and Oli were also members. These kids were deep in the scene and had the inside connection to a lot of what Moe was craving.  

Ian shared his bootleg breaking videos with the Jedi Monks. Remember this was pre-YouTube and online video browsing, so bootleg tapes were the best resource to hone one's skills and discover new moves. As do many other students of the culture, Alex, Ian, and Moe have fond memories of sitting around a TV sketching in black books and getting hype watching low-quality bootleg breakdancing videos together.  

Inspired by Ian's Breaking bootlegs and the five-minute battle scene in BeatStreet, Moe set out to produce his own B-boy video magazine, Footwork. He got his hands on a camera, videotaped different elements at a variety of venues, and spouted his knowledge in front of the camera, used for introducing the different sections. Moe hooked up dual VCRs and edited the raw footage to create the magazine. In its final form, Footwork features the Pittsburgh B-boys circa 1996, showcasing the different dance styles and variety of talent in the scene, with footage of both battle circles and practice sessions in the studio. Moe personally recorded all 100 copies by hand, using the same VHS to VHS setup, then got his hustle on, selling every last copy. Footwork not only gave Moe purpose, it established and validated his place in the Pittsburgh breaking scene. No longer an outsider or newbie, Moe was now on the tip of the tongues of many of the players in the scene.  

Moe threw his first Pittsburgh event, Who Got the Props, at the Highland Park Reservoir. It shone a light on the four elements of hip-hop and featured a B-boy showcase. Although Moe doesn't remember this event as being particularly successful, I think he's just being hard on himself, because every attendee I spoke with recounts the great time, with some expressing that they saw it as a turning point in the scene. I chalk it up to the exceedingly high standards Moe holds himself to, in tandem with coming of age in the heart of 1990s New York hip-hop culture. This kind of event was something happening in New York, but Moe was the first to bring it to Pittsburgh. People were hungry and loving what Moe was bringing to the scene, and the efforts he was making to mold it.  

In pursuit of broadening awareness of breakdancing and hip-hop in Pittsburgh, Moe taught breakdancing classes at the Jewish Community Center, including historical teachings on the four elements of hip-hop. He took over as leader of the Jedi Monks, changing their name to Influential Flavor, the name of the crew he belonged to back in New York. Moe was bringing the true New York hip-hop experience to Pittsburgh, and people were about it.  

Besides performing in and hosting B-boy battles in Pittsburgh, Influential Flavor took to traveling to Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio, to participate in the battles in those markets. At the invitation of the Ill Style Rockers, Moe joined the Roll Hall of Fame's tours, which consisted of hosting assemblies at elementary schools to teach kids about the four elements of hip-hop, and evening breakdancing performances at colleges. He continued to tour with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame over the next five months, while also organizing and hosting destination battles in Pittsburgh, where he drew all the best regional talent.  

Let's put something into perspective here: Moe had only been in Pittsburgh for about a year. Almost everything you just read happened between his 18th and 19th birthdays. Moe went from not knowing a single person in the city to producing Footwork, throwing Who Got The Props, and leading Influential Flavor, building them a regional reputation with personal invites on tours—while simultaneously organizing and hosting destination battles in Pittsburgh. It's a lot to accomplish in a year, but Moe was just getting started.  

Chapter 4

Making Something Good Great

Moe caught the attention of George Haritos, the owner of Zythos, a bar in Pittsburghs’s Southside, who hired Moe to dance at his bar. Working as a dancer at a 21+ bar at 19 opened a lot of doors for Moe—mostly doors to other 21+ clubs—but it also opened Moe's mind to a new world of possibilities and opportunities. Like most clubs, Zythos was packed over the weekends, but dead on weeknights. Moe approached George to ask if he could throw a hip-hop party on a Thursday. George agreed: the club wasn't doing any real business that night anyway, so what did he have to lose?  

Moe booked DJs Crown Boogie and Drastik and got the word out. The venue was packed at double capacity for most of the night, and George was so impressed he made "Hip-Hop Thursdays" a weekly party Moe organized and hosted. The party’s success afforded Moe a chance to get in with a number of other club owners in Pittsburgh and host events at their venues, too, including Moe’s most successful party: 1999 at Metropol. This was the one that, to this day, people still bring up, describing it in a dreamy, nostalgic way when trying to illustrate Moe’s influence and the fun he was bringing to the city. This was the moment Moe knew he was onto something.  

Moe's eye for spotting up-and-coming talent gave him an edge. Moe gave DJ Nugget his first gig, and to this day Nugget credits Moe with starting his career. Moe booked DJ Bonics, now Wiz Khalifa's DJ, for some of his earliest gigs. Moe booked Atmosphere, The Arsonists, and Mr. Complex early in their careers. Moe was hired to manage street promotions for 50 Cent's first tour with Aftermath. He partnered with Joker Productions to promote a Wu-Tang Clan show at Club Laga, and also brought Redman and Method Man to play the club, marking their first appearances in Pittsburgh.  

Metropol, Rosebud, Club Laga, Area 51: you name a major club in Pittsburgh, Moe was organizing shows there. He controlled every aspect of his events, from copping the right talent to play at the right venues, to designing the venue lighting to create the perfect vibe, to curating the proper staff and guest list. Moe had his hand in all aspects of his events, from inception to execution, and it was these details that set them apart from other nightlife in the city. Moe was setting a new bar in nightlife and entertainment in Pittsburgh, while simultaneously creating his signature brand within the scene, and it wasn't going unnoticed.  

Moe caught the attention of Pascal Morganti, a representative at Camel/Salem. She wanted Moe to work club promotions on her team, but he couldn’t due to Salem's strictly 21+ policies. On Moe's 21st birthday, Pascal called to offer him a job. Working promotions for Salem gave Moe a bigger events budget, which gave him the freedom to bring bigger acts to Pittsburgh. Moe brought such artists as Wyclef, Beenie Man, Biz Markie, and Tony Touch to Pittsburgh—for many artists is was the first and only time they’d perform in the city.  

Now that Moe was 21, the fun really got started. Because of the success of his Salem-sponsored events, he was quickly promoted to events coordinator, at which point he hired fellow street-team promoter Kevin Peindl to work as his production manager. Moe and Kevin's working relationship was so fluid they joined forces to produce events independent of Salem, most notably the 4 Elements events. The 4 Elements events featured performances and competitions highlighting all 4 elements of hip-hop: MCing, DJing, B-boying, and graffiti. These beloved events quickly developed a cult following. Everyone wanted a chance to perform, and this platform gave them that opportunity. The 4 Elements unified a once fragmented scene into a supportive community. The positive working relationship behind and success of these events solidified Moe and Kevin's friendship, and after their stint with Salem, Moe and Kevin continued working together.  

Moe personally handled all the promotions for his events. Remember flyers? Yeah, I know I keep harping on this pre-Internet, pre-social media reality, but anyone who was there knows how truly different life was back then. The logistics of properly planning and promoting an event were calculated and deliberate. It wasn't just sending mass texts, and reposting flyers by pushing buttons on a phone. It was designing and printing physical flyers, then building a street team to hit the pavement and literally spread the word.  

Moe assembled a street team to join him on a nightly circuit, stopping by all the major clubs and hitting all the cars parked in the Strip District. We're talking walking around, handing out flyers, engaging with potential clients, winning them over with charm, and convincing them to spend their night (and dollars) at your event.  

Moe's first flyers were black-and-white Xeroxes, standard at the time. But after seeing the full-color, intricately designed (sometimes die-cut) card-stock flyers handed out at raves, Moe wanted those same full-spectrum, high-gloss art pieces to promote his events. He searched out the person behind them and found Mark the Printer. Moe hired Mark to print the same high-quality flyers for his events, and soon after, glossy full-color flyers became an industry standard in the club scene. (You know, probably just a coincidence.) When the volume surpassed what Mark could handle, Moe sought out HotCards, a gang-one printer in Cleveland, Ohio, to print his flyer designs. The flyers were delivered via Greyhound bus from Cleveland to Pittsburgh, and Moe would pick them up at the bus station on the weekly to distribute. When the volume outgrew what Greyhound was willing to ship, Moe hired a driver and rented a U-Haul to make the twice-weekly trip to Cleveland and back. Moe was designing, printing, and distributing all of the flyers for his own events, and when word got out that he was the man behind them, the copycats lined up. Moe was the connect for anyone who wanted in within the Pittsburgh market, and soon he was designing and printing flyers for a growing client base. Client demand continued to grow, until it surpassed what HotCards could manage, at which point the owner offered Moe his own HotCards franchise. Moe ran the franchise out of the Penn Garrison in downtown Pittsburgh.  

Moe's name was ringing out, and he was building a reputation in the city. He developed and promoted events that he was genuinely about; he identified what was missing and filled the holes with cool events that built and solidified the culture and community, in doing so developing the Pittsburgh scene into something he was proud to be a part of. No bitching, no complaining, no "well, back in New York..." Pure grind, and a focused drive with solid results, that were noticed, recognized, respected, and loved.  

Chapter 5

The Pittsburgh Offensive

Moe was building a name for himself with the help of a crew in his corner who supported his events, helped pull them off, and offered constructive criticism. One of those supporters was Luke, who also happened to be Moe's business partner on a number of past ventures. Luke - a street-wise kid from Pittsburgh with mad respect and serious clout - played an influential role in Moe's success in that city. From investing in Moe's Hot Cards franchise, working on Moe's street team, to supporting and sponsoring club nights and parties, the two put on. Luke was there for it all.  

In 2001, Moe partnered with Luke to purchase a bar in the Northside. They renovated the space, turning it into an after-hours club called the Spot, where the signature conversation piece was the bar itself, which featured an inlay of every club flyer of every party Moe had been involved in to date. It was an impressive spread by any standard.   

The Spot served as a place to chill after the 2a.m. last call at other venues. The donation-based operation featured a hip-hop room and an electronic/house room, and offered Moe the luxury of featuring his brand of talent on a more regular basis. Resident DJs included Nugget, Drake Steels, and Alex Grey. In addition to its late-night crowd, the Spot hosted under-21 events every Saturday evening, offering young talent a stage, and kids a place to get off the streets to be a part of a positive, community-based environment.   

That same year, DJ Ed Um asked Moe to organize and host the first ever Graffiti and Hip-Hop Showcase at the Andy Warhol Museum. Moe assisted in curating an event that blurred the lines between the highbrow modern-art world and hip-hop street culture. It featured a graffiti-mural exhibition as well as live musical and b-boy performances. However, the heart and soul of the event was a panel of seasoned hip-hop heads who were invited to debate and educate on the culture's roots, foundation, and core ideals.   

The event was held up by the local hip-hop community as the first place in which they garnered recognition among those in the art world. The art world was showing genuine respect to this group of unconventional artists who were usually labeled as criminals. Moe was proud to be part of an event that was a platform on which the hip-hop community earned the acknowledgement of a broader audience.

Moe would be asked to organize the second annual event at the Museum. That year, the event also hosted a lecture by legendary New York photographer and videographer Henry Chalfant in addition to a screening of his iconic film, "Style Wars."  

Moe was simultaneously involved with curating and managing a regional tour. Moe teamed up with Masai Turner to organize the grassroots excursion, which was called the Pittsburgh Finest. As talent and tour manager, Moe locked in performers Strict Flow, MC Charon Don & DJ Huggy, and Deadly Scribes with DJ Drake Steelz (aka Blitzburgh from Pittsburgh) as the official tour DJ. Moe and Masai struck deals with the venues for the two-week, twelve-city, 20-person, Red Bull-sponsored tour. And the timing was perfect, because the tour lined up with the Andy Warhol Showcase and that's where they kicked off their first show. The following night, they played Pittsburgh's East Liberty E-Fest, then traveled a circuit that included shows in Cleveland, Philadelphia, Boston, Toronto, and New York City.  

Moe saw his position in the regional hip-hop community as an opportunity to continue to showcase more of the scene's MC talent, so again Moe partnered with Masai Turner, this time to organize the Battle of the Groups. The massive event created a platform for 20 hip-hop crews to perform for each other and a regional audience, battling it out in an MC competition for cash prizes. The first place, grand prize was $1,000, with additional cash prizes to the group who sold the most tickets to the showcase. It was kind of like the very first Pay For Play, but without the false pretense of promised fame that the now-popular platform holds. The Battle of the Groups was about getting a chance to perform on stage in front of an audience and earning props from your peers.   

Moe and Masai decided to look into the venue Mister Smalls to find out if they'd be willing to host the event, and Battle of the Groups became the very first hip-hop event hosted at the venue. One of Pittsburgh's premier concert venues, it was run by the Rusted Root collective, a group of hometown heroes who entrusted Moe with organizing the venue's inaugural hip-hop event. It created such a huge buzz, drew such a huge crowd, and was so beloved by the hip-hop community, that the event ran three times.  

Chapter 5 1/2

The Pittsburgh Offensive Part 2

Not only was Moe contributing to and inciting a positive effect for the culture, he was being championed by the press for doing so. Sarah Lolley, contributing writer for the Pittsburg Gazette, set out to cover what she called "Turntable Culture." When she came around the scene asking for a source, one piece of advice kept ringing out: "Talk to Moe." So, she caught up with Moe and picked his brain, and he instantly became Sarah's number-one source. Fascinated by his involvement and influence from behind the scene, she was equally impressed by his vision, his execution, and ability to uplift and reinvent the scene. Sarah wrote articles for the paper about his events, brands, and Moe himself that earned him organically developed press coverage. Her work has informed a lot of what's written in this chapter, detailing much of the minutia that would have otherwise been lost and forgotten, so for that: thank you, Miss Lolley.

Between organizing, sponsoring, hosting events and tours, designing and printing promotional flyers, and owning the Spot, Moe had his finger on the pulse of nightlife and entertainment in Pittsburgh. By 2002, he was feeling the residual effects of all of the work he was putting in, and developed a creative way to tie it all together.

Moe assembled a team of key people to write, photograph, design, publish, print, promote, and distribute Access Magazine. The publication served as a promotional piece for Moe's events, artists, and tours, but it was also a window into the scene through the eyes of the people living it. In a time before social media, this 4x6 glossy was the go-to for information on parties to attend, where to shop the trending styles, interviews about (and articles by) industry insiders, and gushing over photo spreads from the best events.

Luke partnered with Moe on Access, where the two served as co-owners; Sarah Lolley, who was hired as Editor-in-Chief, joined the team; Kevin Peindl was the magazine's Operations Director; and Brian Brick, owner of Timebomb, shot fashion spreads featuring the clothes sold in his street-wear shop. In this grassroots operation, Moe also invited additional contributors to share their stories, opinions on the scene, and publish photos of the scene.

Moe oversaw every aspect of the magazine, which was conceptualized and produced 100% independently. Luke recalls using the living-room floor of their Penn Avenue apartment to physically lay out the tear sheets to create each issue.

The team sold advertising to industry-relevant events and businesses, and the advertisements covered the cost of printing, which allowed them to distribute the monthly as a free magazine. This structure also allowed them to operate without any investors. This gave the team the luxury and power of full artistic freedom, without stressing a bottom line or need to placate investors. The ambitious project proved to be Moe's biggest cult favorite, as people still warmly reminisce about the truly beloved publication.

After all the printing costs were accounted for, any profits were used to throw events. Knowing an event could flop without the stress of needing to pay anyone back, Moe and Luke pushed the envelope with what they were willing to do. From this came some very cool parties.

At this point, Moe's influence was undeniable. He had the attention of, and working relationships with, many of the major players making moves in the scene. When the Spot closed down, Moe lost his outlet for promoting his brand of talent and was hungry to start producing events that he was passionate about around the city. Already holding down and having his influence on the hip-hop scene, Moe was about to go hard in the club scene, kicking his taste of talent and events into high gear and making it more mainstream.

Moe, Luke and Kevin put all of their energy into developing fresh ideas for the clubs, pitching them their ideas and executing innovative promotions for these parties and venues on the Strip and around the city. They hosted weeklies and one-offs at Chrome, Laga, Matrix, and Area 51, among many others.

Moe had a talent for bringing people together, people from different circles with different interests. He built genuine connections between individuals, bridging established scenes, and creating new ones. Growing up half white/half back, Moe knew he was a little different from most. He admits that this was discouraging at times, but it also offered him the opportunity to grow the confidence and thick skin to feel comfortable and thrive in diversity. Harnessing this early on, Moe used this to his - and ultimately everyone's - advantage by uniting people to be a part of something bigger. Pittsburgh was forever changed for the better with Moe's hand molding the direction of the scene, and uniting it in ways no one else has ever attempted.

Area 51, later renamed Deja Vu, was a successful club in the Strip District, known for its upscale VIP service. The club's claim to fame was Monday's Service Industry Night, which Moe worked on in addition to the venue's House of Three event. However, it was his work on what was the notoriously dead Wednesday nights that brought about some major success. Moe launched Taste, a weekly event in the smaller upstairs room that scaled back the atmosphere and created a vibe that was more accessible to a general audience. He teamed up with Brian Mikulan, Brian Krenke, Matty Daniels, and Nate the Barber to produce Taste Wednesdays and together, they developed a party and began booking such DJs as Hank D., Nugget, and Nate. They developed a flavor of nightlife that filled a void in the Strip District scene on a night when traditionally, not much was going on. Despite that, it became the club's biggest night and Taste gave Moe and his team the privilege of rotating up-and-coming DJs, offering them a chance to play the major Strip District club, in turn elevating their careers to the next level. Taste Wednesdays was DJ Nugget's first 21+ gig, and he is currently one of the most successful DJs in Pittsburgh. Owner of the Lawrenceville establishment Goldbar, Nugget largely attributes his later success to Moe believing in him and giving him the platform and confidence to get him where he is today.

Moe's production company, Influential Flavor, was sponsoring an endless number of these events. The name, which originated from Moe's hip-hop crew back in New York, manifested itself into a true representation of its moniker. By influencing the flavor of parties, events, and shows it put on, Influential Flavor was showing Pittsburgh a New York flavor, a hustler flavor, a get down and have-a-good-time flavor.

But this journey was not without its pitfalls. When things were slow, Luke would end up with one foot out of the door, not sure how they would overcome whichever hardships were in their way. But without fail, just before Luke would jump ship, Moe would come up with a new angle, a major breakthrough, or something new to break the mold and change the game.

From hiring girls to come out to a party early to help make it a successful rager to creative marketing campaigns on the radio in which they announced a $500-cash giveaway in the club, to stuffing balloons with money to drop from the ceiling on the dance floor, Moe was on the forefront of innovation. When Moe and Luke threw an event at Bare Elegance gentlemen's club, they cleared out the tables that were set up around the stage to create the effect of a dance floor, and hosted an event in which guys brought their girlfriends and had a great time getting down dancing. That concept has grown and is a common format within the Strip clubs now, but no one was doing that back then. Moe was progressive, wasn't afraid to do things differently, loved trying out new things, and perhaps most importantly, wasn't scared of failing. This formula created unique, bomb-ass parties while simultaneously earning him as much respect as it did success. Moe truly was ahead of his time. Some of the major go-to gimmicks and trusted industry methods were things that Moe was trying out and running with before they were done elsewhere. These were things of his own invention that became popular years later in markets across the country.

But remember, throughout these different ventures, Moe never let up on his design work. He consistently designed all of the promotional materials for his events and developed a loyal client base around the city. Moe was going to meetings and locking down details for his events by day, going out to his and other people's events by night, then when he got home from the club at 3 or 4am, he stayed up designing the flyers and promotional materials for the upcoming events.

Dave Santa, owner of a number of Pittsburgh nightclubs, had a long-standing working relationship with Moe. Moe designed flyers (and eventually all promotional materials) for Dave's Club Bash and later, Elixir. Inspired by a business trip they took to Denver for a Coors Light event, Dave pursued opening a different brand of club, with a high-end feel: Mynt Ultra Lounge. Moe served as a consultant, offering advice on everything from the ambiance and decor to the talent, while exclusively producing the venue's marketing materials. To this day, Dave rings Moe to runs any business plans or ideas he is knocking around by him for an honest opinion. Club owners looking for the cool factor often consulted with Moe, which speaks volumes for his taste level, clout, and respected influence, and above all illustrates the value of Moe's perspective and opinion.

Accomplishing so much in such a short amount of time left Moe wondering: what's next? He was producing events he was genuinely passionate about while maintaining the support from his peers and fans, all while publishing a magazine that was the visual manifestation of all of his efforts. Moe was nowhere close to feeling satisfied and rather, was on a mission to further elevate his brand. Where would he take it from here?

Chapter 6

The Miami Takeover

In 2006, Moe left Pittsburgh for the nightlife and entertainment mecca of Miami. Moe relocated at the request of, soon-to-be owner and publisher of Adult Stars magazine, Dave Santa. Dave and Moe had a long-standing business relationship from when they both lived in Pittsburgh, and because of Moe's experience and success with Access magazine, Dave took Moe on as a consultant to assist in the revamp of his own publication The magazine, which was founded by Dave's father in 1996, was feeling the effects of the changing times. Dave's father was passing the torch and it was now up to his son to completely overhaul and update the magazine from the golden era into the digital era, and Dave wanted Moe on his team to help pull it off.

Dave introduced Moe to key people in the porn industry and brought Moe to the Adult Entertainment AVN Awards in Las Vegas, where Dave, Moe, and the rest of their team represented for the brand. Moe was introduced to top industry insiders Teresa, Flint famed owner of Hustler magazine; AVN Editor-in-Chief, Anthony "Tony" Lovett; and received introductions to an endless list of porn stars and business veterans. They attended industry parties and rubbed elbows with contacts to promote their vision.

When they returned to Miami, the team got to work. Unfortunately, over the next several months, Moe became increasingly frustrated with the progress and direction of the Adult Stars revamp, so he returned to the nightlife business when his contract was up. But Moe was out of his comfort zone. In Pittsburgh, Moe's name was ringing out. Here in Miami, no one knew who he was, nor cared. But Moe approached this transition with conviction. He was feeling the expanse of possibilities available in the Miami market and was determined to make a name for himself in a place where it actually mattered.

Moe's first break was getting word that Miami Ink, a tattoo shop on Washington Avenue, was looking for someone to design their new business cards. He reached out, locked in the job, and designed the cards. Miami Ink was blowing up with the release of their TLC reality show, and the newly nationally recognized brand instantly leveraged him more business around Miami Beach. MoeKnowsBest was added to the Miami Ink's Top 8 Friends on MySpace, which earned him widespread attention; Moe's MySpace went crazy and his phone didn't stop ringing. This was something that Moe had brilliantly negotiated himself because Miami Ink claimed to have had no budget to speak of.

In the midst of the buzz, Alex Miranda contacted Moe about a design firm he was starting called the Creative Complex. Alex Miranda asked Moe if would he would be interested in designing flyers for his company. It would be a diversified design firm, but would have accounts with some of Miami's most respected nightlife brands, including the Opium Group. This meant they would manage and design all of the branding and marketing materials for all of the major clubs that fell under Opium Group's umbrella, which included Maison, Opium, Cameo, Mokaii, and Prive - all major players at the time. The talent rolling through these clubs nightly was internationally recognized. By designing the club's flyers, not only would Moe align himself with some of the top players in the game, but they would be introduced to his work in the process. Moe accepted the offer.

At Creative Complex, Moe had the privilege of working under Ruben, one of the top graphic designers in Miami at the time. As one of the designers for Creative Complex, Moe personally handled the 400 Club and SoBe Live accounts. Moe enjoyed the work, but often didn't see eye-to-eye with the firm's owner when it came to business. When Moe felt that the company should direct its focus toward more nightlife-specific brands, it was at odds with the owner's desire to speak to a more general clientele, so Moe left the company to launch his own business. Moe developed a signature brand that would speak directly to his brand of clients, and MoeKnowsBest was born. The name started as a kitschy play off of the popular, classic saying, "Mom Knows Best," but eventually doubled to define Moe's industry status and expertise in all things nightlife marketing and branding.

The 400 Club, who was working with Moe through Creative Complex, followed Moe when he left. J. Littles, the owner of the 400 Club, wanted Moe to exclusively handle all their marketing and promotional materials from that point forward. And with that, MoeKnowsBest acquired its first client.

By 2007, Moe started to get traction in the Miami nightlife market. MKB was asked to design the Classic Sundays party at Love Hate, a venue owned by two of the stars/tattoo artists from Miami Ink. Moe's top two clients were the 400 Club - known for that sexy, high-end club feel, and Classic Sundays - the epitome of that get down-and-dirty hip-hop look. These two clients showcased the range of Moe's design style while fulfilling the balance of Moe's personality and interests.

From there, Moe built his entire business by referral, and by the end of 2007, he had a client list that included top Miami clubs Mansion, Prive, Santos, Love Hate, and Buck 15 as well as Miami-based DJs Konflikt, Affect, Cardi, and Joe Dirt. His work attracted clients in markets in cities across the country and by the end of the following year, MKB had accounts with MGM Grand in Detroit, the nationally published Six Degrees magazine, and an impressive rolodex of DJs.

Moe's design style began defining the South Beach look at large. Moe was sought out for that sleek and sexy Miami feel.

Chapter 7


Moe relocated to Chicago in 2010, when his mother (who moved to Chicago in 2002) needed foot surgery and someone to help her through the rehab process. Moe - whose mobile office consisted of a laptop in a backpack - had the luxury of setting up shop anywhere, so he picked up and moved to the Windy City. Moe continued work with his Miami-based and national clientele, but was inspired to start up a new project, too. He saw an opportunity to revamp an old, successful model in a new place with a new team. Setting out to resurrect a modernized version of Access magazine, he launched 312 Magazine. He assembled a team of people in the scene - writers, photographers, and editors - and set out to make a pocket-sized monthly that featured photospreads and articles about all things Chicago nightlife.

But things didn't pan out as planned. Between the team lacking commitment and its failure to pull through with the connections they promised, combined with the fact that Moe (who still had the fond memory of the successful model and operation of Access in Pittsburgh) put the same expectations on the far-less seasoned team to self-motivate and self-govern the project, the entire plan derailed.

Moe owns up to a failure on his part to fully commit to giving the project the attention it needed to find success. Moe's distractions with his MKB clients left him unable to pick up the slack from the 312 team's shortcomings. From there, Moe lost his focus further. He was missing deadlines and dodging clients' phone calls, and began self-medicating with excessive partying. He went off the rails and ran the MoeKnowsBest name through the mud. Then, things got worse because when word got around about Moe's reputation, Moe's phone stopped ringing. Over the next year, Moe continued a lifestyle of excess and, although the MoeKnowsBest brand was kept alive (barely) by the few loyal clients that remained, things were headed in a bad direction.

Chapter 8

Miami Part II

In the summer of 2011, Moe took a call from his very first MoeKnowsBest client, J. Littles. J was the owner of the 400 Club and had big plans for the brand. The 400 Club, which started as a 50-person dinner at Harrison's hosted by Simply Jess, had grown into one of the premier promotional groups dominating South Beach. The 400 Club was bringing the hottest talent and celebs to the top clubs on South Beach and filling 1000-person venues to capacity. Moe was designing the flyer promos for all of their major parties, but their continued success was granting them the luxury to expand. During an era when clubs and promoters were using templates to slap in their party details in a cookie-cutter fashion, the 400 club made sure that every flyer, every invite, every detail was unique and special. It was a priority that everything was cohesive and looked its best. J. offered Moe an independent contract as Art Director and the duty of exclusively handling every aspect of branding. The one caveat was that Moe had return to Miami and work out of their Washington Avenue offices. Moe accepted.

Come October, Moe returned to Miami Beach. The change of location refocused him. He started to pull himself out of his funk and got back on his grind. He was excited to back on the Beach and working in office with a like-minded team. The team consisted of Sixty (City Never Sleeps), Robin (Baller Alert), Money Mike, Rich (Club Hop), Rob Peopples and Simply Jess. The 400 Club was expanding to include the 400 Life, a lifestyle brand that went hand-in-hand with the culture of the company's club brand. Moe designed a sick logo for the fledgling expansion, with every flyer, e-mail template, and step-and-repeat adding an element of consistency and elevating the brand even further.

By the spring of 2012, the 400 Club was arguably the largest and most successful promotional group on South Beach. When the company was offered an opportunity to partner with Fever Energy Drink, Moe designed all of the promotions and collabed on their events. When Play - a new South Beach club - was slated to open, Moe branded the entier club including the logo, the signature wallpaper adorning the club walls, and the flyers promoting their club nights.

Things were really moving, but despite the 400 Club's mad affiliations and reputation of consistently throwing sick parties, the business end of the operation was having issues, so when Moe's contract was up, he parted ways with J. to shift gears once again.

In September 2011, Moe was asked to join internationally renowned porn company Bang Bros. Moe was hired as Head Designer, and with his new career he left the world of nightlife altogether. At Bang Bros, Moe worked directly under Kiro Ace, the Art Director and guru of the firm and together, they designed all of the marketing imagery and promotional ads for the daily video content Bang Bros was releasing. From the porn category logos and thumbnails, to the click-bait banner ads, Kiro and Moe designed the look on the Bang Bros site and its affiliated partner sites. The work was fun, but what Moe enjoyed most was building with Kiro. Not only was Moe endlessly impressed by Kiro's design skills and what he was learning from him, he appreciated Kiro on a personal level. Moe and Kiro were a powerhouse team who were pushing the status-quo boundaries of the porn site. Moe loved the dynamic, but eventually found the corporate environment stagnant and suffocating on a creative level. Moe and Bang Bros parted ways in August 2012, but you can still see some of Moe's logos and promo ads on the site to this day. If you've visited Bang Bros any time over the last five years, we can practically assume that you've seen Moe's work.

With a fresh perspective on business and new arsenal of design skills, Moe was inspired. He focused on repairing the MoeKnowsBest name by building up the MKB client roster to include some of the biggest, most impressive, and most well-established names it had ever included. Moe's club flyer aesthetic was dominating the industry standard for upscale urban nightlife events in Miami, and was hailed as the industry standard in a variety of markets around the country. By January 2013 MoeKnowsBest's workload grew to the point that he was forced to begin turning down work, and he was struggling to manage the business alone. Moe was killing the design game.

Chapter 9

The National Takeover

Moe was managing, marketing, and designing all things for MoeKnowsBest. His client and project lists were growing exponentially, and when the list of potential clientele grew beyond what he could handle, he had no choice but to turn down work. Moe developed a business model for expansion. With the overflow, he couldn't execute this plan alone, so Moe reached out to Kiro, his design partner at Bang Bros, and longtime client and respected DJ, Konflikt. The three brought their varied skill sets and partnered to found Miami Design House. The original business plan was that MDH would be a design company that catered explicitly to the Nightlife and Entertainment clientele wanting the MoeKnowsBest look, on a budget. This meant that the newly established company would fulfill the same look and feel of the signature MKB look, but at a lower price point.

Moe hired a team of designers to work under him and trained them on the signature style for which MoeKnowsBest is famous. After the designer completed a project, Moe would take the designs and polish them with finishing touches, for that genuine MKB look. His team of designers was happy with the extra freelance work, his clients were happy with the finished product and turnaround times, and Moe was happy that his new business was booming.

Then, Moe developed a product that elevated Miami Design House to the next level. MDH's Custom Artist Websites catapulted the business on the radar. The single-page websites catered specifically to DJs, Rappers, Bartenders, artists, venues, and events and were in major demand out of the gate. Not only were they super affordable, the product was highly functional, user friendly, and aesthetically unique from standard template sites while being more affordable than a custom site.

What Moe created was essentially an online EPK for artists, venues, and events. The single-page format functioned as a hub for their respective online presence, with links to all their social media platforms in one place. These revolutionary sites were the first of their kind, and continue to be a bestseller for the company.

Now that Miami Design House was an established, well-oiled machine, Moe shifted his focus on other projects. Namely, a passion project that began as NoticeWorthy. Founded in 2013 this interview website curated by Moe featured the who's who in nightlife and entertainment. NoticeWorthy was an exclusive network of industry insiders who were leaving their marks on the scene. Not only did the site inspire a cult following, the model was so successful that in the following year, Moe developed sister sites mirroring the concept and format for a variety of other niche markets: The Anderson List for ministry, TheFinestInFitness for health and fitness, and NoticeNYC for fashion.

What began as a Rolodex of Moe's personal client list of movers and shakers in the nightlife and entertainment industry grew into a network of sites nationally recognized by those in various industries. This network of sites now all fall under the umbrella of the Notice Networks. Each site shines light on industry insiders who deserve recognition within their respective industries, and provides relevant content to each respective niche audience via monthly updates.

The Notice Networks concept is in line with, and a culmination of, Moe's prior endeavors. He tied together his graphic-design skills to put the sites together, his experience with publishing and the magazine to develop the concept, and his ability to bring people together to introduce this industry-building platform. Moe has an undeniable passion for bringing like-minded people together, but now he found a way to transition the concept of community into the digital age, connecting individuals to participate in a network on a national level.

If there is one common thread throughout this story, it is one of perseverance, of knowing how and when to shift gears, pivot directions, and the constant effort and hours of sweat and tears put in to stay ahead of the curve in an industry that is inherently transient and constantly evolving. Moe always finds a way to reinvent himself.

But most impressive is his ability - and more importantly, the desire to - bring people together, on and off the web. His dedication to the people he has met along the way have shaped and influenced each other's lives. The moments, the lasting impressions, the lifelong friendships built over the years are what will last far longer than any one business venture.

Chapter 10

Full Circle

Living back in New York City, Moe reached out to many of his old friends with whom he lost connection over the years. He reconnected with long-time friend and original partner in crime, Coal Cash. Coal had a very ambitious idea for a new website. He wanted to develop a site that elevated and united the New York hip-hop scene. Moe was inspired and wanted to help his friend see his idea to fruition. Moe knew that his skill set would be an asset for getting this concept off the ground, but Moe also knew what an extraordinary undertaking this project would be. Moe saw the potential in what Coal dubbed Cypher Circuit, but he also knew the grandiose undertaking that it presented. Moe was already working at full capacity as he developed and expanded his existing businesses: MoeKnowsBest, Miami Design House, and the Notice Networks. Still, Moe spent hours mulling ideas over and refining the concept, long before anything physical existed. He knew that the launch of this network would need to be flawless in order to succeed, so he strategically ran every possible scenario in his head, and methodically developed every aspect of the concept. Coal was the brainchild of the concept, but Moe poured everything into this idea. He was pulling from all his past experience, each role lending a helpful bit of knowhow. In many ways, everything he had done professionally was directly or indirectly influencing him, guiding and informing his decisions.

Moe and Coal had the ingredients for an ideal partnership. While Moe's promoter knowhow, branding expertise, and marketing skill guided him to develop sound concepts in a thorough business plan, Coal's experience as an MC provided the brand with incite from an MC's point of view.

But they couldn't do it alone. In the fall of 2014, Moe took a trip to Philly to meet with the partners of Marsten House Records. Marsten House was an established recording studio and label owned by Steve Sxaks sand Ethan Mintz, and they were known for recording up-and-coming artists — many of which were local Hip-Hop acts. Introduced to the brand via YouTube, the biggest draw for Moe was the Marsten House Cyphers, which were authentic, raw, gritty, not overly produced, all-in-one-take cyphers that showcased a range of talent and styles, and they did so completely on their own dime. It was Marsten House's way of giving back to hip-hop. Moe wanted to incorporate cyphers into the Cypher Circuit platform, but instead of producing monthly cyphers completely from the ground up and in direct competition to Marsten House, he chose to contact them to ask if they were interesting in teaming up and building together.