Editors and reporters hand-picked by new media pioneer Andrew Breitbart have descended upon Los Angeles to attend his funeral service today.
Breitbart, 43, died unexpectedly of natural causes last Thursday morning.
Jon Kahn, a Los Angeles-based musician and close friend of Breitbart’s who often traveled with him around the country, handled many of the funeral events and said the planning of the service mirrored Breitbart's personality.
“I think there are so many moving parts, and they’re happening in a typical Andrew fashion,” he said in an early Tuesday morning interview. “I was up until 3:30 in the morning putting out fires, working on no sleep, but it’s all coming together.”
Big Government editor Mike Flynn, who is based full-time in Washington, D.C., arrived late Monday at LAX and met immediately with a team of Breitbart journalists who were congregating in a hotel restaurant off Sunset Boulevard.
“My total trips to Los Angeles before this were less than half a dozen,” he said “but I’m here for one reason and that’s Andrew’s family. That’s the only reason I’m here, to let them know that Andrew is loved and remembered.”
Earlier that evening, the company’s Editor-in-Chief, Joel Pollak, remained working beside Breitbart’s empty desk in an upstairs loft alongside editors Alex Marlow and Ben Shapiro.
Downstairs, Breitbart staff members, contributors, and friends--including Meredith Dake, Christian Hartsock, Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, Tony Katz, Breitbart TV editor Larry O’Connor, and Big Journalism editor Dana Loesch worked on individual assignments on their laptop computers in a circle formation while listening to iTunes.
“It felt like being home with family during a time when they need it,” Loesch said. “It was difficult not to notice Andrew’s empty desk--that was what was biggest for me--but it was like spending time with family coming together.”
After sunset, Loesch randomly chose to play the song “King of the Mountain,” by Midnight Oil, on her laptop and Pollak shouted down from the upstairs loft: “Who is playing this song and why?”
When Loesch responded that it had been a random choice, Pollak explained quietly, “That was one of Andrew’s favorite songs.”
Breitbart was known throughout his inner circle for cherishing '80s new wave and retro music. He often listened to songs by bands like New Order, the The, the Cure, Duran Duran and his high school favorite--Devo. He sometimes distracted his fellow editors by spontaneously blasting a song from his computer and happily singing along in the newsroom while tweeting responses to his adversaries and playing air-drums.
Late last night, Breitbart’s business partner and best friend, Larry Solov, came into the newsroom and showed staff a photograph of Breitbart and himself in elementary school, having what appeared to be a serious conversation as they both leaned on a 1970s Ford station wagon.
Solov jested that he wanted to title the photo: “First Company Meeting.”
Many of Breitbart’s media colleagues are expected to attend today’s funeral, along with politicians, actors, and countless friends. Hundreds immediately confirmed their attendance; due to the rushed nature of preparations, many others could not be reached or could not make the trip. Additional memorial services are being planned for Washington, D.C. and New York in the near future.
Breitbart.com board member Steve Bannon stopped in toward the latter part of the evening to thank everyone for coming to Los Angeles and to congratulate everyone on a job well done during a difficult time. The new Breitbart.com website was launched—as planned by Andrew, and on schedule—on Sunday evening.
“Everyone’s done great work,” he said to the team as they greeted him. “We’re going to make this happen.”