Skin In the Game

A dog in the fight. A horse in the race. Colloquialisms for a vested interest. Recently it occurred to me that this (these?) sentiment is what can be the difference between an event and a memorable event. If you’ll pardon the sports analogy.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been at a few parties that restored my faith in…yeah, parties. In nightlife. Last night I hosted the launch party for the Figment book and the author, David Koren, read a chapter to the guests about “metrics” or numbers. About how we attempt to quantify everything. And as I was laying awake in bed, mulling over the evening and my recent successful forays into nightlife and the many events that vie for our attentions — and our dollars — and what it takes to make them “good” it felt like all the tumblers in the lock clicked.

Skin in the game. A dog in the fight. And not just by the event’s producers. That would be an easy thing. No, magic happens when everyone in attendance has some sort of vested interest. When everyone contributes. Participates. Is dedicated to the night being a success. For not only the producers but for them. The paying public.

My tired little brain and its tumbling lock parts made a mental note: Write a blog post about this. It is everything. It is why Burning Man works. It’s why Figment works. It’s why House of Yes is a huge success. And it is also why so many events that look great on paper fall as flat as…paper. Without passion they are all sports commentator and no sport.

So what were my recent experiences that brought me to this realization? One was a Rubulad. Yes, there have been Rubulads for years. I’ve been to many but certainly not all. As with any recurring events, some have been more successful than others. What made this one feel so…warm? I will chalk it up to the collaboration between Rubulad and JunXion, the many musicians and performers, the artists who had created art for the event and the venue. There were so many people who had a dog in the fight that just about everyone there was tangentially invested in the night being awesome. And it was. People danced. People smiled. It felt like…old times? I dunno. But wonderful. Dare I say…ecstatic.

Also recently I co-emceed the annual twirl-a-thon that is Night of a Thousand Stevies, “the largest and most beloved Stevie Nicks fan event in the world.” It is one of my favorite nights of the year because it is such a lovefest. The glow lasts for weeks afterward. I look at the photos and feel my heart expand in my chest. Everyone in the place — and it now sells out a pretty big place: Irving Plaza — is soooooo happy to be there. They are so excited to catch the tambourines we toss. They lavish those onstage with shrieks of enthusiasm and So. Much. Love. It’s difficult to explain. There are three full acts with dozens of performers: dancers and singers and puppeteers and lip sync-ers, each with at least one friend or “dresser” but more likely a bunch of friends. Some people have been attending NOTS (as it is affectionately known) for many of its 26 years. Yes, 26 years. The event itself is older than some of its fans. I’m sure I don’t need to point out that this is a rare thing. And in my late-night reverie I thought, this night succeeds so brilliantly because everyone in the building is seriously passionate about the party. No one is half-assing it. You can’t half-ass an evening of non-stop Stevie Nicks.

Obviously one also cannot half-ass Burning Man. The scare tactics of “the desert will kill you” aside, this is not an event that you bumble through. It takes planning, supplies and water. Lots of water. And while people have been lamenting that there are more and more “spectators” every year, the scales are still substantially tipped toward participation. There are more burners who bring or build, serve or spin fire. Who show the fuck up. All to make the week a success. Not just for themselves but for the 69,999 other adventurers out there.

Yet how do you get everyone invested? It isn’t an easy equation. And I certainly don’t have the answer. But when the room — or the acreage — fills up with nothing but people who can’t think of anywhere else they’d rather be and anyone else they’d rather be doing it with — drinking or dancing, painting, playing or pillow fighting — you will feel the love. You will look across the room — or the bonfire — and see the sparkle in the eyes of others and think “I am in exactly the right place.” There is nothing better. Nothing. So for a rapturous experience, make sure you have a horse in the race.

Full Moon Bangle Perk

Ladies and gentlemen! My DPW friend Julie Marie is a talented jewelry designer. She has graciously donated her latest creation, this Full Moon Bangle with a Tiny Star Set Diamond. You know you want this! Sterling Silver AND a Diamond! WOOT!

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Tamsin Hull’s Baby Hand Vessel

Check this out! So cute and creepy!

This perk has been claimed! Follow Tamsin Hull Ceramics on Facebook to see more of her work!

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For more of Tamsin’s work, check out her Facebook Store.
Also, IndieGoGo doesn’t allow me to add any more perks sooooooo, I had to “hide” the shot glass perk and sorta delete the Jewels of Wizdom necklaces. You can still pick up these perks, just donate $150 and choose one of the three available necklaces pictured here or donate $10 for the Shot Glass and let me know via email!

Pet Portrait Perk!

Hey there!

My friend Dayzee aka Sandra Rado paints beautiful pet portraits! You can purchase one on the IndieGoGo Campaign for my bar. You’ll be supporting an artist and Lucky!

This “perk” has been claimed! If you’re interested in a pet portrait, look for Dayzee on Facebook.

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Ticking Time and Trolls

Yes, it’s been a little while since I’ve posted. I’ve had the good days and bad days, as mentioned in my previous post. Friday the 18th was a good day. The IndieGoGo campaign was doing really well and I’d only recently posted about feeling incredibly buoyed. E.V.Grieve published an interview with me about the bar. Which was super exciting! And then, I broke the numero uno rule of the interwebz: I read the comments. Nooottttt a good idea. My elation immediately plummeted to earth…and then down a few miles into the substrata. If I thought it was odd that people trolled my little blog here, that was nothing compared to the sort of trollage that takes place in a far more public forum. People were hating on me, on the bar, on the backyard, on my consultant. It was all pretty evil.

Complaining about noise from a bar that isn’t even open yet seems pretty pointless but complain they did. Bitching about “yet another bar in the East Village” was equally ridiculous, as this space has been a bar since 1989. Hardly “yet another.” Just one that’s been. Most alarming, however, was the uptick in traffic here. Yes, the article linked to this blog, probably something I should’ve requested not happen. Though I’m so easily Googleable I suppose it wouldn’t have mattered. Now those hateful trolls and anti-bar temperance nutjobs know my deepest and darkest secrets. I never expected my neighbors to be so interested in my menopause symptoms and dating tribulations. Hm. Not only am i an “ego maniac,” I’m also positively riveting! Guffaw.

So, welcome, then, to all you new trolls! As for updates about the bar, it appears to be only a few more bureaucratic checks away from actually starting the renovations. WOOT! And the IndieGoGo recently edged over the halfway mark: $10,539! Double WOOT! In the meantime, I’m shoveling in chocolate and chips like there’s no tomorrow and scribbling scary numbers onto scrap paper. I’ve scrubbed, dusted and reorganized my apartment to the point where I don’t want to ever have company over again. DON’T WASH YOUR HANDS! YOU’LL MAKE A MESS! Yes, I know this will all be over and forgotten in a few excruciatingly long months and I’ll be so busy juggling all my new responsibilities that I’ll long for the days of blogging and bugging out. But for now? Man, I just wanna be open. I want to hear the “ka-ching!” of the cash register. I want to hear how the mix CDs sound on the jukebox. And see how the logo looks on the door. It cannot happen soon enough. Blerg.

Jewels of Wizdom Perks

Jewels of Wizdom by Karey Nation
Karey’s necklaces are chunky and sparkly and beautiful! Check out more of his wares on his Facebook artist’s page.
To buy one of these and contribute, click here. This/these are still available!

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1. Teals & Teardrop Pendant

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2. Purples, Blues & Peace Sign

 

Good Days, Bad Days

My IndieGoGo campaign has been live for almost a full week. It has inspired over $8,000 of excitement in my friends. This is staggering and has brought me more joy than I ever imagined possible. I’ve been astounded by the far-reaching support of my extended community.

This process, however, will have its ups and downs. The weeks and weeks and WEEKS I waited for the lawyers to do their lawyerly thing were excruciating. I wasted hundreds of hours trying to distract myself with Sudoku and Set (and OKCupid and Tinder). I’m currently waiting for the SLA to approve me. My architect is still working on the plans, which are only for cosmetic changes, but will need to be approved by the Department of Buildings. I’ve shelled out checks to so many people for amorphous jobs like “expediting” and “consulting” and even for just disconnecting the beer gas lines. ($500. Cash.) I gotta say, by the time this bar is open I will be swingin’ some balls of tungsten steel. Seriously.

The other day I was so elated by the cash coming into the campaign that receiving the news that my AC/Heating would cost almost three times what I’d budgeted barely even registered on my panic meter. But yesterday, between seeing the state of the mysterious hole in the floor and witnessing my architect’s sober adhesion to strict guidelines, I almost lost it. I am doing my best to be zen. And it is requiring more intestinal fortitude than I’ve ever mustered in my life. I am tapping into strength I never knew I possessed. Past me would’ve dissolved into a puddle of tears upon hearing some of this shit. She would’ve folded her cards and stepped away from the table. But present me doesn’t have that option. All I can do is soldier on. The belief in my project — and in me — is helping me make the success of the bar a self-fulfilling prophecy. If so many people believe in Lucky, I’d better too! Onward!