NYC Twestival, M:2, New York
February 12, 2009
I am making a promise to you, loyal, patient, and sometimes confused reader, that next week I will not mention Twitter, tweeting, tw+eventword, twits, or for that matter, anything bird related. Not because I'm mad at Twitter, but I'm sure that if you're not obsessed, you want to stab yourself or me in the clavicle with every mention. Let's shake on it. But first, close your eyes and get really thirsty. Now, take a huge gulp of water you scooped from a puddle next to fish market runoff in Chinatown. Imagine that your worries aren't about what to wear to the open bar happy hour (with, you know, free water) but they're about your family and neighbors dying because of polluted or completely nonexistent wells. Now complain about spending $20.00 to attend Twestival, an event planned entirely by volunteers in more than 175 cities where every cent raised will benefit charity:water - an organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations.
Running late as always, I finally made it to M:2 - which used to be Mansion, but I guess it takes too long to spit that out. I felt a knot forming in my belly as I approached due to the tiny line. I was hoping this meant it was packed inside with early arrivals, not a signal that people really did ask for refunds when the nyctwestival team announced via email that they were unable to raise enough money to provide an open bar. But we'll talk about that in a few, because this is where it wouldn't have hurt M:2 any to cut their wallet-gashing drink prices in the name of a good cause. But I digress. I swooped in after the New York Times press guy and was immediately carded by the bouncer - score! I followed the crescendo of voices and found myself passing by the sadly beautiful photos dressing the walls. It's just naked poverty. Exposed, raw need. Incredible photography that makes me feel like a jackass snapping pics of grumpy hipsters, plates of fruit and mini burgers.
M:2 took every opportunity to support their cash flow, charging 4 bucks an item and nope, you can't check your big sack with your coat, so women could potentially spend $8.00 before even hitting the bar for an $18.00 drink. The NYC club scene is pretty decadent considering the crap state of our economy. Droves of slicked-up dudes and stiletto-teetering, shiny-locked, glistening-lipped girls poured down the street like beautiful safe running water into the mouth of a needy baby after Twestval, so you know M:2 isn't hurting for cash. Why not donate the coat check money to charity:water? I would have gladly forked over the cash if I knew it was for good, not glam sham. And what a way to not only maintain your super awesome bangin' club rep, but also reveal a heart instead of a lumpy piece of coal. Psh.
Anyway, Toby Daniels interrupted the reveling to give well-deserved credit to the Twestival organizers including the philanthropic minded aussie transplant, Paull Young, who beat the streets with the Twestival message. He's a busy beaver over at Converseon, but still made the time to blog his face off on the NYC Twestival site. Now that we're naming names, let's get to the roll call, shall we? I caught Ben Hindman, Events Manager at Thrillist, and his brother Nathan, wandering around the beautiful and normal Summer Rayne Oakes, ecotastic model, who I met around the holidays at the Discovery Communications party. I asked why they weren't in VIP to which Summer replied, "it's cooler down here," which it was. VIP was pretty sparse when I weaved through.
I did see Steve Coulson, Partner at The Advance Guard, Gregory Galant, Founder of Sawhorse Media (bringing you Musebin, the Shorty Awards, and News Groper) and Venture Voice, the side of Caroline McCarthy's head, and a few others who kindly forked over the extra dollars for a separate space, but other than keeping the everyman away, I didn't see any real benefit to VIP (a cash bar? Really?).
I happily returned to my people down below JUST in time to see Matt (@McMatt) break dance fighting with @Matman! That sweater vest-clad fella dropped to the floor, kicked his legs all over the place and killed it. Who knew? Matthew Knell from MTV Networks' Social Media team, Frani Lieberman, Account Supervisor at The Bender Hammerling Groupm and Lisa Lacy, food and business writer kept safe on the periphery.
Jenna Landry made it a United Nations theme with her entourage including her sister Kyle Marie Landry, Mika Zwaans from Monaco, Gil Mendelson from Israel, and Brendan Hall from London. Popping behind Jenna was Andrew Graham, sipping on a dark beverage and sporting his Tweet Tees shirt from the site that his pal @jacobburke designed. If you want some backstory on that, go head here. Emerging from behind him was Alexander Gordon, who put himself out there in TONY recently in its "Date These New Yorkers " column. He's currently entertaining options.
I found the squeezable Jeff "JahFurry" Newelt and a good friend near the center of the club - and Jeff took me back to the Eclectic Method booth so I could see mix genius in action. Alyssa Galella and her M Booth posse were in the crowd and I later saw her keeping a table warm with rugby-phile Paull Young. Keeping a booth cozy was the lovely Chantelle Karl, Public Relations Manager, East Coast at Yelp.com who has been traveling NONSTOP. I have no idea how she made it out, but she did and Kristin Maverick, Director of Communications at Carrot Creative and a host of other Yelpers joined her. The devious duo of Dario Meli and David Tedman, Partners at Invoke (a digital agency), Shorty Award winners and hard partying Canadians were entertaining revolving gaggles of ladies and probably stayed at M:2 long after I departed.
So far it looks like $22,500 (imagine how much higher that could be with the coat check and even if just an HOUR of the bar profits had been donated) was raised which means roughly 4.5 wells can be built which will get 1800 people clean water for 20 years. That should soften the blow of that nearly $20.00 glass of champagne. Sort of.