200 Orchard Street
Networking events suck. To be fair, all events that focus on mingling with strangers rather than drinking too much usually aren't fun. But when I heard that Richard Blakeley, founder of the Webutante Ball and editor at Thrillist, was leveraging the success of Internet Week to a monthly networking party for the Internet crowd, I knew I had to check it out.
Richard and I first met at The Shorty Awards this past winter when he was still at Gawker, and have since been running into each other, cocktails in hand, all over the city. I send him the occasional email hitting him up for advice or contacts, so I imagine he wasn't too surprised when I contacted him on Monday afternoon asking to be put on whatever VIP list they had (because I'm obviously too cheap to pay the 10 bucks like everyone else).
200 Orchard is right next to my favorite karaoke joint (Karaoke Boho), so I arrived with the assurance that if the event was full of recent college grads, I could easily slip out and have a Sapporo in one hand and a microphone in the other in a matter of seconds. Luckily, it didn't come to that because the event was packed with staples of the online media community -- like writer Whitney Jefferson from Jezebel, Scott Beale from Laughing Squid, Nicholas Deleon of The Daily and Kari Ferrell from The Hipster Grifter.
Perhaps the best sighting of all night (all time?) was one that had the Middle School Carrie inside of me squealing: Irene McGee from "The Real World: Seattle." Middle School Carrie ran up to her and said, "Remember when Stephen hit you and then threw your stuffed animal in the water?! HOW RUDE!" Unfortunately, Cool Media Carrie held her back and instead walked right by and thought, "Oh, neat." Cool Media Carrie is such a wet blanket.
The place was so crowded that it took 5 minutes to get from one side of the room to another, but the venue was nice and not hot -- very important for mid-August in disgusting NYC. In the back room of the bar, there were allegedly photo-booth style pictures being taken. I tried to find them because I'm a narcissist and love pictures of myself, but couldn't find anything! Maybe next time.
After wrangling back through the crowd to the front of the bar, my plus-one and I decided it was time to get some food, so we hopped next door for Southern BBQ and Colt 45s. Perfect end to a great event. And while I didn't do much networking, I saw lots of other people slipping business cards in after handshakes. Networking -- not my style. Spotting "Real World" celebrities -- yes, please!
Other super-hip media attendees: Ben Robinson, Thrillist; Yakubu Budu-Saaka, Africa.com; Joel Johnson EIC, Kotaku; Rex Sorgatz, Kinda Sorta Media; Lauren Francesca, Key of Awesome; Zach Mack, Oyster.com; Jennifer Wright, The Gloss.
Websdays is now a monthly event, so steal 10 bucks from your boyfriend and check it out. As always, if you want a smartass redhead at your party, email email@example.com. Thanks to Insider Images and Bryan Ridgell for photos.