DigitalDUMBO Drinks #5, Water Street Restaurant, New York
May 28, 2009
This morning on the cloudy, misty, humid, almost-sweaty walk to work, I stopped at Food Emporium to stock up on supplies for Internet Week New York. It really does require ahead-of-time prep -- or you end up gaining 20 lbs due to panel and party food and your energy level is shot due to lack of veggies and such. I got a week's supply of fat girl breakfast sandwiches (AKA Smart Ones -- they're weird and I love them), granola bars, and 100% juice smoothies. And yes, I do this before the weekend starts because it all begins on Sunday night with the Webby Sunset cocktail party -- and then for the next seven days (or more, because the week after has already filled up), my time belongs to you and the Internet. So let's say farewell to sanity with today's wrap-up of Digital DUMBO #5: from the basement "this musta been a stripclub" lounge of the Water Street Restaurant.
There are a lot of britches at DigitalDUMBO drinkups, but nobody acts too big for them -- and that's 100% the reason why no matter how crusty I feel, I will always make the trip across the river to play. Forgo the "I wannabe Internet-famous" pants and we'll get along just fine. Emerging from the F in DUMBO I snuck up on Julia Kaganskiy, whose last day at Unigo is today -- before she heads to CakeGroup, talking to a furry fellow by the Metrocard machines. After a quick hello I partnered up with Lara Lebeiko, who was lamenting a pair of torn pants, the waste-of-precipitation weak rain, and an equally exhausted brain. When I asked the typical question that I HATE getting asked -- "How is everything?" -- I was answered with silence and hesitation. I know the pause well, it's when you sigh and debate internally whether or not to answer honestly. Lara is still trucking on, hunting gigs and living life.
Lara and I entered and I recognized the art lining the stairs as similar to something at reBar... anyone know the artist? Famous graffiti guy maybe? It was only a bit past 6:30 p.m., and the basement lounge was already wall to wall people -- but not in that tight, don't-break-the-ice way. I walked towards the back past the L Magazine's Andrea Rosen and sidled up to Trylon PR's Matt Caldecutt, who was waiting for a frothy beverage at the bar. We shared war stories from last year's Internet Week and compared schedules as best as our feeble minds could regarding the week ahead. Matt proudly declared he hadn't had a drink all week while I, ahem *cough cough* Marchese!, couldn't say the same. Carrot Creative's Communications mastermind, Kristin Maverick, popped over with the prediction that this lounge used to be some sort of mob strip joint. The main "dance" area had two huge silver Greco roman style columns painted in sparkly silver while the "mob boss onlooker" area was a windowed viewing balcony above the bar. Even weirder was the drum kit tucked away in the corner of... the ceiling.
Displayed on gigantor hanging screens was the work of Freedom + Partners coupled with some old school and new school tracks. Around the room you could hear peoples' nostalgia buttons getting pushed with each new song. Mark Ferdman and Tim Nolan, previous digiDUMBO featured artiste and current Core Industries worker bee, were hanging by the stripper pole column as I caught a videographer out of the corner of my eye. Throughout the night I kept running into that guy, so I'm sure there's footage of my stupid face. Grand!
On my third lap, after finally meeting Jess Eddy of Jess Eddy Creative, Vancouver's own Dario Meli, Partner and Strategic Planner at Invoke an Interactive Agency,and one of the dudes behind HootSuite (which just released a new beta code - I'll bet if you @quikness on Twitter he'll hook you up with access) arrived! As Dario explained HootSuite's beta release to Kristin Maverick and Shorty-at-large Greg Galant, I saw Huffington Post Green's Dave Burdick emerge from the dark hallway. Burdick has some past experience in standup comedy. That HAS to help in this industry. He meandered to the back of the room where little Miss Lisa Lacy materialized. Lisa is an extraordinary writer who has been pitching a book idea around -- and if any of you publisher types are smart, you'll snatch her up in a minute. Seriously, her written word is like hamburgers for the brain. Delicious.
In addition to Katie Morse of Ripple 6, Josh Sternberg, social media gal and blogger Nichelle Stephens, I got my grubby hands on some new finds like Huge's Justin Rich, Aycron IT Solutions' Ernesto Tagwerker, Tarikh Korula of Uncommon Projects (who would REALLY like some more work, thank you), and "Creative Directohr" Florian Fangohr. Note to the economic and job environment: there are incredibly talented people out here hurting for work. Get your sh*t together and let's open up some jobs, thanks.
I spoke with Dr. Jean-Luc Neptune of Healogica, a sort of Zagat's for health care - recommended docs, better search results on diseases, etc. Rounding out the people I was able to spend two seconds with were Walt Ribiero, the Internet's Music Teacher; Jenean Chapman of Agent16; and of course Andrew Zarick of the JAR Group (and digitalDUMBO co-founder). As a side note, I'm obsessed with the front of Andrew's hair. It's like he's so ambitious even his hair tries to aim higher.
As a further aside, Michael Maurillo, Senior Strategist at LBi Icon Nicholson, and I agree that one of the most lucrative friendships is a chef of any kind. My pal Danny Amend is a chef over at Franny's in Brooklyn, and when those guys say on a day off, "let's have a BBQ," they don't mean burgers and hotdogs -- they mean slow-cooked hunks of meat, ribs to melt your face off, freshly baked breads, and fish and... you get the picture.
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