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: Immodest Proposals
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Aug 17th 2010
There is a thing I do, because I am a little tired of the Internet. Not Whitechapel, but the open Internet, where people forget they're talking to other people far more than they do here. It can be such a polarizing experience, these constant feeds and blogs and boards and angles where people want to reduce everything to some single sentence.
So, I started putting together little wine-and-weirdness salons, where we pick a strange topic and discuss it. We meet monthly, now in my apartment, soon in wine bars around New York City. I've learned a lot about moderating these things from the guy who does a Harvard class called
"Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?"
Another person I've learned a ton from is Mr. Warren Ellis, and if you're reading this, thank you. I wouldn't be able to make these work without seeing how you handle Whitechapel.
Anyhow, I'm planning on really rolling these discussions out on a public scale. I want them to be a reliable means of cultural exchange. I want them to be a source of inspiration, from real people to other real people.
Whitechapel is a nexus of cultural exchange, and I have so very much more to learn from you all. Please, tell me ways I can make my humble little salon series work better.
Aug 20th 2010
First of all, what's the venue? A few people in a pub? A stage, with a panel of guests and questions from the audience? Is there an audience or are any and all guests welcome to speak? I've been to a few salons, both in private residences and in publice venues. Check out Trampoline Hall (they're more of a lecture series but quite interesting. I was in the Miss Trampoline Hall Inner Beauty Contest years back and it was a helluva lotta fun, even though I didn't win.)
Aug 22nd 2010
So far for the beta events I've held them at my place, and they've yielded everything between 6 and 15 people. Lately people are telling me that they're not coming because we're already bursting at the seams. I think if I were to move it to a more public venue, with invites going out to more than just my core group, I could reasonably end up with 30 people.
Selecting a venue for that is part of the challenge. Where do I go? A wine bar might not be big enough, and there are issues with other venues also. It's a dilemma, but I'm having so much fun with this that I can't let it stop me.
Ideally I want something that combines auditorium with wine bar.
Sep 3rd 2010
Try a moderated panel discussion. Not sure where you're from but you can usually get a place for nothing if you tell them "is it alright if me and 30 of my friends have a thing here, oh, say, third Tuesday of the month (or a similar "slow" night) and we all buy drinks/food while we have a discussion?" Most business owners would say "Hmm. I'll say yes. You're not bikers or pedophiles, are you?" And of course, you're not so they'll probably accept, thinking of all that lovely dosh from having a full house consuming things on a "slow" night.
Wine bar'd be good. Try also a theatre or live music venue (licenced, natch!) and have an interesting topic for discussion or interesting guest speakers or an interesting itinerary for the night. Then, get the word out and have fun! If it gets too popular, you may need to find a bigger venue.
I used to host an open mic night called BiTE Nite and it was pretty much a full-on zoo, with me as the Zoo-Keeper. Get up, play music, rant, read poetry, act out a scene, work-shop something, whatever. International Open Stage Rules Apply : Five minutes or less, MAYBE seven if you're REALLY good. Never really had to discipline anyone, most people, once they knew the rules abided by them.
Hope this helps.
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