Hard to Top

Blog No. 289

img_20180530_201957026The First ChiSeries Windsor of the year was last week. You should already know because you should have been there and because you should have read last week’s blog post about how I was going to cover it this week because I didn’t want to write the post on Wednesday night for Thursday morning. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, it was awesome! I was hopeful before the event, but it really turned out to be a great night. It stormed like the dickens right before we finished, forcing folks who did come out to brave the rain to get to their cars, but it was right near the end, and I can’t control the weather (yet) so I’m taking myself off the hook and assuming they all thought it was worthwhile.

I try to avoid having to work the day of events (I’m not a novice, but I like to give myself a monumental amount of time to get myself ready, get to the venue, and get things set up. An hour early is late for me (especially since some musicians like to get to events at the hour mark and I want to be there to great them). On Wednesday, I did have to work, and I was done at four, leaving me with a lot of time before the show, but due to the things to do, I still felt rushed. The lawn needed to be cut (rain had helped it grow and prevented it’s cut for too long) I needed to get changed, grab all my stuff, eat, and get to the venue. I planned to eat on the way (I was overdue for groceries after the long run of events). I made it to Phog a few minutes after seven, and the band was already there, setting up. I felt like a failure. They didn’t seem to mind, and I had lots of time to set everything else up, but that tardiness will haunt me.

img_20180530_203759693Hosting events is a lot like reading in that, once you are practiced, it’s really easy. When the whole audience is made up of friends and family, it’s easier still. Since the last ChiSeries (my last hosting duty) was in November, I was a little out of practice. I like to have something written to go off of to help run the show and introduce people. I did have the document written, but I’m still struggling with finding the balance between straight reading and using it as a template and being more loose up on stage. I stumbled a couple times, but people didn’t seem to mind. (Thanks folks). I’m starting to lean towards reading the whole thing and getting that to be more relaxed, but I’ll see how that works. Christian is a total off-the-cuff guy. Since I co-host with him, that lends a balance naturally. I think he appreciates my rough script (of only as a show template) so it’s not a total waste.

The real stars of the show were the stars of the show, though. The readers all did a superb job kicking off the season. Justine Alley Dowsett did one last year, but she has her new book out now, so she had that to read. Michael Drakich has been a long time supporter of both Christian and myself, so it was only a matter of time before we invited him to read. His six novels were also a solid reason. Brittni Brinn did an edit for us on All These Crooked Streets, plus she’s a big part of the local theater community. We both enjoyed her first book, so she was in. We like to try and mix up the readers. Bring in some different folks with different perspectives, support local, and try to bring new and worthwhile folks to the city. It doesn’t always work out with booking, but we try. It’s not like we have a shortage of great local writers to invite. img_20180530_195111974We already have the lineup for July’s reading. (I’m going to keep that in my pocket until we get closer to the show, though). As for the music, it’s a matter of wading through all the amazing local talent more than anything. Salesman of the Year was a big hit this time and I have a long list of people to invite to future shows, so that’s going to be an easy slot to fill.

I had a ton of fun bringing the reading back to the city. I’m glad we get to keep doing it, and that the sponsor ChiZine Publications, finds worth in funding it. We hit a high mark of (I think) 27 people, some leaving and others coming in later, which isn’t amazing, but it’s a good start. I hope we can bring the numbers up for the next one. For now, that’s my next event, but I’m sure that’ll change. Back to some good old writing in the mean time.

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