Monday, March 06, 2006

The Happening

I'm reading: The HappeningTweet this!

On Sunday, March 5, Hormone-Colored Days went live with our first-ever community event- a caffeine-charged literary gathering. It was fun and well-attended.

As delightful as our Starbuck's hosts were, the almost constant whirring of the Frappacino blender and the buzz of the coffee grinder made it a bit difficult to hear and impossible to podcast. Oh well. I'm still appreciative that my friend and blogging inspiration, Jim, showed up with his laptop. Read his witty take on the event here.

Our group enjoyed the attention of two dedicated baristas ready to respond to our every coffee concern. Ben kicked things off with a warm welcome and an explanation of Starbucks' philosophy and the company's perks. In addition to lots of free coffee Starbucks employees, er, partners receive gems like 100% employee paid health insurance even for part-timers. I'm considering a career change….

Then Zack took center stage. He was dazzling in his black Master Brewer's apron. This special outfit is earned by a small number of baristas with a vast amount of coffee-specific knowledge. When it comes to coffee Zack is The Man. He taught us how to make the most of our java. We learned about cupping, aroma, and other subtleties of coffee-tasting. He demonstrated the importance of pairing the right blend with the right food. My friend Teresa finally understands why her bold Kenyan blend doesn't work with her cornflakes. The good news is that chocolate complements all coffee. Make that great news because, Super Taster that I am, I can't stand coffee without a splash of mocha and dash of whipped cream.

And that's why we were at Starbucks in the first place. When the drive-through Starbucks was being built near my house I used to go by and think, "That place is going to change my life." I imagined sitting there sipping my coffee, pounding away at my laptop. Trouble was I neither drank coffee nor did I have a laptop. But the first mocha I drank rocked my world. What a difference a few years makes. (See the previous few posts for the evolution of my writing career.)

After Ben and Zack primed the crowd with caffeine and sugar it was time for the literary treats. I dished out my "Super Taster" essay, the current VOICE feature in North Shore magazine (not yet posted online). Next up, Abigail Raymond, my fabulously funny friend, recounted a hilarious story about her religious devotion to her morning cup of brew. And then Angela Allyn read two of her poems that appear in From There to Here: Points on the Circle of Life (JRC Press, 2005, Evanston, IL) a collection of personal stories, poems and photographs . I'll post these wonderful poems later this week. Finally, painter Gabriella Boros illustrated the importance of persistence in artistic pursuits with her current solo show as a prime example of what comes when one doesn't give up.

My thanks to everyone who participated and just plain showed up. Special thanks to Erica at Starbucks for enthusiastically accommodating our group and Skokie's own Mayor van Dusen for supporting the local talent and economy. Thanks also to DH for presenting me not with a useless bouquet of congratulatory flowers, but a much more practical printer server so I can finally print off of my new laptop. In our family nothing says love like computer peripherals.

Look for Angela's poems later this week. And check out the links for my talented friends!


jim mcnelis said...

Great job Kim, it was fun! I was proud to have participated and honored by the invite. It's pretty awesome that the mayor came. Today Starbucks, tomorrow, um...Borders? ;) Just kidding! You guys did awesome. Tell me when your next gig is.

Kim Moldofsky said...

Thanks for playing Jim! I heard your daughter was hamming it up beside me, but out of my field of vision. Can't help but wonder which one of us was getting the laughs.