Thursday, September 20, 2012

My Love of Hotel Bars

There are two moments in my life when I vividly remember feeling like a real adult. This could go to a bad place, but I'll keep it on track.

First is when I went away to college.  I had the opportunity to attend Emerson College which is an exceptional communications school, but is only 20 minutes from my childhood home. The other option was Ithaca College, which has an equally impressive communications school, but was over 6 hours away from home....where no one knew me....where only one other person from my high school was attending....where I could be anyone I wanted to be.

Most popular? Sure! Prom Queen? You bet! Played 10 sports and ran for student council? Absolutely! Had every lead in every drama production? Now we're talking!

But in reality, those little "mistruths" would catch up with me in college where people actually get to know you over time, so I stuck to the facts!

Which brings us to Hotel Bars! The other time I remember feeling like an adult was my first solo business trip sometime around 1995! Or 1994. Or 1996. Lord, I can't remember the year. Point is, whenever I walk into a hotel bar now, I relax. I feel grown up, but not in the "I'm getting old" way but in the "I can be anything I want to be" way. I'm taken back to an exciting time when I was figuring out my path and my goals.

Plus, they are always so clean - the bar stools lined up, the little bowls of crunchy snacks, the clean tables with their little tealights lit. In a hotel bar, not a single person cares if you are..well...a single person. Tables of 1 are everywhere and it is perfectly okay to spend the whole time with your head down, immersed in a book, a smart phone, a lap top or a newspaper. Bartenders offer friendly banter, and if you're lucky, some great insight to the area or a "No way!" story about a past patron.

People there don't know if I have 2 kids or 9 (could you imagine??!!), if I'm local or from far away and if I choose to engage in a conversation with someone nearby, it could turn into a business lead, funny story or wasted moment. But who cares! You're in a swanky hotel bar!

I promise I don't spend hours trolling the local hotels pretending to be someone I'm not, but as I was building my career that occasional business trip out of town helped me to build a little confidence and a lot of independence. And when this Mom of 2 had to drop off a PTO flyer the other day to a hotel restaurant and was directed to the hotel bar to find the manager, let's just say I wasn't a Mom of 2 for a moment but a 20-something excited about my first business trip! Man I love hotel bars. Wanna go for a drink?

Monday, September 10, 2012

My Rock Star Weekend

If we are friends on Twitter or Facebook, you already know how this story goes...but I have to say, playing groupie for a weekend is a lot of fun!

First, thanks to a totally hooked up cousin, you are invited to hang with your favorite band ever, ever, ever...AND when you meet her in the hotel lounge for a pre-concert cocktail, you unknowingly (for a fleeting moment) get to see that band in their natural habitat surrounded by family and enjoying some down time before the "gig" (that's rock and roll for concert).

After they depart the bar and you wipe the drool sweat smile from your face, you head to a small theater for a private show, try to compose yourself as much as possible while your heart is pounding out of your chest, remind yourself over and over that you can in fact form sentences and think of something witty to say so he'll remember you FOREVER, and step up for an exclusive meet and greet:

Kyle Cook and Rob Thomas from Matchbox Twenty. Rob is also known as my pretend husband, boyfriend, crush muffin and lover...depending on who you ask.

Oh, and make sure everyone with you understands VERY CLEARLY that you claim the spot next to said crush muffin so there is no confusion as you dart to attack shake his hand.

What did I say to my pretend lover?

After Kyle and Rob politely introduced themselves (as if I had no idea who they were) we posed for this lovely photo and then I stopped, touched him gently on the upper arm and poetically stated,

"I wanted to thank you for all of the work you do with charitable causes. I think that is wonderful."

His response, "Thank you. Thank you very much. That means a lot."

At which point my hysterically funny cousin (in the blue pants) stops and exclaims, "I don't want you to think I'm a weirdo (Kyle interjects with "you're a weirdo." We laugh.) but I know your friend (won't mention his name in my blog for security reasons) and he's kind of disappeared. Could you please tell him to call me!"

Rob, with a big smile on his face replies, "I remember you! Yes! He's been traveling for a month so that might explain it."

I swoon, try to stay close to him longer - because holy shitsters we're really engaging in a conversation - but am shuffled along for the next group of less-than-impressive fans to take their photo.

<insert my heavy sigh as I relive the moment one more time reading this over>

Once in a lifetime? Perhaps. Memory for a lifetime? Yes, thanks to this blog.

Okay, rock and roll friends, the fun continued on Saturday when, lucky me, I scored VIP tickets to the official MixFest concert at the Hatch Shell in Boston. I decided that hubby needs some love too, so he joined me for the festivities.

What did our day include?  Only a chance to meet these hot boyz:

Andy Grammer with perhaps the bluest eyes ever!

Gavin DeGraw who is very polite and unexpectedly sexy in all black strutting around the stage

Little band named know who they are Soul Sister (and you're welcome now that I put that song in your head)
In addition to our backstage fun, we sat about 4 rows back from the "stage" and met some fantastic people who has paid a nice penny to be part of the experience. Had I not been lucky caller 14 over Labor Day weekend, my rock and roll weekend would have ended Friday.

The event machine that is MixFest really was amazing. Over 30,000 people on the lawn at the Esplanade in Boston, enduring rain and heat for upwards of 6 hours, is a testament to the publicity engine they have at the station. It's obvious I clearly understand the draw of your favorite singer or band, but as a marketing person I really was in awe of the coordination and logistics it takes to pull off a completely free concert with popular, headlining acts. So bravo Mix 104.1 - I'll be dialing next year to be a VIP again!