One of Those Shitty Nights

Last night in Orlando’s Milk District sucked something awful.  Well, at least for me and another person it did.

First, I headed to Bull-N-Bush.  No real problem here. An open-mic Comedy event happened to a packed house.  I enjoyed the hell out of the comedians.  Yet, my main reason for attending was to support my friend, Trevor Fraser. Tonight was his first night performing stand-up. At a table, I sat with Trevor and other friends.

Because I had a gig at Sandwich Bar, I couldn’t wait for Trevor’s performance. So, I left.

At Sandwich Bar, I realized I lost my car keys.  First, I headed to the automobile. No keys. Then, I headed back to Bull-N-Bush.  There on my friends’ table sat my keys.

Sandwich Bar wasn’t ready for me to start yet. Last night, the bar hosted a huge house music event, a very successful one I was told.  At the moment, borrowed sound equipment was being loaded in a van.  Because Sandwich Bar wasn’t ready, I was able to watch Trevor perform.

After his performance, I headed back to Sandwich Bar.  After setting up my laptop, someone helped me with hooking up to the sound system. No fuckin’ sound came out. My RCA chord died on me.

Yet, after about a half-hour’s worth of frustration, another chord was found. By this time, folks who came to see me had already left.  Soon, the only people left in the bar were me and Ginn, the bartender.

Three, cute, Asian women showed up. All three looked be in their early or mid-twenties. At the moment of their entrance, I was playing an 80s, hip-hop song.  The next song was 90s soul.  When I finally played M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” (a recent hit), that got a happy reaction from one of them. She started moving her shoulders to the beat. Yet, after they finished their food, the three women left as the song continued playing.

After that, the night continued to suck. No one else showed up. Ginn told me some of her friends promised to show. I saw the frustration in her face over this.

I told Ginn my views concerning friends and events.  When it comes to hosting events, friends are the last ones to rely on.  You appreciate the other things they do for you, like picking you up when your car broke-down on you. Or providing a shoulder to lean on when life kicks you in the ass time and time again. You appreciate those things and love your friends for it.  Yet, you never ever expect friends to show up at your events. It isn’t anything personal. Your event just may not hold their interest. After watching Trevor’s performance, none of my friends I left at Bull-N-Bush showed up at my Sandwich Bar gig. Yes, it annoyed the hell out of me. Still, what the fuck can you do?

Fed up with the no-attendance, Ginn closed the bar around one, an hour earlier than the usual closing time. I didn’t blame her.

Still, the way I see it, shit happens. You take your lumps and try again. If folks talk shit about your unsuccessful events (and they will), you ignore them.  At least, you attempted something.  Only thing some folks are good at is complaining all the time and following what everyone else is doing. Sometimes, you see these types writing for the local hipped press.

After fifteen years of hosting events, I’ve learned the tried and true. First, an event must be consistent. Either hold it every week or hold it on a particular day of the month. An event won’t have much success with having it the second Saturday this month and the fourth Saturday the next.  Second, an event must be planned and advertised weeks in advance. Part of this, I blame on myself.  Instead of holding out, I accept gigs at the last minute. By this time, folks already have plans for that evening. Third, you have to provide a huge want or need.  When I first hosted poetry readings years ago, there was a need for an uncensored, weekly, open-mic night that exclusively caters to poets. At the time, many didn’t exist in the Central Florida area, which made my nights more attractive.  Fourth, it’s all about location. Being in Downtown Orlando also contributed to my poetry night’s popularity. Hate or love it, if it isn’t in Downtown Orlando, many Central Florida people just won’t show. Fifth truth? Successful nights depend on the hosting establishment’s reputation. Sometimes, slow nights aren’t about you personally. The hosting establishment could be pissing patrons off: shitty service and/or overpriced drinks.

As I look over the five truths, I already see what may have contributed to our shitty Sandwich Bar night. Including accepting gigs at the last minute, other parts are my own damned fault. Instead of moaning and groaning about things sucking, the best thing to do is attempt fixing the mistakes and try again.

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