October 2, 2009

A Birthday Momento for World Cafe Live

Few might know that I actually left a job with Boston Beer in 2004 to open World Cafe Live.

I was an xpn fan and thought how perfect would life be if I got to work around beer and music every day.

I was one of World Cafe Live's event coordinators for a year...before I moved on to return to the world of beer.

As we opened boxes of plates in September of 2004, I remember joking that we were on a reality tv show. We had all gotten so close as we worked insane hours ---but also got to see some pretty insane shows to boot. Speaking of boots- I saw Nancy Sinatra, and Rickie Lee Jones...the poetic soul-shaking Richie Havens covering Dylan's "Just Like a Woman."
Then there was that night with folk legend, Donovan.
I drove in a minivan with just him and his brother-in-law, Stewart, to center city. I asked him why he didn't sing
Universal Soldier. He told me he didn't feel comfortable singing it because of Bush in office.
But right then and there in Dodge Caravan he started singing a capella. I'll never forget it.

Things weren't perfect in that first year. Rent was high. Food was a borderline embarrassment. The best beer we opened with may have been Newcastle brown ale.
But fantastic music was flowing and there was an unparalleled passion in the staff.
The beer got better, the food got better. But the passion has always remained their best ingredient. I shared in that passion till I was drained. I felt like I accomplished something great while I was there. I also met a cast of characters that I think about daily. I met a lovely young lady Grace. We were pretty inseparable. She taught me a lot about a lot. We also drank a lot of tequila gimlets, now she has a lovely young lady of her own. It was hard to leave the venue, but when I resigned, the big boss man actually called me a "Turkey." I'll never forget that either.

I wasn't a turkey- I was just 27 and tired.

Happy birthday World Cafe Live...to Hal Real, the music man, and the dreamer of dreams.
I recall when we first opened he said,"we'll know success if we're open 5 years."
Congratulations on your success.

They'll be celebrating with music all day long today.
Check out the lineup here.

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