Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Good Times

One of the things that comes with the marketing territory is working booths and tables at various and sundry events, trade shows, outdoor festivals etc.

This typically means that a few of us here in the department (or in fact all of us if the event is multi-day) get to pack up boxes of flyers, brochures, register to win boxes, entry forms and sometimes crafts for kids to work on or giveaways like candy or tchotchkes from a show and schlep out to points unknown in an attempt to make people more aware of what we have going on at The Center and our new conservatory.

This past weekend, I worked the annual Christmas tree lighting at Channelside (yes, the one world famous now for the Banana Joe's Panther cheerleader incident). It was a pretty big event attended by a lot of families ready to kick-start the holiday season. I'll withhold my own personal judgement here, as I'm still perplexed as to how anyone can be ready for Christmas when I can't even smell the Thanksgiving turkey.

It was a good place for The Center to be though, as we have our own holiday show opening this Friday - Christmas Cabaret - and we had about four of the castmembers come down to the event and perform for the crowd for about 20 minutes right after the grand tree lighting.

The event itself wasn't so bad. I might have preferred it a few degrees cooler, but it was by no means hot. I enjoyed a coffee from the nearby Joffrey's and did a whole ton of people-watching. The worst thing to happen all night was the hourly snowstorm courtesy of snow machines (actually, I am pretty sure it was tightly compacted soap bubbles) hanging from every pillar and tree in sight. Why's that so bad? Everything on our table was made from PAPER, so when the flurry was done with we had to take the top 1/4 inch of each stack and toss them in the trash.

Well, less stuff to have to carry back to the truck. I should look for the bright side here.

So, my favorite happening all night was when a couple about my age walked up to the table browsing and this was the conversation they were having:

She: I wished you liked going to plays.

He: Yeah? I wish you liked Pamela Anderson.

Other favorite's heard at other events like that are:

He: (puffing on cigar) Where are you from?

TBPAC Staffer: The performing arts center.

He: Oh. Yeah. My wife's been trying to drag me there for years. (walks away puffing)

He: (approaching the Broadway subscription table in the theater lobby) So like, if I get a, uh, subscription, do I have to pay for it if I don't like the shows?"

There's also a great one from the Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival vendor day. When I and a co-worker arrived, they gave us two nametags. We each wrote our names on them, like you would, and went about working. When our relief came in half-way through the day, no more name tags were to be found. So, sort of in jest I gave a female co-worker my nametag so she had some sort of ID and we went about our day. Not long after that, the two ladies working the booth were introducing themselves to a man who appraoched and when my co-worker's name didn't match her nametag, the man says, "Oh, I get it... that whole transgender thing."

Good times, indeed.

- David J.

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