I AM...

So since time travel is not possible (YET.) I use this nifty little app called Timehop to take me back in time. Well, back in time through my posts on social media and my iPhoto pics, anyway. Over the past two months I have been reliving - through archived tweets & Facebook posts - the build up to I AM FEST, an event I helped launch just over 4 years ago (June 13, 2009), and built upon over the next 3 years. This past Thursday was the actual anniversary and I found myself watching every YouTube video I could find from that year.


I had originally volunteered to help with any and every need, and in the end did just that. I remember the hundreds of emails exchanged, long phone conversations, and in person meetings in the apartment above The Elbo Room.

I remember the stress of last minute attempts to secure sponsorship, troubleshoot load-in/out logistics, properly inform artists of said logistics, and navigate technical issues (I had stayed up until 4am the morning of - needing to arrive at the Congress Theater at 7am - putting final touches on a video reel to be used during the event).

All of that stress melted the minute I walked into the Congress Theater that morning. While there was a LONG day ahead, I was so revved up to see all of the hard work our group put in come to fruition. We had done something no one had done before in Chicago, and we had done it big and done it well.

 

I AM FEST was my greatest creative achievement to that point in my life, and to this day my experiences in putting together the first (and next three) event(s) are opening doors. In fact, I'll be filling a similar do-lots-of-behind-the-scenes-stuff role for The Denver Post Underground Music Showcase this year.

 

This post isn't meant to toot my own horn, however. I'm writing because I'm so proud and so thankful to have had the experiences in event planning and art & music I've had at such a young age. Sure, I pursued them voraciously and sacrificed a lot of blood, sweat, sleep, time and tears, but someone had to give me the chance in the first place.


I'm thankful to those people who have believed in me and who are doing it now.

I AM FEST serves as a reminder to me of  the power of community and collaboration. It took an army of volunteers to pull these events together, and I made brothers and sisters for life through I AM FEST and subsequent smaller events/showcases.

So, thanks Stephen, Bender, Karl, Shen, Dave, Josh, Gunn, Joe, Adam, Leonard, Kevin, Polina, Nicolette, Gabrielle, Macho, Brad, Aaron, Matt (Dude.), Miller (you still suck), Angela, and all the artists, bands, filmmakers, photographers, volunteers, fans and so many others for dragging me into the Chicago creative community and becoming like family as we put those events together.