I had a chance to go to the East Austin Studio Tour while in Austin. If you enjoy art, East Austin is worth a visit as there is a growing artist's community there. I saw my friend Jessica's artist, Michael Merck, who was a lovely host . You can see his art in this photo.
The sweetriot art vote is live!! Things are heating up in the vote between the beautiful art of Jill and Rita, so please vote today. Decide which art you want to see on your next round of collectible, reusable sweetriot tins. Voting ends December 8, so don't delay!
It's Fashion Week in NYC and it wouldn't be the same without supporting Nicole Romano's work. She had a showcase for her Spring Collection with models on 'display' for her entire event. Nicole's fashion 'art' as I think of it was better than ever, and the crowd happily enjoyed sweetriot during the show.
The original cast of Rent is back for a limited run! Courtney, our fantastic NYU rioting senior, came back to work this week after a summer of many fantastic things, and we went to see one of our favorite shows. Needless to say, it was as good as ever, and the audience was so excited.
Courtney and I didn't realize that we would have an after performance too. Imagine the Broadway version of those bonus tracks you receive on movie DVDs. The cast comes out and you have a chance to speak with them. This time we had sweetriot standing by and the reaction was amazing. Tamyra Gray of American Idol fame had already purchased sweetriot at Whole Foods and was a cacao/dark chocolate fanatic. The rest of the Rent team was so excited to receive dark chocolate after a hard day's work. All and all Courtney and I had quite a memorable experience.
I sat on the beach and watched the scurry of activity around the water sports kiosk. So many customers and workers running in and out. Who is behind this? I thought. Indeed it was an amazing entrepreneur, Stavros. Luckily, he was there, so I could meet him.
And Stavros told me the story. In 1975 one year after losing his home in the North/South conflict, as a refugee, he had a boat on the beach. Some UN Peacekeepers asked for a ride, and he took them. They tried to pay him and he said no. The next day the UN Peacekeepers arrived with fuel. He took them boating again, and the next day they came with more and more fuel. The next day it happened again. He had now enough fuel to take others and thus his business, Stavros Water Sports, began.
Stavros is clearly one of the founders of the Protaras' Fig Tree beach in Cyprus, and his business thrives today - over 15 options for water sports and his two sons are helping dad now. When he arrived there, it was undeveloped and undiscovered. Entrepreneurship is everywhere.
After a stop in Turkey, I wanted to go somewhere near by for a quick beach break. Cyprus seemed to be the perfect answer. Landing there was tougher than I thought. Because of the political division between Greeks and Turkish in the country, I couldn't fly into the North and out of the South, so I was forced to buy a last minute ticket to fly through Greece. Needless to say what should be a 2 hour journey from Istanbul became a 10 hour one!
I finally landed and the clear blue water and white sand made it all worth it. And a friend from the AIESEC conference introduced me to a family who took me to a far away beach, a local restaurant, and a chic coffee shop in Lefkosia. Nice. I definitely can't complain. Thanks, Romani!
With the help of my friends, Alan and Tommy from Hell's Mile Film Fest, the first ever sweetriot Sampler Pack launched at the Traverse City Film Festival. The sampler pack contains about 30 bites of yummy chocolate covered cacao and can be used at festivals, store counters, coffee shops and more all around the world.
Traverse City is a fantastic town up in the Northern part of Michigan and not far from my hometown -- Northern Michigan is one of my very favorite places -- check out the sunsets.
Michael Moore, who grew up in Flint, Michigan quite close to my hometown, has started a Film Festival there and it's definitely something to look out for. And I was lucky the Sampler Pack arrived just in time for the festival....just enough cacao for Michael and his friends.
On my way home from Austin, I swung through Florida to see my dad and sister. Luckily, the Winter Park Art Fair was in full swing and we were able to stop by. An up and coming emerging artist was there, Andrew Ina, and he had some creative work. My family was decked out for St Patrick's Day - you'd swear we were Irish! :) (Happy Birthday to my sister too - It's her birthday today!)
One can't avoid being drawn to SxSW in Austin. It's an amazing festival of film, music, and the internet. I've attended in the past and it's a great time. This year I saw some amazing bands (with Jessica and Joe above) including: Dionysos, Sparkle Horse, and Architecture in Helsinki.
My visit to SxSW made me wonder - what makes a great band? There is so much musical talent out there. "So many bands, so little time" is almost the mantra at SxSW. So if time is the issue, you must choose carefully.
The good vs. the great. Here's what made the difference for me. -- Energy - People pick up on it and want to be a part of it. They follow. AKA, groupies. -- Audience connection - Do they connect with the audience? One band had a member who kept his back to the crowd the entire time....hmmm...can you say disconnect? -- Uniqueness -- do they sound like everyone else or like something you've never heard before? -- Personality - do you want to hang out with them...do they create intrigue?
Everyone plays good music at SxSW; the list above is about greatness.