When I decided it was time to leave Studio No. 7, I had no idea what would come my way. I instinctually knew that there was a world of opportunities waiting for me if I could just let go of this thing that consumed so much of my time, energy and sanity.
One of the things that did come up a few weeks later was the chance to serve as A3C’s beverage manager. While most people think I don’t like hip hop (I do), most people know that I do like beverage. A few months ago I wouldn’t have even guessed that I could use my skills in this way, but it turned out to be a perfect fit.
So what does the beverage manager of a hip hop festival do? Well, I worked with all of the beverage sponsors making sure we delivered what we said we would, I helped dissect the alcohol laws for licensed venues vs. non licensed venues and I created a (rather ambitious) cocktail menu for the conference and some external events. It turned out to be a great fit for everything that I’ve learned over the past five years.
I enjoyed the experience way more than I thought I would. There were so many great moments including an hour long surprise set by Wyclef at Deep End, watching Jermaine Dupri get served lemon juice instead of lemonade, realizing that Mannie Fresh is one of the coolest people ever at the Martell penthouse, and the performance by all the living members of Wu-Tang to close out the first night of the festival. My favorite experience however happened at Wish Gallery. It was my third event of the day and day three of the conference. I was beyond exhausted.
The gallery exhibit was part of the Wu-Tang experience and it featured and all Wu-Tang inspired exhibit by local Atlanta artists.
Brandon Sadler, who this exhibit was made for (not literally), created a zen tea oasis in the middle of the gallery. Flanked by his artwork, I sat and indulged while he shared the gong fu tea method. In that moment, everything disappeared. I knew there were people walking around and taking in the art. I knew that RZA (or was it GZA..ughh, I can’t keep up with all the members of the Wu) was in an intense chess match in another corner. I knew that there were folks hanging outside by the bar drinking Sweetwater, Don Julio and Absolut. I knew there were people outside trying to finesse their way in. And yet, none of it seemed to be in the moment I was having. As I floated into the bliss of being tea drunk, I truly understood what it meant to be present.