Behind The Cortinas
Mi gente! This is my first entry in a series I’m trying out on Sofrito For Your Soul, entitled “Behind The Cortinas”. My aim is to give you a little bit of background into my life as an event organizer, a performer, and a master of ceremonies. Enjoy!
Earlier this year, my cousin came out to NYC from his Army station in Germany to visit the family, and he stood at my place on the day before a Capicu. He was intrigued by the idea of seeing how I prepped for the show in the background. From where he was standing, I was doing something big, and the preparation for it must be a show in and of itself. The evening that he arrived, we enjoyed a good dinner, threw back some Coronas, and had some absolutely awesome convos about Latinos in the military, military culture in general, and the changing dynamics of Brooklyn. I had not made one single phone call the whole night, nor had I sent out e-mails, text blasts or any other promotional prep, besides checking my Facebook from time to time and choppin’ it up with Jibaro on Google Chat. How anticlimactic, right? I must go crazy on the day of, then?
With what looked like minimal effort, a full fledged show burst out in all directions like skyrockets across the room, we were an explosion of claps and colors with a dynamic co-host on stage, a professional DJ, a guest relations manager at the busy door, a partner in the back networking, an artist doing a live painting, a local baker with her custom cupcake tower displayed onstage, photo flashes everywhere and I managing the flow and timing of the event.My cousin was like…. ‘YO… pero how the **** do you do this?’
I hadn’t really thought about how it looked from the outside looking in.
My answer, in the absolutest shortest term, is pre-preparation. Weeks before, I had already talked to the DJ about the tone of the event, and sent her the new Capicu music intro. I had already discussed spacial dynamics with the visual artist and baker, already talked to the feature about performance expectations, already spoke to my team about issues related to guests and artists and venue, already spoke to the venue owners about our needs for the event in terms of staffing and amenities. Already reached out and invited community leaders, bloggers and local media. So the night before a Capicu is the calm before the storm.
Pre-preparation in the early days actually came down to me from my abuelita, who told me to wear clean underwear in case I get into an emergency cuz God forbid I’m carted away by an ambulance with dirty draws on (lol) but in my adult life stuck with me from a book I read many moons ago, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steve Corvey. The book outlined for me the importance of being proactive – taking initiative and responsibility as early as possible, lay out my goals first and then consider my steps towards those goals, prioritizing, make my projects mutually beneficial to everyone involved, listening, play to my teams strengths, and the importance of renewing myself. It also speaks about the Abundance Mindset, which is to view the world as full of resources that we can use for our benefits and causes. The book put these habits much more eloquently, but these core ideas have been key to my success as an organizer and host of live events. And… helping me to get to work in the morning without the stress of rushing. ( I set up the coffee machine, lay my clothes out and fold out the ironing board the night before, to save time and so I can be extra lazy if I wanna!)
It’s important for me to note that I’m not too crazy about self-help books in general, but I read this one at a time in my life when I needed to read its message and it proved effective for me in getting my ideas off the ground. Como dicen? “Results may vary“! But if you’re interested in what put some of the Swig in Swiggity… give it a perusal!
Annnd, there’s a show tomorrow, so Happy Capicu Eve. It’s a 6 Corona- Borderlands2-On-Playstation3 night for me.
Your friendly neighborhood Chupacabra