Published On: Fri, Sep 28th, 2012

Behind The Cortinas: Life As An Event Organizer

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!  ——————————

red curtain 300x198 Behind The Cortinas:  Life As An Event OrganizerEarlier 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?
Bueno the next morning, we woke up late, enjoyed breakfast, watched some television, talked about family and friends and the bochinches contained therein,  and still no mad rush for last-minute prepping.  Around 6 PM that Saturday, I sent out a text to my team to let them know I was on my way, we jumped in the car and drove patiently from my place at the border of Brooklyn and Queens westward to Williamsburg.  When we arrived at our venue LP & Harmony, the most work I did took about 15 minutes. I got the stepladder and some fishwire from the venue owner to set up the banner over the DJ booth, and I brought in folding chairs from the backyard so that more of our audience would be in comfortable seating.  Then I had my first beer. Ahhh… refreshing. Showtime!
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 primo was like…. 
‘YO… pero how the **** do you do this?’

I hadn’t really thought about how it looked from the outside looking in.

capicumari 300x235 Behind The Cortinas:  Life As An Event OrganizerMy 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 browse!

http://www.amazon.com/Habits-Highly-Effective-People/dp/0743269519

Annnd, there’s a show tomorrow, so Happy Capicu Eve.  It’s a 6 Corona- Borderlands2-On-Playstation3 night for me. icon smile Behind The Cortinas:  Life As An Event Organizer

Elevacion!
PaPo Swiggity
Your friendly neighborhood Chupacabra
CapicuCulture.com

300px The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People2 Behind The Cortinas:  Life As An Event Organizer

Book Cover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 Behind The Cortinas:  Life As An Event Organizer
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  1. Milagrito says:

    Inspirational. The second I saw the 7 habits – I got chills. I have purchased this book 2x. Thinking since I marked up the 1st copy, a new one would propel me to actually finish it. Truth is, I wasnt at a time in my life that I could really fully comprehend it. I wasnt able to grasp it. About 2 months ago, I removed the ‘newer’ copy from my book shelf and placed it by my bedside, thinking….lo voy a leer. It’s a visual for me every night…waiting for the right inspiration to become useful & motivational (if that makes sense). So….GRACIAS. The visual just may have turned into a useful motivational tool ;)

  2. Ebony Moore says:

    Yet one more person who has testified to the power of this book. I think I need to dust it off and read it (I bought it eight months ago and it is still in my line-up of books to be read.) Thank you!

  3. Carmen Amato says:

    My favorite habit is “Begin with the End in Mind.” Sounds like you’re using that one, too!

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Behind The Cortinas: Life As An Event Organizer