Speak at your event

Down the Rabbit Hole

Sometimes your life heads down the rabbit hole.  You run into odd situations that bump into new and old technologies that send you into adventures.  That was last night.

Yesterday, I let social media schedule my day with new things.  I enjoyed a charming WonderWomenTech conference in Playa Vista (http://wonderwomentech.com/; continuing today), then drove from Playa Vista to Downtown LA for https://www.facebook.com/events/539918952806913 — The Bill Murray Party and Art Spectacle. I had heard about the WWT event through Facebook and the Bill Murray event through Eventbrite and thought — hey, they both sound interesting.

Odd enough start.  Trusting the social web for my evening.  By myself.  What could go wrong?

Car tech and a plain old machine screw hit me first.  About 3 blocks into the drive from one to the other around 5 pm, my fancy tire sensor light went off in my Subaru. I stopped and took out my trusty tire gauge — and found that there was a screw in the back right tire, which measured 10 psi light already. At 52, I have been lucky to have never changed a flat tire in my life. Luckily, it wasn’t yet dark and wasn’t yet raining, so I took all the crap out of the back of my car and wedged out my temporary spare. Just as I swapped the tires, a couple wandered by with their dog. They came back just when I was done and the husband said sheepishly, “Do you need any help?” The wife gushed that I was brave and she would not have been able to do it. **sigh**  This was nice old-fashioned tech and even the paper manual for the car.

Then I leaned hard on my car mapping system, as I now needed to drive from Playa Vista to downtown LA at less than 50 miles/hour max on city streets, I began the drive across Slauson and up various streets to get downtown to the quirky loft/gallery for this crazy event.  Trust in Waze.

By now, my smartphone was slightly re-charged by my car plug.  Its clock reported that I was about 15 minutes early for a reported 7:30 pm start to a metal-shuttered street just off Olympic and near Broadway….not quite the gentrified loft area of downtown LA. Nearly deserted other than a few people checking on their shuttered stores. Big piles of trash and rats scurrying by. Two guys trying to get people to pay them $10 to park in the building across the way…then $7 if you said no…then $5… I ended up parking under a street light on Olympic and made my way to the creepy building on Maple with just a number over the door. I hesitantly walked up 4 flights of stairs — (Would you have left by now and gotten a beer somewhere?) — and found two guys talking at the top of the stairs. Right place, now too early, wrong entrance. So Ezra, the host, walked us downstairs (me and the other guy) and told us that 30 minutes later to round the back alley and come in. The guy’s girlfriend joined us downstairs as we walked around to the alley…and then the evening got weirder.

We looked down the alley. No signs. Rats. Sprinkling rain making it gloomier and dark earlier. Piled up mattresses. One yellow light making the alley even creepier. More people began to hesitantly walk up to us, looking relieved to find other people. Finally, about 8 of us were there, and we walked down the alley to find 2 doorways on the right. Still no signs. No people. A young man sprung up the stairs on one side, and ran back down, telling us it went right to the roof. The other door? Entrance to an old-fashioned freight elevator, with wooden slats and hydraulic lift. We all looked at each other and one-by-one hesitantly got in. We didn’t get the doors quite right and when we (I) hit the button, the elevator didn’t move. I and another guy raised our hand and wanted out. We opened it back up and all got out. The young man from the stairs said he wanted to try it again…got the doors right…hit the button…and shot upwards. “It’s dark up here,” he called out. Then we heard someone let him out. He called down, “They’ll send the elevator back down when the event is ready to start.”

The evening got crazier. By then, we kept seeing very scared 20- and 30-somethings come around the corner into the alley. They were so relieved to see other people. Finally, security folks came into the alley and asked US if they were in the right place. We ended up with about 40 people looking around very nervously and texting to others on their smartphones before the elevator came back down. About a dozen of us clambered in…the doors closed…the (now) elevator operator from the event hit the button, and we slammed upward with a clang. It was like a bad version of the Disneyland Haunted House but in reverse as we saw the roof arrive. I was glad to leave the elevator, and get into the loft space….with 50+ different art works based on Bill Murray and his characters, odd old furniture, and set up for a few bands. I called my husband on my cell, told him I was ok, and stayed for about 2 hours, mostly people-watching while bands played and as people came through this gauntlet, lost and confused, of all ages and backgrounds, all drawn to the messages, Facebook posts, KPCC listings, Eventbrite recommendations — all to find out what this crazy Bill Murray Art event was. I left toward the end of the set with the band that kept throwing porn DVDs (!!!) into the audience every other number.

Yep, that type of evening. Met some nice people — musicians, comedians, couples trying to follow a band they liked, just people who were wondering what the heck this would be.  Trusting the social web to take us someplace interesting.

Yes, my car was still there. It was raining. And I began the less-than-50-mph city street drive back home, while singing to the radio and trusting my car to get me there in one piece.

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