Day 267

If I were to describe my ideal Minneapolis weekend, chances are it would look something like the one I just experienced. It was all about what this area has to offer and as expected, the Twin Cities did not disappoint.

It all started Saturday, when I ventured over to Chipotle's Cultivate Festival. Held in beautiful Loring Park, the event featured music, food, and a variety of vendors and exhibits. In particular, I was ecstatic to watch a demonstration from Chef Andrew Zimmern, who is probably best known from his travel show, Bizarre Foods. I swear I could listen to that man talk about his adventures for hours on end. Along with Anthony Bourdain, they’re two people who really helped inspire this little project we’re on. Another highlight of the festival was the day’s headlining musical act, Portugal. The Man. I’ve been such a fan of their music for a long, long time and it was great to finally see them live. 

There was so much going on at all times, but even amongst the chaos you could tell everyone was having a good time. The entire event was based around a very poignant message of healthful foods, constructive conservations and ethical eats—all things I actively participated in and certainly support to the best of my ability. And unlike some other festivals I’ve attended, I’d say the overall atmosphere remained pretty relaxed for the most part. All in all, it was a great day and the weather was absolutely perfect for the entirety of the event (Of course, the free samples didn't hurt either). 

I didn’t think the day could get any better, but as soon as Portugal. The Man wrapped their set, I dashed a few blocks north to First Avenue—a venue I’ve been dying to step foot in for years and years. There, I got to see two of my favorite artists, Astronautalis and SIMS (check out my interview with him here), perform under the collective banner of AstroSims. I also got a chance to sit down and interview Astronautalis before the show, but I’ll save that for Thursday.

The entire show was pure energy from start to finish and the crowd was electric all night long. I’ve been to quite a few concerts in my life and I’d have to say that this was one of the most entertaining I’ve ever been to. When I exited the venue and realized I was drenched with sweat, I took it as a true sign of the good time I just had.

The next morning, I decided to take it easy, as I was still pretty spent from the night before. So, I walked down to the Uptown area and grab a few scrumptious morsels at Bogarts Donuts. After my visit to Glam Doll a few weekends ago, I was told to give them a try and I’m really glad I listened. They don’t have any crazy flavors or anything, but—whoa doggy—do they have some amazing donuts.

The weekend wasn't all puppy dogs and rainbows though. On Friday, I fell victim to fraud—twice. The first one happened on my credit card and they took care of it rather easily, so I thought that'd be the end of it. Well, when I arrived home that night, I noticed the same company tried to put the same charge on my debit card, which is through a completely different bank. They made it much more difficult on me, canceling my card and issuing a replacement that I may not see until next month in Austin. Needless to say, it's not the most ideal situation for someone on the road. But, I'm not going to let it slow me down. That's for sure. 

-Steve-

Day 256

Before I delve into today’s ramblings, I’d like to announce that I’ve officially secured the final stop of #TGAA. For the month of January, I’ll be taking up residency at RTO+P West. Yes, the fine folks of Red Tettemer are allowing me to join them once again—albeit on a different coast. Granted, this means I’m only visiting 13 different agencies on my adventure, but alas, the opportunity is too great to pass up.

I also think the situation will allow me to tell a different kind of story during my time there. I’ll get to discuss my love-hate relationship with the city of Los Angeles, including why it took so long to announce an agency there, and highlight RTO+P's ability to flourish across state lines and time zones. Red Tettemer in Philly remains one of my favorite stops, so I’m more than confident in their ability to help me end this project with a bang. At the very least, we’ll see if they can put up with me for another month.

I look forward to working with everyone in the west coast office and know the experience won’t disappoint anyone following along. 

Back in Minneapolis, things are going rather swimmingly. Last week, I got to grab lunch with the fine folks of Egg Music. I’m sure that isn’t the last I’ll be seeing of them though. It turns out they’re all music buffs (go figure), so there’s no way our conversations could be contained to an hour-long lunch. I also got to meet some great people from CCF yesterday and I’m sitting down with some of the ladies from 5ive this afternoon. Needless to say, the generosity I’m experiencing here is off the charts. Well, except for the guy who yelled at me in the Chipotle parking lot over the weekend. He’s the exception. I never did find out what he was so angry about. I guess he didn't like my choice of burrito or something. Who knows?

But I digress. 

Outside of St. Louis, this has to be the largest group of agency folks I’ve met in a city. I also think this ground level networking is far more beneficial than spending my time trying to garner more press for the project. When I’m able to sit down with someone, I can really get into the meat and potatoes of everything (how’s that for Midwestern talk?). That’s why I love doing Q&As so much; it’s an opportunity for me to start a dialogue and answer individual questions, rather than general ones. Don’t get me wrong; I’m still doing my best to drum up interest in the project. But as I’m now 8.5 months into this thing, I like to think I now have a better understanding of how to make #TGAA the best it possibly can be. I hope everyone reading this would agree. If not, just shoot me a line and let’s talk about what I can do better. Remember, this isn’t my project. It’s our project.

-Steve-