As luck is on my side – I was recently invited to attend the first series of ‘Artisan’ talks hosted by Yelp Auckland at Lot 23. First up (of these talks) was Otis & Sarah Frizzell who founded, own & presently operate “The Lucky Taco”, since May 2013. I was intrigued to hear all about their entrepreneurial journey and their ‘go to’ product; so far they have collaborated with the likes of Nice Blocks, The Collective NZ (no bull yoghurt), BMW and endless others. Like all start-ups – Otis & Sarah – have had an action-packed ride on the path to success. I was delighted to try some of the ‘hot’ sauces on offer including Halanero, Jalapeño & Chipotle. Now stocked in 60 ‘New World’ supermarkets across New Zealand, so you can now have this on tap in your pantry! I purchased some (not on the market yet) ‘Chilli Salt’ which I can’t wait to try on poached eggs! ‘Auckland in a box’ were showcasing too – with a giveaway of local artisan products. Lot 23 is an exceptional space for events, executed to a high standard. The crowd finished off all the sample tacos in record time. Impressed. Nice one Yelp: Gold. That’s all.
What a great venue for a ‘Yelp Elite’ event! I always wondered what would become of the rundown commercial laundry in Mackelvie Street – newly transformed ‘The Shelter’ is resident to Blend cafe & fashion brands: Children of Vision, Taylor, Mobi, Otsu & Tokyo Bikes to name a few temptations. Drew & Sarah Duff-Dobson told us their story behind Blend Cafe: lovers of great coffee selling Smith blend which is Fair-Trade or Rainforest Alliance sold in compostable cups! On our arrival, all Yelpers were offered cocktails either Smith coffee, bourbon & orange and/or Smith coffee, Cointreau, orange & egg white. Whoa! The gorgeous fare was supplied by ‘Bird on a Wire’: selection of Asian salad with a peanut sauce, raw vegetables with Dahl and I missed out on the chicken, unfortunately! Incredible ambiance in the courtyard which was chic, urban & wholesome. Inspirational event – which is the first Yelp event showcasing local startup (entrepreneurial) business’s in the Auckland Central community. Yelp!
What do you think? After attending the last Social Media Club – Auckland 2014 event this week, I am (still) of the opinion social media is a ‘game changer’ for the greater good. Without Facebook and LinkedIn I wouldn’t have met people virtually all over the world. Twitter is my ‘godsend’ for finding anything with a hashtag. Instagram, Vine & YouTube let me showcase video and stills for free. Yelp & WordPress are global communities, that I applaud. The panel: Pebbles Hopper (Gossip Columnist), Matt Nippert (Reporter) & Rick Shera (Internet Lawyer) discussed the subject of information sharing and the consequences. Pebbles thinks the Internet is revolutionary and social media is a good thing. Matt talked about Google (best search engine), how social media is so immediate with ‘breaking news’ and how data is collected on everybody when posting on FB, swiping your loyalty cards and uploading photos. Corporations build profiles on their customers, spending habits and food preferences. Rick spoke about ‘A Right To Be Forgotten’ legislation here in NZ, copyright and general legal matters. Unanimously they all agreed ‘social media’ is beneficial and what you share with the world – the Internet will always remember.
Recently I attended a Yelp event: Yelp Pairs Cider & Cheese at The Dairy, Ponsonby Central. Hosted by the cool crew from Yelp Auckland namely Alex the Community Manager and Tara, Owner of The Dairy & Foxtrot Parlour. A good crowd attended (as always) and we were educated about the hip ‘Zeffer’ Cider brand established in 2009 and has been successfully winning awards internationally. All the cider was partnered with heavenly cheese from The Dairy: St Benedict Buffalo Brie with Zeffer Crisp Apple, Mahoe Blue with Zeffer Pear, Wangapeka with Zeffer Hopped Up Pippin and lastly Earth Sheep Cheddar with Zeffer Mahana Red Apple. It was indulgent, superbly overwhelming and undoubtably enjoyable – with all the tastings and information buzzing in my head. I loved all the cheese and craved more. My favourite cider was the Crisp Apple that is honest, simple and deliciously dry. Cider is slowly taking preference in the supermarket aisles and as for the cheese – you need to shop at Ponsonby Central, and be wowed at The Dairy.
After not attending a #smakl event for a while – I was really looking forward to engaging with the ‘specialist’ panel of speakers: Ricardo Simich (Editor Spy HoS), Bradley Ambrose (award-winning photographer), Arran Birchenough (Getty Images ANZ) & Mark Sagar (Lab for Animate Technologies) who all shared their valuable dogma, about the selfie-obsessed society we live in today. Some are the question raised were concerning intellectual property and copyright – in reference to celebrity. Apparently, if you snap pictures in a public place – it’s your image. People (generally) create a lot of content imagery that is uploaded onto Facebook, SnapChat & Instagram. Nothing is private or protected anymore. Everything is transparent and available on Google. What about facial recognition? Have you had the experience before on Facebook when you are tagging people, and they are already recognised? One thing I did learn, is if you want to be published in social pages, newspaper or magazine – refrain from Instagramming and Snapchatting for the event. #SMCAKL always spoils it’s guests with flavoursome pizza, craft beer, wine & cider. Brilliant sponsors. I fell in love with the ‘Playground People’ Instagram Printer – that prints images (similar to a Polaroid, but bigger) that you upload with a hashtag. I know why I love social – it just keeps evolving and being disruptive; without predictability.
Recently, I went to this intriguing art exhibition called ‘Don’t Talk To Strangers’ at Bridge Gallery Studio, off Karangahape Road. When I arrived after 10am (opening time), there was no one there, and was alerted to a note in the window to call a mobile – in this instance. I went away and returned 30 minutes later to find a welcoming young French woman who offered me tea. I declined, after just having coffee. There was a collection of eclectic objects on tin shelves, that all had a hand-written (personal) story attached, ranging from a thimble, painting, nail set, dried flower, postcard, book and so forth.
“Attendees can choose an existing object from the gallery to take home with them, in a sort of trade-like marketplace. Participants are also given the opportunity to write a small note to accompany their object, sharing its past, or its significance for its former owner. It’s all very sentimental.”
I wrote my note and left my object after discussing the content on the shelves (and their previous owners) with the curator. I always speak to strangers, including today when I asked a complete stranger to jump over my fence, as I had accidentally locked myself out of my house. Sometimes gifts are warranted, other times a kind exchange of words is ample for an ever-lasting memory.
Strangers can shape our world and alter our mood – for the better.
All week I have been anticipating ‘sleeping rough’ for Lifewise #bigsleepout in Central Auckland. Loaded up with my essentials: (loaned) sleeping bag, beanie, merino gloves, IPhone (to tweet), house keys, ATM card, lipstick and WHORE flyers for potential audience. After registering for the event, we all received personalised cardboard mats and a goodie bag: beanie, Idealog, Special K bar and Merge Cafe voucher. The Whore team scouted an ideal location to settle down, then dinner was on the agenda. Over 100 people lined up for meatballs and spaghetti with a slice of buttered bread: hearty meal. Icecream quickly followed, sponsored by Nice Blocks. We heard great speeches by Lifewise, poetry and an interview with Chanelle who told her story about homelessness, sex work, foster care, mental health admissions and her new job. I was invited into the makeshift cardboard house, shared conversation with many new friends/rough sleepers and was photographed/filmed by random people. Yes – I did sign a media release. The night is chilly, however it’s not raining. There are sleeping bags all over the AUT campus filled with human life. At the time of writing the fundraising figure to (fund) frontline services for homelessness 2014 is $153,357.39! Whore team raised $3,165.00 for Lifewise Big Sleep Out 2014. I am humble. I am grateful. I am cold and slightly hungry, however this is a temporary measure. This experience keeps me real and makes me feel lucky to be alive, with people who care.