Ruby Lawrence, one of my closest friends and co-host to 11/11/11 party.
I met Open Salon's Cartouche last year. It was as natural as the breeze. We hugged and proceeded to spend a glorious weekend in Florida together, as if I'd known her my whole life.
So strange, isn't it? The bonds we've formed here on OS. I don't know about you, but I've never experienced anything like it. There are few online communities that could compare with us. We are strangely and deeply familiar with one another. Our work together has created this wonderous ripple effect. It's profound and touching.
When Nikki Stern walked into the restaurant before Friday night's NYC's OS meet-up party, I hugged her and experienced that instant sense of intimacy and familiarity. She's beautiful and radiates as much as I imagined she would.
The rest of the night was full of that same OS magic. I couldn't help but think that we need to come together like this, especially now. Maybe a new friendship connection or a great business opportunity or an idea moved closer to fruition - or whatever! - the sky is the limit, isn't it? This night will have long-term, positive implications, I hope.
I'll let Les Stone's photos (please check out his website and see the serious work this guy does) do the rest of the talking, but it was a magical night, with energy streaking across the room, as you'll see in these photos.
Actors, writers, business owners, photographers, graphic designers, directors, reporters - super sharp, smart, creative people - together at an Australian Bar called Eight Mile Creek in Soho, exchanging ideas, connections, jokes, play, hugs, kisses (some really great kisses actually...wow), beer, New Zealand wine...doing our thing.
We're creative and grew our powers together on a special day: 11/11/11
(Click on photos for the "big picture.")
Group shot - Open Salon friends and other dear friends.
Nikki Stern and Joe Nation, looking like a superhero unveiled.
and Cranky Cuss. Cranky Cuss is the sweetest, warmest man who gave me a lovely mug (photo at end of post).
Neil Paul, Cranky Cuss, Beth Mann, Nikki Stern, Frank Apisa and Designanator, a kind, gentle man with a busy camera.
Frank, Beth Mann, Neil Paul. God, what's there to say about Neil Paul? He's a genius, I'm guessing. He's so smart, you have to be sharp to follow him. He thinks on 3 levels at once and you just need to keep up with him.
The strikingly beautiful Autumn Whitefield-Madrano and Frank Apisa. Frank is accessible and relaxed and a chill dude with substantial "cool" cache. He's good at living, I think.
The shining Nikki Stern, dear friend Ruby Lawrence, Beth Mann - rock trio in formation. Or maybe a pop trio...I'd prefer that, I think. It's sillier with better costumes.
and Frank Apisa. Johanna thinks I'm a little weird because I wanted to take photos of her and hugged her maybe a little too much. That's because she's beautiful and smart with these intense, laser-focused eyes and you just want to stand close to her.
See? Neil Paul, Beth Mann, JohannaLG.
Friend Peter Herbst - one of my wittiest friends - and Nikki. These two just naturally got along, I think.
Wall Street Journal writer Jon and Beth Mann. Total stranger at beginning of night, friends by end of it. Just a sweetie.
Long Beach Island friends who came to NYC for this event! This is my family at the Jersey shore. The uber-smart and sweet Peter and Danielle Morris.
Me and Jon, who gave me his coat when it got cold.
One of my dearest old friends, actor/director Kevin Augustine
. One of the most deeply creative people I know whom I've known him a long, long
time. I told him before he left, "I love you from the bottom of my heart." I don't know if I've ever uttered those exact words to anyone before.
It's a shame that cigarettes look so cool.
Frank and Kevin Augustine
Peter Herbst, Ruby Lawrence and myself. This is what fun looks like.
Me with the inimitable actress Toni Silver.
Toni Silver is a fiery, fiesty and fierce woman. She's a creative powerhouse and makes me proud to be a woman.
Dear friend actor/director Joseph Shahadi with the Autumn Whitefield-Madrano
, whom I want to be my best friend. I will pay her, if necessary. (With a face like this, she should use a photo for her avatar, if I may be so bold.)
and I know each other very well and for years and years. We've done absurdist theater together - that bonds people like nothing else, trust me! Also a ridiculously creative and smart man.
Good friends actor and comedian Anthony Devito
and business owner/bon vivant of NYC Ruby Lawrence.
Anthony has that old school, shimmery movie star charm. And funny as HELL. Next to him Ruby Lawrence, as FUNNY AS HELL, and one of my closest friends. I've often dreamt that these two take over the world with their cleverness.
Hugging my dear friend Peter Herbst. One of my fave photos of the night. Just makes me cry. I miss my friends. I live at the often-isolating Jersey shore and I miss being around sharp, witty people who love me.
When I came back home, I walked on the beach and looked at the ocean. I said, wagging my finger at it, "It's for you, I come back. It's for you!" So the "after party" was had with a large body of water that often shapes my decisions. I sighed a lot, wondering about the bigger trade-offs we make in life.
Filled with hot chai as I write this.
To keep the ball rolling, check out a few links in the post above, friend people on Facebook, read their blogs, follow them on Twitter, fall in love with them, whatever. Join the party a few days after the fact.