Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Texas Ghost Show 2010

I normally don't spend a lot of time writing about events we attend or participate in. We normally just get home and send thank you's and other gratitude via facebook to our new friends and our new morons...

however ...

the Texas Ghost Show in Beaumont Texas last week needs something special written up about it. Something that gives everyone an idea as to what it takes to pull something like this off. Something that shows you just how people from all walks, all beliefs, and all areas of the world can actually come together, eat together, drink together and laugh together.

So, I thought I'd give it a shot.

I received a call from our agent at the time, James McMichaels who is the president of Night Management ( www.nightmanagement.com ). He said there was a show being put together by a guy named Don Dennis and that he thought we would be a great fit, seeing that it was called the Texas Ghost Show. We couldn't have agreed more, after all we live in Texas, are only 4 hours away from where the event was going to be held in Beaumont and we are ALL about the ghosties.

He had a great line-up too. Just to be fair, most of the headliners that were on the banner never ended up being the headliners at the actual event, so I wont name names. Most of the time, when an event planner puts on an event, they normally go through several tiers of headliners and speakers. Due to foreseen and the unforeseen, things normally come up, get in the way, or just flat out get too confusing, so the names change on the banner until the final show. It's honestly just the way it goes. There is no way to count on certain people actually showing up to speak until the last month or two, so if you ever plan on going to an event, please keep an eye on the banner and roster.

I called Don directly and got a 'hello' in a very smooth Barry White sounding voice through my cell phone. This would be the sound of not just the man behind the magic of the Texas Ghost Show, but the sound of someone I would later call my brother.

We talked a bit and told him that we were interested in speaking. He sounded excited about having us, though Im pretty sure he wasn't quite sure who we were at the time... LOL ... nobody ever does. It didn't take long until he not only was listening to our show on Para X Radio ( www.para-x.com ) but he actually liked it and became an honorary moron within weeks. We did our job by promoting the show giving out links and eventually having him on as one of our guests.

The behind the scenes was hellacious. Yes. It was... and I wont get into the details there either. He was constantly coming up with ideas to promote, market, and advertise for his event. What I really enjoyed was that he would call ME and ask ME what I thought about his direction. I gave him my usual psychobabble and patting him on his ass and sending him on his way.

Was Don worried about the ticket sales? Yes. ... but honestly... who isn't. Ticket sales for most events don't pick up until the last month or two prior to the event... but also... he had everything against him with only a few names, an eventbrite website, and his own personal enthusiasm moving forward.

We watched as the Texas Ghost Show banner went through several changes. People being removed, people being added, and the ticket sales slowly began to increase. Don of course grew more and more anxious. You must remember, behind the scenes, he was paying for deposits on speakers, getting the hotel rooms blocked and taken care of, making sure the food for the VIP dinner was not half-assed, setting up marketing moments via local TV and Radio as advertising all over the internet. The most important thing Don was doing was the most obvious, but the most missed thing in planning ANY event. It was making sure the experience for the guest was beyond their expectations. That the guests actually had their moment to rub elbows, eat lunch with, and share their ideas with the people that they had come to hear speak.

It wasn't all roses though. There were attacks left and right. The attempts at hurting the ticket sales were spread by jealousy. Teams and groups that wished they were doing what Don was pulling off would post saying things like 'The event has been canceled' ... and even the media chimed in calling people names if they attended his event. When you find yourself under attack for creating something fun and exciting, you have to remember, it is only because you are doing something right! It all comes down to jealousy. I think its quite sad, but again, Don was hit by many stones. Both, him and his girl Penny. Actually, his whole team Sheri, Mike, Penny and the Texas Society of Paranormal Investigators. They all took stones... blocked stones... and even through a few back. I am proud of all of them.

The event day came. Brian Harnois, Brad Klinge, Katie Burr, Father Andrew Calder, Ericka Boussarhane, Larry Flaxman, Ken Gerhard, Dash Beardsley, Dr. Rita Louise, Mike Roberts, Charli Smith, Buffy Clary, Chris Walden and us... Brian, Anna Marie and Ash from Ghostology.

We were put up on the 6th floor with most of the other para-speakers. The hotel itself was a beautiful hotel called the MCM Elegante. We were pampered with swedish massages if we wanted, good food, nice clean rooms, and great company. The speakers were all down to earth. Nobody was pretentious or full of themselves. We all laughed, drank, and laughed some more. Don made us all feel special and his humor kept us on our frickin toes!

The Meet and Greet was amazing. He had a room which filled up quickly with around 80 people. People had a chance to ask each speaker whatever they wanted, and allowed me to interject my innuendos whenever I felt the need to do so, ... which was pretty often. LOL ... there was plenty of time for pictures, autograph signing and more one on one interaction with the VIP guests.

The VIP dinner was extraordinary. Shrimp, Steak, Crab, ... you name it and it was there... and it was good... and again... the speakers had more time to hang with the VIP guests.... and again, Don was there to make sure EVERYBODY was happy. If you weren't; he damn well took care of whatever issue arose and made sure you were happy. Don is like a pitbull who likes his belly rubbed... if you piss him off, he will remove your arm... but if you rub his belly... he is your best friend forever... LOL

The event took off at 8am in the morning, and most of us were dragging, but it started off great! They handed us the mic and that was it... I apologize for whatever I might have said up until noon when my headache went away from the drinks... LOL ... but the civic center was full and there was always a steady stream of people at all of the booths and always around 100 to 150 people listening to the speakers... the other half were in the break out rooms listening to a more one on one lecture or experiencing a gallery reading. It was just off the hook amazing!

Nobody was upset, nobody was causing drama, nobody cared about anything other than having a good time and sharing their 'thing' with everyone else. This is the way it should feel. No competition. No territorialism. No bickering. No back stabbing. It was just a blast... and we all have Don Dennis to thank for this amazing event.

It was hard to leave. We made so many new friends. Met so many new people. Enjoyed the company of so many great friends and neighbors and honestly, just enjoyed being who we were without being told how weird we are. It was the most enjoyable event I have ever attended and or been a part of.

Denver Robbins asked me today, what made this event work out so well and why in the hell did it look like it was so much fun? He wanted to know what other people needed to do to pull off their own version of the Texas Ghost Show... and my answer was this...

I don't think they can do what the Texas Ghost Show did, ... unless they have Don Dennis running it.

HE is the missing ingredient to other events. HE is the key to the clock to make the cogs work.

Don Dennis is an amazing human being. A kind soul. A pitbull with a soft belly.

But mostly, he is now my brother.

Thank you Don for pulling off the impossible. We had an incredible time. I hate coming down off of the high you shared with us.

Much love and see you next year!!!


Friday, March 5, 2010

Holiding Hands with Razorblades

I can honestly say that every new person that shows up in my life. Every new person that sends me an email. A friend request. A private message. or Phone call gets a chance to show me who they are and what they are made of, as I get a chance to show them who I am.

This comes down to one thing. Character.

It's a simple word with a loaded chamber. It demands your attention as it unravels all that is a person. Their morality. Their ethics. Their principles. Their heart.

I hope when I extend my hand in friendship, it is just that. A friendly gesture. It represents myself saying to someone that I don't know that well, that I would like to get to know them better and share my experiences with them and would like for them to do the same with me.

I have been very picky about the types of people that I let into my life. Especially online, but I do always leave that door open and give everyone a fair shake. Yes. When I say this, you can tell that what I am saying is that, I let you in, show you were to hang your coat, and ask you what you would like to drink. You can make yourself at home in my house. I try to keep it lived in and comfortable. I even introduce you to the other people in my house as well. We all share one thing in common. We love each others company and even more so, love to share ideas and concepts with each other.

Recently, I have noticed an increase in the friends that I once thought were solid good people. The people that I thought were moral, ethical, and wanting to share their experiences with me. I have noticed that these very people, that I have poured drinks for in my home, told secrets to about my life and my hardships, shared desires with and dreams and goals; these very same people have told lies, spread rumors, and have purposely let themselves into my home to wreck it.

Sad. Pathetic. Twisted. Painful.

Yeah, it really hurts. I guess they thought I wouldn't hear. I guess they thought I wouldn't know. I guess they thought it would be fun or entertaining to pretend to be my friend, in my home, drinking my drinks, laughing with my other friends and playing parlor games, while secretly planning and plotting a mockery of my friends and family.

Will this change the way I let people into my home? No. I will continue to bring people in. Take their coats. Offer them drinks. And introduce them to the other people in my life, who I hold high on the character list. These are the people that applaud and cheer when I hold the door open for a home-wrecker and tell them that I wont let the door hit them on the way out, because, somewhere deep inside my heart, I still care about them.

I enjoy my friends. Its the way I wake up in the morning. Its the way I fall asleep at night. Its the thoughts I have during the middle of the day that I want to share with them and hear what they have done as well.

For those of you that have been in my home for awhile, you know where the drinks are kept. Help yourself. Pour some for my new friends. And continue to warn me of the wolves that sit near the television set. These are the ones that need to be escorted out of my home.

Salud. Salud. Salud.