Friday, February 10, 2012

HIRL Today, Gone Tomorrow (Part 3)

It's hard to believe but just one week ago today I was deeply involved in my first ever HIRL. In New York City I was hanging out in real life (HIRL) with all of the people I had met over the past several months in Google Plus hangouts. That emotional first meeting and the events that followed that day have been chronicled in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series ending with our arrival at the midtown apartment designated as HIRL HQ. The story continues here along with a few more observations and lessons learned.

photo by: Moritz Tolxdorff
The excitement and anticipation at HQ was high as we all prepared to be entertained by Heather Fay, Ryan Van Sickle and Daria Musk, incredibly talented musicians who had actually risen to fame in hangouts! Many of the people here and countless others around the world had spent hours in hangouts marveling at the songs these people performed for free. Their following grew exponentially and without any external promotion.

As luck would have it, my friend Bruce Garber, hangout show producer, invited me to join him and Eileen McAllister at the Living Room, the small club in the Lower East Side of Manhattan where the shows were going to take place that evening. They were going to live stream the shows and so we headed down well in advance to have time to set up the computer, establish connection and check lighting, sound and logistics. Here was another lesson learned: it's tough to hail a cab in midtown New York on a Friday at 5PM.

All kidding aside, here are three people who were never in the same physical location before but were each willing to lend their talents and contribute their time, energy and personal resources for the group. It still amazes me that we were completely trusting of one another, once again demonstrating the depth of the relationships that had been forged on-line.

At the club we met Ryan and Heather who were as friendly and down to earth as they come. Bruce and Eileen set up their gear and the room began to fill with all of the obviously adoring fans. Each were greeted like old friends. The room was small, dark, a little warm and there were not enough chairs. No one cared. Everyone was simply delighted to be there among good friends and anxiously awaited the magic.

The show began and yet another obvious fact hit me like a slap in the face. Like many others, I sat at my home computer in hangouts listening to these performers and thought they were great. But the sound quality in a hangout is nowhere near that of a live performance and I was completely blown away. My son, managing editor for, a major on-line music property, joined me for this concert. While I have an amateur appreciation for all kinds of music, he makes his living separating the wheat from the chafe. Before he even spoke, the expression on his face said it all. He was very impressed. We agreed these two were clearly going places.

photo by: Joe Martinez
Just when you thought the evening couldn't get any better, the crew moved downstairs to the larger venue where we were treated to a collection of original songs performed live by Daria Musk and her trusty sidekick RAM Rich .Again, the quality was light years above anything we had heard on-line. The show was terrific and seemed to be over in a flash. I did manage to capture two songs using Bambuser and they can be viewed in the window on the lower right hand corner of this page or at my Bambuser channel.

It was tough to think about heading home so I grabbed some of my closest new friends and we hit a local pizza joint for one last snack together. Nothing like genuine New York pizza to top off a colossal day. Then, for me, it was off to head home for a little sleep while the others found their way back to their hotel.

The NYC HIRL wasn't over yet and I could still look  forward to Saturday and the closing dinner.

(Still to come: Photo walk, Battery Park, coffee with Joe and the closing dinner)

Captain Joe

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