This year marked the 5th annual Fan Jam. An idea first presented by a friend of the Company, with the simple implication, “Let's do something special for folks who like, and support TLS”. Great idea (I thought), a fan appreciation event but without the walls and borders between folks who like TLS and the folks who work at TLS…a “break down the velvet rope” style event in which we all mingle, chop it up, share our passions, have some good eats, a few drinks – a “Jam” of sorts. I, coming from the music side of things (“things” being an operative for just about anything), and often default to music analogies – I liken my Company to a bunch of musicians, on tour, in a van, all playing our part to make a song, our products, the actual song. Everyone playing a role, creating symphonic harmony, and not exclusive to just the folks building the products but inclusive to the folks participating with the products through the retelling of story, the joy of collecting, sharing, trading, selling – the plenary whole. Or, a “jam” – we all play! Naturally, the event would be called “Fan Jam” – we’re all fans, we all get to play.
The first Fan Jam was at a DIY steakhouse. That’s the definition of “Jam”…literally; everyone cooked his or her own steak. We sat at group tables, we mingled, we ate, we drank, we shared, we introduced, we made new friendships, we cemented old ones. Also, the first exclusive Fan Jam item, a signed, and numbered print on archival paper documenting the range of Transformer Action Vinyls released to the present per the present, but aptly now in the past, being 5 years has expired since.
We quickly realized this might be an event we could recreate, making it an annual tradition, if we could amplify the participation. We ditched the diy steak in favor of prepared steak, found a bigger venue, a good one for feeding guests, and intimate enough to encourage dynamic engagement through sharing, show and tell, games, activities, and competition. I called a good friend, an owner/founder of Tender Greens, “Hey man, can I rent your restaurant out for the night?” He quickly replies, “Sure.” That was that. My buddy is a visionary – he cares about the planet, sustainable food solutions, urban farming…he’s a teacher, mentor, an inspiration, a frequent guest of Ted Talks, and I’m lucky to call him a friend. A liege to conscious constructs, it's a no brainer to support a business like Tender Greens, and knowing the quality is top notch, the TLS Army will certainly enjoy the banquet. I had outfitted 5 of his restaurants with art. I had curated and produced two restaurants arcades with the help of artists who are friends; the other three were outfitted with my personal art. We're creatively connected through our experiences (Erik and I), and I owning a creative business, let's keep those channels and circuits open, a boogie down at Tender Greens makes perfect sense. In short, Fan Jam 2 was held at Tender Greens, splitting from the seams, packed, and loaded with bounteous energy, a true Jam. Folks were happy, naturally let’s partake in a Fan Jam 3!
Fan Jam 3 launched like a birr, an exertion, and intensity, a room filled with high spirits, and joy.
Fan Jam 4, splitting from the seams, double stitched even. Fevered pitch.
Fan Jam 5 – this year, equally powerful. I understand there’s a need for more space, to include more participants, it’s clear that the will to participate exceeds the capacity…the event, certified provenance, is best in an intimate setting for the exchange; games, one on ones, group activities, competitions, team work...if we go too big we loose the rendering, and value of creative and meaningful participation. I curate the activities but the show is the participants, and I would hate for that stage to flip where the participants are TV watching as we try our best to perform a dance or two to the delights of some. We will figure it out for Fan Jam 5, with the intent to include all, the very least all we can.
Fan Jam 5 did not disappoint, you, the TLS Army brought “it”, and by “it”, I mean “IT”, as in CAPITAL I.T.; passion, devotion, fun, exuberance, imagination, you know, the “IT”! Thank you to all who came, we have a deep love affair; the TLS Company, and the TLS community, certainly a harmonious matrimony. I had a great time hosting. A special thanks to the TLS Crew for their tireless, hard, imaginative, talented, and awe-inspiring work. A special thanks to Steve Johnson for really being the inspiration, and driver, if not, the motivator to make Fan Jam what it is, a fun, engaging celebration for everyone. Here’s to another great year on the books, and many more to come! Enjoy the video…the TLS Film Crew duo crushed it as always.
Last thought – this was TLS’ 10 year Anniversary! We’ve muscled it out for 10 years, through the thickets and such, growing the TLS mission each year, exponentially. Thank you to all who came to help celebrate our decade old existence. Here’s to 10 more!