It’s a cloudy, rainy day in Wilmington but it’s warm. Seems the cold spell that hit the South East is finally on the way out.
I spent the morning in a locally owned cafe, curled up on comfy couch chatting with Vespa, one of the board members for Transformus, the NC Regional Burn. http://www.transformus.com/
As the rain sprinkled outside we chatted about everything from Burning Man to the different Regional events and all the amazing Regional Contacts in this part of the world. Vespa is soft spoken and on an information gathering mission. He wants to know the key players and learn about how other events are done so he can apply that knowledge to Transformus. Conversation flowed and hours passed before we realized the time and as he put it “he had to run off and be responsible”.
We parted ways knowing that our paths will cross again someday so we can continue our chat.
Later on, I met back up with Bash who guided us on a tour of Wilmington. Winding through the historic downtown district full of cobbled brick streets, lined with trees and big Southern houses, we discussed the town and differences between here and Los Angeles, where Bash and partner Marsi (aka Chicken Japan) moved from. The creation of the Juggling Gyspy really brought the creative, artistic people out of the wood work he said. It’s created a space for performances and community to grow. The number one rule at the Gyspy is that you have to talk to strangers and get to know them. With good reason, the cozy, intimate atmosphere inside provides a great space for meeting new friends. Sounds like my kind of place, I was anxious to spend some time there to see who I would met. Everyone who works there is an artist of some sort and the bartenders dress in costume on a regular basis. With a fire performer and belly dancer at the helm of this ship, it seems to be an arts magnet in Wilmington.
The Juggling Gypsy by Night.
Marsi and Bash
Posters adorn the walls promoting events happening there – Every Saturday morning is Cartoons, Coffee and Breakfast. Open Mic Fridays. Thursday nights is the weekly fire jam in the parking lot. Once again a bummer that I can’t stay longer to witness the fire jam in action. From the stories told, it sounds like a hoot.
They weren’t kidding about talking to strangers! Sitting at the bar, conversation strikes up with every single person who enters. Some curious, wanting to see what the colorful place is about, others old friends and regulars stopping in to say hello. Marsi and Bash personally greeted many as they came in, making a point to know their names and make everyone feel welcome.
KBob is a friend of the Gypsy who helps out with renovations and improvements. A musician and artist who hails from Redwood country in Northern California, he shares stories and ideas and gifted some of his art. He’s never been to Burning Man before, we tried to convince him to go, hopefully we’ll get to see him out there.
Ricky the Rose Man stopped in to say hello to Marsi. He makes “confederate roses”, a Southern tradition that dates back to the civil war. Women would either make these roses (or have their servants make them), they were given to the men going off to fight. Ricky was full of laughter and charm and created a beautiful flower before our eyes out of palm fronds. Art made from nature, gotta love that.
Ricky didn’t think the other photos captured him properly and requested one this one be taken.
Conversations were happening all around between people who had just met. Several small groups came in and chatted with other patrons at different tables. It reminded me of the Center Camp Cafe, such a welcoming, beautiful, eclectic space; it’s no wonder people feel at ease and strike up conversations.
One of the many conversation nooks – the contrast with the flash shows the colors.
OC was there hanging flyers and scoping out the space. His band is performing there on Saturday night.
Such a lovely evening, once again I’m excited and sad that I’m back on the road tomorrow. So many great things happening here the next few days and if tonight was any indication, more interesting people to get to know. I can’t be too upset though, tomorrow the adventure will continue. Next stop: Charlotte, NC for a meet and greet hosted by Sauce the other NC Regional Contact and a reunion with Phyrebolt from South Carolina.