Here’s big thanks to Ken Vinikoff, the staff at the beautiful Crop Bistro, and everyone else involved that made Tuesday evening another fun-filled one in the beautiful Ohio City neighborhood! As the bumper sticker says…
…and we truly are. While the term “Deadhead” might manifest mental images of dirty hippies selling grilled-cheese sandwiches in the after-concert lot to pad their coffers, the reality is that Deadheads are everywhere. We hold positions in your financial institutions, institutes of higher learning (pun intended), the health care industry, major league sports, and even the American government.
I dare say that most of my self-proclaimed Deadhead friends (not all of them, mind you) are actually more professionally successful and well-rounded individuals than those friends who are not. Sure, that may be a simple byproduct of the company I generally keep, but it stands to reason that anyone forged in the fire of Grateful Dead tour in the 80’s and early 90’s probably has an innate lust for adventure, a greater tolerance for risk, and a spirit of perseverance (we will get by) not generally found in such large quantities among the general populous. Deadheads know how to navigate complex problems (Sold out show? No problem, man… I’ll get in), have no fear of public speaking (or dancing, for that matter… See pics below), generally and genuinely care deeply for other human beings and the big ball of dirt we’re all riding on together through space, and most importantly they rarely get frazzled and don’t take themselves too seriously. If you ask me, those are all qualities that are the mark of a successful person, in life and in business.
Less than a year since taking form and with only a couple of official events under the organization’s belt, Networking is Dead (a professional networking group for Cleveland-area Deadheads) had a sixty-plus person turnout at last Tuesday’s event held “In the Vault” at Crop Bistro, proving Deadheads are indeed everywhere, and that they are in fact “professional” enough to kick up the $49 ticket fee (although all net proceeds from the events go to charitable, non profit organizations, in this particular case the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society). If the appropriateness of the event’s location was lost on you, you’re probably not a Deadhead, but to clue you in, the words “The Vault” holds a special meaning – one of often religious reverence – for Deadheads.
This was also the first official Networking is Dead event featuring live music, with the inaugural entertainment being provided by Sunshine Daydream, a local Grateful Dead cover band which happens to have, in my humble (but experience-informed) opinion, one of the best Dead-style keyboard players (Chris Hanna) I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. Two sets of soulfully played music in a beautiful and unique setting, with similarly beautiful and unique people makes for a hell of a Tuesday night in Cleveland, and as you’ll see from the photos below everyone left saying, “Thank you – for a real good time.”
Tuesday night was one of many nights I’ve had recently, looking back from middle-age on the events that shaped my life and my character, where I cherish the role the Grateful Dead played in my development as a person and as a professional. I’m not sure who exactly I’d be today had I not communed with the catalog and community of the Grateful Dead so deeply, but I know I simply couldn’t have the profound sense of oneness with my fellow man, the spirit of adventure and hope that fuels me every day, or the appreciation for the strange and silly nature of humankind had I not discovered the Dead in 1987 dropping by to play at my local ballpark in Rochester, New York on a sunny and fateful summer day. I’ll be writing about many things in the near future having to do with how I’ve witnessed the Grateful Dead’s legacy living on far beyond the actual life of the band, in unexpected forms and places, and to me that is just as important as any uniquely American tradition, song, or story being handed down through the generations. The Grateful Dead songbook is after all a story about us – Americans – and the American dream.
So network and share your ideas and dreams! Connect with your brothers and sisters! Be inspired and give inspiration!
Be a true American and aspire to do great and seemingly impossible things, but remember that when there’s a little of anything left over, spill that shit so others in need can gather it.
We’re all in it together my friends, so thanks to the Networking is Dead people for providing us an opportunity to connect with each other in a world often too busy and hectic for us to connect naturally. Here’s to the next fun and successful event!
p.s. – John Mayer for next event? Just sayin’.
Pictures from the vault at Crop Bistro, March 28, 2017…