Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Artists benefit from Digital Kind

Red and white streamers fluttered in the cooling summer evening breeze at the 18th Street Arts Complex in Santa Monica, California. The tents were set for the drinks and the gourmet tamales and all the volunteers were busy helping with final details for the Cocktails with Courtney/Digital Commerce Lab benefit for the Electronic Cafe International Tuesday, August 14th. Trying to raise money for the cafés video archives was the goal, and the goal was met with tremendous response!

The party started out with seeing good friends like Larry Aronson (of Webscape, NYSIA board member and former WWWAC board member) who is setting up shop in LA as well (and looking for work!). He and Lynn Thigpen were off to a screening of a new Steve Martin film, which promises to be something different than usual. Kirsten Johnson, Joanna Minneci and Keren Taylor, the LA contingent of Cyber Scene writers also showed up creating a little buzzing posse. Keren introduced me to fabulous designer and web producer Pug LaHart of CyberHag. Janice Norton Sterling of TheCoolHunters.com and Special Venue Entertainment consultant Diane Duncan were among some of the other sorts who came to support the café. David Wettenstein, ATT's high-speed packet services guru and Interactive Agency's Tony Winders came to enjoy the sunset cocktails and network a bit.

Walt Disney Digital lndustry Relations and New Technology Vice President Philip B. Lelyveld showed up with an adorable peach tie and with the "Hello Kitty" competition pattern on it. There's a man who takes his research seriously. Voidmstr extraordinaire Dennis Wilen mentioned to me his memoirs that he wanted to put up for photographer and early web-head Keri Advocat, who passed away at an early age in just a few years ago.

InternetWire's Michael Terpin, one of the sponsors, introduced me around to some of his friends like Traffic411.com's founder Lisa Osborn and her NY friend. InternetWire's Peter Daily, Chris Brown and Linda Jaffe were all looking sharp as they balanced their Bombay Sapphire Martinis and tamales.

Advanstar's Shirley Sax and Gina Cohen, one of the sponsors, enjoyed themselves. American Film Institute's Anna Marie Piersimoni, Universal Studios' Monica Stein and The Content Project's Suzanne Hornwood (who also wrote for TCS and volunteered this night) all mixed and mingled with the best of them like LINGUAE Translation & Web Localization's Miguel Fiallos, SeaChange International's Honey Berman and Tom Lincoln.

NY-based American Museum of the Moving Image Curator of Digital Media Carl Goodman stopped by to hang out for the night and talk with other notable digital artists and programmers. He raved about SIGGRAPH, which was going on the prior and upcoming week telling me it was the best place to go and hear about great innovations in the artistic endeavor for electronic media. His recommendation was to just walk around the show and absorb all the invention and sit in a panel I know nothing about to learn something new. Good advice!

The tamales were going fast and the drinks were quenching the thirst of the many more guests who filtered in to celebrate in the influence and steadfastness of the Electronic Café International in the digital arts scene. Find out all about them at: www.ecafe.org