Eventicizing into the New Year

Event

Before I begin – my heart goes out to everyone in Texas and everywhere else where people are without power.

Here’s a Recipe for Eventicizing During the Pandemic

Ingredients

  1. Time
  2. Chutzpah
  3. A Paid Zoom account
  4. Decent internet connection
  5. Computer

Possible additions:

  1. The Ask Deep Questions Deck or similar
  2. Friends
  3. High School Class Facebook group (<your peer group> Facebook group here)
  4. A Vitamix
  5. A history of throwing events and working to make them go well

Hello, fellow trail-blazers, experimenters, and people looking for some fun and connection. I’ve been hosting virtual events for many years so recently I decided to see what would happen if I created a Zoom meeting for a wide variety of my social circles. Sometimes I’d use the Ask Deep Question deck to lead the event, but other times something more organic would happen — perhaps just sharing and hang out time. Here are some of the events I initiated and some others I’ve participated in in the past couple of weeks. My goal here is to encourage you to try this out for yourself. I’m here to provide assistance if you need a nudge or technical help.

Zoom is here. It can be a great tool if used well. I have a lot of Zoom tips on my Zoom page, but here I want to go beyond the tips to make zoom usable — and show ways it can help us thrive. OK, onward!

  1. Friend Dating events. For these, I employed a local meetup group, a FB list of my friends, and an email list of friends. I invited them all to an event (another is scheduled) in which we did short intros and then I split us into break-out rooms for the answering of a question — each person got 2 minutes to answer and then we came back to the main group. We also had breaks for a few songs by participants — a good length for this seems to be 1–1.5 hours
  2. A meeting for those who love Breitenbush. Breitenbush is a hot springs retreat center in Oregon and has recently suffered due to wildfires and Covid. I helped host a meeting of 50–60 people to discuss what might be next for this sacred place. Follow up meeting planned for March 4th, 2021
  3. 4 Virtual End of Life Ceremonies. Each one of these is teaching me how to make these go better.
  4. BlueOregon Contributors. I’ve been a writer for BlueOregon over the years. For the past couple of years, there haven’t been many contributions to the blog and so I thought the writers might want to meet and discuss how to revive the blog. A follow-up meeting is planned.
  5. Bringing in the New Year — Song Circle Style — A NYE gathering for people to share music. This went way better than I expected it would. I hosted a virtual event from 8 pm to midnight. People hopped on for 5 minutes to an hour or more. Someone would play a song — everyone else would be muted. Besides being thoroughly entertained by some excellent musicians — I also noticed that it is possible to play along with someone when they’re playing. This has a lot of advantages and deserves its own article, but for now, suffice it to say that it’s possible and pleasurable to play along with someone on Zoom. It’s different than being in person — but you can also scale up = ie, 100 people can be playing along at once and everyone gets to play at the same time. Please someone start creating events where this happens — I will help make you happen! I’ve repeated this a few times — often just one on one as a way to keep practicing the guitar and singing.
  6. Ask Deep Questions: meetings for my local neighborhood community; a Jewish friends version; and a mens’ version — I may also employ this approach when I bring my high school class together for a reunion. One advantage of going this route is that you’re almost guaranteed to have a great time. It’s hard not to go into a room with 2 other people, and answer a personal question with strangers. The giddiness factor is usually high.
  7. Burning Man Singles! One thought I had was — why not go into various Facebook groups I’m a part of and create events within them. This was the first of those. Those who attended round one seemed to have a good time and a second meeting is planned — I may move this to a monthly event and I could see it building.

Thanks for reading thus far. A friend in one of my mens’ groups asked me how “all the events” were going, and it prompted me to write some of it down. I hope this will inspire you to try something similar with your friends, family or other peer groups.

Upcoming Events I have planned

  1. A reunion for those who attended Camp Galil (the labor zionist summer camp I attended in my teens). I’ve picked 2 sub-groups to invite 1965–1975 and 1975–1985 — which are time periods I straddle.
  2. 2nd Round of Jewish Friend Dating for Portlanders — one way to meet new friends!
  3. A meeting for those who want to talk about the future of Portland’s trees. I started a group called We Keep Trees Standing in Portland and Beyond — FB Group for Organizing a few years back. We’ll talk about what we’ve done so far and what we can do next to keep trees standing and get more planted!
  4. I’m part of a group called Quiet Clean PDX which is working to stop the use of gas-powered leaf blowers. The group has grown over the years and I’ve called a meeting for our newsletter subscribers and anyone else who is interested in this topic to discuss our strategies.

What I’ve learned so far

  1. There will always be hiccups with Zoom events. We have to just expect them and get better and quietly righting whatever has gone amiss.
  2. Sometimes you will throw an event and no one will come. Leave the room open for a while and note how that feels. It’s OK. Now, you are free to do something else. Sometimes you will throw an event and 1–2 people will come. You might want to throw what you had in mind out the window and just hang out together. Or, try what you had planned — you’ll love how intimate things are. You’ll probably have an unforgettable time.
  3. Everyone’s experience will vary. But the capacity for joy and fun is high — possibly a lot higher than what you’ve experienced on Zoom thus far.
  4. The more people who get good at making events online go better the better everyone’s experience will be. There are people who are great at training you to be a fantastic virtual facilitator. One person who I see doing this is Jan Keck. Check out his Virtual Facilitator Training. At least start following what he is doing if you are interested in this topic. If you read this far, you are now officially interested in this topic — get busy.

Thanks for reading. If you have thoughts, please leave them in the comments below. Thanks!

Albert

Addendum

  1. If you ever want to join an online event — go surfing. Head to Facebook events — find one you like and just join right in! I’ve done this a few times = fun!

A neat Richmond Tree A neat Richmond Tree

 

 

 

 

Virtual Memorials Run Well

Virtual MemorialsMaui Tree

In the past few months I’ve been asked to help with 3 virtual services. Here are a few of the things I’ve learned. If you would like my help with a virtual memorial please reach out.  

  1. Probably as with the rest of life, every virtual experience is different and none of them go perfectly. As much as you practice and prepare know that there will be hiccups. They probably do something to humanize the experience rather than put a dent in it. That said, mostly I’ve seen these events be really sweet experiences where people share what they loved about their loved one. Participants have come away surprised at what a lovely experience a virtual memorial can be. 
  2. Do hold a tech run-through – try out things like sharing the screen to show a slideshow and practice spotlighting people and muting people if it’s going to be a big group so that the main person speaking can be heard.
  3. Make sure that the main person who is overseeing the event understands well how to use Zoom or whatever platform you’re using. Also, ideally, hand this role off to a professional or at least not someone who is close to the loved one – so they can experience the memorial and relax into it. 
  4. Know that the event will probably go better than you can imagine. People will share in all sorts of unexpected ways. Every time I’ve run one of these I’ve noticed that the events have a natural flow and really seem satisfying to the people who attend. 
  5. Given that not everyone is an expert with Zoom, it makes sense to hold a short training session early on in the event. In this I highlight how one can change or add their name if they want to; how to use the chat feature; how to turn off one’s video so that connectivity is improved in some cases; how to mute oneself; how to raise your hand; and different ways of viewing – speaker vs. gallery view, for instance. As Zoom continues to change, so does the short tutorial. 
  6. Decide in advance whether you want to record the session or not – and perhaps let participants know if they’re being recorded. 
  7. podcast on the topic 3.28.21 led me to Memories.net

Testimonials:

“We hired Albert to help our family host a Celebration of Life Zoom service for my mother in law. We needed to get organized quickly and invited over 100 people to attend and share stories. We also wanted a live music element. Albert could not have been more skilled and helpful every step of the way. He pulled off a seamless event; and he was lovely to work with. We couldn’t be more grateful! Highly recommend using his services.”  
Thanks, 
Jackie
“Albert helped facilitate a virtual memorial service for my Uncle. It was such a relief to not have to worry about the technology during the service and to have his support for new Zoom users at the service. Albert has a solid understanding of Zoom’s setting and options and helped improve the event. He was kind and responsive and a huge help during a challenging time.”
Best,
Monica

From the Songwriter Soiree Website – some tips on using Zoom.

ZOOM TIPS

Using Zoom for the First Time? Here is a good INTRODUCTION VIDEO on how to join a meeting!

  1. MAKE SURE YOU ARE MUTED (you will be muted upon entry).

  2. Top right of screen: speaker view or gallery view – try those out.

  3. You can click on a person’s square and pin them – then you’ll see them big.

  4. At the bottom is a chat function – you can use that to chat with others individually or everyone at once.

  5. Zoom usually works better using a laptop or desktop over a phone – and on a computer it likes the Chrome browser. With a phone you don’t get all the bells and whistles you would get with the other devices.

  6. Please keep your camera steady.

  7. Confidentiality is important – and I’ll always remind people of this. No screen-shots, no recording. (unless there is consent by the whole group).

  8. If you come in late or don’t quite get the instructions, try your best to listen and follow along 🙂

  9. Scroll around on the screen and see what you see and teach yourself how to use Zoom. Like many programs – it works differently on different platforms. Don’t get hung up on the tech – notice who’s speaking and focus on that.

AUDIO TIPS – IMPORTANT FOR PERFORMERS!

  1. Use just one mic for both guitar and voice. Using more than one input causes phase cancellation of common frequencies.

  2. Before joining, make the following adjustments to your ZOOM audio:

  3. Go to your ZOOM preferences>settings>Audio. Uncheck “Automatically adjust microphone settings.” (test this out).

  4. Go to Preferences>Settings>Audio>Advanced>Audio Processing: Under “Suppress Persistent Background Noise” AND Suppress Intermittent Background Noise” Select “DISABLE.”

  5. Also check “Show in meeting option to “Enable Original Sound” from microphone. You will then have an option on your Zoom chats on the top left of the screen. Press “Enable Original Sound” during the meeting to use your sound setup the way you intended. Try it out first and have someone hear the difference. It’s a big one.

  6. Now you will see a button in the upper-left corner during the meeting, which lets your turn Original Sound on or off. We recommend you turn it on when you will be playing an instrument. You may need to turn it off when you are speaking or singing without playing an instrument.

  7.  Start your own meeting in the App and record yourself.   When you end the meeting, the software will compile a video that you can watch and listen to.  You will only sound as good online as that recording. Make audio input adjustments to reduce distortion and test again.

  8. Please consider doing a test beforehand with another friend using zoom to test your sound.

  9. Play around with volume and or position from the mic to get the best sound.

  10. What has worked well for many: Using a Mac audio interface for audio input with a good quality microphone with compression and EQ being applied through interface software. But use what you have! The built in mic can be just fine.

 

The Eleven, August 2014 – Beloved & Next Door (a new tool I’m ga-ga over)

The Eleven 8.2014

Hello, and welcome to another edition of The Eleven, my monthly e-letter where I tell it as I see it. If you’d like to unsubscribe, there’s a handy link below. And, if you’d like to know more about what I do for work, please click the “update profile” link below and join one or more of my biz lists that will appear!

Nextdoor.com - The Eleven

OK, first of all, I’ve been secretly and not so secretly giggling over my newfound love of NextDoor!  NextDoor is a new platform that is a super-local bulletin board. It allows you to connect with your immediate neighborhood (our cat is missing, is a common announcement (our cat actually is missing – come home, Scooter, we miss you!)). Then, you can also connect with the 7 neighborhoods nearest you. This makes finding others with similar interests (Spanish conversation group, anyone?) a synch. I have been waiting for something like this all my life, and I am very excited to share this with you and see what you think. For those of us wishing our lives were lived closer to home, this is a Godsend.

The Lucky Cock - The Eleven
For 3 years I lived at a big group house. Downstairs was The Happy Clam and upstairs, The Lucky Cock. Last month, the last folks who lived upstairs moved out and we had a great, sweet goodbye to our communal home. I had some of the best times of my life in this house on 13th and Hancock (thus, Alex Kain dubbed the house – The Lucky Cock 🙂  We had many great parties; lived with some close friends; and the house is a beautiful 1910 craftsman – a beautiful, historical Irvington house – a great home for all of us in so many ways. I’ll miss this house and the community we experienced there.
https://www.belovedpresents.com/
Beloved: Photo by Zippy Lomax

Last weekend, at the last minute, I decided to attend the Beloved Festival for my 7th year. I’m glad I did. It’s one of the most beautiful festivals I’ve ever been to – the music, food, people, setting (Oregon temperate coastal rainforest), dancing, art (lots of live painting), camping, community, purpose, (the porta-potties had Rumi and Hafiz poems in them this year!) and general evolved communication and connection – is a welcome change from how our society generally connects. I’ve often mentioned to friends that it’s also a “mens’ retreat” for me. It’s a chance to hang out with my men friends in a relaxed environment where we don’t have to be anywhere else – and so can hang out for long stretches – over a meal; watching some incredible music or going for a walk together. I don’t know, but somehow I find it hard to have that kind of ease with my men friends in the city. I applied to lead a mens’ workshop this year at Beloved, but the workshop was not accepted. I’ll definitely apply again as I think it would be a great addition to an already incredible experience. I could write a book about this year’s experience – here are some quick highlights:

  • Rafe Pearlman‘s Shabbat invocation on Friday night was like nothing I’ve ever heard before – part mystic, part kirtan – it was other-worldly and beautiful.
  • YogiTunes. They did some sound-scaping at the yoga dome which was delicious. I’m enjoying continuing to learn about them. Kristen, Ryan, and Jon R’s sound-healing offering were super-fine, too!
  • The fountains of green drink, oxygenated water, and vitamin C water were provided by Healthforce Nutritionals kept me dancing and hydrated all weekend long. In the food category, I was also elevated by Lydia’s Kitchen, Get Fried Rice, Coconut Bliss – you get the idea – delicious, conscious food, at a reasonable price, available all weekend long.
  • My friends. Their friends. The kids – bouncing all over the place and having the time of their lives.
  • the art – and especially all of the alters.  Annie and her crew were at the festival a week early to install dozens of little and big alters all over the grounds. They were beautiful – temporary – created by Nature and Annie Eshaia.
  • Here’s a nice collection of pictures that can give you an idea of what the Beloved Festival is all about.  I look forward to going back again next year – it keeps improving from year to year.
  • Oh yeah, I almost forgot – hanging out talking to Michael Meade for a while – definitely a highlight!
Work-wise, I’ve been going a bit lighter this August. Meeting with clients (feel free to refer people to me who are seeking to up their online presence through email marketing and social media!). I’ve got a couple of free classes coming up (see below).
Yeah, Summer! – heat, sunshine, friends, playing guitar, and being my activist self, too 🙂  Making sure friends are registered to vote (for labeling foods with GMOs in them in Oregon this Fall – to Legalize Recreational Marijuana here in Oregon this Fall, and more).  More on these issues this Fall.
I hope life is treating you extremely well. Rest, relax, and please take some time to have a Summer 🙂
Much love,
Albert

Upcoming Events

Getting Your Business Thriving with Email Marketing

Wednesday, August 20, 2014, from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM PDT

Getting Started with Email Marketing is the most cost-effective way to build your business – join me, Albert Kaufman, for a guided discussion about how email marketing works and how to get up and running. 8.20.14 – great inner NE PDX location.

Holladay Park Church of God

Social Media Marketing for Small Business Success

Wednesday, September 24, 2014, from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM PDT

Come learn about social media from a local expert, Albert Kaufman. This presentation is a guide for small businesses or nonprofits who have been using social media marketing but need some tips to take them to an intermediate level and/or add new channels to their marketing efforts. Heather Fulton, a social media expert, will also be speaking!

Uptown Billiards

 

 

My birthday is May 11th – garden celebration on May 14th, too!

Turning 50! birthdayMy 50th birthday is on May 11th! I am organizing some times and places to celebrate – join me in person in Portlandia if you can!

Wednesday, May 11th – Albert turns 50! No big plans for the day yet, but in the evening… Ecstatic dance at the Village Ballroom’s Mindful Meltdown Dance at Dekum and 7th NE at 6:30-8:30pm ($8-$12 I believe) – DJ Chris Browne will be spinning the tunes and I’m doing the “intention” – living a bigger, bolder life! Also, I’ve invited those who are also turning 50 this year to come and join in the fun – so if that’s you, please get in touch!

Afterwards, join us for dinner at Queen of Sheba Ethiopian Restaurant @ 2413 NE Martin Luther King Blvd. (note restaurant change).  We’ll gather from 8:30-10pm. Also, you can just come and join us and not eat, that’s fine, too. Yay!

Then, on Saturday, May 14th, come to the new Birthday Garden, 3rd and Hancock NE. From 9am to 4pm we’ll use shovels and other implements of farming to build up some garden beds, shovel compost and turn a big lot into a community garden. I could use some help organizing the day – need someone to fetch a bbq from SE and perhaps others to help create a rain protection system (big tent? Tarp?) in case it rains. From 4-6pm we’ve reserved the Common Grounds Wellness Center on 33rd and Alberta, NE, so 40+ lucky people will get to soak together which should be a blast. I’m still working out the details of food and drink and live music for the day, but things are coming together.

7pm, Saturday, May 14th, healthy potluck dinner and party at The Happy Clam – 1823 NE 13th Ave.

Albert Kaufman
1823 NE 13th Ave.
Portland, OR 97212
albertkaufman@gmail.com

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

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