Friday, February 20, 2009

Creativity Cafe @ Children's Interactive Expo 1998 - My Saga & Last Hurrah in SF!

Dear Sharon,

It was wonderful to spend some time with you after all these years
and to learn you are connected with the Conscious Creativity Folks --
whom I will visit in LA. Congratulations on up-leveling your web
site. Creativity Cafe's site sure needs a makeover too!

Since you mentioned Ft. Mason... I thought you might like learn
about my Fort Mason experience. I had designed and produced a 200
computer Creativity Cafe Edutainment Center installation for the 1998
Children's Interactive Expo:

It was my last CCafe production in SF after five years of trying to
ground the vision of Creativity Cafe there. FYI, I was screwed out of
the fee I was promised by the producer: a rather sour ending to end
my 20 years of dedication to a dream. I came back to where I am now
in Maui to lick my wounds and recover.

Don't get me wrong, there were many successes (and friendships made)
along the way and loads of failures, but I carried on in spite of it
all, trusting the vision that remains so clear as the writing on my
wall will unfold in its own good time. I have given up for the
moment, trying to push it into existence.

My life in SF began in 1994. I had flown into Los Angeles from Maui
-- and shipped my van over to drive up the coast, knowing I would
need it for the five years I would be in San Francisco. I had given
myself twenty years to manifest Creativity Cafe or forget it, and
this five years was the end of the run: making twenty years of
dedication to the vision God has planted and is perfecting in me.

Unfortunately the ending was as rough as the start! Perhaps God was
trying to tell me to shuck all the passion, drive and feeling of
right time/place'ness of my being -- and of my life's investment in
serving Earth's Creative Spirits (everyone)? I don't think so, but....

Before leaving Maui, I had signed up to attend IBI in Long Beach
where I had to go to pick up my van at the docks and where I slept
during the training. Three months prior, I had finished the week-long
Creativity Cafe/KidCast for Peace: Solutions for a Better World
installation at the SIGGRAPH Convention at the Orlando FLA.
Convention Center (that took 6 months of planning).

I carried/shipped 3/4 of my gear from Hawaii, stopping into my SF
office to pick up more technology and set dressing before hauling it
all to Florida and then back to my San Francisco office to do the
C.I.E. event at Ft. Mason.

After the IBI training and after making great contacts at the
Digital World Convention -- the very place our V.A.R.I.O.U.S.
membership had designed and built the very first Creativity Cafe
prototype at FutureWorld Expo, I drove up to San Francisco in my van
-- that had been my mobile home for the last year on Maui. Only, I
didn't make it... immediately. The drive shaft fell out that had been
repaired by a service station on the mainland as soon as I'd landed.

I was on a do-or-die-mission to manifest Creativity Cafe, the last
five years! I had just borrowed $4K to do the IBI training in
preperation for success and then my Dodge Tradesman Van died just
before Bakersfield, but that is another story. (I had to wait three
days in sweltering heat, with my nose to the air conditioner of a
flea-bag hotel room, for my friend 180 miles away in LA to find and
deliver a new drive shaft). I was shafted for sure as you will soon

Sill my passion persisted despite all obstacles and set backs (and
bad backs) given the foundational idea behind building a network of
networking venues is so compelling, i.e. to have a local place to tap
into, extract and apply collective community creativity --- for
personal, community and public (global) benefit/problem solving
goodness -- while providing educational services to the public in fun
and friendly ways.

Since education is key to any progress we -- as a society might make
in "watering" our future leaders and since institutionalized learning
is unable to keep up with rapidly changing times/technology/spiritual
growth/evolution, I jumped at the opportunity for doing *** yet
another *** Creativity Cafe installation, this time at the Children's
Interactive Expo at Fort Mason, for little more than sweat equity (it
turned out) --- in the hopes of a permanent facility being borne out
of my work that the Expo CCafe demonstration project would present:

It turned out to be my SF swan song. I had worked so hard for three
months in planning/coordinating/executing the Children's Expo project
(beginning the moment I packed up from a most magical SIGGRAPH
experience and week-long CCafe installation) -- but that is yet
another story).

I was promised $3K... that never came. I was not paid a cent!!! The
show opened, I had done the work and installation and now when I
asked the producer to come through with her end of our agreement, she
said "sorry, no money!" You might imagine how pissed I was and how I
went off on the producer big time -- the opening day of the show!

She claimed to have made no money (surely true) and told me her sob
story and said "sorry, I can't pay you." Imagine what that did to my
psyche -- after three months of dedicated effort and back breaking
labor to support her project. I had to threaten to tear down our "new
school" myself and two volunteers had produced for her. She had
played me so well, I didn't ask for money up front. The prices we
artists pay for portfolio pieces!

Documentation from other installations can be found here: http://

I will be checking your ATMA site out more but I noticed (in sharing
the link with some friends) that you have already made mention of me,
thanks :-)

BTW, I will be posting a letter from a comrade in arms who concisely
spells out some key concepts in our shared vision. I will be meeting
with her on the East Coast and report. Thanks for meeting with me.
Sometimes a friendly smile is all it takes to keep one in the game.



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