The Plug Party
| On December 15, 2009 The Plug celebrated fifty issues of unique taste by hosting a party at an Atlanta bar (Kavarna). The party began at 7:30 PM. When nobody had shown up by 8:00 PM, I felt defeated. I have never been successful at attracting a crowd.
A few weeks earlier, I had received an email from a woman named Wendy who was planning to travel to the party from Columbus, Ohio with her boyfriend, Adam. True, I wanted guests at my party, but I didn't expect anybody to actually take me up on the offer. Wendy asked for advice about nearby hotels, and it worried me that she and Adam would travel all that way for a potentially lackluster party. As Patti said, "They might make up 20% of the audience."
"Are you Wendy?" I asked.
"Yes," she replied.
I was genuinely shocked. These people drove 568 miles to acknowledge that they read and enjoy a website. Plus, they came bearing gifts: an Ohio t-shirt and chocolate peanut-butter candies called Buckeyes. Plug contributor Tracie Masek, who was born in Columbus, says Buckeyes are the best thing that Ohio has to offer, but I didn't have to take her word for it. Patti and I and even the bartenders at Kavarna ate Buckeyes and we hummed with pleasure. Having Wendy and Adam present was one of the greatest highlights of producing The Plug over the past seven years. They are much braver than I, and for that I am thankful.
Party guests slowly trickled in, like Plug contributor Jason Royal, who always brightens a room. My only plan for the night was to play records, chat with friends, and eat some cake. About that cake...
The Plug has a long history of cake writing articles. I like to think that piping messages to customers' loved ones brings joy to cake decorators. If nothing else, it gives them something to talk about at dinner. I thought it would be fitting to have a cake decorator pipe an outline of the iconic Plug toaster for the party, but the cake decorator didn't cooperate. She used edible ink to create a facsimile of the toaster which looked great, but I was hoping for something that looked more homemade and shitty. You know, like the website.
Incidentally, I can read your mind. The cake was vanilla with cream cheese frosting, and it was fantastic.
The soundtrack for the party was created by those in attendance. Guests were encouraged to bring vinyl records to the party. It created a one-of-a-kind Frankenstein mix-tape that really tied the room together.
In the corner of the bar, I set up a merchandise table with a a mountain of freebies (zines, postcards, stickers) and site artifacts (the Plug toaster in the flesh/plastic, mini ship in a mini bottle, a Jay voodoo doll). Contributor Cat McCord worked overtime to create free toaster magnets and hairpins. They looked amazing in and out of people's hair.
Another item that garnered a lot of smiles was The Plug Certificate of Awesome-ticity. I was so appreciative that people chose to spend their Tuesday night with a guy like me that I proudly awarded certificates to:
Elliott & Meta
Adam & Wendy
The Woman in the Orange and Black
The guest turnout may not have been huge, but The Plug Party was fun and lively. Three beers and three hours later, Patti and I said goodbye to our new friends, Wendy and Adam.
Patti's parting words to them were, "That guy on the internet, that's not Jay."
She was right. The curtain had been pulled back and I became a regular guy without the mystery. An avoider of eye contact with a nervous stomach. A mumbler who is unable to speak a sentence without saying "awesome." And a man who has closure to the past seven years of my life.