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no room for hipsters

the occupation of Ashley and Levon

Ashley got the job at the Grey Dog’s Coffee.  She’s 1 for 1 as far walk-ins go.  I won’t tell my ratio, but nevertheless we are both gainfully employed in our “bridge” jobs.  


rival coffee shop baristas


My Starbucks manager and everyone he has hired is obsessed with Broadway.  It is all that is talked about: what show they watched and when they started crying, what tickets they have coming up, predictions for the Tony’s, etc.   The manager introduces me to everyone as “Levon, who just wrote a musical.”  The truth is, I’m working on a musical that is about the first few years of Ashley’s and my life together while being conforming, silly people.  My musical theatre knowledge is lacking, so I keep quiet and take notes around these people.  I know what I know from the shelves of the Knoxville Public Library, but I think I’m in the right city now.   

I walked Ashley to the subway stop at dawn in Harlem to make it down by Union Square for work at 6:30AM.  It will hopefully be a great job for her.  In her interview, they told her that they want everyone there to be really good at whatever else they are actually trying to do.  That is the key to the Grey Dog being cool, and priority goes to people’s artistic commitments.  I want to run a business where the strategy for making my environment authentic is telling everyone “do a good job for me for me when you’re here, and we’ll take the second seat to what makes you you.  

Starbucks, which is cool kind of like underwear is cool (because you need it sometimes), has its own philosophies.  Amidst some of the deepest corporate BS I’ve ever treaded in, my favorite is their claim to be the “3rd place;” the place between home and work where people interact (and buy caffiene, fat, and sugar in pretty packaging).  This term’s insertion into the Starbucks manual, or should I say “green apron book,” is like Walmart bragging because their cashiers are locally employed.   

the green apron book

the green apron book


A brief tutorial from Wikipedia because third place is worth staying on the subject:   

The third place is a term used in the concept of community building to refer to social surroundings separate from the two usual social environments of home and the workplace. In his influential book The Great Good PlaceRay Oldenburg (1989, 1991) argues that third places are important for civil societydemocracycivic engagement, and establishing feelings of asense of place.

Third places are “anchors” of community life and facilitate and foster broader, more creative interaction.

In other words, your neighborhood Starbucks.  Be sure and go green with a double lined, non sweat, reusable see-through mug for your iced double mochas this summer.  $12.95 at what we call the “impulse counter,” where, well, I’m sure you know…

I may need to shut up.  

My second piece of the day was a meeting in central park with a guy who’s assembling a band for his upcoming tour.  I’m rehearsing with them on Thursday and playing Friday and Saturday at the Living Room as their keyboardist.  He found me on Craigslist, which we both swore we never check, and the weekend is sort of my audition before we start going all over the country.  I don’t really want to get into all of it here until something materializes, but I’m ready to do my duty for rock and roll if I am called to do so.


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