Packing List.

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Today, we take off on a seven week tour, which, by the end will result in 25 Bar Institutes in 25 cities with over 100 classes, more than 200 drinks and thousands of new members of our always growing community. But, right now, those numbers are not the ones on my mind.

Right now, at this very moment, the most important numbers in the collective Lush Life consciousness are the dimensions of the back of this van. Somehow, we need to fit all of our supplies, bar tools, clothes, gear and banners (not to mention Blake’s PopTart supply) in the back of this thing in the next 24 hours.

Much like anything, this will become a prioritization task. What can’t we live without? What can we edit? Do we each need our own personal polaroid camera? (Obviously, yes.) Can I fit seven weeks of clothes into a single duffle bag? (Shockingly, also yes.) 

But, of course, this is a thinly veiled metaphor (you already caught on to that right?). We had to apply the same lens to all aspects of Bar Institute Econo, because when you jam econo, there just isn’t room for anything except what you really need.
Classes were pared down to the essentials. When we started building curriculum for each stop, we had comprehensive wish lists of 20+ classes, each highlighting the skills and brilliant minds of the people who make up their communities and surrounding areas. But, with only four (and sometimes five) time slots available, we had to get picky. We had to whittle down that list. Ideas we loved were moved to our consideration list for Bar Institute New York or Toronto. Occassionally, bar class concepts were sidelined in the interest of integrating social justice work, which has served as a focal point in our planning and will ground our events from this point forward. At each stop, we endeavored to balance bar technique with ownership and management coursework. We invited well known and respected presenters to join brilliant new voices. 

That is curation. Leveraging limited time,  limited space. To sift through and select thoughtful and developed concepts that fit the larger vision while also serving the guest who chooses to attend the singular class. 

Curation does not come without its complexities. As I mentioned, we had to defer a few classes that do not fit this very specific program. And, some were cut because we simply ran out of time. But, that is really only the beginning. The role of educational curator in an industry with few formal training channels offers me a priveledge I do not take lightly. It is, without any doubt, my responsibility to make space for more people-regardless of their race, gender or the relative fanciness of their bar. I have no interest in starting a diversity panel or writing a paper on the topic. My only interest is in starting the work and encouraging you to do the same. We’ll be talking about that much more on the third leg of the tour later this month, but expect it to be a recurring theme whether or not it’s the official focus. But, for now, let’s get back to the dwindling space in this van.  

After we pulled three bench seats out, the full bar set up (including coffee gear, induction hot plates, an entire milk crate of Jello Shot fixins and the entire Cocktail Kingdom catalogue) went in. Then, we loaded the projector, the screen and all of the AV gear. Our clothes went next. We each limited ourselves to one duffle bag- each of which is smaller than the suitcase which is carrying our zine clippings and supplies. Jamming Econo offers us as much as it takes away. By limiting ourselves to this van and committing to only use what this van can carry means we have to rely on ourselves and our community. Our ingenuity and creativity will be on full display if for no other reason then we have nothing else to hide behind. 
So, come join us. Be a part of what we’re building. We made room. But, if you want to get in the van, you better be mindful of what you bring along. Make sure it’s not just useful, but vital. Make sure it’s contributing in a real way. Make sure it pushes you to shine. 

All right. It’s time to get in the van. See you on the road. 

#barinstituteecono #wejamecono #getinthevan