The life and times of Copywriter, Steve Taylor.
You’ve earned a #power up! #SuperMario #NES #Charlotte #streetart #starpower
This past weekend was all about getting to know the people of Charlotte a little bit better. And after two back-to-back sporting events, I was hyped to see if the weekend could maintain such a high level of excitement. As I came to find out, not only was it possible, but that’s exactly what happened.
Friday, I participated in my very first 5k. Held by Free More West, the “5k on the Greenway” offered everything from great food, live music and even pre-race yoga. While I’m always happy to support a good cause, I wanted to test out my recent transition into healthier living as well. In the end, I finished the course with a time of 28:43.9. I’m not sure if that’s good or not, but I don’t think it’s too shabby for a first-timer. After I crossed the finish line, I chatted up some of the other participants and told them about #TGAA. Everyone was really impressed with the project and told me of their own adventures in return. I also got wind of an event taking place the next day, which immediately struck my fancy.
This leads me to Saturday, when I attended the “Charlotte Smokeoff: Amateur Backyard BBQ Championship” at Unknown Brewing. I’ve always considered my stops in Charlotte, Memphis and St. Louis to be the trifecta of barbecue, so I was overjoyed to finally get a taste of what the Carolinas have to offer. The scrumptious bites of pulled pork, smoked chicken and habanero mac n’ cheese did not disappoint in the least. After pushing my limits the prior evening, it was a welcomed change of pace to stuff my face with delicious local fare. I like to think that you can’t truly know a city, until you’ve tasted its food. So, needless to say, I have a better—and more filling—understanding of Charlotte now. In between the samples, I even managed to talk with some of the pit masters about sauces, smokes and cuts—you know, normal stuff.
After an entire week of new experiences and unexpected outings, I decided that Easter Sunday was best spent resting up and reading in the nearby Freedom Park. I did cap off the evening by catching the movie Draft Day though. I absolutely loved it and even got a little homesick while watching it. Truth be told, I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day, or for that matter, a more beautiful week.
Just one day after joining members of the BooneOakley team for a Knights’ game at the new BB&T Ballpark; I had the distinct pleasure of tagging along once again for the Bobcats’ final regular season home game. Not only that, but for the first time in my life, I got to experience it all from the comfort of a stadium suite. I don’t think I ever understood the appeal of watching a game from the confines of a hotel-like room, but I get it now. It was luxurious, hassle-free and downright relaxing. I made sure to savor every single minute, because you never know when an opportunity like that will ever come around again. The Bobcats ended up defeating the Bulls in overtime, so the night ended on a joyous high note too.
While I had a great time with the BooneOakley team, the occasion itself reminded me just how important camaraderie is to the agency dynamic. You can’t build a successful team, without strengthening the relationships that hold it together. I’ve seen it at every agency I’ve visited thus far. BooneOakley does it with events like this, Red Tettemer embarks on annual retreats, Recess Creative hosts a variety of shindigs, and so on and so forth. Sure, you have to keep the business end of things running smoothly with traffic and status meetings, but these less formal get-togethers are crucial for boosting morale, re-establishing the agency’s culture and most importantly—having a good time.
This is an incredibly hectic industry we work in. And I believe it’s an agency’s responsibility to not only foster great work, but to also nurture and stimulate those who help create it. I’m not saying every agency has to go out of their way with some elaborate gesture, but I know for a fact that every creative in the world appreciates an opportunity to cut loose every now and then. Of course, the occasion can’t be forced either. It has fit the culture. Throughout my career, I’ve been apart of several such events. Some of them were hard to stomach, feeling more like a middle school dance than an agency get-together. But some of those I attended were so delightful, I couldn’t help but brag to my friends the next day. In the end, it doesn’t have to be something spectacular, it just has to be something enjoyable and real.
What I’m trying to say is that agency life can be tough. It’s the frequent cause of sleepless nights, hectic weekends and pre-mature grays. But it’s also a place where we can meet life-long friends and find our true callings. So, the next time you’re looking for plans, why not ask the person sitting next to you? Strengthen your relationships with co-workers and encourage your agency to do the same. When you can call the people you work with “friends” the results will always be positive.
I had such a wonderful weekend and hope everyone else did too.
Saturday afternoon, I ventured into the city only to discover that the NC Music Factory is not where I thought it was. For whatever reason, I believed the multi-club venue was located within Epicentre. Turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s actually located on the north end of town, near the campus of Johnson & Wales University. I’m not exactly sure why this didn’t register during my numerous visits to Epicentre, but what can ya do? So, I made the long trek north and arrived just in time to catch comedian, Doug Benson. He put on a great performance and it was the perfect way to kick off an amazing evening.
After the show, I ventured back to the apartment and got ready to grab dinner with a hometown friend. I treated her to some grub at Pinky’s and we even decided to share a pitcher of margaritas. If you can believe it, this was my very first time ever drinking a margarita. I have to say, they aren’t bad. After dinner, I headed back into the city and joined a few of my BooneOakley co-workers at Connolly’s on Fifth as we said good-bye to departing creative, Curtis Petraglia. It was great to sit down and chat with everyone outside of the office for a while. The topic of the evening was #TGAA and it was very humbling to hear of everyone’s continued interest in the project. It truly was a wonderful time.
On Sunday, I headed away from “Uptown” toward Charlotte’s Historic South End. I was really excited to check out the area, because the neighborhood website touted their many local shops and boutiques. I’m happy to report that it did not disappoint. From Black Sheep Skate Shop to the Atherton Market, it’s all about local flair in South End. The entire area holds up as an historic district as well. It’s almost unbelievable to find such rustic charm, so close to “Uptown”. Next, I decided to continue even further south—following the Blue Line—and discovered a plethora of new residential developments, shops, bars, restaurants and stores. It’s easy to see that the rail is playing a big role on growth, which is inevitable when you have fast, reliable public transportation nearby. I also found very cool areas such as the Design Center of the Carolinas. All in all, the whole journey was full of unexpected and exciting finds. South End Charlotte is definitely worth a visit and goes to show just how diverse the city’s suburbs are.
On a final and random note, I’ve come to notice that sidewalk advertising is very popular in and around Charlotte. I’m not exactly sure why, as this isn’t a very foot traffic heavy city, yet I come across them all the time (You can see a few in the image above).
Also, how good was the new episode of Mad Men? I loved it.
I feel like I’m at #Coachella. #Charlotte #art #uptown
A beautiful day in #Charlotte. #Friday #tgaa #sunshine #spring
BooneOakley continues to surprise me with each passing day. Whether it’s the number of friendly dogs roaming around or the casual demeanor of the office, I feel at home here. I guess you’d call it “southern charm,” but I’m not even sure if Charlotte really considers itself a part of the south. Nonetheless, the team here has a much different vibe than those I’ve encountered in my previous four stops.
It all started to hit me on Monday, when my colleagues discovered I had walked to work in the pouring rain. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good stroll in the rain, but I really misjudged the light drizzle, which soon became a full on downpour. As soon as they heard of my journey, nearly everyone in the office volunteered to drive me, if ever faced with a similar situation again. It began to register in my brain that this unsolicited kindness wasn’t a one-time offer. Since I first stepped foot through the doors of BooneOakley, I’ve been met with positive attitudes better suited for Disney World than the ad industry. You can honestly tell the people here love what they do, who they do it for and who they do it with.
The sunny dispositions aren’t regulated to the office either. From the Movie Theater and barbershop to Target and Trader Joe’s, I’ve encountered kindness across the board. I’ll admit it’s a nice change of pace—albeit a bit shocking—after living in New York City for four years. Now before anyone gets up in arms, I’m not saying the people in NYC are bad. In fact, I love them. Life up there moves a lot quicker than it does in Charlotte, so it makes sense that everyone is always in a rush to get somewhere. I’m just saying it’s a different—and refreshing—change of pace to experience it.
As for the weekend ahead, I plan on checking out NC Music Factory on Saturday to see comedian, Doug Benson. And on Sunday, I’m going to venture away from the city for once and check out Charlotte’s Historic South End. I also discovered that my brother gets into town this weekend. It should be pretty cool, as I haven’t seen him since Christmas. He’ll also have a car, so I’m sure he’ll be nice enough to drive me a few places.
Lastly, if anyone has a good taco joint recommendation, I’m still hunting!
Thanks for the idea, Grace!
A pretty accurate depiction.