Dec 28
The Laughing Squid Unholiday Party Posted by Laura Iriarte

December 27, 2008 – Last night I swam in a sea of squids and neon jellyfish. I went to the Laughing Squid Unholiday Party. It was great! It was MY kind of party – art and social media! Woo! I was in heaven!

Sometimes I go to these events not sure of who I’ll know there or who I’ll meet. It’s always been a pleasant surprise. I did see some friends as well as met some wonderful new people! I just love being a Social Media Butterfly!

The party was held at an as-yet-unnamed art gallery in San Francisco. It is a live/work space run by housemates Jeff Herzbach, Jessica Hughes, and Andy Fusso who lives part time near Mt. Shasta. Andy had on the most amazing knitted vest! It houses Venusian Gardens West, a showcase of wonderfully glorious Neon Sculptures by artist Eric Ehlenberger. The neon jellyfish were so beautiful and befitting of the Squid Party!

Our host and hostess for the night were Scott Squid Beale and Lori Dorn. Scott is known as the primary tentacle of Laughing Squid, a site and newsletter which promotes art, culture and technology from San Francisco and beyond. (If you live anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area, you need to sign up for this newsletter!) Even though it was held in an art gallery, the party was unpretentious. People were encouraged to bring leftovers and a bottle of wine to share. The vibe was friendly and even cozy. I met Lori Dorn for the first time last night – she was so nice and gracious, great people the Dorn/Beale’s.

It was nice to see Doctor Popular(artist and yo-yo champ), Irina Slutsky (reporter for Geek Entertainment TV), Tantek Celik(, and Kevin Rose(co-founder of, again.

In addition I met a lot of new people! I met Shelley Rae O’Conner(Shelley’s Place – A Place for Entrepreneurs, Creative Geniuses and others of Brilliant Mind!) and Info Diva(Independent Solo Renegade Information Pro)! Both were fun amazing women! They introduced me to Anna Billstrom(blog – Adventures in Email Marketing). I also met Lenore Edman(Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories). Lenore and I were dressed very similarly! Both of us were wearing dresses, mary jane heels and pearls! I also met Geri and Carl. She works for Adobe I believe. She had the most amazing necklace! Most importantly I met a kindred spirit – Trixie! We both love libraries and vintage! (Actually libraries were a repeating theme in my night) Loved her and her husband John’s style! (I know why now after I looked at their!)

Lastly, I met Violet Blue! I’ve seen Violet’s name and face quite a few times over the internet this last year, so it was really fun to meet her in real life. She’s San Francisco’s real life Sex in the City Carrie Bradshaw,an author, blogger (, and she was as sweet as can be.

We had a musical surprise mid-party! Two DJ’s had spun the night away, but then The Mark Growden Trio walked through the crowd with their instruments, set up, the crowd circled around and were swept up in their bluesy folky sultry sounds. Mark himself played several instruments as well as sings.

Quite a magical night overall!

For more magical pics of the night please see my flickr photostream here.

Did you read this far? Then please comment! :)

Another nice blog on the event -with a video of The Mark Growden Trio here!

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Dec 15
Amanda Palmer – Harlow’s Posted by Laura Iriarte

December 20, 2008 – I have so much to say-to share-where to begin? (Not to mention I need to remember to only space once after sentences as @markdavidson taught me. Old habits die hard!)

Okay, I am a FAN-in capital letters-of Amanda Palmer’s and The Dresden Dolls (of which she is also a part of). I wasn’t a FAN until after I saw them live, then I was. Since then I haven’t missed a live show in Northern California.

On August 6, 2008 Amanda Palmer played at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. Amanda started a new segment she called, “Ask Amanda” and fans were encouraged to write questions on slips of paper, and she would take a break in the show to answer a few questions. I asked Amanda, “Will you join” Amanda said, she didn’t know what Twitter was, but that she would probably look at it. Nothing happened for awhile, then one day she was there! November 28th! And she was planning a party on the internet! She’s done two “Party On the Internet” events, the last one was from author/blogger Neil Gaiman’s home! On December 11, Amanda held a twitter trivia contest for her fans. Amanda asked Amanda Palmer/Dresden Dolls trivia questions, and those with the fastest fingers and right answer won prizes! She hasn’t quite got the hang of micro-blogging, but I love what she is doing!

I feel like a proud mother! I, the Social Media Butterfly, an advocate for Social Media, feel like I’ve given birth to a Social Media Sensation! Amanda has embraced Social Media and taken it in brand new directions – just like she always does! I can’t wait to see what she does next!

This brings me to last night. Friday night/Saturday morning/afternoon I spent in the hospital emergency ward in excruciating pain with a kidney stone. Saturday night I went to see Amanda Palmer play. Why? Because she’s worth it, because I’m that big of a fan. That’s why.

Last night Amanda Palmer played at Harlow’s in Sacramento, California. I attended the show with my 19 year old daughter, Alexandra. Amanda has enlisted The Danger Ensemble, a performing group from Australia to perform with her, they act out and enhance her songs, it’s almost like a magical musical play! The show opened with Builders and Butchers, a band from Portland, Oregon. Builders and Butchers includes 5 guys and many instruments. The ended their set by giving out little instruments to the audience to play along with their last song. Alexandra loved them and I purchased their CD for her. Next was Zoe Keating. Zoe is the most amazing cellist. Zoe’s music is extremely complex and unique. She plays a few bars, then with a tap of her toe she loops that music. Once again she plays a few bars, taps her toe, and loops it again on top of the first! Then she plays over and under them both creating a room full of beautiful magical cello melodies. Zoe played solo, then later returned and played with Amanda on many of her songs, she also is a featured performer on Amanda’s new CD, “Who Killed Amanda Palmer”. Another performer who added much to the show was a violin player, who I believe was part of The Danger Ensemble as well.

At last we came to the main event-what we all had been waiting for-Amanda Palmer. A member of the Danger Ensemble speaks to us and tells us that he’s sorry but Amanda Palmer is dead and won’t be performing tonight, instead we will be having a wake for her. Amanda walks through the crowd covered in lace to the stage and is lifted up to the stage by the Danger Ensemble members. The crowd erupts and Amanda plays, sings, emotes, drinks red wine, talks, charms her way through the night. No one wants it to end and we chant until an encore is performed.

No one is like Amanda Palmer. No one. Amanda loves her fans, and they love her. She gives herself to us. She blogs-amazing blogs-full of humor and insights into her life and sometimes just life in general! She jots off notes to fans letting us know about new tour dates or videos posted. She signs them – AFP – which stands for Amanda F#$king Palmer. During her show Amanda talks candidly, during last night’s Ask Amanda segment when asked if she perfers pads or tampons, she shared she uses a sponge first, then non-applicator tampons to finish. We also learned that her current favorite CD is Teagan and Sara. After the show Amanda takes the time to meet and greet her fans, to sign anything you want, plus take pics with fans. Who does this?! Amanda F&%king Palmer that’s who.

Yes, we stayed after, and I was thrilled to meet Zoe Keating! And, yes, as always, to talk with Amanda Palmer!

If you get the chance to see Amanda Palmer, The Dresden Dolls, or Zoe Keating – take that chance!

To see more pictures and a few amazing videos, please see my flickr photostream here.

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(haha- it’s like a poem!)

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Dec 15
YouTube Live! Posted by Laura Iriarte

November 22, 2008 – This was the biggest best free show yet! YouTube held their YouTube Live event at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, California. Angela Chamberlin and I arrived, parked and were scooped up by a shuttle bus and deposited in front of a circus atmosphere!

Performers performed and mingled above, below, inside trucks – you name it! The amazing thing about this was that these people were not only performers, they were YouTube users. Another fine example of Social Media working in an amazing way. Bringing product and users together to interact, and bring the users and product to life.

I don’t know if you have had the experience of meeting someone in real life that you met over the internet, or maybe someone you were a fan of. It is so fun and exciting to talk with that person in *real life*, to be able to hear their voice and see their expressions and experience them in all their dimensions! I had this experience most vividly at the BlogHer People’s Party I attended earlier this year. I went specifically to meet the women I had become friends with on the Social Media site I’ll never forget it! The thing is – there were people all around me having that experience at YouTube Live!

As we walked around the venue we saw singers, beatboxers, acrobats, hula hoops, they even had the Guitar Hero World Tour set up in a tent where you could play Rock Band or Guitar Hero. Four artists were each painting a side of a giant wooden cube. Chad Vadar walked around and grumpily took pics with us. Skateboarders were skating. I can’t even begin to remember or explain all the things that were going on around me! There was truly something for everyone!

I saw Brad Wollack of Chelsea Lately fame, we also saw Hooman from Alice Radio, 97.3 and took a pic with him. While we were standing in line I ran into Mitu Khandaker, one of my social media friends. I was actually surprised with as packed as it was that I didn’t see more people that I knew?

Then, came the main event. Besides the talented performers and artists, the show had some big star power! Katy Perry,, MC Hammer, Akon, and Soulja Boy all performed. They even had the duo from Mythbusters there to perform an experiment! Once the show started it was non-stop! San Francisco Governor Gavin Newsom also stopped by to speak, accompanied by his wife, Jen Newsom -who was never introduced, they presented an award to Queen Rania. Queen Rania of Jordan accepted the Visionary Award at YouTube Live for breaking down sterotypes about the Islam and the Arab world by launching her own YouTube channel in March and posting videos and answering questions from viewers, keeping an open dialogue with them. Queen Rania accepted her award in a humorous way spoofing David Letterman’s top ten, titled Top Ten Reason’s why I launched my YouTube Channel.

There were two stages, the large main stage and the smaller stage. I was lucky to get quite a few great shots at the small stage! If you weren’t near the main stage there were 3 giant big screens that the show was projected onto where you could watch all the action. Viewers at home could watch the show streamed live on YouTube! And what a show it was as act after act poured out onto the stages! My favorite undiscovered act was Julia Nunes and the Ukulele Orchestra! Katy Perry was as adorable as ever, and I was thrilled to meet Jamie and Adam from Mythbusters!

Great event! I’m sooo glad I was able to get tickets! And they were FREE! :)

To see more pics from the event, please see my flickr photostream here.

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