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Friday, May 20, 2005

So, It's One More For My Baby, And One More For The Road

Sitting here at the coin-op internet terminal at the youth hostel waiting for the shuttle to take me to JFK for the flight home. It's raining, just the right weather to get me back into a Northwest frame of mind.

It was a great trip. The two and a-half days of meetings were extremely productive, meeting with my counterparts from the other 25 Equity Liaison cities, plus all the national councellors and assorted and sundry staff from the other office cities. The union does this every three or four years (although I'm told it's been six since the last one), and this is the first time the Liaisons have been invited to attend. Evidentally, it was worth the effort and expense, as I've been informed that everyone was so impressed with our input that they now plan to include us for every such future meeting.

We spent most of the time talking "big picture" issues: how can we increase the ability of our members to secure work, forming strategic alliances with the other performing arts unions, whether and to what extent we should get involved in political activities, what's our current financial state, how's our health care plan working -- those sorts of things. The Liaisons are forming up our own communications pipeline amongst ourselves, as it became pretty clear during our meeting on Sunday that many of us are trying to invent wheels that are already attached to moving vehicles in other cities, and so why not take advantage of our collective brain-power?

Also, for the first time in the union's history it was agreed that Liaisons should be able to sit on standing committees, something previously limited only to Liaisons who were already elected national councellors. As a voluntary, democratically elected representative system, that's a pretty big step, and one that indicates a willingness to open the process even more to members outside of the Big Three Cities (NYC, LA & CHI). I had the honor of being the first non-council Liaison actually appointed to such a committee, and the Liaisons will collectively recommend some additional appointments to a couple others, once we get our group email system set up in a few days. Pretty exciting stuff, all things told.

Although the meetings didn't leave me a lot of free time, I did elect to stay for a couple of additional days to "see the sights", which given the sheer size of this town is woefully inadequate. I've seen five shows in six days, and walked countless miles through most of Manhattan's neighborhoods; from the Upper West Side to Tribeca, Soho, Chelsea, Greenwich Village, the East Village, Chinatown, The Bowery, Midtown, The Theatre District, and who knows where-all else during the course of the past week, and gotten to see the city from a resident's viewpoint to a certain extent. Didn't set foot inside a single museum, gallery or other major cultural institution, simply because I knew that spending five or six hours in any one of them a.) wouldn't be nearly enough time to do it justice, and b.) that it would mean missing some other event, activity or place. So, walking seemed the only reasonable alternative.

Chances are most people reading this have been to New York at least once, so you-all probably know what I'm talking about, but I did feel like I did as much as I could reasonably expect to do given my time and budget limitations (which I greatly exceeded -- my US Bank Platinum card is even now keeping my backside all warm-'n-toasty), but it was worth it. Well, except for that rather overpriced, underrated "breakfast" I ate at Lindy's last night (stick with the cheesecake, and you can't go wrong), and Tuesday night sitting in the hotel bar watching BOTH the Mariners and Sonics lose, but otherwise, I have to say it was a great trip.

Now, for the long trip to the airport for another two hour plus wait, and then the long flight home.

See ya' later NYC. Here's hoping we'll meet again someday.

Posted byCOMTE on 9:25 AM

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