Blog media dinner at Bastille last week

· Blogosphere

Though it’s sure to annoy Stavros, I have to say I had a mighty fine time meeting face-to-face with a bunch of smart webloggers and new media types last Wednesday, February 18.
Susan Mernit invited me (and blogged about it in Navigating the Info Jungle). J.D. Lasica co-hosted it (and reported on it in his New Media Musings blog). So did Deeje Cooley, whose name I know from Bloggerjack.
J.D. also took pictures.
They had sent out teasers about who might come (via email), a prominent no-show from maybe list was Anil Dash (dang! I still haven’t “collected” him or the Trotts in person yet – I promise not to claim as acquaintances anyone I haven’t at least met in person or collaborated with).
Dinner was at the Cafe Bastille, a bistro in San Francisco’s Belden St. alley:
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I got there on the early side and found D.J. loitering upstairs. Susan was already getting people introduced and settled and Craig of Craig’s list was there. He is always interesting to talk to, very thoughtful and patiently wise. He has more than a little of the air of a bodhisattva about him, although he would no doubt humbly dismiss the suggestion. Craig and I exchanged a little email when he started blogging. I was pleased to hear his voice, since Craig’s List seems to be imbued with his personality in its ethos. He has mentioned before that having his name on the community grounds it somewhat that way in the humane (those are my words, but I think I have the sentiment right).
We spoke briefly at Seybold last fall when Craig patiently stayed around after his dry presentation on what he has learned from cultivating Craigslist to answer questions and hear from well-wishers. I also saw him to wave at at the Dean campaign’s San Francisco grassroots summit last October. It was nice to be able to chat with him and others at length without the sense of passing in a large crowd.
A lot of my photos caught people looking away or candidly talking to each other. In this one, Craig is talking to heathervescent, with Tom Mangan (whose blog, Prints the Chaff, is named after the punchline of a joke about editors) in the background and Deeje Cooley looking on:
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I’ve been reading Susan Mernit’s Navigating the Info Jungle blog now since I first became aware of it sometime last year. She is one of those people who comes across very genuinely in her blog, so meeting her was very reassuring. She was exactly how I had imagined her, very warm and engaging face-to-face. I look forward to a chance of really sitting down and talking with her at length. As a host of the party, she did a good job of sharing her attention fairly, but I want to be selfish sometime!
I also can check Peter Merholz off my big list of digerati I’ve met. He does own up to blog, his bastard coinage, but his real claim to fame is as an influential information architect, and it was a treat to meet him in person. In the pictures below he and Susan are talking to Kevin Burton of Newsmonster:
Susan Mernit, Peterme, and the Burtonator
Merholz laughing
Kevin’s another guy I always enjoy talking to. I’ve seen him at the last few blogger evening events, like the Joi Ito dinner last November (was it?), and at the Atom dinner when Mark Pilgrim and Sam Ruby and Joe Gregorio were all in town at the same time. I forget exactly when that one was, but that was the first time I met those guys, Marc Canter, Don Park, and a few others. They weren’t there this time, but Mark Graham from iVillage (and IGC and the Well) was another person at both of those events the Atom dinner and the blog dinner last week).
I was really pleased to see George Kelly again. I met him at one of Gwen Harlows Ladies (and Gents) who Lunch affairs last summer. What a great guy. There’s something very charming and real about George. He’s an incredibly sharp dresser too. I envy his threads! He was the first to blog about the dinner and has a downright scary picture of me, the red-in-the-face German Irish imp, I am.
Caught George turning away in this one (also Mark and Nina Davis) in candid poses:
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Over here is the fellow who co-founded the Red Herring, no doubt plotting a new scheme for world domination with his co-conspirators (names?):
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Here’s Mary Hodder talking to Heather:
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Mark Graham keeps his eye on the camera:
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Phil Wolff holds court with Deeje and Tom:
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I took one picture of Heather talking to Stuart “Skype Me” Henshall that I promised to destroy (and I have). Then I took this nice one in which both of them are all smiles:
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We went around the room introducing ourselves, which was a good idea. Did anyone take notes? So many interesting projects mentioned that I’m sure I can’t remember them all now. At least two new social network software launches were soft-announced.
There were three books in the works mentioned, at least. J.D.’s “dark net” book sounds intriguing. Dan Gillmor is writing a book. He was elegant as always. He always seems extremely “together.” I’m afraid I was sort of goofy around him (but I always spell his name right). Also my book.
It was nice to see Mary Hodder again and I’m not sure it’s cool to mention how suave and glamorous she looked, especially after two weeks straight of jetting to and from conferences, given that I haven’t commented on the looks of the men in attendance.
Very cool to meet Art McGee, who works with nonprofits. George teased him about not having a blog yet and about me having too many blogs.
I told a lot of people about Flickr.
I updated my orkut friends afterward (adding merholz, graham, mcgee, ma, among others).