Lotus Uprising

Backyard Buddha

Over the weekend I attended a wonderful event that I wanted to share with you.

It was called Lotus Uprising, and was part yoga class, part dinner party, part house concert.

Here’s how the organizers describe it:

On a Saturday around 6:00pm  you converge with about twenty other people who seem like your kind of crowd.  You lay out your mat, grab some cucumber water, and start breathing deeply.  You practice yoga outside as the sun goes down set to music crafted for the occasion. You love the teacher. This is your kind of class.  Luminaries light the edges of this scene, and smells of natural foods waft through the air.  You sweat out your stress.  When the class ends, you change clothes, or maybe you don’t.  Either way you feast upon a delicious vegan meal that restores your strength.   You didn’t think vegan food could taste this good.  You sip on the wine you brought over good conversation, and then the band begins to play. Everyone listens to the music.  You can dance if you want to. After the set ends, you walk out the door with some new friends.  You feel good and it’s only 10:30pm.  The night is young and full of possibility.  Your world is expanding.

l to r: Jamie Gahlon, Colin Brightfield, Erin McCarthy

It was a super evening, and everything was just perfect. It is not normally the kind of thing I would find myself doing (for starters, I love me my beef) but from beginning to end I found myself thinking about what a good time I was having.

Part of what had me so enthusiastic, I think, is that this entire production was completely do-it-yourself, bootstrapped from a simple idea tossed out in conversation six weeks ago.

Yoga teacher Colin Brightfield, vegan chef Erin McCarthy, and producer Jamie Gahlon are friends who were sitting around one afternoon and someone had the idea of doing something like a “yoga party and vegan mashup.” This quickly became Lotus Uprising which is much more than the sum of its parts. It is an experience. By attending, you buy into the idea of having this experience, which includes community, yoga, mindful eating, and supporting local music.

In six weeks, the event was put together, people were invited (and responded). The event came off. People paid to attend, and some percentage will attend the next one (July 9). They will tell friends. In other words, from nothing, Lotus Uprising is now something. Proof-of-concept has been demonstrated.

More and more, this is how creative things come into being now. Someone has an idea and — instead of trying to sell it to a gatekeeper like a record company or event company — they go ahead and implement it using free or almost-free tools. (Just think about all the artists who are writing songs and just performing them to a cameras and posting them on YouTube. Like Justin Bieber, though his first video was a cover.)

Lotus Uprising, to me, is of particular interest because it is a a completely different category of creative product. It is a hybrid event (yoga, food, music). It would have been impossible to sell . . . yet 20 people paid $40 to attend. That doesn’t make someone a living, but it more than defrays the cost of putting on the event. So the idea is pulling its own weight.

I look forward to what Lotus Uprising has in store next. The band that played last weekend was a local band called The Woodworks — they played a reggae-infused pop — and it took place at a private home. The band on tap for the next one is a bluegrass band, and the location (I am told) will be a rooftop in the city. There are also plans to hold one in another town sometime. The trappings of the idea can change from event to event, but the core (yoga, food, music) is the organizing idea. There is a lot of room in this concept for growth. It is elastic.

I hope to see you at the next Lotus Uprising.

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