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The group of Motor City Kossacks who met at Pasquale's in Royal Oak last Sunday, June 1st, were ready to work. And we sure did, making excellent progress on NN14 Host Committee projects.

There are five different areas we are currently developing. If you're in SE MI, please take a look to see what you could join that requires local help. But if you're not, there are still tasks that you can undertake. Please read on to see where you can fit in.

Task # 1: Local Outreach*
LOCAL (Michigan) residents are especially sought to help with circulating publicity to Democrats in the area who may have no idea what Netroots Nation is or why it would be worth their time and money to attend it. Thanks to our practical GwenM who thought of this idea, we have several folks planning to visit local Democratic Clubs to promote attending NN14.

To help with that outreach, we have a wonderful one-page flyer designed by Mary Rickles with all the necessary information. If you need a copy of that PDF for your own outreach efforts, please drop me a Kosmail with your email address, so I can send it along to you.^

Of course, this PDF is also ready to distribute online--so even if you don't have clubs or meetings to attend, you can still help spread the word.

Quality MUCH better in original--PLEASE request the PDF rather than attempting a download.
But if you DO want to visit some local groups yourself, so much the better. In case you want some help for your introduction, provokingmeaning will be writing an "elevator speech," which will also be available through me.
Here is the list of Democratic Clubs for which we have coverage already (dates in parentheses):
        11th CD (6/21)
        Birmingham/W. Bloomfield (6/18?)
        Canton
        Huntington Woods (6/22)
        Livonia (6/12)
        Northern Macomb Co. (6/12)
        Northville (6/16)
        Oakland Co. (6/10)
        Plymouth (6/19)
        Southfield
        West Oakland Co. (6/17)
    
Please contact me to let me know which one(s) you will visit yourself. I'll keep track so we don't duplicate efforts.

*While one of the features of this promotional PDF is the information about the discounted registration rate for locals, it's still a great piece generally, putting on one page all the appealing aspects of the event. So non-locals might find it helpful, too.

^A photo is the best I can do. Trying to upload a PDF to the DKos Image Library did not work when I tried it.

Task #2: Metro Detroit Tours
This is a tough call, because there is so much to see, and relatively little time. Most folks at NNs don't want to spend much time away from the convention itself, and even if they do, it's hard to predict when.

But there are still some ideas in the running.

We'd like to prepare a list of places that would be worth the visit (distribution of such a list to be determined), including location, hours, admission, etc. We're also thinking it would be a good idea to have some walking tours ready to go at a pre-set time and location.

Ideas for all of these are still in flux. If you have some thoughts/resources to share, please drop me a Kosmail. Open to everyone, I should say, not just Michiganders.

Task #3: Insider Guides
Yes, we all know that there is a wealth of information about downtown Detroit's restaurants on line and in print. But that's not the same as getting the skinny from someone who can tell you something interesting, or politically correct, about places to go (or avoid) in the heart of the city.

If you'd like to help out by writing some short, pithy descriptions of your favorite places, please let me know. Remember, just about everyone reading them will be out-of-towners, so you won't have to worry about them losing their secret cachet.

Task #4: ProgressNow Hospitality Lounge
Hoo-boy, this is a big one. I should probably stop saying that. Except that it's true.

Veteran NN-goers will remember the Lounges from years past--the place to sit and chill out, in the middle of the Exhibition Hall, when you need to recharge your electronics or your feet. It's up to us to help put that space together, with comfy seating, convenient tables, and everything else we think we will need to relax.

We have a floor plan to fit into; we have a budget; we have some deadlines. We still need someone to visualize it all, and to lay it out.

Some strong bodies to move furniture in and out will help, too. In particular: we will have MOVE-IN on Wednesday, July 16, starting at NOON. Then, the break-down starts at 5:00 on Saturday night, July 19, with complete MOVE-OUT by 11:00 Sunday, June 20.

Please contact me if you can contribute something to this project. NB: For some of this, it is NOT necessary to be onsite in advance.

Task #5: Newbie Orientation
Some of us in metro Detroit, and a few of us on the NN14 Host Committee, have been to every NN/YK to date (or close). But that is NOT the case for most of us in the area. So perhaps that's why we're rather sensitive to the issues that newcomers may experience when they arrive for this huge, often overwhelming event. For some of us, there are reasons why we're online so much; large groups of people are just.too.intense. (This applies to people who HAVE been to other NNs, for that matter.)

It's a fun event if you feel like you know what's going on. It's a fun event if you have people to connect with. Not as fun if neither of those is true.

In honor and support of those who don't take to enormous gatherings of people like fish to water--but who come anyway--we'd like to build on NN's own efforts to help newbies get acclimated.

To date, our specifics are limited. We're working on an early Thursday morning orientation for first-timers. We hope to be able to have a Motor City Kossack area of the Lounge staffed with locals and/or NN veterans, at least for the first day or so. We'd like to have a list of FAQs we can answer and then share.

That's where you come in: If you've been to NNs before, what do you wish you'd known before you went the first time? If NN14 will be your first, what do you anticipate needing most to feel capable of getting the most out of the experience?

Send me your thoughts, please, in the comments below or via Kosmail.

Also, if you think you can spare an hour to be a designated welcomer in the Hospitality Lounge on Thursday or early Friday and Saturday, please let me know that.

Now, please join me on the other side of the fleur-de-Kos for some food pr0n and other lovely photos from the actual meet-up. Plus, a poll about when and where our "pre-NN14 orientation for locals" should happen.

We met at Pasquale's, a familiar meeting place for us as a group, since we met there once before, to watch Pres. Obama's second inauguration there together. It's on Woodward, truly the main drag for this part of Metro Detroit, and in case one wasn't sure how to find it, once one gets close there's no missing it:

The sign marks the spot.
Pasquale's is not a fancy or pretentious place. But they have consistently good quality, excellent service, and familiar menu options.

We tried several; the appetizers are particularly good.

Delicious antipasti choices...
spinach and artichoke dip...
and calamari.
Yes, you do see a document off to the side. This was a working meeting, after all.

We had other Pasquale's standbys as well, including

Garlic bread...
caesar salad...
and one of my particular favorites, which I only now discovered to be vegetarian,
minestrone--the best I've ever had.
Don't think of that song~!
A couple of us did get traditional Italian entrees, such as the obviously delicious plate of spaghetti and meatballs (all beef) pictured above, which did start out with two.

But others of us shared what is deservedly the item upon which Pasquale's reputation rests: pizza! (Now, I know someone else on Daily Kos is also a fan, because there's a tag that says, "Pizza at Pasquale's! Yay!" Alas, I can't locate the referent.)

Pepperoni and mushroom pizza, in the middle of being devoured. My personal favorite, apart from anchovy and green pepper.
The very best aspect of our shared meal, of course, was the company. These Kossacks rock! They're impressively well-acquainted with Oakland County and Michigan Democratic politics, and we had a fun discussion of who's running where and why. Plus, the group members volunteered to take on A LOT of different tasks. What a blast! Can't wait till we're all at NN14! (Yes, you too, you know who I mean.)

Here's one trio:

gregsullmich, provokingmeaning, and DoReMI (l to r)
And here's another:
dkmich, SharonRB, GwenM (l to r)
(Brainwrap and I happened to be camera-shy this time around.)

We will need to meet as a working group at least once more, at a time and place TBD. I suspect the most important task requiring a face-to-face meeting is the Hospitality Lounge planning, so be forewarned.

However, the poll that follows is NOT intended to ask about a date/time for a working meeting, at least not primarily. Instead, it's to see when those in the area who plan to attend NN14 can meet ahead of time. The idea is to get to know others in advance, so one does not have to arrive at NN14 without knowing anyone else except your own online persona. So, when shall that be?

Please feel free to suggest locations in the comments.

You'll note that the 4th of July weekend is not in the poll; I assume that makes sense to everyone. If you feel otherwise, please say so in the comments.

These polls often return ambiguous results, rather like an 8-ball. So please understand if there's some compromise necessary.

Many, many thanks to all the NN14 staff, Kossacks, and members of the NN14 Host Committee who have gotten us this far along. There's more to do, but we're making steady progress.

Otherwise, the floor is open.  

Originally posted to Motor City Kossacks on Sat Jun 07, 2014 at 06:45 AM PDT.

Also republished by Michigan, My Michigan.

Poll

When should we have a pre-NN14 get-together for folks in the area, centrally located in metro Detroit?

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| 2 votes | Vote | Results

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