Emerald City Artists Finding Greener Pastures

July 12th, 2016

Recently, reddit had a post about the end of Decibel Festival, an annual electronic music festival similar to Austin’s SXSW. In its 12-year lifespan, I have participated as a patron, a driver, and press. Although cobbled together at times, it was an event unique to Seattle and right up my alley musically, socially, and culturally.

DB is going away because the guy who ran it found a better opportunity in Los Angeles. I think he should have handed it off to a local, but either way his move is part of a larger trend. Tangentally, a redditor responded to the post with a Seattle Times article about why bands leave Seattle.

As someone who considered a move last year, I could relate to the sentiment of this article (although it focuses on musicians and not artists in general). It’s not just the tech boom pushing out lower-income talent. The loss of inspiration, feeling like you’re doing the same 5 gigs over and over… you want to see what else is out there.

Then again, people also come back. As I learned during my trial runs in other cities, there’s a solidarity among artists in Seattle that many other cities don’t have. I like that most people out here get the joke and can offer feedback beyond, “Oh you’re doing a different thing. That’s neat!”

As we experience this time of enormous growth, I think the broader question is whether the culture will grow with it. People fall in love with Seattle’s rarities and move here, but only a small percentage seem to give back in a way that fosters that uniqueness. We’ve done a good job luring in some of the brightest technical talent. How can we do the same with creative artistic talent?

I know I’m not the first to ask this, and I won’t be the last. I may add to this post later on. I may try to create something. Time will tell!

Updated FAQ on Rates

June 28th, 2016

I usually get asked about rates after a big appearance (like Pride, which was awesome again this year). I don’t list rates here, which “forces” people to email me. I know it’s an inefficient process. As the sole owner and operator of the car, this layer of communication helps me plan and get to know you a little better. The BDH is one-of-a-kind and irreplaceable. (I mean that literally. If something happens, I am not going to make another one.) To that end, I need some assurance that you’re going to respect me and not trash my car. Part of that filter consists of how willing and easily you communicate with me before the date of your trip.

So, to that end, here’s my canned approach to rates. It’s a work in progress. I will probably find better ways to word things when I come back to it.

The rate depends on your party, where you’re going, how long you want to be there, and other fun stuff. If you’d like a ride, please email me at kat@dreamhearse.com and tell me what you have in mind. You don’t need to nail down all the details, I just want an idea of what you want so I can tell you if it’s feasible and help with planning. If this is way too personal for you and you just want a big car to take you somewhere, you’d probably prefer an Uber or regular limo. Unlike those companies, I am a person, and I want to connect with the people enjoying my artcar with me.

You’re in the Right Place

May 3rd, 2016

I’ve put my website on the back-burner since I’ve been getting most of my clients through word of mouth and social media. It doesn’t help that WordPress, BlueHost, and web standards are changing faster than the street view of Capitol Hill.

I’m trying to do a million things at once… some of them hearse-related, some of them not. Thanks for your patience, and thanks for contacting me at kat@dreamhearse.com with bookings and love notes.

Taken last weekend on the first day of Viadoom, here’s proof of my perfectly functioning existence:

Penn Cove Musselfest on Whidbey Island

March 17th, 2015

I bought a ton of leather cleaner and conditioner awhile back, but I still haven’t used them. :-/ Although I love my hearse very much and am very happy it’s mine, I’m not as energetic about maintaining it as I was when it was new to me. It’s normal to adjust to the life and possessions to which you’ve grown accustomed, but I’m kind of feeling guilty about it. Maybe that’ll motivate me to do something!

The weekend before last, I joined some other art cars for an event on Whidbey Island called Penn Cove Musselfest. It was a fairly average street festival with live entertainment, great food, and nice people. There were about 10 art cars, and it got me excited for the Fremont Fair. That’s coming up this summer, and we usually have art cars from all over the country drive in. It’s always a lot of fun, even if the weather doesn’t cooperate!

January Round-Up

February 1st, 2015

What a great month for the BDH! After ringing in the new year like a boss, it was time to get rolling. Despite my continued lack of online presence coupled with some new real-life responsibilities, I still managed to pop out of the garage frequently for a winter month.

First, I drove these kick-ass SPU ladies around Queen Anne for a birthday party:

Then I spent an evening with a bunch of cute gentlemen for another birthday:

(To the one with the Ford who said he’d drive me around for a night: *makes call-me sign*)

I’m also back into my routine with the Junior League committee, Life Skills for Teens. Here are some of the great girls I drove this month:

After that ride, the fun didn’t stop! My day-job was having a shindig at Anheuser-Busch, er Elysian, so I stopped by to say hey. After driving to the Capitol Hill location to which I am accustomed (we all make mistakes), I was helpfully guided by a cow orker to the newer, correct location downtown. That’ll teach me to read my email too fast! Anyway, here’s part of our awesome web properties team hanging out:

Lastly, as part of our super Seattle software start-up’s recruiting effort, I used the hearse to hand out Binary 12th Man t-shirts and rally towels before the big sports-ball game. We posted up near Amazon, Microsoft Tech-Ready, and some Pioneer Square companies for maximum pwnage. Although the Seahawks lost the game, Seattle is winning the war on cool places to be!

View ALL the pictures!

What Happened to My Facebook Profile?

December 1st, 2014

Thanks for asking! Even though our mighty Facebook overlords deactivated my personal profile a little over a week ago, I’m still getting asked this question so I figured I’d use my own website to talk about it. This is an oddly novel concept now, considering you can almost pinpoint the month that I joined FB by observing the decline in posts to this site.

You could say I got lazy, busy, or a combination of the two, but you’d only be half-right. The real heart of the situation, a topic of many social media-related articles, is the huge increase in instant feedback I got from every FB post versus my blog posts. No one wants to visit a site, read the equivalent of a printed page, and write a comment. Many people want to scroll through a feed of photos and one-liners, hit the “Like” button, and move on to the next thing. Thus, the lengthy descriptions of my adventures in hearse land were replaced by pictures, short quips, and #hearstworldproblems.

But who cares, right? The reason I joined FB and other social media was to get people talking about the BDH. How I do that shouldn’t matter, since the ends justify the means.

Well… yes and no. Now that you know I’m still alive and kicking, what follows is a story of my tumultuous relationship with social media and why I’m on the fence about reinstating the prevailing medium that I display my online self.

Looking back to the technological dark ages of the early ’00s, I joined Fark and Friendster, mostly to give me a way to look busy at a computer at my heinously under-challenging tech job. Fark is a news aggregation site that still runs itself like a simple BBS. (I’d say that’s part of its charm.) Although the Fark community is comprised of some awesomely weird people, its structure was nothing new.

Friendster, however, set the format for many of its social media descendants. Its purpose was to put real people in touch with other real people. The platform was straightforward and intuitive, so naturally I wanted to break it. In addition to my real name, I registered an account for Buddha, a dining room set, bored hipsters, Homestarrunner’s The Sneak, and more. The fake friends and their funnies came rolling in. Among my friends were the color green, a cigarette, and Kelly Osbourne’s ass. Now I’m having fun!

Fun was my only goal, so when Friendster banned my ISP no one cared, including me. My real account had been wiped out with all my fake ones, but I had strong roots where I was living at the time (Austin, TX). People were much less reliant on social media 10 years ago.

If Friendster was the tyrannical grandfather of social media, MySpace was its free-wheeling son. “You don’t have to use your real name!” people told me excitedly in order to persuade me to join. (I don’t think this is the case anymore.) I was still a late adopter, and for all the good it did me, I wish I was a non-adopter.

The Friendster hijinx were a fun experiment, but I was tired of it. I had also found a new job in California that was more interesting to me. I had no reason to join MySpace, but I did so anyway under the guise of keeping in touch with my Austin friends. Ironically, I used MySpace more often after I returned to Austin a year later.

All MySpace really did was give people a way to stalk each other. Who’s friends with who? More importantly, who isn’t friends with who? What does that backhanded comment on my friend’s page mean? Why is this person contacting me? Et cetera. I knew it was a complete waste of time, but I couldn’t look away. The increasing amount of drama in my life probably would have still happened, but MySpace did a splendid job of helping it along.

When Facebook opened its gates to the ivory towers, I remained steadfast in the hell-no camp for years. I was living in a city where I knew almost no one (NYC) and then moving to another city where I knew almost no one (Seattle), so I should have jumped at any chance to connect with people. I still don’t think FB would have helped me in the way I wanted it to. I was determined to continue forming real, substantial friendships instead of superficial online ones.

I didn’t, and still don’t, understand how one makes the leap from a collection of pictures and blurbs to a friendship. Something has to be there already, and an online connection just helps keep it going. I remember receiving a physical LSU Freshman Facebook the summer before I began college. I didn’t want to be in it then, either.

As you see, I succumbed. Once I completed the BDH, I felt like I finally had a reason to be in the modern interpretation of a social network other than “look at me, another special snowflake!” (“Modern” meaning post-Fark. Even though I post less than I used to, I’ll always be a Farker.) I had made something unique that I was proud of and I wanted to share it with anyone who would like it. To guard against the same self-defeating patterns I experienced with MySpace, I vowed not to post anything outside the realm of Barbies, Hearses, and the occasional Dream. Some Seattle topics were okay, too.

Did I keep my promise? Well… yes and no. I say that I succumbed because I started to use FB for its intended purpose. I joined some groups, spent some time reading my feed, “liked” things… all that shit. If ever I found myself lingering on someone’s profile, I reminded myself that my FB account is for other people to look at me, not for me to look at them.

Believe it or not, I stayed the course in that respect. In place of all the self-defeating MySpace creeping, I was racking up friends and likes and general support for all the events I was doing, and even getting invited to more. While studies have shown that most people who use FB excessively are less happy because everyone’s lives appear better than theirs, I was the exception proving the rule: My life looks awesome because it IS awesome. Everyone thinks I’m great and hooray for me.

Oops, now I’m a giant fucking narcissist.

I heard FB recently changed their terms again and also began cracking down on profiles that don’t represent real people. As if everyone who decides to use their real name are being 100% truthful online to begin with. It doesn’t matter what you choose to call yourself, we all present an image that we want others to see.

Anyway, the BDH is a person, place, and thing, and I want to use the internet to convey that in the most friendly, honest, and interesting way that I can. Perhaps this post isn’t doing the trick. However, it has been festering in edit mode for awhile, so I’m going to make it live and possibly edit some more as the spirit moves me.

Sorry for the abrupt (non)conclusion.

Steamroll the Barbie Dream Horse

November 27th, 2014

Thanks, Bukharin! (Much more coming soon!)

Out of Hibernation (Maybe)

May 3rd, 2014

After our first (really) hot day of the year, people all over town are silently retreating indoors in response to the returning rain. Since I’m here, I wanted to write about what a pleasure it was to assist the Junior League of Seattle Life Skills for Teens committee with transportation this year.

The committee focused on creating programs for teenagers in the foster care system. While it’s great these young ladies had a place to go do something productive with their evenings, the JLS committee leaders received the feedback that some of the girls were uncomfortable riding cabs home at night and found it a bit creepy. What does it say about our current taxi system that people find it to be creepier than riding home in a customized funeral coach?

Anyway, the girls got to ride in Seattle’s most unique limo, and I got to have a reason to leave the house on a Thursday. I suppose many reasons exist, but “meh, I don’t feel like it” often prevails.

For those of you not following me on Facebook, here are some pics of the girls having fun in the hearse!

Can We Keep Doing Halloween, Please?

May 3rd, 2014

I’m sure it’s obvious by now that Halloween is my Christmas, so I took Friday off and gave myself a long weekend of festivities. Working on Thursday barely counted, since Halloween is a big deal there and costumes are almost a requirement. Finally, some mandatory fun that’s actually fun.

After work, I drove a party to the KUBE 93 Haunted House. (If you go to the site, watch the video. It’s pretty well done!)

While my customers went through the house, I hung out with the man in charge (who happens to play the creepy clown in the video in the link above). He was super nice and took me backstage to see how things worked and meet some of the actors and actresses.

After that, we went to a bar in Georgetown and I yikkity yakked with people outside. (Seriously, I’m not going to drink on the job!) I also ran into one of the first people I drove when I brought the hearse back to Seattle. Man, does time fly!

Say “HELLO” when You See Me

September 27th, 2013

To those of you who saw me in front of the Crocodile last night, congratulations on your uninhibited curiosity and ability to use Google. You are a gentleman/lady and a scholar (particularly if you have used Google in the past to conduct research for scholastic purposes of some type). I hope this site answers all of your questions and entertains you as well!