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Friday, July 11, 2008

Puzzle of the Week: Block Party Organizing

OK, friends, I've gone and done it. Put my foot right smack in the middle of block politics. I had a nice thing going here for almost four years, but now here we go.

So Jay-Z's aunt has been in a tizzy about putting together a block party. (She really wants to do it so she can have a big blowout birthday party for her own daughter, but she put her self-interest aside enough to move it into August rather than July and make it a back-to-school event, since Chavez starts so early--August 4 this year). The lady at the end of the block who has organized this in previous years wanted to do it in August, which I had said "sounds great" about back in June. I tried to reach Block Lady before we went off to the alderman, but we didn't connect. So we went earlier this week and got petitions. If you don't have an organized block club you have to gather petitions to get a block party permit.

So Auntie has been out getting signatures. She went to visit Block Lady last night and they ended up in a shouting match. (Let's just say I saw that coming when we didn't talk to her before we went to the alderman.) I saw Block Lady this morning and tried to patch things up a little. Though she seemed mollified, her point to me was we are on our own for getting this thing done. She'll advise, but whatever stuff she used to get she's not getting. "You're gonna have to pay for this yourselves," she warned.

This annoyed Auntie no end. However, she is under the mistaken impression that the city will show up with lots of hot dogs and back-to-school goodies for the kids. (We will be lucky if we get a fire truck and a jumping jack, especially on three week's advance time. I need to find out if we can get hot dogs from our state rep for cleaning up the block. That may be possible.) Auntie does realize we will need to solicit donations, and she's got time to pound the pavement, which I don't.

I will hit the street tonight to try and recruit some help getting food and other goodies donated. I will also be asking around for recommendations for a good DJ: one who will play music that crosses ethnic and age preferences in musical taste.

If any of you all are veterans of block party organizing or have tips on where to get good free stuff, especially school supplies--or a good DJ--please comment!

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