As Communiqueters began to trickle into the Zombie suite on Thursday from various points across the country, we threw open wide the balcony door and indulged in the sort of sunset you can only see over False Creek. Amidst the wine glasses and nosh platters at the reception were spontaneous and plentiful hugs, passed freely amongst much-missed old friends and well-met new ones alike.
It quickly became evident that the nature of this gathering had changed from the beta version one year earlier, the first indication of how the group had grown being the challenges of finding a place for dinner among the many (but tiny) restaurants along Davie Street.
The Banana Leaf turned out to be an inspired choice. Although a chain restaurant whose initial appeal was its ability to seat us, this Malaysian restaurant with the sassy saronged waiters was a treasure trove of leaf-wrapped goodies and suggestive drink names, all of which were shared with reckless and joyous abandon. To quote one particularly quotable Communique participant: If Jeff was going to get a disease, he would have picked it up when we all shared his woo-woo last night.
Despite the woo-woos, we were all fresh as daisies for Friday morning's foray to the final day of VIFF for the screening of Andrew Bird: Fever Year. Essentially a tour documentary, the film was a particularly inspiring and introspective look into the creative mind of this enigmatic musician.
For most of us anyway. One Communiqueter, who favours the metal sensibility, did not join in the collective murmurings of how we were inspired by the passion, obsession and intensity we had just witnessed. I guess you could probably call "OMG that was the most boring thing I have ever seen!" a dissenting opinion.
As the merry group of Communiqueters grew, we stopped to fortify ourselves with some rather sketchy sushi. We should have been suspicious of the quality of the offerings by the fact that it was an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant, but it did make for some interesting discussions around the table, as we tried to determine (a) what the hell is that dish, (b) did we really order that.
A brisk walk to Granville Island for some, an aqua bus trip there across a distance that I would normally swim for others, found us in that wonderfully mixed mecca of rampant commercialism and esoteric arts. There is one spot on Granville that I have always loved - a small corner just off the harbour, tucked in behind an artisan shop, cement truck grounds on one side, the vast span of the Granville Island bridge stretching overhead, dwarfing the weeping willow trees that surround the pond. I always have to stop to soak in the juxtaposition of industry, nature and commerce when I am there.
Despite losing people, we found the tasting room of the Granville Island brewery; in spite of missed communications, we discovered the perfect market delicacies for the evening's pot luck in the Zombie suite.
The potluck evening proved to be a wonderfully eclectic mix of personalities and professions. Happily, "tech god" seemed be the most prevalent profession of the gathering, because you can never have too many tech gods in a room, in my opinion. We didn't really need any ice-breaker games at this point, but there were door prizes to be awarded, so we played ice-breaker games by god.
It was the most egalitarian of evenings. And it set the stage for scavenger hunt day. Details most certainly will follow.