The Mississippi DeafFest 2013!
Just a little (maybe not so little) blog about my weekend over yonder in Jackson, Mississippi. Such a neat lil town. I was enlisted by the Mississippi DeafFest folks to take photos of the event on Friday evening, May 3rd and all day Saturday, May 4th. They loved the logo and poster that I had designed for them, and they wanted me to take photos, too. Why not? I got to meet lots of new people and it was a great experience!
Checked in at the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel in Downtown Jackson (formerly King Edward Hotel), got changed and met up with other performers: Warren "WaWa" Snipe, John Maucere, Paul Raci and Levi Anderson, Clay's twin brother. (The Andersons don't live in the same state, yet they knew how to put on a show. I'm starting to wonder, did they rehearse for their show using ESP? Hmm…)
Once the limo arrived to take us to the event, I rode with the performers again and I took this picture. (I totally had to.)
After arriving at the Jackson Convention Complex, I finally met Dana Campbell in person. She and I had been discussing back and forth on logo for the Deaf Dash and she got me the photo gig, too. Here she is, with Sandra Edwards, the superintendent of Mississippi School for the Deaf. Lovely ladies!
And of course, I went right to work, taking photos of the first performer of the event: Windell "Wink" Smith, Jr. He and all the other performers used ASL (American Sign Language), even in music concerts. Definitely Deaf-Friendly!
I was already laughing after the first photo I took - it's nice that I can take photos and watch him perform through my viewfinder.
And then there's Keith Wann.
He was hilarious, too! It was a neat experience, hearing his and Wink's stories.
Later on, John Maucere and Paul Raci came on stage and did a lot of skits. Some of you may remember John as the guy who interpreted "America the Beautiful" (sung by Jennifer Hudson) and "The Star Spangled Banner" (sung by Alicia Keys) at Super Bowl 2013. I had heard about him but missed him signing on TV, so I was thankful for YouTube the next day. I thought that was really neat. Little did I know I was going to meet him just a few months later. I definitely enjoyed his work with Paul Raci on the stage!
Went back to the hotel and I wondered if I was ever going to get up on time the next morning. The Mississippi Deaf Dash 5K event was to start at 7:30 am. Luckily, I woke up in time. But I had to eat. I had to. So, with only ten minutes to spare, I was eating a delicious and hearty breakfast at the hotel. Cereal, Waffle, Bacon, Fruit, Eggs and Orange Juice. Yup, it was worth eating all that food because I was going to be super busy the next few hours…. It was definitely a smart thing I did.
Walked on over to Jackson Convention Complex from the hotel (it took 5 minutes - not bad) and there were folks signing up for the 5K outside the building.
Got to see my Deaf Dash logo on t-shirts everywhere. And oh! The DeafFest logo on balloons, too. Yes, I do get excited over the little things.
Here are a few pics of the marathon - it was really neat to see the runners cross the end line. And gain a medal. (Oh, yes, I designed the medals, too…)
I also caught a glimpse of my poster artwork being used on this huge Jackson Convention Complex outdoor sign. I couldn't believe it. It was marvelous.
Once the Deaf Dash event winded down, I went inside the complex. Meeting lots of new folks and taking photos of lots of booths, kiddie moonwalk and more performers taking the stage all day.
The Anderson Twins were the first performers of the day. Guaranteed to make you smile, no matter what. I tried not to laugh while working. It's kinda like drinking on the job. I needed to pay attention, and act professional. That didn't work…
Matthew "Magic" Morgan, the emcee for Friday and Saturday, was great - he kept things light and fun in between performers' gigs. He also did a few magic tricks here and there. Left me stumped - he truly is a great magician.
Up next was K. Crom Saunders. He told a few stories which had a dramatic feel to it - definitely different. He was pretty mesmerizing!
Took a mini lunch break and got to meet more new folks. It was nice taking a break from carrying the camera (with bracket and flash bulb attached) and the 50lb (or felt like it) backpack. Visited with my friend Tyler and her newborn daughter, Aurora. Tyler and Brad were previously living in Houston, where my husband and I got to know them. She was the one that got me the logo gig and for that I owe her big time. I was glad to see her after so long!
Time to get back at work and it was Magic Morgan & Liliana on stage. I often asked myself, "How is that trick even possible? How??" It was entertaining, at best. Once, I went to a magic show with a friend and everyone but me were laughing. I didn't know what the magician was saying so I was really frustrated. Magic Morgan & Liliana was quite the opposite. I truly had a great time! It was exactly what I needed.
Then Peter Cook took the stage. He got a lot of folks in the audience involved. He (and his facial expressions) were really entertaining!
Finally, the concert portion of the event began with WaWa of Slyki Entertainment. He was really upbeat and got everyone dancing to his songs. He is one of the most positive guys I have ever met. He sure bought joy to everyone at the event!
Then of course, last but not least, Sean Forbes (http://deafandloud.com/). He is pretty known in the deaf community and has had a couple of music videos aired on MTV. Forbes, Mark Levin and Jake Bass rocked the stage, big time. Fun concert, indeed!
After concert, I snapped away some more "after" photos. Got Instagrammed with a few performers, too...
Once the whole thing winded down, it was only 7 pm. I put the camera in my backpack, walked back to the hotel and ordered a pizza. I could go out for dinner, but after working for pretty much 16 hours straight.....the idea of wearing pajamas and eating pizza in bed, with tv on…sounded PRETTY heavenly to me.
Had a hearty, delicious breakfast at the hotel, once again, the next morning. Then it was off to my friend's I go, to visit......and to nap from time to time. Flew back home the day after, feeling amazed by the wonderful experience brought on by the entire event. I plan on bringing my husband with me next time, for sure!
A HUGE THANK YOU to: Amanda Parker, Dana Campbell, Brad and Tyler Porche´ and the rest of the MDF 2013 Committee for the wonderful opportunity! It was a huge honor having designed the logos and poster and taken photos of the amazing event! ANNNND thank you to all the performers for constantly making my face hurt from smiling hard. - KCD