Suzette “Director of the Arts” a spunky, high-energy artist with a smile as loud as her beautiful personality and voice (when she sings, sounds just like Jade from Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros, really!!.) Hearing her shout your name across a crowded room makes you feel special when you realize it’s you she’s calling out to, even if it’s just to share one of her many knowing, silly looks, a wink or her captivating smile. Her paintings are a direct reflection of her vibrant, happy Soul. She decorated our signage, menus and tea tent with her own creative flare and if you ever tell her that something is black and white or in the grey…she’ll grab her paints and show you just how colorful Life really is proving it’s just a blank canvas waiting to be created upon.
Rosie “Head of Housekeeping and Security” is a sweet, insta-lovable and very cute Australian born sister who’s grand and special smile are as contagious as tea itself. She’s one of the hardest workers you’ll ever know whom has a sense of initiative and preparedness that can only be innate. Rosie is someone who defines the meaning of service simply by being who she is. Her beautiful finishing touches were found all throughout the tea tent from perfectly designing a rainbow color theme in our pillow lounge, keeping clean tea cups stocked and ready to adding her decorative flare here and there that were constant reminders that Rosie had been there and had been taking care. As soon as we saw Rosie wearing her utility belt strapped with a garden blade, walking around with a “take charge” swagger we couldn’t help but also give her the role of “head of security.”
Daruka aka Daruka Fracca Lucca “Guru Gangsta” is a strong, steady-spoken, gentle-man whose love of structure, serves as a perfect balance between work and play for him. He is a walking enigma as he humbly struts around oblivious to his own paradoxical nature that leaves people feeling mystically interested, but also genuinely down to earth around him. Our Spiritual Gangster, we called him as he’d leave us hanging with these comical one-liners that were a combination of humor and wisdom. Dropping a line, then walking out like it was nothing but normal conversation for him. His lingering presence in a room caused deep laughter coupled with the same depth of insight that made us feel like equals among someone whose life experience and wisdom thereof renders him an elder among us.
Rich “Human Resources” He’s an affectionate, kind, soul-journer nomad who lives out of his vehicle traveling to and from wherever his desire for strong community pulls him. He is someone you immediately feel comfortable with upon meeting.
He came in like a fireball rolling through the tent screaming “FREE TEA!” Jumping over our guests and disappearing into the festival. Then, he’d return to us later rolling in on a wave of deep, sophisticated calm like a roaring fire that’s gone quiet allowing it’s community to rest peacefully around it. Understanding both extremes of energy, Rich was perfect for handling the staff’s issues from needing personal, cuddly affection to inter-department debates, on site substance use, the occasional threats of being fired ;), and our Tea Tent announcements.
Gregory “Photographer” He’s observant by nature, so with or without a camera he was always looking through his own lens. Never off the clock as you could catch him looking around, soaking up the essence of a person as they walk by or the atmosphere of a room he sits in. Greg is also a highly metaphorical, insightful fellow whose love of photography goes hand in hand with his current studies in psychology. He’s sweet and affectionate that lets others know they are fully accepted among him. Greg is also genuine, smart and honest in a way that is as pure and innocent as a child admitting to taking the last brownie, even if it means admitting it was him who took it.
Em “Head of Delivery and Errands Excursions” is as generous as they come. Always happy to share. Happy to help. Happy to give of whatever is needed or wanted in the moment. Em is there. She imbibes the softness of a woman whose compassion runs so deep it emanates from her kind and understanding eyes. She is someone you can talk to anything about and receive a listening heart and comforting hug in return that make you feel like your worries have been swept away. Her light-hearted sense of adventure is combined with a clear focus that makes you get shit done without feeling like it’s work. She puts care into everything she does, and whether it goes noticed or not, makes no difference to her, she’s simply Em being Em.
Candace “Light Saber-Hula Dancer” This amazing woman is like a fairy who flies wistfully in with all her flare and vibrant color. She humbly brightens the atmosphere of wherever she is and goes on her way again to do the same somewhere else. Her presence is one of moment to moment that allows her to go from one place to the next putting her whole heart into the happening experience. She defines the meaning of colorful by defying color schemes left and right keeping only one in her heart to live by – the rainbow. The sweet glimmer in her eye and gentle smile is enough to make you believe in your dreams, venture out to see them through, and follow them to – somewhere…over the rainbow. 😉
Johnny “The Chef” his passion is food. His second passion is sharing. Those combined is a powerful match of community building through one of humans greatest loves, food. He comes prepared to do fresh, organic gourmet meals wherever he goes, no matter where it is. He works hard to pull from his natural surroundings via local farms or wild harvesting to form his creations. It is rare to find him without his stash of kitchen-ware and some kind of fresh ingredients he’s ready to throw together and create one of the best meals you’ve ever had. He’s intensely creative with food and always has a new idea for a home-made something, whether it be a new home-brew of kombucha, mead, etc or melange of grains, veggies, meats , herbs and spices that you would never think to put together. At this point, needless to say, but I will…Johnny is a cooking genius.
Jade “Tea Specialist” Jade is sweet and sophisticated, as warm and pure as the very tea she serves. She came to us from Om Shan Tea in San Francisco sharing with us and our festival guests delicious offerings of both tea and knowledge. Jade exudes the serenity, patience and calm that comes with the tea experience as if she is at one with it. As she sat in our rainbow lounge with her traditional tea gaiwan set serving others throughout the weekend and teaching them about the tea, you couldn’t help but feel she is living her passion – peace, sharing, serving, listening and teaching – this is our lovely Jade. She knows how to run the show without force, but slowly and gracefully. Jade is quite the TEA-cher.
Sarah “Tea Specialist” Our fun-loving, happy hearted, artsy Sarah takes the traditions of tea and makes them hip with her “vintage meets organic sheik” style. She adds a different kind of twist to the tea experience. She makes it fun-ky while still upholding the eloquence and beauty of sipping that perfectly steeped cup of tea. Sarah is always ready and willing to bring her heart to the table and put great care into each task or cup of tea she magically brews up. She’s got one of those welcoming smiles that lasts for days imprinted in your mind because her whole face lights up as she acknowledges each person as though they are a long time friend. Sarah is someone who puts the art in tea and makes each steeping her own little masterpiece, in which you get to enjoy.
Edna Lu “The Free Tea Bus” wears her heart on her sleeve, wiping the path clean for all she inspires to do the same in following our own Personal Legends.
Edna is a home and a lover to us all. She travels around creating comfort, warmth, community and space for anyone and everyone to come together and sit together as equals while her faithfully, open mate, Guisepi, brews up the tea for her guests to commune over. She’s a beautiful, open soul – where you’ll often find her exposing her mid-section simply to provide a more inviting atmosphere as new comers peek in to quench their curiosity … and of course, their thirst over a fresh cuppa when they find out exactly what she’s up to. She is extremely patient as she sits for hours at events, in parks and along street corners allowing all her guests to come and go as they please, even when the event is over. The tea party goes on until the last cup is enjoyed and she’s left to just her and Guisepi. There is a saying that “patience is a value of the tea experience,” and Edna never needs to utter such a thing, she just lives it.
Guisepi “Brother Tea” is an inspiration for us who desire to live out our dreams in our own personal way. He is incredibly genuine, honest, supportive and has the mind and heart aligned in a perfect balance of openness and acceptance. He never takes credit for what he does, giving it all to Edna, or dispersing it equally among the people attending each party. In turn, letting us know, the Free Tea Parties wouldn’t be, without us showing up for them. He’s extremely hardworking, but knows when to take a break for rest or play. He understands the very idea of what it means to work “with” instead of “for.” He knows when to give direction and when to sit back and let others lead, appreciating that everyone simply bring Who they Are to the experience.
He encourages each person as if they are their own perfectly steeped cuppa tea. A community builder and provider, as he literally opens his home wherever he goes, all are welcome as they are. Guisepi is someone who, whether he knows it or not, has figured out a level of transparency that causes the line between the inner and outer experiences to fade like the steam evaporating off the tea he serves. And in doing so, giving manifestation to who he is on the inside, fearless to share, as he invites us all in to sit down, slow down, chill out, and enjoy the experience of having tea together, whatever that may bring… every steep of the way.