Whenever I go shopping to get prepared for the Barnstable Brown Party, I always find myself in the camping section. That's sort of what covering the party for the Herald-Leader is like: camping, in formal wear.
We have some unique challenges covering Derby Eve's biggest celebrity magnet. We have no home office in Louisville, but unlike most of the other print media there, we are on deadline. Photos, copy, and now video have to be flowing to Lexington. So, we have to have an office. Hence, I've turned in receipts over the years for things like a canopy tent, lanterns and fold-up chairs. Oh, and a tuxedo.
Some years, we've just set up a table and a few chairs for a work station under the stars. This year, we needed every bit of the hardware and then some. That's why I was in Wal Mart buying tarps -- I'll be sending you the bill, Uncle Herald -- for last night's soiree. And that paid off when an aggressive and extended storm blew into L'ville at about 6:30 last night.
We had a five person crew last night: Photographers David Perry and Angela Baldridge, videographer David Stephenson and writers Jamie Gumbrecht and myself. Angela gets an MVP award for figuring out how our canopy should be assembled, despite the fact the instructions were somewhere in my garage, where they weren't doing us a lot of good. If it hadn't been for Angela's ingenuity, we may have been standing there with an unfinished frame when the rains came.
The canopy still had a nice coat of dust on it from last year's Ichthus Festival. Yes, the gear does come in handy for an event that is more like camping camping. Since my first Barnstable party, things have changed quite a bit technologically. Where we used to have to get the phone company to set up a line outside the Barnstables for us to send stories and images, now we're all on mobile wireless cards, and the information flows a lot faster.
And we keep it flowing. Usually, while one reporter and photographer are up front talking to the stars and snapping photos, the other is in the back filing images or quotes with the newsroom in Lexington. Then we hand off, sending the other scribe or shooter back to file.
The Barnstable Party also used to be a little local media get together, but now, we have to elbow for room along with places like Access Hollywood and People Magazine. Click here for more on that.
Sometimes, when we are trying to squeeze our ways through the party to get from the front to our work station out back or trying to piece together a tent frame, we have to remind ourselves this is a "glamorous" gig. But really, I keep asking for the Barnstable assignment because it's the only place to be Derby Eve.
And I keep visiting the camping section.