Steve G.'s whirlwind tour to jury the ADDY Awards in Spokane WA

I was beyond stoked to be invited out to Spokane WA to judge their Advertising Federation of America chapter's "ADDY" awards, so I was as good as gone when they asked if I'd make the trip. Done. Little did I know that I would cover more activity in a day and a half, than most do in a week, on vacation—and in Spokane, no less. I'm from a city that gets hated on just the same so I like to highlight why a city is extra nice. NYC is too easy—skip that. But Spokane? I noted that immediately and started the hashtag "#WeBeSpoke" for use while I was moving about town. "Bespoke" denotes a speciality, something one-of-a-kind, crafted with extreme care and attention to detail. If it wasn't before, it is now. Yo, Spokane; trust me #WeBeSpoke when I'm in town. (read on…)

Upon landing, Ad-Fed chapter liaison & president Peter B. snagged me from the airport and we made moves to the hotel, which sat just below one of the small falls of the Spokane River. Beautiful doesn't exactly convey the view. The out-going president, Ginnie B. came thru to greet me and threw me a nice curve-ball when she asked, "hey, do you know of the hip hop group the 'Hieroglyphics'?" Ummm… only that they are perhaps my favorite hip hop group ever. Well, she asked because they happened to be in town that very night at the Red Room Lounge. Come one, really? How could I be so serendipitously fortunate? Done. I had time so a bit of exploring was in order.

Crisp air and falling dusk made for an amazing walk thru Riverfront Park, where I took a moment to take in a kids hockey practice on the ice rink that sat below the "expo tent" structure in the park. Spokane was host to the 1974 World's Fair. That's major, and a fact I didn't know before my walk. I hit 'Atticus' for a coffee and to peruse, and found great conversation and the best damn manicure ever in Courtney. A quick breeze thru 'Boo Radley' (oh, yes—the correlation to 'Atticus' is not an accident), a stop by "Design Church" aka the Apple Store, a bite to eat, and I was set for the show. Incredible. I've seen the "Hieros" in my home-base of Omaha numerous times, so a few of them actually recognized me and dapped me up during the performance. What a night. I decide to have a walk back thru the park, hauntingly beautiful in its winter abandonment. Yeah, a good night. Done. Of course, there was work to be done, so all day Saturday was marked for giving an dedicated creative eye to the amazing work being done in the Spokane area. With my new mates and fellow jury members Toby R. & Luke W., we set to do our best to select the finest work and earn our right to be in that fine city.

After a long day of work, it was time to eat, chill and decompress with the good people that had taken good care of me. A family table at Europa and some of the best Italian food I've ever had was a perfect end to a whirlwind trip. Barely any time sleep (so why bother), I find myself at the gate and on a flight chasing the horizon. But trust, I see you Spokane. I'll be back. Until then, remember; #WeBeSpoke!