Alysse Bryson

Diary of a Sidekick: Unveiling New Secret Sidekick Supper Event Series

Photo credit: Barbie Hull Photography

First Topic – Death: Everyone’s Doing It!

In the whirlwind of side-kicking adventures that have kept me on my toes, I finally carve out a moment to share the exciting highlights of our recent escapades at WORKP2P. Picture this: a clandestine gathering, a culinary feast, and conversations that dance on the edge of eternity. Sound interesting? It was!

Our inaugural Secret Sidekick Supper took place on the sunny spring evening of Wednesday, May 8th, within the enchanting embrace of the Mutual Arts Collective, a vibrant artistic haven nestled in the heart of Pike Place Market. This space, co-owned by the renowned Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, served as the perfect backdrop for our gastronomic adventure, expertly crafted by the culinary virtuosos at Matt’s in the Market.

Accompanied by a select group of 24 kindred spirits, we embarked on a culinary journey and meaningful banter. Each course was a masterpiece, a blend of flavors that sparked conversations and deep reflections. Guided by the insightful Laura Sullivan Cassidy, our evening explored the profound nuances of mortality—revealing personal insights, aspirations for the future, the lasting impact of death on our lives, and the legacies we dream of leaving behind. It was a truly engaging and thought-provoking experience.

Photo credit: Barbie Hull Photography

Secret Sidekick Supper: Mutual Arts Collective

Before I delve into the evening’s details, meticulously planned by my sidekick for life, Libby Sundgren, let’s first shine a spotlight on our venue, the Mutual Arts Collective—a sanctuary for artists resonating with the pulse of community and resilience. Nestled within the Corner Market Building, this space transcends mere walls; it embodies a profound commitment to amplifying voices often muted by systemic barriers. Under the visionary stewardship of my friends Mike McCready, Ashley O’Connor McCready, and Chris Adams, MAC stands as a beacon of inclusivity, artistry, and social impact, inspiring us all.

The high ceilings, bathed in celestial light, cast a spell of enchantment over our gathering. At the same time, the tapestry of local artwork whispered tales of Seattle’s creative soul and the daunting population facing housing insecurities. It was hard not to break my 2024 No-Spend Challenge and purchase a new piece of art. If it’s for a good cause, does that count? Mutual Arts Collective is not just a venue; it’s a tapestry woven with threads of empowerment, advocacy, and boundless artistic fervor. It’s a must-stop if you’re at the Market or considering hosting a small gathering. The space seats 30 comfortably.

Photo credit: Barbie Hull Photography

Secret Sidekick Supper: Meet Laura Sullivan Cassidy

Laura Sullivan Cassidy, currently residing outside Seattle, Washington, on the unceded ancestral land of the Duwamish People, is a masterful storyteller who weaves narratives that guide individuals toward their aspirations while unraveling the myths and fables that either obstruct their path or propel them towards their desired destinations.

With a rich tapestry of 20 years dedicated to storytelling across print, digital, and tangible realms, Laura’s profound insight underscores the transformative power of authentic narratives. She has witnessed firsthand how stories—imbued with sensory richness and emotional depth—reshape our perceptions, subsequently influencing our experiences and beliefs about our place in the world. Drawing on sources like Jungian psychology, Tarot symbolism, and astrological archetypes, Laura champions the intrinsic value of stories as our tangible, experiential evidence. She also has impeccable taste and a sharp eye for detail.

Photo credit: Barbie Hull Photography

Weaving this narrative with elements of her past, it’s worth noting that Laura, Libby, and I previously worked together at Seattle Met magazine, where we orchestrated and attended countless events together. These shared experiences enriched our professional journey and cultivated a bond transcending time. Reuniting with Laura after all these years feels like getting the “band back together,” evoking memories of our vibrant camaraderie during our tenure at the magazine. Throughout those years, we navigated a myriad of events hand in hand, each gathering etching stories of its own into our collective memory.

Photo credit: Barbie Hull Photography

Secret Sidekick Supper: The Evening program of questions, conversations, and delicious courses

The evening unfolded with guests arriving around 6 p.m., welcomed by the radiant Libby Sundgren at the entrance. Each guest was assigned a unique task—selecting a quote from the quote plate and participating in lively exchanges with fellow revelers. These sparking conversations meandered through the realms of wisdom and reflections on death.

As the soirée progressed, attention turned toward the east window, framing the captivating mural “Obey Fire Sale” adorning the State Hotel building across the street—a masterpiece crafted by the renowned street artist Shepard Fairey. Known for iconic works like the Obama “Hope” poster, Fairey’s artistry set the stage for contemplation with the question, “What’s Your Number?” Guests eagerly seized colorful post-it notes, inscribing their desired age of passage—a thought-provoking exercise that stirred introspection and dialogue.

Photo credit: Barbie Hull Photography

Amidst the artistic tapestry of the space, Laura’s creative genius unfurled in the form of Mourning Clothes—grief-inspired fashion elegantly draped on mannequins, set against a backdrop of larger-than-life polaroid images captured by the talented lens of Mike McCready. Laura’s design not only kindled inspiration but also sparked a newfound creative urge within me, igniting plans to embellish my coveralls with patches and envisioning mannequins adorned with my signature styles at a future celebration of life event—an occasion earmarked for my 93rd year. (according to the Post-it I slapped up on the window)

The evening’s ambiance brimmed with artistic intrigue, poignant reflections, and a touch of whimsy, painting a canvas of memories long after the night had bid adieu—an ode to creativity, contemplation, and the enchanting allure of shared experiences.

Photo credit: Barbie Hull Photography

Secret Sidekick Supper: Dan Rogers – the Intentional Sidekick, the OG Sidekick, and my Fross (Friend/Boss hybrid)

When I met Dan Rogers back in 2009(ish), never in a million years did I foresee our paths converging in a professional alliance that would redefine my career. He’s not only the fearless leader of WORKP2P, but he is also a burrito roller-turned-CEO and visionary who has dedicated his life to creating systems to help people figure out what they want and how to get it. With his unique ability to mine for gold, Dan is on a mission to redeem work—the word, the place, the way.

Dan’s essence transcends mere titles; he is a beacon of inspiration, a maestro in sculpting destinies, and a custodian of transformative work philosophies. With a knack for unearthing treasures amidst the mundane, Dan embarks on a noble quest to revolutionize work—reshaping not just the concept or the physicality of work but the essence of how we perceive and engage with it.

Dan, the architect of my current joy and fulfillment, stands at the core of my contentment. (Even on the days he sometimes drives me up the wall or we agree to disagree LOL) His steadfast belief in the symbiosis of work and life echoes through every project we embark upon together, a gentle reminder that I am not merely working but actively being paid to practice the art of living through each endeavor. Most days, it’s hard to believe I’m also getting a paycheck to do this work.

Dan’s zeal is the brainchild behind many things we are intentionally setting out to create at WORKP2P, including this illustrious dinner series, which stems from a profound aspiration for our collective transformation into world-class community developers. His obsession with fostering a world-class community, a vibrant ecosystem where kindred spirits converge to learn, evolve, and collaborate, epitomizes his visionary spirit and unwavering dedication to cultivating spaces where growth and camaraderie flourish. In Dan’s vision lies the blueprint for a harmonious fusion of ambition, camaraderie, and progress—a testament to his indomitable spirit and his relentless pursuit of excellence.

Dan set the tone with his welcome speech and lovely introduction to Laura. It’s good to see him take center stage and receive the recognition he deserves, as most days, his persona is more like the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain. In his case, his windowless office at a warehouse in south Seattle, with walls adorned with exciting artwork and gray boards, covered with his diagramed worldview and sidekick process forever becoming the next version of next.

Secret Sidekick Supper: Four courses, four questions

Photo credit: Barbie Hull Photography

Matt’s in the Market Course One: Spinach salad or Sweet potato soup paired with Mock’sicillian (Pathfinder, lemon, ginger syrup)

Question 1: I’m here tonight because _____________. I wanted to be a part of this conversation so that __________. I hope that tonight I can turn towards ____________.

Photo credit: Barbie Hull Photography

Photo credit: Barbie Hull Photography

Matt’s in the Market Course Two: Scallop crudo or Grilled sunchoke paired with Beyond the Pine (Pathfinder, sour pineapple, kiwi, soda)

Question 2: What experience of death has impacted you most so far? What’s been your most awakening experience of mortality?

Photo credit: Barbie Hull Photography

Matt’s in the Market Course Three: Beef short rib, King Salmon, Duck breast, or Saffron risotto paired with Path of Thyme (Pathfinder, Lyer’s aperitif, Lyre’s rosso thyme saline)

Question 3: What kind of impact might your death have on others in your life? What does it mean to leave a legacy or create an effectual experience at the end of our lives? What would a good death mean for you?

Photo credit: Barbie Hull Photography

Matt’s in the Market Course Four: Panna Cotta, Bread pudding, or Sorbet paired with Path Home (Pathfinder, Lyer’s coffee, lemon, OJ, demerara)

Question 4: What are some ways you can begin to shift now into a life that leads to a good death—whether that involves creating a legacy or living more fully, pursuing your deepest desires, and knowing greater peace?

Photo credit: Barbie Hull Photography

I contemplated whether to include the evening’s questions in this post. However, upon further reflection, it wasn’t the questions that made the evening special; it was the power of the group’s answers and energy. It was being in a beautiful space and eating delicious food while people got vulnerable, with a blend of people they already knew and total strangers.

As the evening concluded, each guest left with a Death Zine created by Laura. The zine included a list of curated content to read and watch for further contemplation and a death awareness starter kit. Guests also enjoyed a small gift bag with custom Sidekick branded Macadons, samples, and swag from Pathfinder, our alcohol-free spirit alternative partner for the evening. While beer and wine were available all evening, I felt including a flight of alcohol-free cocktail options paired with each course was essential. Not only did this allow guests to be fully present, but it also reflected my mission as “The Sober Curator” of showing that sobriety is not dull or restrictive.

Photo credit: Barbie Hull Photography

Many of the evening’s guests frequently orbit in my inner circle. I am eternally grateful to each one who showed up to support the inaugural Secret Sidekick Supper kick-off. A special shout-out must be made to the fabulous photographer and friend Barbie Hull, who captured the evening’s details behind the lens of her trusty camera. She has also been behind the scenes for the countless parties Libby and I have thrown over the years, and we can’t imagine throwing a party without her.

If you’ve read this far, I’m hopeful you’ve developed a strong case of FOMO and would like to be added to the email list to hear about the next Secret Sidekick Supper. Click HERE to submit your email. I hope to see you soon.

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