Having grown table grapes in San Diego since the 1980s, and having rejected all the boring ones, I now have some forty-odd vines producing exquisite fruit. I have, of course, diligently combed over nineteenth-century viticultural manuals for old-fashioned viticultural techniques, identified the best heirloom varieties, and then carefully grown the fruit in stapled paper bags so the clusters remain perfect without spray. I am now thinking about a harvest event for a small handful of serious San Diego Foodies. Although I always say, “Friends don’t let friends eat grapes flown in from Chile,” most people are happy with the cold, flavorless, seedless grapes, bitter with pest-spray, that they find in supermarkets, and I’m OK with that. Also, there is some danger I might bust out reciting Dionysic poetry in Greek or Latin, and who needs that crap in their life? On the other hand, I have put in an enormous (and pointless) amount of labor over the past few decades to acquire and grow these vines, so, naturally, I only want to attract people who are just as “serious” about grapes as I am. If I put on a free event, and hordes of people come tromping through the gates, feeding their faces on free grapes by the handful, without taking the time to savor each unique variety as expressed on that particular site in that particular year, building an appreciation of San Diego’s different table-grape terroirs, and developing a real San Diego grape connoisseurship as I intend, that would be . . .well, unhip! My question, then, is, “How do I promote this event so that NOBODY comes?” I mean, if it were, like, four to five people standing around chatting about grapes, that would be fine, really.
— Mark M.
You, sir, have the trappings of a true hipster enthusiast. Bravo. Whether your interests tend toward obscure grapes nobody’s ever heard of before, a Phillip K. Dick-only book club, or knitting little sweaters for cats with alopecia, you’d face the same hipster conundrum at any planned get-together: how to bring in the right group of fellow hipsters? Cast your net too broadly, and the next thing you know, you’ve got mainstream wannabes descending on your party like they’re trying to post the year’s first Snapchat story about getting a pumpkin spice latte at the neighborhood Starbucks. What exclusivity? OTOH, if too few people show up, well, then you kind of look like the no-friends weirdo who’s always inviting colleagues to a monthly Pink Flamingos viewing party, complete with themed potluck, and wondering why nobody ever comes. Too niche.
Because I’m quite positive that you, like any self-respecting hipster enthusiast, are already either besties or frenemies with every other similarly situated enthusiast in the area, Dr. Hipster’s prescription for this delicate condition is to insert a suppository of two parts rumor and one part hint into the metaphorical keister of the relevant local hipster community. That is to say, tell the three people you know wouldn’t miss it for the world. Routinely administer the tincture of time (usually, about six to eight months is good), and, when your heralded (in certain circles) event comes to pass, all the right people will magically be in the know through the miracle of scene gossip. As for everyone else, well, if they need to ask, they probably wouldn’t have been invited in the first place.