Curtis Parks #013

The Show Must Go On

By Amanda Younger 11/16/2020

We sat down with Event Producer and Founder Curtis Parks of Oncoming Traffic Events and Entertainment. We discuss how work and life have been greatly challenged during the “hard reset” of 2020. 

In the early 2000s, Parks started his career in experiential marketing crossing the country as MC (Master of Ceremony) of a large brand tour, building stages, and sound for a large promotional giveaway tour that perfected his skillset of crowd work. “Try to make every event feel special for the people attending it…you want to try to give everybody their moment, make them feel the special is just for them, whether there is like three people or a full crowd,” says Parks. 

That skill set seems to have helped Parks with a broad range of brands covering national crowds, but since the pandemic of 2020 with the large music festivals canceling there have been far fewer marketing activations. But events continue with dry assets and branded masks, thermometers, new distance signage, and gloves. Remarks Parks, “We’re trying to find those gaps and then personally produce some shows on my own, also. Trying to make things happen.”

Those things happened in the form of the Black Lives Matter movement, when Parks teamed up with friend and fellow comedian Dave Lester to set up a stage and audio to perform multiple times for the crowd as they rallied in the streets. “Everyone I know that’s a real comic is still finding a way to get stage time…the shows need to happen. People want to laugh,” explains Parks. The outdoor performances are continuing in Cooper Square, Washington Square Park, or even the L train with tip jars and Venmo asks. Zoom comedy shows have begun popping up and the underground scene for performances has trickled indoors.

The creative boom is upon us, and indeed the show continues to shape our world. During the reset, Parks discusses how it has shaped the contracts he goes after and the shows he is driven to make. “[On the Verb Yellowball Tour], that was one of the first times I really felt like I’m not only marketing a product, but I’m also getting kids to really be active. That program really opened my mind, I can do marketing and make the world a better place.” And make it better, he is trying to do it.

Creatively, Parks has begun scripts to learn writing in another’s voice, remained charged by the election year in his comedic material, and continues honing his craft of speaking with crowds on national brand tours. “The more things change, the more they stay the same. Give away free stuff, know your talking points, know the crowd you’re talking to, and know your competitor.” Without alienating his audience, Parks continues to cross the country offering promotional deals and good vibes to all that cross his path.

To learn more about Curtis and the topics we discussed on the show, check-out the below:


Curtis Parks 0:05
I’m talking to the guy and we start talking and then he’s like, wait, Curtis, what do you think this job is? I’m like, oh, and I tell him what I think the job is. He’s like, no, this job is for the head of marketing for the entire brand in Manhattan and the five boroughs with a budget of $2 million, and a salary of 125. And I was like, oh, I’ll take 75 I actually talked my salary down to try and get the job. He was impressed…

Amanda Younger 0:38
I’ll bring in a really good deal for you, sir.

Working in events since 2005. I’ve always been inspired by people coming together to share ideas. I’m Amanda Younger, and I’ll be your host on Happy Hour where I share a drink and a laugh with guests our stories and our hope for the future the lives of inexperience. Today, I’m speaking with my good friend Curtis Parks event producer and owner of Oncoming Traffic Events and Entertainment. They use Tunnel Town Distillery we’re drinking the Hudson’s bright lights big city in New York straight bourbon whiskey. Thanks to high quality grain from local family farmers and straight up undiluted mash bills. They’re able to create the purest possible expressions of each grain and truly make whiskey the way we want to bold yet refined, artful and unapologetic. I also want to give another thank you to Cheeky Cocktails today. I did this in a batch form so you guys probably didn’t get to see it. But the Cheeky Honey Syrup as well as the Cheeky Lemon Juice. These are all natural ingredients. When I say lemon juice it means the juice of a lemon from Cheeky and that’s what makes building cocktails off of their ingredients just so much better. A special thank you to Laxamana Media you create we capture, be sure to continue the conversation with us online at Eventspeak.com Subscribe on Apple and Google podcasts. Follow us on Spotify and iHeartRadio and favorite us on Stitcher to get all upcoming episodes and help others find our show. Be sure to comment below. We love as much feedback as possible in our early stages. And we really mean that promotional giveaway is in the works. So check back in soon. Together we can make the difference in live events. I’ve got a great guest with me today. This is one of my dearest friends. Curtis Parks. Oh my goodness. Kirti Kurt Bojangles There’s Curticks There’s gosh oh, we called you a lot of things.

Curtis Parks 2:41
You called me Curt tails. I’ve been called Mr. giggles. Basically every tour I got a new nickname.

Amanda Younger 2:47
That’s right.

Curtis Parks 2:49
Every everyone was super chief on one. chief. Well we’re on a tour and the people that were running it never never took the time to learn our names. They just kept calling us chief the four or us Hey, chief went with it and we’re like oh, he’s this chief that chief. Okay.

Amanda Younger 3:06
Oh man. I love it. Well today I’m enjoying the cash for gold. It’s gonna be two parts Hudson Bright Lights Big Bourbon Whiskey. I’ve got I’ve got a little fresh lemon and some honey syrup. For my friends Cheeky here I just juice and syrup and spirits. This is this is it. So Curtis, tell everyone who you are, what you do and what you’re drinking for happy hour.

Curtis Parks 3:34
I’m Curtis Parks. I own my own company Oncoming Traffic Events. And I’m a Tour Manager, Eevent Producer, Stand-up comedian. You know the jack of all trades. I am drinking Stella Artois. This is this is one of my brand and I work for them and I they thank you Stella Artois. You’ve paid my rent for quite some time. And Sailor Jerry and also

Amanda Younger 3:59
Double fisting

Curtis Parks 3:59
I’m double fisting. We had to go hard .Yo I’m on Amanda’s podcast my first podcast. I’m on happy hour we can get you know. And I was like what do I get this brown like I’m just gonna go I’m just oh

Amanda Younger 4:02
Oh man. So let me cheers your double fisting. Oh, is that I out? Cheers both. Boom. Hmmm. That’s nice. Oh, yeah. We actually met on the road setting up tents at college campuses. You are a DJ and you’re our MC. You’re doing that almost like every other day. But I think you were just doing a lot of crowd like crowd work, right?

Curtis Parks 4:40
Yeah, basically did that. Yeah, we set up super early. We had to do setup breakdown. I did setup breakdown just like everybody else. But then during the event. Yeah, I just did tons of crowd work tons of giveaways. I basically had the shorter form of everyone else’s talking points. I had that. Like I had the major points of every I had to know the major points of every brand so I had to know all the stuff we gave away all the content and I would learn the class breakdown on the whatever they were there to. So we want to do of course the giveaways during class breaks.

Amanda Younger 5:16
Like during classes you’re still trying to be the hype man. There’s like three people there and then during the class break, like 300 people are rushing around and you’re like, now’s the time for the raffle.

Curtis Parks 5:27
We had good giveaways too so like everybody wanted to come giveaway guitar we gave our Xbox 360 that was one that’s a little bit when 360 was the new brand new. That was brand new.

Amanda Younger 5:40
Spankin new. Absolutely. That was the biggest thing and we had Sirius before Sirius actually merged with XM.

Curtis Parks 5:48
We had to explain what satellite radio was to them then…

Amanda Younger 5:51
Yeah that’s right.

Curtis Parks 5:53
It was our first tour. Yes. Oh, yeah, that was a good Yep. Yeah, definitely lots changed personally and in the whole industry since then. So much has changed.

Amanda Younger 6:01
We’ve been doing this for a little while.

Curtis Parks 6:03
A lot a lot of stuff is the same to you know, more things change the more they stay the same too. Basically give away free stuff. Know you’re talking points. You know, know the crowd who you’re talking to know your competitor, you know…

Amanda Younger 6:15
How do you think that’s really shaped your skill set?

Curtis Parks 6:18
I guess I try to make every every event feel special for the people that attended it. You know, like even if there’s a ton of people you want to try to give everybody their moment make them feel the special is just for them. Whether there is like three people or a full crowd I definitely be was able to take that into a lot of my other tours. I’ve worked for everybody from als a to Xbox a TNT to Wells Fargo, I’ve done you know, banking to like tech, you know, now I’m in the mostly in liquor and beer and also in my comedy too, because I did. I didn’t get the practice material. So I had to do crowd work, I guess it was it was up. My material was down here but my crowd work my crowd works was like, up here. You know, I can do sets you know, in in Michigan or New York or down south in Florida. And kind of not alienating my crowd. No, I know to kind of switch it up.

Amanda Younger 7:10
Well, I know. You can talk your way in and out of everything. I think I’ve even been with you. When you’ve had to talk with us. What was it a? Oh, gosh, what was the general market? And you had a you I think we all we had was like Gatorade or something. And you switched it out? And you’re like, Hey, I’ll trade you for like sandwiches and beer.

Curtis Parks 7:34
Oh, yeah. Oh, that was during the recession. I remember during the recession we were sampling some juice.

Amanda Younger 7:41
No no that’s right it was juice. It was juice.

Curtis Parks 7:44
Juice. It was a it was an orange juice during the recession and we were like that was about the most broke anyones especially it was it feels kind of like now you know there was not

Amanda Younger 7:55
there wasnt anything to eat that day…

Curtis Parks 7:58
And we had so we’re so broke we walked we had to park the truck way down in Brooklyn. And we were so we didn’t want to get a cab we’re like we’re broke we walked carry this juice and I traded the juice for sandwhiches. And I was like yo you want juice…

Amanda Younger 8:15
Try it now. This orange juice is actually you can you can actually sell this for I’m giving you a profit here blah blah blah blah blah. Like the whole breakdown. I was so embarrassed. I walked outside I came out here like so this is the sandwich she wanted right? I don’t know I got you just like a Modelo. And I was like get out of here.

Curtis Parks 8:35
You ate that sandwich?

Amanda Younger 8:37
I did. I was like I can’t believe you’re my roomie then I ended up going like oh my god Yay.

Curtis Parks 8:49
Oh, that was the wheel and deal…

Amanda Younger 8:51
You even talked yourself into some pretty good job interviews. Wasn’t there like a high level executive? I forgot what it was. Oh, yeah, this is for a good company.

Curtis Parks 9:02
Yeah, this is a good story. It was this must have been when I first moved to New York left you know what i thought the job was was you know setting up a party brand the bar out get the bar to head set up a special book comedians or book a DJ book a band having night sponsored by their shows, I can do that. I did that in college. No prob. I get to the first job interview. And I kill the job interview we hardly talk about the job much actually. Remember I killed that interview. I didn’t talk about anything. You know, I get I get to you know then it’s like right in the Meatpacking District. This must have been 06, 07 you know, so I’m now doing the second interview. I’m like, Oh, I got this is cool. I basically did this in college. I could do this you know, no problem. Yeah. And it’s a nice job interview like it was at the pit house at like the W in the Meatpacking District. This is a nicest place I ever had a job interview at the time, and I’m talking to the guy, and we start I’m talking, and then he’s like, wait, Curtis, what do you think this job is? I’m like, oh, and I tell him what I think the job is. He’s like, no, this job is for the head of marketing for the entire brand in Manhattan and the five boroughs with a budget of $2 million, and a salary of 125. And I was like, oh, I’ll take 75 I actually talked my salary down to try to get the job. He was impressed…

Amanda Younger 10:36
I’ll bring in a really good deal for you, sir.

Curtis Parks 10:41
I’m a bargain.

Amanda Younger 10:43
Fantastic. Oh, God. You talked your self into it.

Curtis Parks 10:50
I almost got it. I almost got it too!

Amanda Younger 10:53
Well, I mean, that kind of brings up a good point, which is, you know, I mean, you say you’re always out there hustling which, which is great. So I know, the the gig economy has been hit really hard with the current pandemic, but you’ve been currently pretty, pretty lucky. And your current client has kept you on through, you know, all these furloughs and stuff like that. Have you had any? Have you had any events, I know that like COVID, COVID’s gone up, it’s gone down. And now it’s going back up again. Have you had any experience doing doing events in 2020?

Curtis Parks 11:28
We’ve done a couple since COVID. But mostly it’s been kind of asset like dry we’ve kind of re we’re usually we do a big events and my normal summer would have been doing big music festivals, Firefly, Governor’s Ball, basically, all these big huge events that just don’t even exist right now that. We don’t even know when we’ll see, you know, 100,000 person Music Festival again, I don’t, I don’t even know, you know, when we I don’t know when we’ll see that. But now we’re kind of doing everything’s a little bit smaller. And, and kind of some of the assets and the vehicles that they need for different markets now are we’re kind of taken over some other brands too, and some of the smaller tours and doing assets for them also, so and then, of course, there’s more cleanliness and disinfectant and branding signs stay six feet away, and branded masks, so that’s probably the biggest thing. That’s the new giveaways, like, whatever mask, whatever the branded mask, we always have disinfect, and we, you know, everybody’s wearing gloves. So, you know, you know, we got the temperature that, you know, taking people’s temperatures, it also kind of all equals out, I mean, because, you know, years past, there’s weeks, we work, you know, 50 to 70 hours a week, you know, straight for months. And so it kind of evens out now we got a little bit of time, and we’ll be there ready for when, when COVID is done, or when when we can do more events, and when they do build back up. So, you know, we’re trying to find those gaps, and then personally, kind of produce producing some shows on my own also. Okay, got to make some things happen.

Amanda Younger 13:06
Nice. Well, I know. So kind of in this downtime, I like to call it a time of reflection. Some people are calling it the event industry pause. But gosh, you you are actually you’ve done a big purge. And you’ve moved during this time. And yeah, you’re on the wave now is that right?

Curtis Parks 13:29
I realized what it is, for me, this is just a straight hard reset is just a hard reset. I think like almost the whole country is going through a hard reset and really evaluating what’s important and what we need to do you know, so I realized I couldn’t really sit still, I can’t I’m not that person, I gotta do something. So during COVID during the lockdown, I repainted my apartment, including the ceiling, I repainted the ceiling, that’s how I bored I was just like Yes, this cieling is a little yellow… Let me repaint I’ll just repainted the ceiling I repainted…

Amanda Younger 14:01
I gotta do stuff. I gotta do stuff.

Curtis Parks 14:03
It was ridiculous. I just had to do something. But But and also one of my other hustles which you know being a tour manager. I Airbnb this spot and that was one of my hustles you know, because you got to have in the gig economy you got to have mad hustles. One quote that I like was the the author of rich dad poor dad when he says the average millionaire has seven forms of income so I’m trying to get to seven… Airbnb was one but of course with COVID that that did that that was that dried up real quick. So I yes, I moved that it just didn’t make any sense to keep it. I was getting crazy rent, so purged out, you know, gotten rid of all that kind of stuff. So even full circle. TKO tour I ended up buying a lot of the experiential stuff from Mr. Youth when they close their experiential side, so I bought all their sound. I bought all their staging and I bought the lights. I bought all. I bought everything fun. I bought all the fun party stuff. Right? I still own that stage. I actually have used it multiple times during COVID. Actually. Yeah, rent it out because that’s. Their shows people still need comedy, but comedy had to be outside. So even the Black Lives Matter show. I did the first one I produced that performed on it. And the last one this year on the Black Lives Matter mural on Fulton Street. I brought the stage brought the lights made it happen twice. No, that rhymed.

Amanda Younger 15:41
I love it. Is this is this actually been a part of oncoming oncoming traffic. I know that.

Curtis Parks 15:48
Yeah, that was that was my own thing. Yeah, that was that was something I did.

Amanda Younger 15:51
At Oncoming Traffic, you actually created that back in Florida State at Florida State University. Right. So uh, you actually created it as like an entertainment company there. Which is amazing to already have that entrepreneurial spirit in college already gathering people and trying to create something, which I think is great. And kind of kind of tell us a little bit more about creating that in college and basically how it’s evolved.

Curtis Parks 16:22
Okay, all right. Yeah. Yeah, in Florida State I studied. I wanted to get in the film school, but they only take so many people. So I kind of didn’t quite get in the film school. But I made my own major I got a film studies degree and a theater degree. So I’m really fighting for maybe 500 people for what’s probably male parts were probably 12 to a dozen, maybe two dozen tops, depending on if it’s a big play. And I didn’t get one. Yeah. So I I started almost as a necessity do show do comedy. And I got started got into doing improv at community college. And I saw Boom Chicago when I was in Amsterdam. And I was like, Oh, this is fun. improv is I like this. This is cool. So I started as a group is just do our own show. And it became like a weekly thing. And we had it we had a show off candlelight I charged, we charged a cover, I actually paid my comedians. We had the venue and then later we would make it a school club and got funding from the school also. So all this stuff, then we started collecting the money instead of paying we would we collected it as a group, and then we would take that money to cover all the stuff that we couldn’t use with the school money. Like, you know, we did Miami improv festival. We did 30 south improv festival. We did Gulf Coast comedy, and I would pay for gas and hotels. And then we would do that we brought Michael Gelman from Second City that he directed with Gilda Radner. He was Farley all these heavy hitters that would be you know, SNL legends. And luckily, I didn’t know how big Michael Gelman was when when we actually hired him.

Amanda Younger 18:06
And I was like yea…

Curtis Parks 18:07
Yea, I was naive enough to be I gotta thanks, grandpa. Like he was walking around campus and was like, Grandpa, he actually wanted to go to a college party. And I took him… alright I’ll show him..

Amanda Younger 18:20
Fine. I’ll bring your dad.

Curtis Parks 18:22
Later, I realized how big deal this guy was, you know, it wasn’t Oh, this guy is huge. This guy’s you know, mean school money to have him, like train us in improv. So I learned then I guess I learned how to use funding and how to make it stretch and what how, how to get help from other facilities, you know, how to facilitate help from the university, how to facilitate with the community that paid cover, how are fans? How do we do what we need to do to, to get to that next level? You know, and that was, you know, I had to learn about budgeting, you know, when you’re asking for money from the school, you have to have some sort of idea what you’re going to use it for, you know, so that was that was,

Amanda Younger 19:08
I mean, I know I make fun of you and your education at Florida State but can’t deny… You learned a lot.

Curtis Parks 19:18
Oh, I learned a lot. I learned I felt like I learned a lot from being told no. You know, and like, Oh, no, you can’t. Okay. Like even the theater school at one point was like, oh, improv is not theater when I saw Okay, I’ll go make it a club. And it actually worked out better but it survived it as Oncoming Traffic a couple years after I graduated and and I formed it a group in New York too. But then it got in the red real quick because I was I wasn’t getting free rehearsal space like you do in college. I was having to pay for rehearsal space in New York. I was paying for the theater. You know, I was paying for everything I was paying. Yeah, I was. Yeah, it got in the red real quick. That’s when I was like. Let me do stand up. That’s just me. That’s just me. I can rehearse anywhere.

Amanda Younger 20:06
You’ve been doing comedy and stand up in like multiple cities. I think you even did one internationally if I recall.

Curtis Parks 20:13
Yeah, just I did London last year. I did five shows in London. It was really cool. Yeah, we did angel comedy rising star comedy. It was really cool. It was it was super fun. And and they and I, you know, I do a little bit of politics in my in my comedy and they almost they understand our news almost better than we do. Like they understand our even constitution. I was talking about amendments, right? Oh, yeah, it was it was really fun. There’s so many coins I never carried around so many coins in my life.

Amanda Younger 20:43
America. Our coins are called Bitcoins. And like, even the thing that’s called coin isn’t a coin.

Curtis Parks 20:53
And they’re not even like, they’re not even proportional to the size of their value, like our quarter is the most. You know, there’s like the big ones like worth nothing, the little ones worth $10 This one’s worth this. And then there’s like a half Pence, like, what are these fractions? Like?

Amanda Younger 21:14
I thought the penny was bad. What’s a half pence?

Curtis Parks 21:17

Amanda Younger 21:19
Right. Well, how hard has it been for you with bars being closed? I know some of them are struggling just to stay open with the low capacity, the ones that are able to have a kitchen and conserve food. They’re able to have like, 25%. I know that they’re struggling. Gosh, how is that how’s the comedy scene going?

Curtis Parks 21:40
The comedy scene in New York is straight underground. It is not legal to actually do a comedy show. And some of the outside shows are happening. You know, they’re just happening. The Black Lives Matter show was more of a It wasn’t an inside shows it was outside. But inside shows are not a really not a thing. There is good comedy to be found outside and underground. In New York, so please support live comedy. Everybody out there, please support live comedy, wherever you are, wherever you get this support live comedy, please.

Amanda Younger 22:15
I have a couple of guests that we had on well back in the summer. And they were talking about you know, you can’t stop performance like we have to perform in the park we’ll perform somewhere and we’ll ask for Venmo is that way there’s contact list. We’ll perform somewhere we’ll have that tip jar up there. Like…

Curtis Parks 22:40
Like a lot of parks around the city are doing one. This comedian I met was doing one in Cooper park on Mondays there was one in Central Park for a little bit but you can’t then there’s then you’ve got to worry about amplified sound because then then permits, you know, come into play. So it’s been a weird tough time in New York. But you know, New York will survive. It’s been tough, but it’ll come back. Some people are doing zoom. People are still writing more. So in some ways, like, for me, I still had to do something creative. So I’ve been writing more personally like privately I wrote I wrote a script. I wrote my first screenplay. That was for a contest during COVID.

Amanda Younger 23:19

Curtis Parks 23:20
Yeah, really. We got good, got got pretty good reviews on it and extended. It was like one of those midnight, what was it called midnight writing contest or something like that? You had it? You had a week to week or two. And they gave you a couple parameters. So So it’d be like a new script. So it was just for that. And that worked out? Nice. The formatting because I’ve, I’ve, I’ve read many a script, but I never wrote one that only wrote my own voice. You know, as a comedian I’d only wrote for me, it was a nice good exercise to write for other characters. You know, that not just my own voice, which is a different exercise, especially for a comedian. I’ve always wrote for, assumed I was saying what I would write.

Amanda Younger 24:04
Yea I’ve had also another guest, who, who’s also a writer. He said, you know, get get ready for creative boom, all the writers are out there writing.

Curtis Parks 24:15
Oh, yeah. It’s gonna be there’s gonna be some good stuff that’ll come out of this creatively, because everybody’s still got to create, like, that’s when you when, you know, you just have to, and that’s kind of what some people are, like, I don’t know about comedy. I don’t know if I could do that. Like, if you have to do it, then you can do it. Like if you don’t have to do stand up comedian comedy, then yeah. It’s just such a struggle. Like, you know, you just have to do it. Like everyone I know. That’s a real comic is still finding a way to get stage time during a worldwide plague. You know, like we’re, or a pandemic I guess not a plague, but but they’re, they’re finding ways to do it. And some are doing well like some are really, you know, producing their own shows. We’ve got to do though, you know, like I said, The Black Lives Matter show. A lot of comedians have actually been some I’ve been doing pretty well. They You know, my buddy Dave Lester’s produced a ton of shows because they the shows need to happen. People want to laugh. Everyone, you know, especially as election year 2020 everyday laughter is so important right now. So So there has been there have been shows and they are being made. People are doing zoom shows. That’s not really my forte. I didn’t really feel like doing a zoom comedy show. So but they are out there. Yeah, a lot of people are doing that.

Amanda Younger 25:31
Im not feeling this. I do have one question. And that is about the parks. You were talking about. Comedians doing things in the parks. If I recall, I know Dave Chappelle just did the SNL monologue and it was amazing. And if I recall, that was he would do Washington Square Park, like Washington Square Park was a place where there would be like these random Comedy moments in the park by the fountain.

Curtis Parks 26:04
It was definitely early in his career. I don’t know how many people do comedy there right now. I’m sure someone is I have never performed comedy. actually funny story that you say this. My first comedy set I ever did in New York was on the L train. Actually, I did it. I swear to you. You are taking the train back and everyone’s creative. A lot of people answer the same Craigslist ad. You know, because there’s a way freelance, you’re just doing anything. So you know, there was a singer there was this other performer? Oh, you can stand up to this and, and and one that what they were like, Oh, you should do it. You should do it. I was like, well, you should sing.. And, and then we’re on the train, like super late. And then the person that’s with with us, there’s like next up Curtis Parks. They just announced me on the train like that. So I’m like, Okay, all right. So I just do my bit and they laugh. The people I was hanging out with they laughed, they enjoyed it. But everyone else on the train was like, why are you talking? Stop talking? Why are you talking on the train again? Why be quiet and grumpy. Like all the other New Yorkers. You know, I was not a jaded New Yorker yet, you know, so everyone was, but but the people I was with they laughed. Everyone else was like allright man.

Amanda Younger 27:16
Strange I like it. Yeah no I think there is…

Curtis Parks 27:18
That was my first comedy set in New York. On the L Train.

Amanda Younger 27:20
I think there’s an actual I think it’s just culturally known to it. There’s like a no speaking zone on the train. Like people talk and you’re like, why are you talking. And then, you know, I don’t know, a band comes on? Is there anything? What else is on the horizon for for oncoming traffic, for Curtis Parks and just in general? What what are you looking for or hoping for in the future here?

Curtis Parks 27:54
I mean, I just trying to just like I get I think the whole country doing this hard reset, just seeing what’s important in my own life, and making time for that, like, I’ve always done work around my life. You know, that’s kind of why we got into Well, at least why I got into the gig economy. I’ve always done the works to support my creative side. Like even before the recession, back in the day, I did this Shakespeare play and rehearse during the week and and to do a Shakespeare play in New York. I got paid like nothing. I yeah, I got paid nothing. Big. I think I actually paid I think I had to pay by one of my props or something. Oh, we got to tell the story of when we actually became our people don’t know. This was when we were we were driving TKO. We’re driving the car, this one, me and you I think we really became friends.

Amanda Younger 28:48
This is over time. I’m getting another drink.

Curtis Parks 28:51
Oh, yeah, get a drink. And we’re driving, I’m driving your navigating. So for some people that don’t know, they just had GPS all their life, we had MapQuest. MapQuest was the brand new thing, where you got to print the map and the directions at the hotel, like wow this the breakthrough of technology.

Amanda Younger 29:12
Excuse me, I have to use your business center, I have to print out some very important files. It’s called directions…

Curtis Parks 29:21
So so back was kind of get it back to events in the event world, not just us. But but this is about us an event world, and this is you know, you’re you’re still having to take the the almanac and the MapQuest and I remember, we’re going to I want to say Bowling Green or somewhere anyway, we’re going through a college campus.

Amanda Younger 29:41

Curtis Parks 29:42
Oh, yeah, it was in Ohio somewhere. Definitely in Ohio. And we went to Ohio so many times. But we’re, we’re going through Ohio to the campus and we’re going one way you’re saying it’s this way and the manager and assistant manager pull up in the van, like you got to turn, we got a turn and I’m driving the truck and I’m driving the truck and you’re like, no, it’s this way they’re wrong. And I’m like, and I’m looking at the boss is telling me one way, you’re telling me one thing and I’m like, well, we’re partners in this wrong or right. And I think I think you’re right. But even if you’re wrong, we’re a team and I’m like, Oh,

Amanda Younger 30:16
And you were right… And I was

Curtis Parks 30:18
Of course you are right.

Amanda Younger 30:19
You know, I was like they’re reading the MapQuest wrong. I have learned how to read MapQuest. That was not our exit.

Curtis Parks 30:31
You were correct.

Amanda Younger 30:32
Because I’m doing MapQuest along with the map. Which I have gotten. It was like this big one of the the trucker Atlas ones. It’s laminated. So if you spill anything, it’s still okay. I had both out I was like, I got this. No, they’re wrong. Listen to me. I am your navigator. I am a shotgun. I’m telling you where to go. And you’re like, this says no… And we’re like, No, and I go, I know what they’re reading it wrong. I know exactly what’s happening. Right? They come down, listen to them.

Curtis Parks 31:07
Yep, I had the truck parked and open by that. We had the big box truck parked and open by the time they caught back up like, we’re here.

Amanda Younger 31:16
I got it. They’re like, sorry, I thought that thing was the thing. And when it said it, I was like, I know you did. I know. You’re almost sent us on a goose chase.

Curtis Parks 31:29
Yep, maybe we should get

Amanda Younger 31:30
Would have been on time and you’re welcome. To be on time.

Curtis Parks 31:34
The pilots got to trust their navigator. So

Amanda Younger 31:37
That’s right. Hi trusty navigator.

Curtis Parks 31:40
These new kids don’t know the hustle. They just got on their phone.

Amanda Younger 31:43
I think we’ve seen almost… I haven’t seen North Dakota yet.

Curtis Parks 31:46
Yeah, only got 60.

Amanda Younger 31:48
Okay, we may have to go. Someone hasn’t gone to South Dakota and well you’ve got to go to South Dakota. But so North Dakota I have missed out on North Dakota. You’re on my list. I’m on my way to North Dakota.

Curtis Parks 32:00
Is that your only state left? Is that your only state left?

Amanda Younger 32:02
Ah, it’s North Dakota and Alaska.

Curtis Parks 32:06
Oh, yeah. I got I got Alaska. Both Dakotas, Washington.

Amanda Younger 32:11
You haven’t been to Seattle?

Curtis Parks 32:13
Ah, no, that’s on my list. Yeah, I definitely want to go as far north on the west. I went to Eugene, Oregon. That was as far north as I’ve been on the west coast of Oregon. Yeah, I liked Oregon. I didn’t get to go to Portland. I’d like to go to Portland. You should. Yeah, I only got six states left. I only got six.

Amanda Younger 32:31
My cousin in Portland. He took me to an amazing Mexican restaurant. It was delicious Mexican food. And then he told me to go to the restroom. The restroom is shared with a with a with a an exotic dance. So you have to walk basically, it’s a door that says like, you can only go to the restroom if you’re 21 and up, which is really funny because you just had a burrito and you’re like, but it’s like, No, no, you have to be you have to be old enough to go to the restroom here. And sure enough, you like walk in. And I guess I look like the deer in the headlights. And I think that’s what my cousin Keith cousin Keith. This is a shout out to Keith Younger What up. I think that’s what he wanted me to do. And in the middle of the day, like a bunch of bunch of guys and some chairs and a dancer and she’s like, the restrooms that way and I go “thanks” and all the guys are like “coool”. What just happened? Go to the restroom come back out. And he’s just kind of like so how would you like the restroom? And I was like the restroom was scenic. More scenic than I was expecting. He’s like, You’re welcome.

Curtis Parks 33:56
Yeah, I do. Like those special vibes of each city. Like I want to see all all the country, you know, all of the different different cultures that we even have in the same great country of ours. You know, even though we, you know, we did as an election year, a lot of us disagree about a lot of stuff. But I do I do like, like, I’ll do love this country. When you had Aaron on you guys talked about verb. And I ended up being the tour manager of one of the other teams. That’s right. And yeah, and that was one of the first times I really felt like I’m not only am I marketing a product but I’m also getting kids to really be active. That program really open minds like oh, I could I could do marketing and make the world a better place. And one of those times I remember one of the places we went we went to the skate park and we we would get give out the balls there and hang out with all the kids playing. And there was this girl but this girl could draw she drew this cool anime figure on her ball and showed us. Oh, that’s cool, draw on amulets, you know, and we let her draw, get her pin and come to find it. She draws this really cool girl but of course you could kind of think of like her own mentality of her. So she drew on the bottom of the bat by the exhaust pipe like the, like the very bottom, almost the ground of the ambulance drew this super cool little thing, right? And we’re like, you know what? We’ve been saving the door no one has drawn on the door yet the door is yours. And she’s like, what and I was like take the door, whatever you want to draw, draw on the door. And what was cool, she’s drawn it and and all and and before she’s done all the kids at the skate park, stop, stop skating, stop playing. And they all they become a crowd behind her. And what’s cool is they’re quiet. They’re just watching. So she doesn’t even know. So she’s drawing this big, huge thing, which is… Anyway, she drew it and the whole park like dozens, maybe even 100 kids were just watching her. And then she finishes like… and drug and turns around. And she doesn’t know they’re watching. She doesn’t know. She’s just you don’t she turns around in the whole park… Oh wow that’s cool. Wow. She’s and she looks around and I was like, Oh, wow. Whats your name… Everyone. And that was the whole point of that program was like, hey, just these kids skate you play basketball, you draw you play chess, whatever you do, do that. And, and and go with it, you know? And that was that was a time ago. That was I really hope she has fond memories I do about it because I really believe she did. She had a great day and all the all the kids like oh, that’s awesome. And she said Oh yeah. It was awesome. It was the coolest thing on the early days. She’s probably in her early 20’s. She’s probably in college or graduating college by now.

Amanda Younger 36:44
Come find us. Gifted girl from Louisville that was part of

Curtis Parks 36:50
Definitely gifted. Definitely gifted.

Amanda Younger 36:53
We want to share your gift with the world you have inspired our guest you are now inspiring me. Anyways. I think that’s the best way for us to go on and I’m excited about more things from Curtis Parks. I feel that I love that you’re creating as well. You are an amazing creator. And, and I want you to keep talking yourself in and out of amazing things.

Curtis Parks 37:23
Oh, thank you. Thank you.

Amanda Younger 37:24
That’s also my second drink for the night. I love you good night.

Curtis Parks 37:29
Love you too.

Amanda Younger 37:29
We got to do a dances for our outro music.

Amanda Younger

About Author /

Amanda brings 15+ years event experience working with the world's preeminent brands, including NYC Pride, High Times, NBA, and MRY. Amanda has led, managed, and executed activations, touring, ticketing, food & beverage, trade shows & conferences, rallies, street festivals, concerts, and any confetti moment New York City has allowed. Amanda can be reached at amanda@eventspeak.com

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