It looks like the venerable BarFly bus tour/pub crawls are getting a little competition, albeit for a more clean-cut, young professional crowd of "networkers and entrepreneurs." Started by event producer/model Jillian Rabe, these spontaneous party-bus rides have been popping up recently on the social networks, with videos of ecstatic 20 and 30-somethings playing in the snow, popping up at random events, and making ecstatic declarations of how much fun they're having into a video camera. So far they've been more like spontaneous happenings than advertised events, but as the project grows that seems to be changing. I just got word from Rabe that there's another one happening this Saturday: They're going to the Blue Moon Diner, then partying at the Queen of Hearts Tavern, where in addition to boozing it up and dancing all night there will be—and here's where it gets ambitious—a photo shoot for rockabilly-themed clothing line Billie Jo Retro. The idea is for the bus crowd to mingle (and maybe be extras?) with the photo shoot crew, promote the businesses involved and... well, as the press release puts it:
"The Bus Family is a group made up of 56 of Portland’s most networking crazed, entrepreneurial focused, independent business owning, outgoing, social media using kids on the block who come together to pack a luxury motor coach and help make wherever they are headed a memorable event filled with new, lasting relationships."
It should also be noted that elsewhere in the press release its intended audience is referred to as "thought influencers." The Bus Family is also looking into being hired to show up to things, which would be pretty amazing—does anyone in Portland get paid to make appearances at events? Danny Glover? Anyone? Anyhow, I've never been "on the bus" with these guys, and when you strip away the marketing language it seems like a pretty well-intentioned venture to promote new local businesses and get a bunch of ambitious, like-minded people drinking in the same room with each other, which is the only goal of most parties anyway. And it's not like a Monster Energy Drink Hummer or anything—it's all Portland-area business. So does it ick you out? Or would you get on this brilliant marketing bus? It costs $25. Does that make a difference? (If not, you can email Jillian for a spot.)