Our Urban Adventures

The TBG team is extremely diverse; each individual has their own perspective that allow us to remain nimble, innovative, and creative under all circumstances.  Each member of the TBG team shares a liddabit about themselves and their adventures here!


I Want You to be Happy Day

Today is “I Want You to be Happy Day”, and I’m going to share a story about a special friend of mine whose name and life embodies what today is about: Happy the Artist.

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Happy’s birth name was John Patrick Kuhn.  I met him when I was working on special events at The Frog and the Redneck in Richmond, Virginia back in the mid 90’s.  Over the years, Happy has told me a lot of stories that are as colorful as the clothes he wears.  This one is two versions of how he got a different name.

Version 1:

JP Kuhn was walking through a park when he happened upon a woman sitting on a bench, sobbing.   He was concerned and asked her if she was OK and if there was anything he could do for her.  Her response was, “Just be happy for me.”  JP promised her he would.  Being a man of his word, JP legally changed his name to “Happy” in honor of that woman, and he has been Happy ever since.

Version 2:

JP Kuhn’s father’s art took his family all the way to Mexico in 1949 – JP was 7 years old at the time.  His first name was James Patrick or ‘JP’  In Spanish ‘J’ is pronounced ‘HA’ and ‘P’ is pronounced ‘PAY,’  so he was called ‘HA-PAY’ by his Mexican playmates.  Eventually he became ‘Happy’ and he’s been Happy ever since.

Today, Happy focuses on the creation of whimsical murals for private clients and businesses.  He spreads joy through his art and is always ready with a hug.  In his early career, Happy was a court illustrator in DC and covered the Watergate trials.

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Happy has a great concept appropriate for events: he illustrates attendees having conversations on paper that wraps a room, then he cuts out the individual images and presents them to his “subjects”.  Check him out at www.happytheartist.com.   

Table for 160, Please!

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I truly love the concept of farm dinners, and it’s time to start thinking about them.  I know this because I just got my annual announcement from my aspirational favorite, Outstanding in the Field.  Every time I look at the photos on their website, I’m pretty sure I could run away and be part of their team – like a rock and roll tour, but better! 

We eat out a lot, but my favorite meals are the ones that showcase the ingredients.  You don’t have to have a fussy presentation if you have amazing ingredients.  And no matter how “easy” the recipe may seem, it’s hard to replicate at home – we just don’t have access to the same products.

That’s what these dinners are all about.  Outstanding in the Field is a “roving culinary experience”.  Essentially, traveling dinner parties cooked with farm-fresh ingredients served right where they were grown – in fields, ranches, vineyards, and community gardens across the country.  Dinner is served family style, often at one really long table and almost always outside.  You bring your own plate and you eat with the farmers, food artisans, chefs and other guests.  They’ve done dinners in some great places – in a sea cave, on a mountaintop, by a river, or in a field.

Some friends and I went to one of their dinners at Ayrshire Farm in Upperville, Virginia.  We had cocktails on the lawn of the rebuilt manor home, a tour of the farm’s livestock and crops, and dinner by candlelight in their barns (OK – maybe it wasn’t 160 people…but it was a lot!).  It was a lovely evening and a great outing.

These dinners speak to me on so many levels –the farmers are so passionate about what they produce and so happy to share the experience, you get to dine outdoors, and the people that come leave pretension at the door (that might actually be a rule!)  There’s not a lot that’s fancy about the evening, yet the experience is somehow over the top.

Great concept for a private event, or wonderful to just join in.  Check out his pictures and try to join one!