Not for “selling”
Obviously, relationship building is valuable and the goal is action in the real world, but overt selling of one’s products or wares is tacky. Nothing will drive people away from the Club faster than feeling like somebody’s going to put the hard sell on them when they show up. Certainly, sharing interests and community involvement is encouraged but peddling commercial services and products is a no-no.
Although we take on serious topics, the emphasis is not on formal work that has to be done after a club activity or event. The goal of the Club is to ‘create collisions’ and to facilitate positive steps forward on things that matter in the community, but it is not designed to be the entity responsible for making those changes (the hope is that interesting projects and collaborations will “spin-out” of Civitas, but the Club itself won’t be the office for these projects). We are all busy people and we don’t want the Club to create more stress in our lives.
Civil Discussion is the name of the game
Take that in two parts. “Civil” means that we can be frank with what we say so that we can have high-value discussions on serious topics without the risk that accompanies adult discussions elsewhere in the world today. Bring light, not heat. “Discussions” are not debates. They are the exchanging of perspectives for the purpose of arriving at a better understanding of the truth. They are not “won” or “lost” except that an uncivil conversation is lost by all participants. Incivility is never welcome, but candor always is.
If it ain’t social, it ain’t
This club is about enjoying each other’s company. It will thrive if the members voluntarily want to be around each other, taking new and wonderful, but unexpected forms.
It’s important to understand what life is like at Civitas (the “Club”). The focus is not on rules, but on norms. Here are a few to provide a foundation.
Costumes allowed, but never required.
Seriously, no dress code.
This is California so wear what you want but please show sensitivity if you don attire that makes specific statements that could be perceived as insensitive or offensive.
Spontaneity is the straw that stirs the drink
Yes, there are formally planned events (and semi-formally planned events), but we’re striving for spontaneity. Collisions and happenstance that occur because a diverse and dynamic group come together is the best path to good things.
Everyone is welcome at every table
It’s each member’s responsibility to make any other member welcome at any table at any time. We plan to create a “flag” or indicator of some kind that members can put up on their table when they want to keep a conversation private, but this is the exception rather than the rule.
The members are the main draw but we allow them to bring guests share our mission and values
Membership does have its privileges but our hope is to expand our ranks. So feel free to bring others but please educate them to our purpose and values. Also given the small size of the club and the desire to further relationships between the members we ask that you show discretion in both the frequency and number of guests you bring to the Club.
Civitas is co-located with well known local restaurant El Portal in the Play House District. The Club has its own dedicated space (at Vanessa’s Cafe along Arcade Lane across from El Portal with seating of up to 40) and is separated from the existing restaurant operations. That being said, Civitas leverages the restaurant/bar operations and the professional staff of El Portal. El Portal has developed a propriety menu for Civitas consisting of primarily small plates, sharable hors d’oeuvres and other quick bites. Members have the opportunity to order off the full El Portal dinner menu if they are so inclined. El Portal brings out the rich flavors of Yucatán-style dishes along with a wide selection of tequilas and carefully-made margaritas. The Club offers dining inside or in our private outdoor dinning area. In addition to the Vanessa’s Cafe, we will have access to the nearby Maya for larger Club events (up to 70).