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TableTribes: Dinner with an amuse bouche of jargon

(iStockPhoto) (iStockPhoto)

TableTribes is not a supper club -- rather, it's a "large-scale experiment focused on the activation of authentic relationships and meaningful conversation" -- but it is a mouthful. Want your dinner with "engagers" served with a healthy heaping of B-School speak about "maximizing human potential" and "empathy-action platforms"? Fill out your application here.

Yes, there's an application process to join this tribe, which uses food to open dialogues between creative types. Google TableTribes and you'll learn it's "the first proof of concept for Xuntora Labs, a research-driven initiative dedicated to the creation of empathy-activation platforms."

So if you're up for being a guinea pig of some sort, the next TableTribes dinner is at Georgetown's Janus et Cie on Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. The menu is yet to be determined, but the theme, "the healthy and strong individual is the one who asks for help when he/she needs it," was selected from a fortune cookie.

To get on the list of people who will be notified when tickets are released for the dinner, potential guests will have to answer multiple choice questions like:

Are you an optimist? 

You're also required to write a six-word biography.

"There are no 'wrong' answers," said Hosan Lee, TableTribes CEO, in an e-mail.  "The intention behind the psychographic results is to gauge shared core values of openness to others in the spirit of TableTribes. It's OK to have different perspectives on an issue, but we want people who are willing to engage and be engaged."

Just by filling out the application, Lee notes, you're showing that you're engaged in their mission and core values. But applying is no guarantee that you'll get tickets -- they are first-come, first-serve, and will be released next week to all who apply beforehand. The base price is $50, with a suggested donation of $75, since 20 percent of the net proceeds will be donated to TableTribes' nonprofit partners, Robert Egger's LA Kitchen and The dinner's hosts come from the consulting world, with the exception of a manager at Miriam's Kitchen.

So, if you're one of the 30 who snag a ticket to the TableTribes dinner, pick out your best "elegant picnic casual" outfit and study up on these buzzwords, which may come in handy -- though Lee cautions that TableTribes "politely ask[s] everyone to check their egos at the door." (For the record, her six-word bio is pretty great: "Exactly where I want to be.")

Maura Judkis covers culture, food, and the arts for the Weekend section and Going Out Guide.



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Tim Carman · January 30, 2013

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