People often ask "Where is the new Natura?" and I have no clue where that is. I haven't been looking for one in fact but I don't know of any place that has alcohol, coffee, tea and live events. At the most you'll going to find places in Orlando that only have three of those things but not all four. I want to look back at my time with Natura but I can't stop thinking about it.
I remember in 2005 wanting to continue to work on a project but I didn't want to go home. At the same time I didn't want to sit at work because I couldn't drink beer at the office. A drove around and found Natura and I went in there to start hammer out some more code and drink beers. Little did I know that it was Open Mic Night and there was someone bombing before my eyes. I've always wanted to try comedy, but was scared. I asked the guy who ran the Open Mic at the time do they have any comedians. He said "Yes but they all suck." so I told him I would sign up and I did in a few weeks.
Then Natura became the place where I would do comedy, work on projects and hangout with friends after work. The best memory to this day is being on my laptop and watching a homeless kid by the name of Sam walk out of the store and lay down on the ground. Then Matt(an employee) followed behind him with a pitcher of beer. At this point I had to go and watch what was about to unfold. Matt was standing over Sam pouring beer into his mouth and most of it was going all over his face.
I've watched Natura change ownership 3 times. The second owner wanted me to start hosting once I moved back from Gainesville, FL. I started off doing my act in between bands setting their equipment up but after a few weeks it was nothing but crowd work. Once the person who hired me to host Open Mics sold the place I was hoping that the new owner wasn't going to change things up. In fact Denise and Nick Covert did let me continue with the way I was hosting. It did at some point started to become a problem for a few people. One day Nick Covert made the suggestion to I don't single anyone out.
All good things must come to an end right? A guy wanted to take over my Thursday night hosting. One of the employees said "I bet he's going to try and take Thursday from you." and I was shocked when it happened. I stop hosting once the owner wanted to switch me from Thursday to the Sunday. I didn't want to do that so I pretty much stopped all together. I had people come up to me when I was at outings and ask me why I stop hosting. I didn't want to host on Sunday because it made it so I couldn't go do Stand-Up the same night at another coffee shop by the name of Austin's. Plus I podcast on Sunday and if I had to make crazy edits it wouldn't be out the same day like I always aim for. I worked my way from Sunday to Thursday so making me work Sunday again was a slap in the face. I later moved on to hosting a showcase down the plaza that it gave me the level of control I wanted. If I didn't like an act I couldn't remove them off the list or even shorten their time. You ever had a comedian tell you "Fuck you Feiling I have 5 minutes left." and kept going? Maybe not because you're last name isn't Feiling but you get the point.
I learned that Natura was closing on a camping trip with the owner Nick. I often told people we were still friends and even told him no longer owning a business doesn't change that. Everyone want to talk about why Natura failed and we all came up with different reasons. This isn't about Natura failing it's about Natura memories. I remember a good friend Maxine that was there a lot and lost her life in a car accident, the best memories with her were always at Natura. I would loved walking by a person's laptop and seeing them coding something then chat to them about what they're working on. Or watching people play games on their laptops or handheld over the years. I could go on and on but you get the point.
In my early 20's I had to move out of my childhood home I grew up in. My brother told me "Don't worry about these walls think about the memories we made here." and I'm asking everyone to do the same thing. At the end of the day I just really want people to be thankful and not bitter. I don't overlook the fact Natura has given me my start in the comedy world. Plus given other artist a platform to showcase their gifts. There isn't going to be another place like it.