Local artist wants to get to know you

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For many, breaking into new social circles outside of work or school can be difficult, but thanks to Mark Hopkins and his We Should Know Each Other events Calgarians have an easy and fun avenue to do just that.

Hopkins, a local theatre artist, says since the events began over two years ago in his living room the makeup of the parties has diversified, but the spirit of excitement hasn't changed.

"In the first six months it was mostly just my friends," says Hopkins. "But since then we've really seen an explosion in the backgrounds of people coming down."

Now at installment 55, the We Should Know Each Other parties give people the chance to interact with strangers they might otherwise never meet. There's no real structure to the get-togethers, which take on a life of their own depending on the makeup of the partygoers.

"It's an opportunity for people to meet each other," says Hopkins. "Not a lot of people have the opportunity to step outside of their comfort zone."

Thursday's special event takes place at a new venue, the Cantos Music Foundation, home to one of the world's largest keyboard collection. This is the second time Hopkins holds the get-together outside his house.

"This is an opportunity for me to step outside of my comfort zone," says Hopkins, who rarely leaves downtown. "It's a way for me to see other parts of the city."

Hopkins wants to continue hosting the events away from home to let party goers interact with, not just new people, but different areas of the city.

"I'm not going to stop doing the living room events," says Hopkins, "but I'd love to take them into the far south, into the suburbs, and explore an area of the city I'd otherwise never go to."

In the future, Hopkins also hopes to also look at new themes for the parties, including "We Should Know Each Other's Parents" and events structured around the upcoming municipal election.

"It's something that I've been thinking about," says Hopkins. "I want to get the candidates out of the town halls and formal speeches and maybe just into my living room, talking to people."

Though he doesn't make any money hosting the events, Hopkins' passion for connecting people will continue as long as the guests keep showing up.

"I have a hell of a lot of fun doing it," says Hopkins.