Blue Heron in flight

Monday, March 11, 2013


I am back from my show in Los Angeles, the one I swore I would never exhibit at again. I guess that you could call the show a stunning success, well if you define stunning success as taking in a few more dollars than you put out, not counting the cost of goods of course. Shitty is the new good, you know...

It was a beautiful show that had decent attendance, the first day anyway. Anybody came close to wanting anything, I cut the price and made sure that they got it, even let go of a few personal treasures. But it was mostly small potatoes stuff, people aren't really popping for the big ticket stuff these days.

So I made a couple bucks, perhaps enough to pay the light bill this month. Unfortunately some of my peers that exhibited there can't say the same and many had incredible inventory.

Can't blame the promoters, friends of mine, they pulled out every stop, and being dealers themselves are attuned to our needs to a higher degree than the normal joe promoter.

But they are dealing with the curious burg of Los Angeles, where west siders won't venture past the demarcation lines to the east, and venture into the wooly exburbs of Glendale and Pasadena. Couple that with the planetary generational flux vortex that we are currently navigating through and it spells trouble with a capital T.

I made a tactical error in my approach to the fair, investing heavily in young, colorful and fresh while the show demographic was more of the depends set. My old Los Angeles clientele is now pretty much all gone, dead, sick or beyond the collecting phase of their life. Not a one showed up. But neither did more than a handful of folks under thirty so what you mostly get are the same people that you see every single weekend at the swap meet. Many don't have a life outside of "stuff." Nice people but they don't tend to help you make a living. The one's that live in it every second.

Met a longtime friend we will call the third. His gig is hitting Chick-fil-a openings. If you camp out over night at a new store opening, you get a picket of 52 free meal tickets. The third says that it is great, they let you use the bathroom while you are waiting in line and everything. The third is up to 492 free chicken sandwiches. Dinner is set for the next year and a half and don't think he is done.  It is said that the third is actually of princely midwestern stock, is sitting on a huge stock market portfolio and that this is just the way he chooses to roll. Allah bless him, who am I to judge? People love stuff! Million ways to play this life game.

I will give you the cliff note version of the weekend's events and then maybe expound a little. I was minding my own business driving up when while dislodging a spare food particle with a business card, in my horris fashion, a practice that incidentally my spouse finds detestable, when I felt something weird dislodge into my mouth, which turned out to be a corner of my tooth. Like having a single grain of sand stuck in your eye, your tongue can't stop playing on the funny spot, drives you nuts. Hope to see the dentist in the morning.

Many people mourning the blog in my antique world. Extended a few invites. Dennis Boses said that he always hated it, good riddance. A man came up to me with his wife, an actor/ director and confessed his longtime love for the blog in a really genuine way. We talked about a play or was it a screenplay? Lovely people, it would be a fun project. People have been coming out of the woodwork for blog invites. Never knew about many. Many people still can't log on. Must fix.

Had a malicious person slander me and accuse me of some pretty heinous utterances that were completely woven out of thin air. I believe that I kept my composure completely. Interesting how people can pull things out of the blue when it fits their agenda.

Two trips to La Cabanita. I had the chuletas the first night, two large pork chops cooked in pasilla chile and sour cream. Unbelievably good, we had a wonderful meal, a bunch of great dealers and comrades that have fought a lot of campaigns together, respect them to a man and woman. Cam had the chile nogada, the poblano stuffed with pine nuts, raisins, festooned with pomegranete, under an almost cloying sweat sauce. Interesting but slightly sinful. Had a stiff margarita that knocked me on my ass. Hotel was far away in a corner of Burbank.

Next night I tried something new, albondigas con chipotle, spicy meatballs with a hard boiled egg center. A bit too intense for me, Steve had them and loved them. So spicy it was almost no fun.

Stopped at an Armenian cafe for breakfast. Just one word for you, don't. I had a borak (sic), a little turnover type unit that contained a cheese that smelled and tasted like old socks. Worst ever, Cam had something equally disgusting. Engaged the proprietor and his buddy, tried to steer into Turkish and Armenian relations but they were pretty cool and not going there. Food and coffee were so bad. Wonderful, friendly people, funky breakfast cuisine. As Cam used to say, rather suck the ass out of a goat.

I was showing a sterling silver flatware set in my half of the case. Cam had a dansk stainless set on the other side. A woman was looking and asking questions about my Buccellatti set for several minutes, fairly nasty, rich lawyers wife dabbles in antiques and supposedly gets into trouble. She tries to beat me up, unsuccessfully and finally leaves. Another client, who I have known forever, very nice, swoops in and buys the dansk set. She is heavyset, not obese, not that it matters to me but it's part of the story.

The first brunette comes back seething. She wanted the other set and the Fat Cow got it. The set she really wanted. Never met the other woman and she is now calling her a fat cow. I loathed this woman instantly for her nastiness and crudity.

I know that I like to bag on Los Angeles and I don't think it is fair to call her quintessential Los Angeles because she is certainly an anomaly but her brand of venom had a distinctly Los Angeles quality that I have not personally seen elsewhere.

Hit Rose Bowl and ran into Gordon McLelland. He says that the new Pasadena Museum of California Art exhibition of California Scene painting is exceptional. Great paintings from private collections  including Buck's. Definitely want to see it. I had an appointment before the show and had to put something in my stomach quick. Stopped at Burger King for a double croissanwich. The oil they boiled the potato patty was getting pretty rancid and left a sour petroleum glaze in my mouth for most of the morning.

I had to laugh when a client mentioned that she thought one of the Giacometti type solder jobs actually came from Pier One. Was bound to happen. Love modern art.

On the way home I listened to iconic american miler Jim Ryun interviewed on the Competitor radio show. Ryun was the first high school under four minute miler and he recounted his first year and shaving 41 seconds off his mile as a kid in a Kansas high school. He became a Congressman and an evangelical one at that later on, he said something that was interesting to me. He talked about the change that takes place when we take ownership of our goals in life and the empowerment that subsequently happens. Would like to find a podcast to share. He was a favorite of mine.


Marie said...

You've mentioned La Cabanita several times over the years. I am from that neck of the woods (born in Glendale and lived in Montrose until high school.)

I will have to make it a destination next time I go up that way. Maybe get the family involved. Last year we all met at some Mexican place on Honolulu Ave - if we meet again this year I will recommend this place!

Anonymous said...


I don't know what sort of problems I am supposed to be having--I didn't have any, but !!! I kept on reading on and on, and finally had to give up--too much food and too much bitching. It seems your life is interesting--meeting a lot of interesting people.

My political thought--Chavez. The have's, personal and corporate, should realize that if there is great property and/or income disparity between the one per cent and the ninety-nine percent, the one latter might decide to take from the former--our prosperity must be shared for the protection of the wealthy. UNCLE NORM.