Jelly, jelly so fine

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Blue Heron Gallery, February Tour

I woke up in the middle of the night, in a complete sweat. What city was I in and where was the venue I was supposed to be working? I honestly could not remember. It took about a minute to realize that I was in Santa Barbara, at a fairgrounds, Earl Warren, incidentally one that I have worked at since I was seventeen years old.


It has happened before. Once after a long string of shows, I woke in the middle of the night wondering where the bathroom was in a particular hotel, only to finally figure out that I was in my own bed. Road weariness.

I am back from about two weeks on said road, with the exception of the one day that I came back and feverishly repacked.

I left two weeks ago Wednesday for Palm Springs. 

It had been raining at my home and the light of the rising sun was just beginning to illuminate the rusty old biplane in my front yard.

I made it out to the desert with little worries and started unloading.

Saw my buddy Rob in the parking lot, smoking a cigarette. We have been friends for a long time. 

He helps build the walls at the show and does many other things as well with Eric and the other setup guys.

All longtime friends. Couldn't do it without them.

I watched my comrades setup their booths. 

Steve, my booth partner for every spring show, and I set up ours. I handed out my homemade scones to some people that had demanded that I do so. They were happy. Rosemary gave them a 9.5, a bit measly in my opinion, sort of like a miserly Russian Olympic judge.

We both had an excellent show. Our material has always worked together seamlessly. 

I think people appreciate our expertise. Always fun to split a booth with Steve.

Here is our good friend and top print dealer Roger Genser with Steve.

There were over a thousand people at opening night, at $125 a pop.

They were a bit toned down in a sartorial sense but everybody was having fun and we made some excellent sales, to both new and existing clients.

Here are a few shots in the booth and of the show.

People go to the desert to have fun and everybody enjoys Modernism Week. If you have never gone put it on your schedule.

But book your motel or hotel way in advance. I was staying at the Motel 6 north which was way up by the windmills. I didn't even know it existed but it worked out okay. While I was checking in somebody came in looking for a room. $400 for a Motel 6. Unbelievable. I paid about a quarter of that.

One nice thing about the motel was there was a Denny's fifty yards away. I went over one night after the show, completely bushed.

I had a really sweet waitress and asked her what the best thing was on the menu. She directed me to the salmon, said they had a great cook. I talked to him and they suggested the senior portion, a suggestion that caused me no small umbrage.

They were right. For under fourteen bucks, I got a fabulous and large portion of salmon, perfectly cooked, a salad and broccoli. 

It pays to be nice to the staff and to talk to the cook.

The show came, the show went, had a long pack out and came home late Monday night, just before midnight.

The next day I got up at five, in order to grab a parking space to repack and replenish the van.

I had packed the Santa Barbara boxes before I left, had to secure a place to load before the yoga people took them all.

I finally got finished with my list of stuff to do about two o'clock, made a new set of labels and went home to pack more clothes and bake another batch of scones.

I left for Santa Barbara at about six the next day, a bit tired still from the previous week.

For some reason the GPS directed me farther up the 15, wasn't sure why. I ended up in Phelan and Palmdale, in the desert near Lancaster. Put my up by Lake Sherwood and the snowcapped mountains and places I had never been. Finally got on the 138 and 14 south.

It turned out that the 210 was shut down with a jacknifed semi. Took over five and a half hours to get to Santa Barbara, ended up going through the Camulos Valley. One of my favorites. Long trip though.

I get to the show and start unpacking with little problem. My paper is up, everything is cool. By the afternoon of the second day everything is going swimmingly, paper hung, case full. Or so I thought anyway.

I get a lot of real estate in Santa Barbara, can really pack it in.

About three o'clock on the second day of setup, the lights started dimming. The next thing I know there is smoke coming out of the maintenance closet next to my booth, which holds the giant sub panel and electrical service gear.

Not only is it smoking but it is making an awful noise.

Next thing I know sic fire engines and a cop roll up. I am not sure if they are going to evacuate the building. They tell the fairgrounds staff to shut down and do nothing until Edison gets there, which unfortunately was very late that night.

Edison says the problem is a high voltage fuse on another part of the property. Told them to get an electrician because they didn't want to see anybody electrocuted. I am texting management and getting a rundown because this is very late at night.

I honestly did not think we would have a show. Changing fuses and transformers takes time and money. They would have to find an electrician in the morning. And after seeing the antiquated panel belch smoke I had to wonder what kind of further stress it could endure?

I felt for the dealers and the promoters. Some dealers had come far, one from Louisiana. everybody had big expenses. I felt snakebit from the start and the route through the Mojave, was this show destined to fire?

When I got there Friday morning, the guys on staff told me they thought noon. No big. 

But somehow, miraculously, everything came together and we opened on time. I am very happy to say that I had another great show. Gave out more scones, this time blueberry, cranberry ginger walnut with a navel orange icing from our trees.

Two great shows in a row. Imagine that?

Show was over at four on Sunday. I was completely exhausted. Took three and a half hours to pack up and out. I fell asleep on the road twice, ended up screaming and slapping myself int he face to stay up. I know, I should have got a motel. Completely hit the wall. I ended up sleeping in an Arco parking lot in Lake Elsinore for ten minutes to gain a little strength and composure. This will be my last show for several months. 

I unloaded Monday, sent off packages today and plan on taking it easy for the rest of the week.

This one done wrung out everything I had.


1 comment:

Ken Seals said...

I'm happy to hear you had some good shows! The pictures of the people are great. Very interesting, especially the women. :-)