2010 OKC Paseo (review) – “It used to be a chicken!”

Introduction

HA! This show was so good that it took me nearly two months to finish writing the review!  …Yes, I suck at the blog posting. :)

Anyway, this has always been a good show. The crowd is always lively, the other artists are fired up, and sales are always solid.

..In fact, it’s the only show where I’ve had people line up to buy stuff from me! (that gives me the warm fuzzies!)

Good Stuff

The most humorous part of the show occurred at the end of the first day. I was exhausted, and could barely sit up in my chair to greet people as the entered the booth. And just then, someone entered the booth. Now my usual technique upon making eye contact (if you want to use such a fancy word as “technique”) is to say something like, “hi, how ya doin?” or “hey come on in!” I was feeling none of that. Instead, I had just enough mental faculties to react to what I saw. There is a gentleman about college age — early 20s, t-shirt, jeans — and he is carrying an upright stick. It’s a little over a foot long, and it has what appears to be little food bits dangling from it. Instead of my usual canned greeting, I react with, “man, that’s a nice stick you brought me!”

His response was perfect. It was about as good a response as you can get from anybody about any topic. He could have replied with something matter-of-factly — “I got it from the food court..” or “there’s a food vendor just down the way selling meat on a stick..” Instead, he enthusiastically blurted out: “It used to be a chicken!”

I lost it. The next thing I knew I was on the ground in front of my chair laughing and gasping for breath. My brain did not know what to do with that… How could that have been what he said it was?? Will this finally solve the chicken and egg debate?? Who knows, but it was so perfect!

Trouble, Right Here in Oklahoma City

It always rains on Memorial Day. Why couldn’t I remember that? Way back when I was only this tall, my family had their reunions every single Memorial Day weekend, and out of the 25+ reunions I remember, they all had at least one rainy day.

The first two days of the Paseo show were great — sunny, a bit hot (90F), but it didn’t scare anybody off! After the show, about 9:45pm, I was driving back to my friend’s apartment (where I spent the night), I drove past the antenna farm on Britton Rd, near Broadway Extension. There are about 15-20 TV & radio antennas lining the horizon, and I’ll be damned if every one of those didn’t struck by lightning at least once during the 45 seconds as I passed by them. A wicked storm was coming through, and it was trying its best to remind me of my family reunions. (Two reasons why I couldn’t take a video of it — 1: My camera was packed up, 2: This is one of the most dangerous stretches of road in the entire city.)

I get ‘home’, hop on the internet to check the weather, and sure enough, there appears to be a blob of orange and red about a third the size of the state, coming right at us. The storm is plowing across open fields in jack nowhere (Okarche and Piedmont), and people are reporting 60mph winds. Great.

“Well, at least I’ve got my roof! I’ve got my panels tied to the booth for rigidity, and I’ve got my weights– oh crap. I didn’t attach my weights.” I talk myself out of going all the way back to the show to attach my weights. Here’s the logic I used during assembly: My booth is surrounded on three sides by other booths. The fabric might flarp around a bit, but the wind can’t get between the booths to knock anything over. Besides, I was exhausted.

3:30am, the storm wakes me up. It was raining sideways and somehow hitting every window in the apartment. It didn’t have the high-pitch crack of hail hitting glass, but it was enough to make me reconsider going back to sleep. If my booth was going to go down during this storm, I wanted to know about it sooner rather than later.

Against my better judgment, I find myself driving through the storm. Now, you know what it’s like to drive through an automatic car wash.. You can only see the intricate patterns of powerful jets of water blasting all the sun-burnt bug guts off your windshield. Imagine that, now add the urgency of expecting about $3500 worth of tent and panels flailing about in the air before wrapping their non-insured selves around the next building. I couldn’t see well enough to go over 30mph, so I had plenty of time to wonder about what I was going to find at the show. I tried to distract myself by wondering what in the holy hell the other drivers on the road were out doing in this crap. There was the occasional collision being tended to by local law enforcement, but eventually I arrive in one piece.

I park just on the other side of the barriers, and the rain lets up. I didn’t really need my umbrella, but the rain could pick up just as fast as it stopped. I jog toward the tents, waving to the one security guard who’s sitting in his squad car parked in the middle of the show. So far, not a single tent has collapsed, but mine is still around the corner..

It’s odd. I get to my tent, and from the outside, it’s just as I left — the awning is still attached! I unzip the front, look inside, and uncontrollably start belting out the chorus to this happy little ditty by Elton John!

What the hell?! I forgot my weights, I left my awning on, I was begging for it! No damage at all!

The next morning, I arrived joyfully skipping, ready to start the day.. oh, something was different. My neighbor’s tent was missing. They were scrambling to dry off their stuff (they left some stuff in the booth!), but my booth was completely untouched! I helped out where I could.. They had a huge ornate mirror, which they would have hung from the scaffolding of their EZ-Up tent, so I offered to let them hang it on the outside of my panels. They were grateful, and they didn’t let the storm scare them off! (They even went and bought another tent before the show was over!)

It turned out that of all six tents that went down, every single one was an EZ-Up. My Light Dome may have survived a storm without any weights, but I’m not going to test it again. :)

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The only bad part about Paseo is something that doesn’t affect Paseo directly — it affects every other art show in Oklahoma City. (see next post)

This entry was posted in Art Festival Reviews.