Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Show Biz

On the Fourth of July Weekend, Ben and I did the arts and crafts show with our pottery in Livingston. We shared a booth with Ursula. It was a terrible show for us, as it was for almost all the vendors. Partly due to the economy, other than our annual show in Shell, Wyoming (which, unfortunately, we won’t be able to do this year because we just don’t have any inventory or any new work), we haven’t done shows for a few years. This was a reminder of why we really hate doing shows. Sweltering temperatures, damaging winds that blow a lot of vendor booths away, sales inadequate to pay the booth fee . . .  Okay, I’ll stop whining now.

While we were sitting around at the show, Ben and I reminisced over past shows we could recall.

One Christmas show in Bozeman years ago was so bad that all the vendors traded with each other at the end, just so we would have gifts to give for the holidays that weren’t our own work yet again. That was actually kind of fun: shopping with goods instead of money.

A one-day summer show we did in Red Lodge was going really well when a huge thunder storm rolled up over the mountain with lightning, hellacious winds, and drenching rain. It lasted about twenty minutes or so, but when it cleared all the shoppers had gone home and didn’t come back. We left early. That wasn’t very fun.

We did a summer show in Big Sky way back that was attended by an over-sized dust devil, one that we still call a mini-tornado. It swept through the show grounds, lifting booth tents and sailing them overhead. The booth at the end, the first to get hit, was of a group of furniture makers who had been drinking a lot of beer. They were all sitting around in the shade of their extra-large booth, shirtless and drinking when the mini-tornado hit. It yanked their tent top off and sucked up hundreds of their flyers. The men, their eyes a bit glassy, stared into the sky with  the most incredible look of stupefied awe on their faces I’ve ever seen. The mini-t continued on through the show, ripping up tents and knocking people over. The man across the aisle from Ben and me lost his entire inventory of carved and etched ostrich eggs in glass cases, thousands of dollars worth. Their tent, poles and all, ended up in the parking lot after rolling down the aisle and flattening a woman before being air-lifted.

Ben and I didn’t have a tent at that time. We were just starting out and had been braving the scorching sun. When the mini-t hit we gaped in disbelief at the destruction and subsequent babbling and stark silence of the various other vendors. It wasn’t until later that we realized that our own set-up was completely unscathed; we lost nothing. Our business cards were still inside the mug we had put them in. Ben and I were, I believe, about the only ones in the show not to have lost anything.

The show was over, of course, so with a sickly solemnity everyone packed up and loaded what was left of their work into their vehicles. As Ben and I got ready to climb into our truck to head home, we looked up and saw the flyers from the furniture makers still flying in circles so high above us the papers looked like glitter.



I didn’t take pictures at the show, I almost never do, so here are some photos of Yellowstone Park from when we went hiking there a couple of years ago. Now THAT was a good time.





















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