Saturday, June 07, 2008

A Swelterin' Good Time.

OK... so turns out I was a bit dismissive about the heat this weekend. It is freakin' hot and humid. Granted it's June, so this isn't completely unexpected. But it certainly took me by surprise this year. Like I suggested in an earlier post, I have indeed spent most of the time out-of-doors. I am sure to have lost significant water weight. It has been worth it so far, as last night's Unblurred was everything I thought it might be and more. Driving by the Sprout Fund building on Penn, I was taken aback to see plenty of people already milling about in the adjacent lot. There was even a deejay set up. I thought that I'd stop by 'early' and take in the scene, and quickly learned that they had a name tag waiting for me at the front desk, and the happenings had started two hours previously. I surmised that I was supposed to stay awhile.

Truthfully it wasn't like I felt trapped, what with the free beer and entertainment and plenty of interesting folks catching up with each other. I actually had to pull myself away to see what else was going on down the street. Even with all the competing events going on last night, Penn Avenue was kickin'. I never once felt like I hadn't made the right choice as to where to be. The art itself was generally solid, but the main attraction was the amount of participants of all kinds. Everyone seemed to put out extravagant spreads too, which meant that revelers were feeling especially catered to. My friend even pointed out a few "sold" markings under some of the work. That was only mildly shocking because things were priced so low. I guess recession prices have officially settled in.

It was nice to see Christine and Matt from Moxie Dada in their home setting. Nicole and Josh from Boxheart were also present when I stopped by. It required a visit for it to sink in how good an idea these two galleries have developed with their "Open House" idea. If you are interested in having art hung temporarily in your home, they will come and interview you about your tastes, friends, interests and hobbies. Then they will select specific local art to match your answers, and hang it in your house for a party. If some work sells, the service is paid for that way. I like the fact that they are thinking outside the box with this concept. Pittsburgh definitely requires creative innovation in art marketing. Hopefully this project will succeed.

This morning there was no rest for the weary, as the Aspinwall annual community sale was going on. I was there last year with M., who was newly pregnant. She nostalgically remembered one guy who helpfully provided a plastic bag so that she didn't have to puke in the street. But you see, that's just the way the folks in that neighborhood are- accommodating. We got an early start, and with Baby E. in tow this year, we relied on the car to get us around. I blasted the air conditioning, and we took turns getting out to check out each household's offerings. We actually covered a lot of ground quickly that way. And E. was remarkably patient, sitting in his car seat and playing with his favorite Hawaiian-shirt-wearing stuffed monkey.

It's appropriate for E. to be forbearing of his parents' obsessive search for bargains- because he made out like the little bandit he no doubt will someday be. His library is expanding in great chunks this Spring. Children's books apparently don't have a whole lot of utility for people with adult offspring. The most either of us have paid for a single title is $1.50, and that felt like an obscene extravagance in the face of prevailing market prices. The vast majority of the 'little lit' we see at garage sales is priced between 25 and 50 cents. I don't understand why anyone would pay retail price for this stuff. And we also scored some cool-assed Playmobil pirates from some yuppie family in Fox Chapel. I thought at the time that half a dollar per figure was a bit expensive, but it turns out that a lot of adults obsess over these toys. Who woulda figured?!

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