In my efforts to be a more positive person I tried to keep on the bright side of everything. My booth set up was even next door to an ATM machine, so I wanted that to be a good sign!
They had to spread us out between the many outside restaurants on the strip down the Inner Harbor, so my section was a bit sparse... again with the positivity I thought maybe that would help eliminate other distractions so people would notice my booth... boy oh boy... listen to this...
|Smiling through the pain|
I set up on Friday blissfully ignorant as to what may be waiting for me on Saturday, but lo and behold, overnight in the all of that beautiful "sparse" space around me, across from my tent were the dreaded promoters. I had the Baltimore Sun and some grocery store giving away free yogurt! I am not sure which was worse (well... yes I am) but the grocers must have given away a thousand yogurts on Saturday alone. So if I was lucky enough for someone to turn around into my tent after their yogurt acquisition- I guess to my credit they must have been so excited to get into my booth- that they just could not wait to open their yogurt before they came inside. But I should back up to say that this promo yogurt wasn't just any yogurt... it was yogurt with a side dish of chocolate balls that you dumped into the yogurt... so now you can see my face when I repeat- they had to come inside my tent to open their yogurt. I spent the entire day trying to sweep out chocolate balls from my carpet. And that was only the ones that hadn't been stepped on and crushed before I got to them. I even lured all the dogs I could see inside to clean up my rug, but they just got distracted by the scent of MY dog on the carpet, so those chocolate balls must have not been good. But you'd never know by the way people shoveled them into their faces! Ha! BUT. Let me tell you... I would take the yogurt vendors ALL DAY if it meant that I didn't have to listen to the idiot from the Baltimore Sun...
So the show didnt start until 10, but bright and early Saturday the "newsies" were out there hawking paper subscriptions- and without the entertaining song and dance. It was warm, and he was luring people to his "booth" we'll call it, by giving away free fans. Now I would chalk it all as being just my misfortune if it was just the paper, doing their jobs, trying to make a living like me. BUT this guy would come and get people OUT OF MY BOOTH and take them to his booth to sell papers. And if he wasn't doing that, he was yelling SO LOUD at everyone walking by that they would just duck their head and run past- his booth and mine- just to avoid him. But I swear for 2 DAYS I had to listen to this guy sell the exact same line to attract people. He would write "YOUR NAME" on the back of a fan then scream out bets at people that "ten bucks says YOUR NAME is on the back of this fan." Now you have to read that again but with a more obnoxious voice... Then he would try to joke that you can "Come get your free fan! Its just like the ones you pay money for, except not- because its FREE!" Over and over and over and over... 2 days people.
|Baltimore Sun worker and Hard Rock Cafe|
But dont worry... it gets better. If you notice in my above photo, not only can you see paper man hawking fans under the umbrella, but in front of him and on the other side of the ATM by my booth is happens to be the outside bar to the Hard Rock Cafe. On the other side of my tent was an outside bar for Dick's Last Resort. Now, after coming to terms with The Sun across from me, I wasn't sure how to feel when each bar, by 11 o'clock, had started blasting music through their stereos, which seemed to both be placed about ten feet from my booth. This meant a few things. 1st- Newspaper guy just started yelling louder. 2nd- I had to start yelling louder to anyone who came in my booth. 3rd- Some people were just turned off by the music completely so they kept walking. OK. We can manage. However. What we could NOT manage was the surprise benefit concert put on at the Hard Rock Saturday afternoon. Starting after lunch alllllllllllll the way through the end of the show at 7 pm, through the exact same speakers I was upset about maybe playing Tom Petty a little too loud, spewed the literal hard rock music from your mother's nightmares. You know, the kind that is so unintelligible that it just translates as screaming into a microphone? Yep. 7 hours. Now, this accomplished a couple things too. 1st- Newspaper guy could not even compete it was SO LOUD so he just stood in between our booths to physically intercept people trying to sneak by. 2nd- The people who did manage to squirm into my booth could really only communicate with hand gestures, so I got a lot of thumbs up right before their apologetic shoulder shrugs and the insertion of their fingers into their ears as they left my booth. 3rd- Can you feel the same pounding in your head that I felt all weekend?
|People kind enough to stop by|
So. Thats how the art show went. Needless to say it didnt bode well for business. And if you are wondering, "What about Sunday?" Well... just re-read this entire post and insert "Sunday" for "Saturday" and you'll get the idea.
Now I know when I started this post I had said "In an effort to be a more positive person..." and the last few paragraphs have not lived up to that goal. So here is the wrap up to try and redeem myself after the whine of my small violin...
The people who I did manage to talk to and connect with were lovely as always and I got a handful of experiences with customers who I wont forget. Since my work tends to appeal a lot to younger people I am always faced with them not being able to afford the originals. But with the little money that most young people do have, I am always touched when they choose to spend it on me. Print sales dont always pay the bills, but when made to the right people they do serve a sometimes greater purpose of inspiring people to start a little collection of my work and it always feels good to see an excited customer's face- even at the smallest sale.
So there you go Baltimore. My apologies for circumstances making it impossible for us to largely connect. Maybe next time... maybe. Now where is that morning after pill?
|Checking for rain|