Edgewater: Highlights, Lowdowns and WTFs

First off, I had a kick ass weekend. Edgewater’s vibe is somewhere between Lakeview’s and Rogers Park’s. It’s a lib arts-y crowd with a little more dough to spend than their immediate neighbor to the northwest, but not a lot more. Lots of low to mid range items sold, but not much on the higher end. More than a few customers with multiple purchases, so that’s good.

Many people who saw me at Lakeview and Glenwood were at this show, which is fantastic. It means the organizers are getting the word out to people who like to go to art fairs, and it tells me that there’s a shared vibe between those neighborhoods that gets into my glittery shenanigans. I didn’t do as well here as I did in Lakeview, but I did slightly better than I did at Glenwood. Which makes total sense given the demographics. These three have been my three best overall shows thus far.

So, Highlights: Hella big crowd on Saturday and they were there to buy. Sunday we had ugly weather (didn’t rain, but it looked likely to) and a Bears game keeping people indoors, so it was kinda lame, but over both days I did quite well. Super friendly crowd. Educated and fun and generally a pleasure. When I say “educated” I don’t necessarily mean an advanced degree in anything. An MBA that doesn’t understand art doesn’t do me a lick of good. So when I say “educated” I mean people who *get* the arts. And that’s definitely Edgewater’s crowd.

Kick ass Korean food 50 feet away from my booth, and a Metropolis coffee shop a block away equals win. Parking was uncommonly painless for that neck of the woods. There was dedicated artist parking in a lot a couple of blocks away. Though it wasn’t a large lot, so not everyone got to use it. But it was all residential off the main strip and we found parking very nearby when not using the lot.

Lots of talent at this show, too. Plenty of artists I desperately wanted the wall space and the dough to support. Also, I had great neighbors. I’ve been lucky so far in that I haven’t had any divas around to muck up the works at these events. Just sassy characters. And that suits me right down to the ground.

Lowdowns: Did I say load in was a hot mess at Lakeview? I revise my opinion. That one was a peach compared to this one. It was a Saturday morning load in, for one. Which always makes life complicated, because people are in a hurry. They had it on paper like so; section A with booths numbered whatever through whatever loads in at 7 am, section B with numbers whatever to whatever at 8 am, and then section C at 9, going east to west, so all cars are moving in one direction, with the sections clearing out accordingly to make room for the oncoming traffic for the next load in time. And it would have worked beautifully. IF absolutely everyone showed up exactly on time, dumped their load and got their cars out of the way immediately before setting up, and nobody with a box truck or any sort of large vehicle was blocking up space off loading fences, porta potties, road blockades or rental tents.

That. Is not. What happened.

7 am people were showing up at 8:30, 8 am people rolling in at 9, and so forth. There was a huge ass truck taking up mine and two other spots for half an hour into my designated load in time offloading water barrels to weigh down rental tents. Management only had “He’s not supposed to be there” to say on that matter. Whiiiiich is not super helpful unless you’re going to move the truck. Just sayin’. The spaces were marked really vaguely and lots of folks started setting up wrong-ways because of it. I grabbed a walkie talkie wielding person and asked many questions before even pulling the bag off my tent frame so I wouldn’t have to move my shit, but not everyone did, and many people had to shift around. There was also nothing even slightly resembling traffic control. People were meandering around and clogging up the works every which way, because, understandably, they need to unload and get set up. But there were cars, trucks and humans in everybody’s way, so they just tetris-ed as best they could, which of course contributed to the problem.

FRIDAY SET UP, people. For the love of tiny ponies, as my chainmailer friend would say. Yanno what though, not even. I set up at 6 am on the Saturday morning of my first show this year along with 100 other vendors and we managed not to completely jack each other up. Probably because management had the presence of mind to get the stages, rentals and food trucks set up the night before, leaving only vendors to set up the day of. But yeah, save one snarky potter, nobody got in anybody else’s way at that one.

All of this is why I made sure to be parked a block from my spot for load out, and have an extra monkey coming in, so we could just hand cart everything to the car and not have to deal with trying to get my vehicle in there. Because as expected, load out was just as big a nightmare. One fence rental company was a special culprit because they absolutely HAD to get their fences RIGHT NOW. While 120 tents were slightly in the way. Oy.

Volunteers at this event weren’t as proactive as at others about going around and making themselves generally available, but they were there and wearing obvious clothing, so not a complaint so much as a caution to anyone contemplating working this show alone. You will have to go fetch a volunteer monkey, for they do not come to you.

WTFs: Usually after a show, especially one where so many business cards went away, I get a decent uptick in Facebook likes. But this one, not so much. It only increased by three or four, and at least two of those were people re-liking the page, thanks to FBs tendency to arbitrarily un-like/un-friend pages for you (Didn’t know they did that? Yeah. So if you haven’t seen someone in your feed for awhile, you might want to check if they’re even still liked/friended by you.). Edgewater must not be a big Facebooking neighborhood? Social media being a major marketing tool, this is actually pretty relevant.

Hilarious realization that I’m channeling the daddy of assemblage. I get a lot of “Oh, Joseph Cornell” comments, because he’s the guy who made assemblage a Thing. A couple of ladies were talking about him with my monkey and I. One of them wasn’t terribly familiar with him, the other was educating her and giving us tidbits about the guy behind the boxes. She says “He was this like, weird recluse who lived with his mother.” Whereupon Matt and I looked at each other and burst out laughing, for I too am a weird recluse who lives with her mother. The lady backpedaled a bit till she realized that I was amused rather than butt hurt. Hey man, I own my weird reclusiveness. Some of the best people in history were weird recluses. I am so carrying on a tradition of awesomeness. That only I know about. Because I don’t leave the house.

Next up, Prairie Moon!