Posts Tagged ‘ Palm Springs Modernism ’

Thrills and Spills in Palm Springs, Part 2

Saturday looked promising after attendance at the gala, so we were ready for some action. We had brought along two Milo Baughmann club chairs that Randy had recovered in Jack Larsen fabric, and they were just stunning to look at, and amazing to sit in. So amazing, that I made an effort NOT to sit in them during the show because I didn’t want to get up once I sat down, and it’s hard to help customers when you are taking a nap in the merchandise. Watching the “oh YEAH!” look on customer’s faces as they sat in these chairs all weekend was a treat, as the chairs sold themselves.  Many of the other pieces we brought had admirers, but none so much as the perch chair and George Nelson floating rolltop desk, which were groped by customers the entire show.

One happy visitor enjoying the Baughmann barrel chairs!

Randy was stressed out most of the day, so he spent the better part of the show MIA. But all in all, we sold some goodies and were hopeful for the turnout on Sunday. All of us were daydreaming about the ribs, and due to the sheer quantity of food Randy asked several of his vendor friends to join us for dinner. We only had one taker, and that was Chris from Dallas. Great guy, super nice with a kiddo on the way.

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Now here’s a little reminder: the appliances were a bit spotty on performance. By the time we returned to the house to start the ribs it was pushing 7pm, and the ribs were easily going to take 3 hours to bake to perfection. Randy phoned a friend to get advice on advancing the cook time, and came up with a good solution that should have had decent results by using the grill. However, the grill had two modes: off and Hubs of Hell. Even on low, the grill blasted out temperatures approaching 600 degrees. Combine that with some scotch, Bass, and conversation, the resulting meal resembled an F1 car…heavy on the carbon fiber. Once you got past the aluminum bits that were stuck to the carboned edges, the meat in the middle was great! However, the presentation resulted in discussions involving the repercussions of consuming the aluminum bits, and it was decided that doing so might result in, uh, gastronomic distress resulting in sparks, so we avoided the aluminum bits of garnish. Randy also attempted to make his world-class garlic & goat cheese potatoes, but the stove wouldn’t cooperate either, so the potatoes were only half done by the time 10pm swung around. However, the ribs that stayed in the oven for the 3 hrs did come out perfect, and made for an epic lunch snack Sunday.
Apparently, we weren’t the only ones celebrating on Saturday night, and there were many a story of hangovers, rough edges, and the like Sunday morning. Kevin was REALLY not feeling well, and insinuated that Randy poisoned him with the carbonized ribs. However, as the day progressed it became quite apparent that he had caught a 24hr flu bug, which a few of the dealers had been talking about going around. Buyer traffic was considerably slower than Saturday, but did pick up after the church hours waned. After 3 solid days of standing and setup, I succumbed to the Baughmann club chairs, and spent a good portion of the show demonstrating how comfy they were by placing my posterior there for an extended amount of time. Add a Bass, and I was content just to sit and watch the world go by.

I fought the club chair, the club chair won.

That evening was the Dealer Party, held at a nice hotel on the main strip. The weather was perfect, just a slight breeze, warm but not hot, stars, palm trees, great. The soireé was held in the pool courtyard area, complete with large fire pit and snacks. Randy & I brought our own alcohol, as the stuff supplied at these events inevitably is overpriced and watered down. Five minutes into the introductions to other dealers, Randy disappeared. Gone. But I had a huge scotch and a fire, so I was perfectly content to just sit and enjoy the breeze. While zoning out, not looking at anything in particular, this group of 3 younger guys look in my general direction.
“You winked at me!” the jock in the group says.
“Uh, no.”
“Yes, you did!” he leans into his best “I’m sexy and I know it” pose.
“Uh, no I didn’t dude. Must have been a twitch or something.”
“Yeah, too much Red Bull! Ha!” he answers.
At this point, I deem it necessary to turn the other direction, so I can enjoy the rest of my solitude and scotch in peace. More scotch and time pass, which allows Mr. Loser to get up enough stones to take another run at it.
“Hey, are you here with someone?” he says.
“Dude, look at me. Do you think I am here by myself?” Wow, listen to that scotch talk. I kind of surprised myself with that one.
Annoyed, he says “Well, he must be an asshole to leave you there by yourself. I wouldn’t do that.”
This jock has now scored seriously negative points with me, and with as much scotch as I had consumed, the little filter between my brain and my mouth was on hiatus. However, there was enough sense left in me to take into consideration I was at a “work function,” so a clean five across the eyes was not going to play out as much as I wanted it to. Therefore, a nice pointy response was in order.
“See, the dude knows when I need time to myself, unlike losers like you.”
I admit, not the best comeback, bur sufficient. His buddies laughed, they got it. Apparently I wasn’t very clear.
“Was that supposed to be a slam?” he feigned being insulted.
“So, you’re deaf AND dumb? Yes?” My disbelief in the arrogance of this guy was really coming through at this point. Luckily, his buddies convinced him they needed to go hit the bar inside the hotel, and shortly thereafter Rando appeared just as I finished my scotch. Passing the bar, it was fun to see the look of disbelief on the jock’s face as Randy escorted me back to the house. Priceless!
Dinner proved to be magnificent, as we reheated the ribs, grilled (carefully, this time!) steaks, finished the preparation of the goat cheese potatoes, and had some other tasty items from the fridge that needed to be consumed. As we were coming into the last few days of our stay, it became readily apparent that Randy not only brought too much food, but cooked too much food! A quick tally proved that some of the meat needed to go back into the freezer to be suitable for the trip home, and that we had to consider not cooking anything else before leaving, therefore only consuming leftovers. Even with that plan, we still ended up sending care packages home with a friend or two, and gifting the nice cleaning lady some eggs. Chris came back over for a refresher that Randy really CAN cook an excellent meal, and Randy redeemed himself in spades. All of us admitted to being super tired from the show, and we still had another day plus load-out ahead of us. It was going to be ugly.

Coming up next…how will our heroes fare on the last day of the show? Will they sell enough stuff, or will it be a disaster? Will there be enough Bass to finish the tale? Stay tuned and find out!

Thrills and Spills in Palm Springs

So ever since the 2010 Denver Modernism show I’ve wanted to go to Palm Springs. Ok, I actually wanted to go before then, but after competing in the inaugural Miss Modernism contest for a shot at going I really wanted to go. Sun, palm trees, un-freaking-believable modernism goodies, what more could one ask for? So when Randy determined I was going along to the 2012 PS show, I hopped on that opportunity like a hobo on a ham sandwich.
However, the celebration is called Modernism WEEK, not Modernism WORK, which is what it really, really should be called for those of us running the booths. I don’t think there is a direction or limb I can move that isn’t stiff, sore, bruised, scratched or otherwise. But I digress…
The start of the vacation trip was outstanding, leaving cold weather in Denver for a leisurely one-stop with a short layover in Vegas. It’d been a while since I’d been to Vegas, and though I never left the airport, getting to see the strip from the plane and the concourse is always a treat. My ipod randomly selecting “Welcome to the Pleasuredome” in perfect timing with the descent and landing was an added bonus. I HIGHLY recommend the dusk arrival, as you can see the strip just before dark, then the puddle-jumper to Palm Springs flies RIGHT OVER the strip with it completely lit at night. AMAZING! And no, I did not follow the “turn off you stuff” instructions, which is why you too get to enjoy these great shots from the twin turbo prop…
GREAT FLIGHT!!!! Fun, cozy, with the added bonus of some sleet and heavy rain was we came into PS. How is crappy weather and added bonus, you ask? Since the plane was so small, as we descended the lights on the wing highlighted the precipitation such that it looked like hyperdrive on the Millennium Falcon. Seriously. Freaking. Cool.

Just like this, minus the wookie.

The palm springs airport oozes cool, and considering it’s an airport, that’s a pretty neat trick. The gates and the main terminal are enclosed, the rest is an open air facility with some nice architecture and landscaping. Most of the planes coming and going are small, so you deplane right onto the tarmac old-school style. Since it was raining heavily when I arrived, I didn’t get any nice night shots of the airport, nor did I get any on the way back for interesting reasons, which you’ll have to wait for a later blog post to read about.
After Randy and his buddy Kevin (who came out for a short vacation with his wife) whisked me back to the house to dump my bags, we shot over to the shops on Palm Court to visit Ken Erwin at Funkis Inc., one of Randy’s best friends who was participating in an opening night shindig for the start of the Modernism show. Many little shops were open along the strip, and the stuff in the shops was too cool not to get drenched walking from one store to the next. Some of the best examples of MidCentury, Atomic, Modernism, and the like were ubiquitous compared to our selection here in Denver. Randy was amused at my constant gawking and slack jawed drooling, elbowed me in the ribs and said “this is just the tip of the iceberg, baby. Wait until the show.” And I can give you a teaser now, he wasn’t kidding.
Once we finished with the after-hours soiree, we headed back to the Alexander rental house we booked for the stay. Kevin had rented from the outfit before, and it was a pleasant experience, especially being able to cook. Randy did miss his kitchen, as the one in the rental had very little counter space to work on, and the appliances were spotty at best for new models, but he got it done, and done right most of the time. After a quick stop for more Bass, we settled in for Rando to get his Iron Chef on. Though Randy claims to have no hobbies other than stressing out about business and drinking Bass, he actually has a fairly serious hobby when it comes to cooking. Not only does he love to do it, he’s also quite good at it, and does so in large quantities. So for supper we had italian sausage stuffed peppers baked to perfection, with a giant meatloaf that could feed 20. It was AWESOME.

Good design means flowers can look awesome in a blender.

View looking out from the front of the house

Our Alexander Rental...very nice indeed!

Thursday morning came awfully quick, and thus began the start of Modernism Work. The carpet in the convention center, is, well, convention center carpet, so it lacks that pizazz you’d prefer to have when displaying the kind of wares we brought. In previous years, Randy had acquired pieces of paneling to produce a floor that helped display the items appropriately, so once we got in line with the truck for load off, he borrowed a pickup and an off to score the flooring. After a two hour wait, Kevin & I finally got a dock space, and began the unloading process with the help of one of the super-friendly porters that the center provides. Originally, our good friend Winston was coming out to help with the heavy lifting, but due to a series of unfortunate events, we were left Win-less, and in more ways than one. We had about 1/2 the truck unloaded and placed in the booth by the time Randy showed up with the flooring, at which point we all decided we were famished and left for a bite at the Fish Market. Randy and I took a slight detour to return the borrowed pickup, which had consequences later, so read on.
Now, if you’ve been keeping up and read about the trip to San Francisco, you know about Swan’s. If you didn’t read that, go here and read about it now. Go on…go! I’ll wait. For those of you who did read that post, you know that the oysters were out of this world, and we determined it’d be difficult to find their equal. The oysters at the Fisherman’s Market tried really hard to tie that record, and just barely missed the mark, but where they fell short, the fish tacos grabbed the ball and RAN! WOW!! All talking ceased and nothing but yummy noises could be heard from us as we wolfed down the tacos. The meal was reasonably priced for the size of the plates and the quality, and it was determined on the spot that we’d be making a repeat visit before going home.

Oysters, oysters, YUM YUM YUM!!!

While at the Fish Market, Randy realized that he left his cell phone in the pickup we returned. Ok, not a huge deal, except that when we returned to the truck, the doors were open for unloading, and the phone was GONE. Completely MIA. We tried calling it multiple times, no luck, called the Fish Market in case he was mistaken and left it there, no luck again. Upon further thought, it was determined that when Randy handed me his cell phone while in the truck, and in my state of having a headache and needing to eat I left it on my lap, thus when I exited so did the cell phone. Someone must have picked it up, because it was no where in the parking lot. Randy was, uh, unhappy, I’ll just leave it at that. In a last act of desperation before cutting of the service to the phone, I texted my cell number with a plea for returning the phone, and hoped for the best.
This marked the point when Murphy decided he was full on going to bitchslap us and the booth. Our first hurdle was the booth was 1 1/2″ short of 32 feet, so the last row of panels didn’t fit and needed to be cut back at the store. Then we realized the flooring panels that Randy picked out had a warp to them, but we figured some strategic placing of heavy items would take the warp out. That, of course, made arranging the booth extremely difficult, in fact impossible. When the “tower of power” we use to display chairs was assembled, it listed worse than the Concordia in Italy, so finding some reinforcement pieces was a must before we could place any chairs in the display. And in the process of the final unloading of the truck, one of the lamps slid out of a hidey hole and broke before we could even get it to the booth.

Note the start of the warp on the floor...not good.

All of us were glad to see the 5 o’clock bell chime to end setup, but non of us were looking forward to day two, as we were now wickedly behind schedule, without a cell phone, and I ended up with a massive migraine from the stress and another vendor shellacking chairs in our area of the show with some nasty chemicals. So it was early to bed for me, and an early start of heavy drinking for everyone else.
There’s a saying about “tomorrow is another day,” and Friday was a new and much brighter day on our horizon. While drinking the night before, the boys came up with a plan for getting the wood cut, the pieces we needed for the tower, and some semblance of a plan for how to attack the booth. I was still a bit foggy from the migraine, but considerably sharper than I had been the entire previous day. Randy prepped what would be our dinner on Saturday night, endless racks of ribs with a killer rub provided by Adam, one of my best friends back in Denver.

You cannot have enough meat, as illustrated here.

Meat, it does a body good.

While finishing my second latte, my cell phone went off, and a nice older couple had found Randy’s phone, saw the text, and were happy to return it to him! YAY!!! Randy gratefully provided our saviors with free passes for the show, and I got to work reactivating his phone.
When the 3 of us arrived back at the booth, we were greeted by the fact that the flooring had not flattened out, but had warped much much worse as a result of drying out in the desert air. Kevin and I tried several things, but to no avail, the floor had to come out. This was at 12:30, and we needed to leave to get ready for the gala no later than 3:30. So we had 3 hours to sh*t a booth. Several of the other vendors looked on in awe, stunned we’d even attempt a redo this late in the game, others sort of snickered implying we’d never make it, or have the worst booth in the show. What none of them knew is that when working under pressure, Randy, Kevin and I are the Hillbilly Gator Stomp Champs, and not one of us stopped moving the entire time, placing, drilling, arranging, and assembling. Anna, Kevin’s wife, came later in the day, bringing some much needed tools and supplies, and also chipped in to get the booth done. Through a combination of determination, a good eye or two, and some happy accidents, the space went from f*cked to UN-F*CKING-BELIEVABLE in 3 hours flat. We left the show to go back to the Fish Market for food right at 3:30, which was our initial plan before everything else happened.



We noshed a quick lunch, which seemed a shame because the oysters were even BETTER than the day before and deserved more time for enjoyment, then rushed back to the house to clean up for the gala opening. From the looks of awe we received, the multiple compliments, and the never ending requests to take pictures of the booth, I think we nailed it. We had, by far, the most colorful booth at the show, and one of the best spaces for traffic in the entire place. I’m not sure if it was the cash bar or the items in the show, but everyone at the gala was beaming from ear to ear, oohing and ahhing everywhere you looked. Many dealers had friends at the show, and laughter flew around the room like a small flock of birds as you heard snippets of stories and greetings. The 3 hours at the opening went very quickly (thanks to the scotch I smuggled in), and when it was over, we were all ready to go home and have some supper. The peppers from the previous night reheated nicely, and it was a quick and tasty supper in a short amount of time. I don’t think going to bed had ever sounded so good as it did after such a crazy day.

We finished the booth on time, so there.

Tune in soon for part two of Thrills & Spills in Palm Springs!