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.
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.
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.
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!