Posts Tagged ‘ travel ’

Things to do in Denver When your DEAD (from the August heat)

It’s been pretty warm lately, which has us at z diving for air conditioned pastures. But just because it’s hot, doesn’t mean there aren’t some COOL things to check out before summer is officially over in a month or so. Her’s what we’ve been up to at z…

Starlite, starbright, a true overnight stay delight!

Earlier this summer, the z|staff took a long vintage weekend in Canon City, to visit the famed Starlite Campground and RV park. Sounds pretty trailer trashy, huh? Well, if those trailers are restored and original vintage specimens, and themed to boot, then we love to be trailer trash! The Starlite is owned by a husband and wife team who eat, drink, and breathe vintage, and in their copious amounts of free time the renovate vintage trailers on the side. The park has a campy charm (ha ha) and is very family friendly, and once you’ve spent a day or so, you feel like family! They go over the top to make your stay super pleasant, and make sure that their visitors have peace and privacy in the park. Each of the vintage trailers has a picnic bench, chairs, a fire pit, and a charcoaler in addition to stoves, fridges, etc in the trailers (options vary per trailer based on year). The Starlite is perfectly set for a group stay for a family vacation, where you can still stay together but get some much needed alone time. And if you need a wedding plan, they do that too! Larry the owner is an ORdained Minister, so your wedding party can stay at the campground, then you can tie the knot on the Royal Gorge Bridge (talk about taking a leap!) The bridge is closed right now due to the fire, but things are looking good for a 2014 reopening. Oh, and they have regular RV hookups and parking as well, so if the grandparents want to come out in the motor home, everyone is a winner!

So if you are sick of the same old vacation, take a trip to the Starlite and indulge in a great past-time! visit them at http://www.starliteclassiccampground.com

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CATALYST: Colorado sculpture at the Denver Botanic Gardens

http://www.botanicgardens.org/exhibits/art-exhibits/catalyst-colorado-sculpture

In the spring, we got tickets to hear art experts Michael Paglia and Mary Chandler discuss the sculpture works at CATALYST at the Botanic Gardens. Michael’s event we attended, Mary’s was rained out in those crazy July storms we had. But even if you don’t have the opportunity to hear what the experts say, you should DEFINITELY head over to the Gardens and check out this installation! Most works are “larger than life”, and many incorporate water elements, multiple viewing angles or multiple pieces (think triptychs), and works you can “get into” to experience the world from the inside out. The pieces span the entirety of the gardens, so it’s like getting two shows in one. Perfect for a romantic date or a way to get the kids out of the house.

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Zoppe Family Circus

http://www.zoppecolorado.com/

Lastly but by far not the least, be sure to check out the Zoppé Italian Family Circus for the last few days they are here in Denver. Zoppé (pronounced Zoh Pay) comes to Denver each year for the Carnation Festival in Wheat Ridge, and is the BEST circus performance you will ever see. It’s not big, it’s not glamorous, it’s not Cirque de Sole (they are proud of that, by the way!) What it IS… very much audience inclusive especially with kids, intimate, loving toward animals (no exotic stuff here, just some rescue dogs doing great tricks, Belgian horses and a Shetland pony), bonded by family, and truly talented performers. When you come to the Zoppé tent, you are welcomed into their home, and you feel it. They truly care about giving a fantastic performance and love what they do…smiles all around. The performers care for the animals, set up and tear down the tent, and travel in mobile homes which they stay in on site to make sure the animals are safe. You will laugh until your ribs hurt at the antics of Niño the clown, who shows you what a REAL clown should be like (not a bumbling baffoon in stupid makeup).

The show is only in town through this Sunday, so be sure to get over and experience what a family circus is, and you’ll never go back to those cold, commercial lightshows again.

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Palm Springs version 2.ohhhhhhhh

Yes, it’s been a bit since our last update, sorry about that. We have been working, really! It’s just been a lot of behind the scenes stuff, which to you is probably not that interesting. Or maybe it is, if your into masochistic stuff. So the brief overview is this:

  • The holidays were crazy busy
  • We successfully got the building that z|modern resides in up for sale
  • Don’t panic, we’re just downsizing a bit and reinventing to bring you the leaner, meaner reincarnation of z
  • We’ve been working hard on the new space, which is the old 9Health space next to z
  • and we did the annual pilgrimage to Palm Springs

If you read last year’s post about Palm Springs (you can start the 3 part saga here) it was my first adventure out there, and I had a great time, even though as a minion I was worked like a mule. So This year, Kevin and his wife, Rando and I, decided we’d stay a few days after to see the sights, decompress, and maybe get a mini-break from the prep and execution of the Palm Springs show. Great plan, glad to be a part of it!

Because I had a crack of dawn flight to catch to get to PS and meet Rando, who had already driven the booty to the treasure site, I opted to use Uber to get to the airport. Even if one of my friends did not laugh heinously when I told them what time I had to leave, I couldn’t ask anyone to drop me at the airport when I myself would rather be in a coma. Uber is somewhat new to Denver, but is very popular in the coastal cities and places like Chicago, and having tried it I truly think it is the only way to go to the airport. You get a towncar, leather interior, chauffeur, water, the whole 5 star treatment, but for much less than a normal car or limo service, in some cases, more than half as much. And not having to deal with an obnoxious, chatty driver in a cab that reeks of smoke, crappy air freshener, and hope they show up on time? Priceless. It’s a bit more than a cab, but work every penny. I encourage you to check it out, the quiet and posh ride was a very welcome start to what would be a crazy week. Check ’em out HERE.

I arrived to 72 degree sunny weather, a ride to the convention center from Randy’s friend (Tony who is a total sweetheart), and a nice lunch from a place called Koffee that stomps the everloving crap out of anything Starbucks has done or even would think to do. Chaos has already ensued with the truck unloading process, but it was pretty controlled compared to last year. At least, from where I was sitting.

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Since we didn’t have the problem with the floor like we did last year, and we had a better understanding of what Randy’s “vision” was, we were actually able to get the booth a bit farther along than planned, though not as far along as Kevin & I would have liked. However, fish tacos were calling us, it was a long day for everyone, and we were all happy to be done even though the progress was a bit slow. Day two is the big push, because we still have to go home and clean up before the big opening Friday night, and there’s not much room for error or your booth will look like dog poo in front of your biggest and best clients. Randy was in and out of the booth, depending on how freaked out he was, and whether or not he was shopping around at the other vendors. Overall, other than a hiccup with lunch and a few last minute decisions on moving things around to get the best presentation, it came together pretty well. Friday night was a good one for us, and some of the luck followed into Saturday’s sales. We did sneak away on Saturday and check out the art show, which we missed last year, an it was very fund and educational. Sunday was slow, but we were on the last leg of the journey. The hot tub at the hotel was our best friend, and we spent a lot of time hanging out there after supper.

Sunday’s dinner is worth mentioning, but not for any of the right reasons. We were walking to a mexican restaurant, and on the way was an “English” pub called Lyons. We stopped in the front reception area just to see if they had Bass Ale, since Rando’s fav beer is rarely served, and we had to check the menu just because. The items looked really good, and from the price we determined that if they food wasn’t tasty, they couldn’t charge their rates. We changed our plan, foolishly, without checking reviews and decided to try dinner at Lyons. The service was horrid, once you got into the restaurant it was throw-back 1970s, and so dark we could barely read the menus. Our waitress “doe” was actually stand-offish all night, and was really extra icky to Kevin’s wife. The food was mediocre at best, and if you factored in the cost, really not good. The icing on the cake was while we were waiting for the check (which took forever, and was also wrong) we watched two other waiters serve their tables with both zeal and fun, and the salads, appetizers, etc were DOUBLE the size of what we received, and each item was described and explained in detail. We weren’t even given the specials. Lesson learned, check the reviews BEFORE you try an expensive place (the reviews were very similar to ours) and don’t eat where you can’t read the menu. While having dinner at Lyons, (or Lyings, as it should have been called) I picked up this nasty little cough that just wouldn’t go away. I thought it was from sharing the hotel room with Rando, (which he switched to a smoking room before I got there) but wasn’t completely convinced. Otherwise I felt really good and enjoyed another post-dinner dip in the hot tub and some scotch. Alas, I was seriously mistaken. I woke up on Monday SICK SICK SICK. I thought at first I just had a migraine and needed to try and shake it off (which never works, but I still always try). Randy was determined we needed to have breakfast at his favorite place, Spencers, so we headed out. In the short 20min drive, walk, and entrance into Spencers, I started to truly grasp that I was likely not going to keep down whatever my breakfast was going to be, but hoping that I might still be ok, I ordered the oatmeal figuring if it did stay down, great, if not, well….And it was the best damn oatmeal I have ever had. Period. Randy’s eggs benedict, and Kevin’s breakfast were also beautiful, and everyone raved about the food and service, a much needed experience after our tragedy at Lyons.CameraAwesomePhoto-8

Once we made it to the show, I had a full blown migraine, and could barely stand up. So Randy opened up the truck and I got myself horizontal on a couch we had slated for auction. After what seemed like another 20 min, Randy came and got me, informing me that 3 hours had passed, I looked green, and his friend Ken was taking me back to the hotel. Normally I’d at least feign some sort of bravado, but there was nothing left in me to do that, I was wiped out.  On the way back, I was met with the unfavorable realization that the oatmeal was going to make a repeat appearance. I made it to the room, it did, and then I went to bed. For 3 days. Solid. I didn’t eat, I barely slept, I felt like someone threw me down a flight of stairs in a sack and then beat me with a bat before opening the sack. I couldn’t drink, though by day two was able to slurp down small portions of chicken stock. I finally was somewhat able to function on Thursday, but very slowly, and still without food. When it was all said and done, I was sick for two weeks before I felt like myself again.

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This would be the view I got for three days, instead of touring houses, looking at killer furniture, and enjoying the sunshine

Randy was very sweet and brought me vitamins, water, and soup, though I wasn’t able to do much with most of it. He was wise enough to start pounding vitamins right after teardown at the show, so though he too caught sick, he was only down about a day. Kevin & his wife were coming down with “something” about the time they were flying out, which was good and bad. Good that at least they’d be home to be sick, instead of cramped up in a hotel room with a TV that shuts off automatically every 45 min. I’d tell you about the teardown of the booth, how Randy hustled out a ton of furniture and had a great show, and many other things that happened if I had actually participated and knew the stories, but that clearly didn’t work out. In addition, we were supposed to all go out to celebrate Randy’s birthday, but with the dread mahacas working it’s way through our merry band of troops, that was a subdued celebration. I did mange to get out and see some of the stores on the strip and also catch a car show for an auction that was happening. So, compared to last year, this year’s trip wasn’t the best. Randy did well in Palm Springs, and was able to unload most of the items we brought. The hotel (The Vagabond) was a good value and overall was a good stay. Most of the places we ate at were very tasty, and we were lucky in that most of the new places we tried (other than Lyons) were great. Unlike last year though, I don’t want to repeat this year’s trip. Blech.

Thrills and Spills in Palm Springs, Part 3

I had the epiphany on Monday morning that maybe I should pack my stuff as far as I could right then, because from now on things would be crazy and off schedule. This was one of my smarter moves, and I was definitely right on with my fortune telling skills for the remainder of the trip. The traffic at the show was quite light, and we didn’t move as much merchandise as we’d hoped, causing Randy to go into full panic mode about it fitting back in the truck, as he had purchased two items early on in the trip for himself. We had sold a few things, and I was confident that though we didn’t have Win-master packer there to assist, we could muddle through it without too much difficulty.
After being couped up in the show for three days, and knowing there was great weather outside that I was missing, I made a break for it about 1pm and went outside to see the vintage car show. It was a smaller event, much smaller than many of the shows we have here in Denver, but what it lacked in size it made up for in quality. Predominately American Steel from the 50s & 60s, this show highlighted “Big is Beautiful,” and there were huge fins, hoods, tails, and acres of interiors everywhere. Much like the gala night, everyone was smiling and laughing, having a great time and enjoying the lines of these fantastic autos. I come from the Tifosi end of the spectrum, mainly setting my sites on Italian Automotive design, but as a lover of all cars, some of the best and brightest of the USA were there to represent. In addition, the owners were very congenial and excited to have a paparazzi reception from the crowd. Great fun, and a big highlight for me from the trip!

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As the final bell sounded for the show, we raced into tear down mode, with Kevin and I in the booth deconstructing, and Randy back at the truck with an old friend Victor packing what we sent them via the porter. Within 2 1/2 hours we had the booth empty, and all the items back on the dock for assessment. Randy had the brilliant idea of dropping the truck off at the dock very early in the morning, so we had a great spot ready to go for load up, without the two hour wait like we did at set up. Just as Kevin and I were on the last sweep of ancillary items in the booth, Randy came out in a panic…”It’s not going to fit, I can see it already!” Kevin and I gave each other a long look, and headed back to the truck, and it wasn’t nearly as dire as Randy had gave the impression it might be. Another 2 1/2 hours of patience, understanding, and creative packing resulted in the truck not only being fully packed with all the items on it, but with room to spare for the suitcases and food cooler. All was not lost, actually occurred in a timely fashion, and we were home by 8:30 for supper, which we all were ready for. Victor came out the winner, with Randy sending him home with many leftovers and snacks that wouldn’t make the journey back in the truck. At midnight we all called it a day, and Randy went to bed technically on his birthday, with the next leg of his adventure ahead of him.

What goes up, must come down.

Tuesday started with a shot, and we were all up early for a day of travel. Randy had to finish some business with associates on the Palm Court strip, so that left me to pack everything up. Kevin was a great help and did dishes, organized, and got things to where it was easy to pack. Randy showed back up about 15 minutes before Kevin, Anna, and I were supposed to leave to catch our flight, and threw things in the truck. With everything packed and the cleaning lady doing her thing at the house, we said goodbye to Palm Springs and headed off for our flight, and Randy made his way to LA to drop some items at the spring LAMA auction.
We unfortunately guessed wrong about the amount of traffic at the airport. “Oh, it’s a small airport, it will only take you a few minutes to get ticketed and through security….” Yeah, right. Apparently, everyone who stayed for the Modernism show was leaving at the same time. On all airlines. And had to check bags. I didn’t need to check my bag, but stayed with Anna as Kevin dropped of the rental car, just in case I needed to check his bag as mine in the effort to save time. United wouldn’t let me use the iPad to check in as I had done on the was out to PS, so I had to deal with that at the counter anyway. After some confusion at the ticket counter, the gal found my ticket, and we were on our way to a completely screwed up security line. My sister likes to call it the “Disney Swap”…basically, it looks like the line is short, until you go through a door or round a corner (after already waiting in line) to find the rest of the line is ridiculously long. I really didn’t care if I got bumped or otherwise, as I could swing the time off, but Anna was kinda freaked about the possibility of missing our flight. After finally getting through the metal detector/sniffer, as I grabbed my things I could hear the intercom paging final boarding for our plane! I also heard them slaughter my name as they attempted to page me to the gate desk, but I decided I’d just ignore that and see if I could get on the flight. Sure enough, all three of us made it onto the tarmac with 3 minutes to spare before they closed the gate door. PHEW!!
Once on the plane, it was obvious everyone had the same idea to get home Tuesday, as there were NO open seats anywhere than our assigned spots. After settling into my seat, a nice lady asked if anyone was willing to swap with her, as she wanted to sit next to her daughter, who was sitting in 18A. This was interesting, because my seat was 18A. When I mentioned this, and we started comparing tickets, it turns out that United had printed out and given me the ticket for her daughter…my name wasn’t on the ticket at all! In the rush to get to the plane, I never looked at the ticket, other than to check the gate! I had made it through ticketing, 3 security checks with my license, and boarded the plane ALL WITH SOMEONE ELSE’S TICKET!!! Talk about a EPIC SECURITY FAIL!! At this point I thought for sure they’d throw me off the flight, but the stewardess did a quick count and determined they had exactly the right number of passengers for takeoff, so we were going. That was close!
The rest of the flight was uneventful, and it was good to get home. But the story doesn’t stop there….because Randy was still on the move in LA!
Randy’s adventures involved having a delectable Italian dinner for his Birthday with two friends…

…unloading and reloading his truck twice, once for the auctions items, a second time to make it road worthy…

It's just what I do, baby!

…then a nice supper of Sushi the following night, a visit to the museum the next day for the California Design show…

If I don't smile, you won't know I am having a good time.

and finally off on his drive back to Denver. But nothing can be easy, and in the first leg of his drive something went awry with the liftgate, resulting in the main electrical feed to the lift catching fire. Fortunately, 2 hours and $100 later, he was back on the road, but only made it to Barstow. The 2 day drive became 3, and the liftgate is still broken as its age has made finding a replacement motor difficult.
So, was Palm Springs everything I thought it was going to be? Well, I don’t really know. The show was amazing, there were some unbelievable things for sale, stuff you only see in museums. What I saw of Palm Springs when going here or there, the architecture was outstanding, and the winter climate was great. The amount of work was not unbearable, nor was it more than I had bargained for. Would I do it again?
HELL YEAH!

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.

Before

After

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!

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