bayou boogaloo!

i love the bayou boogaloo. for all the years i was away in kentucky post-federal-flood, i was so sad i could never seem to make it here during memorial day weekend (too soon after jazzfest) so i could partake – either as a vendor or just a mid-citizen – in the boogaloo. i mean, come on – a music festival in my own neighborhood! (well i guess an argument could be made that jazzfest is also a music festival in my own neighborhood, but the boogaloo is more of a community, grassroots event, and even closer to where i live than the fairgrounds.) last year, i was FINALLY able to participate as a vendor, and it was glorious. so much fun, so many sales (thanks everyone!), and so great to see so many of my mid-city neighbors!

this year, i have been looking forward to the boogaloo for months. the new orleans craft mafia is again, like last year, offering a free t-shirt recycling workshop adjacent to the kid’s tent, in the “eco” area of the festival. (see the festival map below.) we’ll be out there both saturday and sunday – saturday from noon til 5pm, and sunday from 1-4pm – teaching people how to make tote bags, halter tops and other fun stuff out of old t-shirts, with a minimal amount of sewing. we have a good stash of donated t-shirts already, but we’re still accepting donations – just bring ’em on out to the fest and throw ’em in our bin. if you don’t have any t-shirts to work with, don’t worry – we got ya covered. oh, and at the end of the weekend, we’ll have a little fashion show at 5pm on sunday for you to strut your stuff with your new creations, too!

so yeah. i’ve been looking forward to it. but at the same time, freaking out… because a) i had a really successful jazzfest show at jen’s and sold a lot of t-shirts and signs – which is good, yay for money and sales, but also has left me with not as many of the signs and t-shirts i would like to have to sell at the boogaloo; and b) i started this census job that has been kicking my ass! it’s been a long time since i had any kind of “real” job (meaning worked a job outside of my own house), and it’s been a hard adjustment getting used to both that aspect as well as the strange start/stop nature of census work. for example, on any given day, i: have a daily meeting at 9am for a half hour; might go out to make rounds on a new block i’ve been assigned in the morning for a couple of hours; come home for lunch; spend an hour or so going over all the paperwork from the morning to make sure i have it all correct; go back out to a different block for 2nd or 3rd or 4th rounds, trying to find folks who weren’t home the first time; come home again to cool off and do paperwork; go back out in the early evening trying to catch folks coming home from work who i’m having a particularly hard time trying to find; come home, eat dinner, and maybe even go back out again after dinner before dark, for the pesky hard-to-find folks. and then spend more time on paperwork when i’m home. (and then collapse!)

and all of that only got me like 6-7 hours of actual on-the-clock work. but i’ve been working since 8:45am! so it’s been a big adjustment, to say the least. and has left me little time to think about things like ordering t-shirts to print (much less finding time to actually print them), cutting/sanding/painting wood for signs, and making clocks. and, to top it all off, though i did well at jazzfest at jen’s, it’s the only good market/sale i’ve had in months, so i’ve been begging/borrowing/stealing to pay my bills and am deeply in debt… and we’ve only gotten one paycheck so far from the census. so i didn’t even have the money to invest in buying t-shirts to print, or paint to make signs, etc. (much less the booth fee for vending at the boogaloo.)

so this all came to a head on saturday night, as fae and i were hanging out at home and i was surfing the internet, trying to find some wholesale outlet that actually had the style/color of t-shirts i wanted to order (all my usual outlets were sold out of at least one size and most of them several sizes) so i could order them in time for them to actually arrive in enough time to be able to print them… and i realized, what am i doing? i don’t even have the money to pay for these. nor do i have the money to pay for my booth. and even if i could scrape that up, there’s no guarantee that i’d make it back… just because i sold a lot of 70119 t-shirts last year at the boogaloo doesn’t mean i will this year. sales at markets has SUCKED overall so far in 2010, so why would the boogaloo be any different?

and, as an aside, i have been wracking my brain trying to come up with an oil disaster related design, which i thought might be the biggest seller due to the timing, but i haven’t even been able to find the time to work on coming up with that. (and even if i did, i’d be donating the proceeds to the gulf restoration network, so it wouldn’t be something i’d be making money off of. which i still really want to do, but, it was just one more piece of the puzzle that wasn’t coming together for me.)

so. all of a sudden, it came to me. i can’t do the boogaloo. i can’t afford it, i don’t have inventory, and i don’t have time to think about it. and the second i started thinking about not doing it, i instantly felt relief. i immediately posted something on my facebook page, and thought i was done with it. i slept better and the next few days i didn’t think anything about it. it was actually really nice. sad, but also stress-relieving.

and then yesterday, my friend rachelle offered to share her booth with me, which was so sweet. i thought about refusing, but then i figured if i don’t really need to spend any time making stuff and i just take what i’ve got and make as much fit as i can in part of rachelle’s booth, around her stuff, then it doesn’t have to be stressful and maybe i’ll still make a little money anyways. and i always have fun hanging out with rachelle at markets – we almost always set up next to each other. so thanks, rachelle.

so now i am once again doing the bayou boogaloo. and of course, i am going to try to make a few signs this week, maybe a few 70119 clocks. but i’ll only have a literal handful of t-shirts, and a weird assortment of clocks and signs and cufflinks… and that’s it. not a big effort. but at least i’ll be there.

hope to see y’all there!

big weekend ahead…

i’ve been making clock faces and signs like crazy this past week, in anticipation of my big weekend ahead. tis the busy spring season!

last friday, i dropped off a fresh batch of clocks to my friend erica at tulane’s in exchange shop. if you’re on tulane’s campus, you should check that shop out. not only do they have an astonishing inventory of defend new orleans t-shirts (apparently they are part of the tulane undergraduate uniform), but erica stocks lots of local artists and crafters work as well as fair trade items from makers around the world. she’s got lots of cool stuff there. even if you don’t have a reason to be on tulane’s campus, checking out all her unique inventory is a good excuse to stop in. it’s located in the student center on the quad side – there’s a map on her website. (and keep an eye out for in exchange out at the congo square crafts area at jazz fest!)

yesterday, i dropped off a bunch of my stuff to my friend jen, who for the past several years has hosted a fun, funky little art show in her living room during the two weeks of jazz fest. she lives over near the fairgrounds, close enough to catch a lot of the entering/exiting traffic to/from the fest, and knows a gazillion people, many of whom make a point of dropping in to sit a spell on her multicolored porch during and after the festivities. it was a brilliant idea when she conceived it, and i’m so grateful she continues to host the show every year in her home.

this year, the artist count is up to 17, the most yet. some folks might only have one piece in it (larger stuff), but many have lots of smaller pieces, all of which take up every available inch of space on her living room walls. this year, i have a few clocks, a nice array of signs and some skull and 70119 t-shirts for sale there. the opening for the show is this friday evening from 6-9pm, and then the show will remain up through both weekends of jazz fest. (but it’s good to go to the opening, as all the best pieces always get sold that first night!) leave me a comment if you want an invite to the opening on friday or need to know her address. (since it’s in her home, i don’t want to broadcast her address over the internet, but am happy to let interested parties know on an individual basis.)

wednesday, i’ll be helping out my craft mafiosas, stuffing our fashionable new tote bags (pictured above) with all kinds of free swag from indie businesses around the city and country, which will be given out to the first 100 paid attendees of the alternative media expo this saturday. the new orleans craft mafia is a co-sponsor of the event, and this year’s swag bags are gonna be the best yet (and in high demand)! we’ve got all manner of stickers, buttons, product samples (jewelry, tiny art, books, etc.) and other cool promotional items to fill them with. so definitely get there early so you can get a swag bag. you’re gonna be bummed if you miss it.

sadly, i will not be vending at the alternative media expo this year. i love that event and usually do participate, but this year it’s occurring on the same day as tulane’s crawfest event, which was very lucrative (and fun!) for me last year. i had to make a tough business decision and decided to do crawfest. so though i will miss being with everyone at the alternative media expo, i’m hoping for great weather and huge crowds at crawfest. they’ve got an AMAZING musical line-up (dirty dozen brass band, jon cleary, the radiators, trombone shorty, and more!) and 16,000 pounds of crawfish! the event itself is free and the crawfish is free with a tulane student i.d. ($10 for all you can eat for everyone else). last year was a beautiful day on the quad so i’m looking forward to another one just like it. friends rachelle (of greenkangaroo) and christeen (avantegarb) will both be out there too, so stop by and say hello if you make it over there.

if i manage to get out of crawfest before it’s over (it goes til 9pm, but last year we packed up as it was getting dark), i’m gonna try to make it to the big easy rollergirls‘ bout that night, too. they are taking on the hard knox rollergirls of knoxville, tn – a formidable opponent. advance tickets available through their website, or you can pay at the door for a few more bucks, too. it’s always a good time out there. i just hope i have the energy to make it there after my long day!

by sunday, i’m going to just want to pass out! but i better rest up, cuz the following two weekends are jazz fest! oh goodness. well, it’s all in the pacing, my friends. happy spring everyone!

beer fests are fun!

on saturday, i – along with several other members of the new orleans craft mafia – participated in the inaugural top of the hops beer festival on the northshore, at fontainebleau state park. being a big lover of beer myself, i was really looking forward to it, not just as a vending opportunity, but as a beer-drinking experience.

can you tell they were the sponsors of the fest?

the weather had been predicted to be sunny and 0 % chance of rain. unfortunately, that didn’t really work out. it was mostly cloudy, VERY windy (gusty, even, resulting in greenKangaroo’s tent blowing over during set-up and making us all nervous throughout the day) and threatened rain all afternoon. luckily, only a few drizzly drops made their way to the ground late in the afternoon, though it was sprinkling consistently while we broke down at the end of the day. but no major catastrophe ensued, and the sun did peek out a few times, enough to keep everyone warm and add to the enjoyment of the day.

some of my little beer folk art hanging in my booth

i somehow didn’t really remember to take many photos – must have been all those 2oz samples of beer i chugged down in the first hour or two! i knew i had to sober up by the time i left, so i could drive home safely, so i tried to do most of my beer drinking early on. it’s a strange event, having scores of beer vendors lined up in a row, pouring endless 2oz samples. it’s not enough beer for you to fill your tiny mug and walk away to enjoy it; just long enough to take a few swallows, try to savor each particular beer as best you can, and move on to the next one. after a while, it becomes hard to distinguish each beer.

i do remember particularly enjoying a few beers that i’d never tried before. i checked out all of heiner brau‘s beers, as i’d previously only had (and love) their amber. but they were out of their strawberry beer before i got there, sadly. many folks were talking about that one, so i’ll have to see if i can check that out another time. i tried lots of beers i’d heard of before but never tried – chimay, hoegaarden, several flavors of flying dog and sam adams i’d never tried, some of zea’s flavors i’d never had before, covington brewhouse, some of the lazy magnolia‘s, and nola brewing‘s new hurricane saison (very nice!) – and many new beers, most of which i can’t remember, that i hadn’t ever heard of before. i came home with several keychain bottle openers from budweiser (you can’t ever have enough of them, even if it does say budweiser) and a new green coozy from bayou teche brewing, for their LA31 beer, which is new to the new orleans market. (i liked it!) i drank a lot of beer.

mc auslan's st. ambroise apricot wheat

i can’t say there were many beers i didn’t like (though i don’t ever have to have dixie’s blackened voodoo ever again), but i can say there was a new favorite from everything i tasted today: mc auslan’s st. ambroise apricot wheat ale. i think i could actually drink a whole six pack of that stuff. often, i like the taste of a beer in small doses, but can’t manage to maintain my interest in it for an entire six pack. but this one, i think i can. the smell alone was just amazing. and i don’t even usually like fruity beers! (like, i hate abita’s strawberry beer.)

so yeah, it was a really fun day. fun hanging out with my nocm homies (including mallory of miss malaprop, who helped staff my booth, and her bf dave, who is a filmmaker and took some b-roll video footage of us for future use). i saw a few friends i had no idea would be there, and i got to not only meet kirk coco, president and co-founder of nola brewing company, but he bought my one-of-a-kind “craft beer drunk here” mixed media stencil clock! i’m gonna have to make it over to tchoupitoulas street to take a brewery tour soon, cuz i love their beer and love supporting the local microbrewery.

some of my bottlecap signs

oh, and i was smart enough before i started drinking beer to ask some of the beer vendors to hang on to their bottlecaps for me, so by the end of the day, i had a HUGE grocery bag full of a wide variety of craft/microbrew beer bottlecaps for future folk art/crafts. i don’t know why i’m so obsessed with bottlecaps, but like much advertising and product design, i find them to be tiny little metal pieces of artwork all on their own, that are awesome embellishments and/or materials for signs, folk art, clocks, mixed media pieces, cufflinks, etc. and, well, it’s recycling, too. so now i’m well-stocked for a while. yay!

i look forward to participating in the top of the hops fest again in the future. hopefully they will add more food and crafts vendors, and maybe offer slightly longer hours to partake of all those beers. but otherwise, i’d say it was pretty well done. if this sounds like fun to you, they’ve got another one coming up soon in lafayette, and have plans for greenville, south carolina and i think even louisville, kentucky later in the year. it’s a great idea; wish it had been mine! what a fun job it would be producing these beef fests all over america!

lots going on.

it was a busy weekend.

first things first: can i just say how relieved and happy i am that susan guidry won the city council district a race against jay batt? i am THRILLED! makes me proud to live in a district that has some common sense. (yes, i know only 13,000 of them voted, but thank god those that did chose guidry almost 2-1.) now if we can just get rid of david vitter….

yeah you right!

one of my newest stencil signs

saturday was of course the freret market and also one of the most gorgeous spring days ever. the market was very busy and i got to see lots of friends and acquaintances i haven’t seen for weeks or months. i felt like i had finally come out of winter hibernation. sales weren’t all that great – though i did sell a ton of $5 clearance t-shirts, so that was good – but i had a lovely time hanging out with my friend rachelle and just generally enjoyed being outdoors in such beautiful weather.

also, my friend kerry had organized free cholesterol/glucose/blood pressure screenings for all the vendors by touro, in memory of regular freret market vendor rudy rowell, who so tragically died on his way home from the december freret market in a car accident after suffering a heart attack. i’d never had my cholesterol checked, and i’m relieved to report that all my readings were within the acceptable levels. some were close, so i shouldn’t be too cavalier, but i was expecting worse. my blood glucose, also good. my blood pressure, however, was high, which is strange for me, as my entire life i’ve always had low blood pressure. but it could have just been because i waited to get mine checked until i was done setting up and i had been physically exerting myself. and also, i don’t like the sight of blood, which they had to take for the glucose and cholesterol readings. so i’ll keep tabs on it. but it was a really awesome service for the vendors, many of whom are artists who don’t have health insurance, like me, and don’t have regular access to health care. i’m really grateful.

after the market and a quick trip home to unload my stuff, i went to the big easy rollergirls season opening doubleheader. wow, was it crowded out there at uno! i’ve never seen the parking lot so overflowing. i hear they sold out (1200+), which is a helluva way to start the season! both bouts were really riveting, too. BERG’s b-team, the crescent wenches, beat huntsville handily, but the a-team/travel team lost to northwest arkansas. they were neck and neck at halftime and pretty much halfway through the 2nd period, but then they lost steam and the killbillies pulled ahead. it was still really fun to watch, though, and the pussyfooters, rolling elvii and 610 stompers kept everyone entertained in between the action. i love the roller derby!

last night’s oscar’s also deserve a brief mention, namely that kathryn bigelow and “the hurt locker” won for not only best picture, but more remarkably, for best director. it’s the first time a woman has won that category in the 82-year history of the awards, and only the fourth time a woman had been nominated for it. what a great way to celebrate international women’s day today, right? (i was not amused, however, that the oscar’s orchestra played helen reddy’s “i am woman” after she accepted the award – seemed a bit cheesy if not downright condescending.)

today i will work on my next music column, which is already late (again) – there was no way last week to get any writing done with fae sick as a dog and neither of us sleeping properly. and cross your fingers for me, will ya, that i get a focus group gig i’m trying for. it’d be nice to be able to pay my bills this month without so much stress.

more later when i take a break.

#defendwhodat, indeed

who dat signswow, i bet the nfl didn’t realize what a can of woop-ass it was opening up, sending fleurty girl and storyville those cease & desist letters?

for my part, i’m here to tell ya, i’m going to keep making my little salvaged-wood-with-bottlecaps “who dat!” signs as long as people keep buying ’em. and if the nfl comes-a-knockin’, they can have their 10% of the 7 or 8 of these signs i’ve sold since i started making them at the beginning of the season. really. i can probably come up with the change.

but i think it’s all bullshit. they can and i’m sure have copyrighted and/or trademarked their saints’ specific stuff, like their particular fleur de lis, especially when used in conjunction with black and gold colors. and that’s legit. but unless someone is blatantly ripping off the very particular nfl-created saints merch – which i’m sure plenty of those stupid fucking t-shirt shops in the french quarter and in the french market are doing – then there shouldn’t be a problem.

“who dat” is not something the saints team says; it’s something the FANS say. and the nfl doesn’t own the fans. they know damn well it wouldn’t hold up in court, but they also know damn well that little guys (gals) like lauren thom (fleurty girl) can’t afford a big legal battle, so they feel comfortable going after her. but she’s smart, milking this for all the pr she can get, and rallying the who dat nation to her side. if the nfl chooses to go forward with this, they will have a pr nightmare on their hands, and be accused of dampening the spirits of the city who just got their groove back due to their team making it to the superbowl.

really, nfl, is this how you want it to play out? i really don’t think you do. but i guess we’ll see.

**in doing a simple trademark search via the us trademarks and patents office, i don’t see the nfl listed anywhere as having any claim to the term “who dat.” i see a few others listed, as pertains to specific products or usages of the term, but i don’t see the nfl listed.

update: this statement by the monistere brothers, the actual trademark holders of the term “who dat,” via their company who dat inc., was posted this evening. seems like this clears things up.