This is the fourth of five pieces by artist Leau Philliips about her experiences at the New Mexico State Fair.
First folks, an update on my previous post. I neglected to mention that Friday night at the petting zoo is mostly for single dads and interestingly enough, first dates!! Nothing says "getting to know you" like jumping goats, a Brahma bull and the smell of manure. Last comment overheard as I left the area: "Wanna do the petting zoo?" "Dad, I'm 12..."
Now on to recap today's frivolity. Themes for the day: Feel free to comment on anything and everything you want to; underwear and seeing the fair through the eyes of a child.
I arrived early this morning so that I could take pictures of things that people will not believe without an unaltered photo. A sign that says "Manure Only" and the parking spaces reserved for the "Assistant Swine Supervisor." (Does that give the the right to boss around pigs? Or wild boars?) Also, I wanted to try to get the coolness (both attitude and temperature) of the blacksmiths. I really, really thought I wanted to learn to weld, but I am now pretty sure I want to be a blacksmith when I grow up. I watch them every morning on the way in and love the whole forge, beating metal into what ever you want it to be and most importantly, bigger tools!
So I chat them up every morning as I walk by; today I chatted and took pictures. Paula's comment was,"You can't do that where you live! You will have to move up North." I did explain to her that blacksmiths are everywhere and I never intended to do it in my living room. Needs more thought and at least one more photo opportunity!
As I got to the booth, I was greeted by the angry hot glass lady and she was happy!! Now she is HHGL? I don't know that I can deal with that... Did she get laid? Are her meds kicking in? Or did that Tai Chi finally work? Who knows but she was downright cheerful and was giving a pep talk to every vendor. "Gonna be a great day!, We're gonna sell out, right?" Smiles all around, pleasant, a little disconcerting. Later as I walked down to get coffee, she was telling someone that her husband made lots of money and she just did this for fun. She has been having fun? Wowsers.
Good tee shirts:
Vegetarian: Old Indian word for bad hunter
I'm easy to please, just do things my way!
Dad enough to wear pink (I think he screwed up the laundry and had to iron those letters on to the shirt
and wear it as punishment!)
Raine and Chris came and Chris stayed at the booth while we took Will to see the fair. Will, who is three, made me see the fair in a totally different way. He kept saying he wanted to get on track. In my mind, I am thinking, who has been talking to him like that? His mom and dad don't talk like that. Who has been making him feel like he is off track?...at three! And then we step onto the paved main street and he says, "Oh good we are on track." Did I mention I have learned bunches about my preconceived notions during the fair?
So after a while on track, we see where you can get cool New Mexico State Police balloons and what kid doesn't love a black balloon? It was the tag-a-kid place to make parents think their kids are safer at the fair. Will doesn't want a tag, he wants a balloon. Even when the police lady tells him how cool it is to wear one, he just wants the balloon. His mom tries to talk him into getting tagged, but he means no. So we get the black balloon and are back on track. He is a pretty observant child, but Raine and I were both astounded when he announced: "That where the horses run" when we passed the race track. She assured me we didn't have to worry unless he recognized the betting windows.
I don't quite understand the whole "show everyone" your underwear (aren't they called UNDER for a reason?) trend. But it's a big one folks, old and young, by accident and on purpose. I personally don't care what kind of underwear people have on, or if they are wearing them, but if you choose to wear your underwear where the world will see them, make sure they are not the holey kind, maybe the holy kind. But people and by that I mean girls, don't wear the ones with so many holes holding the straps and hooks it looks like it could be lace, but isn't, you worry that any minute is all going to let go! Best example? Two young girls sitting on the steps in front of the booth. One's turquoise bra is barely hanging in there, but definitely out there, when a song comes on her cell phone and she and her friend jump up and start dancing, very choreographed. In the process, she turns and I see that she is one of those very young, very pregnant girls. She has on low rider jeans -guess that eliminates any need for preggo pants! And when she sits down after the "performance" and leans forward to rest, no granny panties for her, it's a thong that shows over the top of those jeans with the word...available! on it. Huh?
A momentary fright
We took Will and baby Katie to the Hispanic Village because I finally saw something I wanted and needed to find out where I could get it. Yep, that's me, instant gratification girl. Kids kept coming by with these great parasols, which I thought were plastic. Nevertheless, I really loved how "authentic" they looked. I no longer trust the words "authentic" or "genuine," so maybe I should have said they really looked like paper parasols. I also wanted to look for the cool Day of the Dead stickers I'd seen, so off we went.
Raine had on denim long shorts and I had on denim crop pants and Will would move between us. We stopped for a second and suddenly Will was nowhere to be seen and he hadn't been tagged!! Just as my heart didn't seem to remember to beat and Raine's voice was becoming a little squeaky, we spot him a little way ahead of us. He is reaching up to hold hands with a woman in denim shorts. She is also starting to panic when we reach her. And he is just now realizing we "lost" him. Will said: "That was a different mom! " And Raine's comment was: "I am the only mother you have!" Once we all were breathing again, we trudged back to the booth. Ah what a difference a moment makes...
The dog clothes vendor informs me early in the day, that I should be referring to dog clothes as PET ATTIRE. Okay, but when he tells me that the "technology" in this industry (pet attire) changes soooo fast, I am right back at dog clothes. He goes on to say that what was high tech in the summer, is old hat now. As I was trying to form some kind of response, he said that people's taste (in dog clothes?) changes really fast and what they would buy last year (in pet attire?) doesn't interest them now. I still haven't formulated any kind of response, but he is still talking. I decided to just stay quiet, because, well I just didn't have any words.
My new best friends, Ren and Ken are on the other side of the pet attire booth and get lots of the same questions. Do you have dog tags? Will you engrave a lighter for my boyfriend? Ken makes amazing jewelry and Ren does beautiful Chinese brush painting on interesting surfaces like newspaper or pages from a book. She told me about the absolutely most offensive comment of this whole adventure. Another vendor mentioned in the "this is not art" rant from yesterday, told them that this just wasn't their venue. Okey dokey, but then she went on to say: "We don't have many "Orientals" (her word, not mine!!) around here and that is why Ren isn't selling anything! What the ...? People actually think like that? I'm embarrassed even typing such a statement. She went on to tell Ken his displays (of black and white beans with his silver jewelry) were ugly and he shouldn't use beans to show off his jewelry. Who made her the display diva? Self appointments don't count!
I think there was some kind of invisible sign up today that said: "Say anything you want to, to anyone you want to, anytime you want to." I was told if I made "them..insert product here" diamond (or round, oval, or insert shape here) or painted them a different color or remade them, they would sell. Or if I used different images, process or blah, blah, blah. And then there was the "I love this! I love it most of all because I can do that better." Thankfully we also got the "these are so unique," "everything here is so well done" and "I haven't seen anything like these" comments. Nice balance.
As hard as it is for me to not live up to a commitment, I am not going back on Monday. Tomorrow will be the last day of the life lesson labeled "State Fair" for this year,or any year, or ever again!! From now on the mantra will be "No more state fair, no matter what!"
Leau Phillips is a mixed media artist and photographer in New Mexico. She has been persuaded to create her own blog, which may be viewed here.