Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday at Market

I lie there every sunday, warm in my bed at 7:30am and have that argument about why I deserve to stay there, mostly losing the argument, putting on yesterday's clothes and a ballcap over my head and head to the flea market. It's my job and if I'm lucky I'm not saying why did I bother? at 9:00am. This morning my favorite dealer (who's always worth the trip, even if I find nothing) the pawnshop savant and guitar-playing MarkyD had the most beautiful bass fiddle for sale. I want it in the worst way, it's got everything I love in an item: size, sensual form, and timeless beauty. And then he played it... Well best I can do is find a loving home for it, and maybe Mark will let me host it for a while. Meanwhile, now that I'm at the shop every day it's open, I'm constantly looking for new items, new ways to use those items and designing sets. This week one of my inner city pickers brought in the most gorgeous 60's flocked wallpaper which we promptly hung side by each across an entire wall. Instantly, we had a photographers dream backdrop, just add model. I want someone to wallpaper a room, even a single wall as I have, using several patterns side by each. I have them priced per roll at $95 ea. but am I ever reluctant to sell them....that's the funny thing about this business, we are in it to sell the very thing we can't part with.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Shopping for inspiration

This may not make sense to you, but because I shop for a living, I hate to shop at any other time. But, lately I've been curious about what the general public is buying and what it is that these big stores are selling for a clue to trends. One of my favorites is Anthropologie. The good news there is I'm apt to pick up an idea that I can do cheaper. On this trip I found a collage of framed old mirrors that was greater than the sum of its parts. One thing I have plenty of always is old frames and mirrors. This is an idea I can replicate quickly. Of course you could do it with all new materials but here's why that would be completely pedestrian and the other an artistic masterpiece. In a word, it's texture. If the frames were new, the surface would be slick and the color uniform. With old frames, the surfaces vary a lot. Some have peely paint, some have molded ornamentation that's cracking off, maybe the stain is mottled,the varnish tarnished, the colors are faded, the old gold or silver jaded. If the mirror is new it's so uniform it reads like a big blank. If the mirror is old, there's liable to be random worn spots and cloudiness, old mirrors were made with real silver and it tarnishes, the reflections become impressionistic rather than narcissistic. Even with nothing relfected, it still has texture and depth. Old mirrors abound at garage sales, thrift stores, flea markets and antique stores, make your own or come in and I'll help you create an assemblage, either way you save. Your environment can be poetic.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Saturday Night in the RO

12 hours on that hard concrete floor, the hostess is gonna need a social beverage or two. That's the 5-7pm "professional film creatives openhouse" rockin on towards 11pm. The goal was to solidify the local film making base, well I think we got that off to a good start. Count on that Dutch powerhouse Selina Van Den Brink to rally the troops. Thanks to her efforts, we packed the house Saturday night, 100 talented artists, designers, producers waiting for the green light on any one of the 35 or so movies promised for Michigan. She's my biggest cheerleader and I'm happy to host her peeps. I know she's putting out the good word on where to get props and she makes it her business to be connected. Just so happens local councilman Jim Razor was taking a walk with his partner and wanted to just pop in to say hi. He's behind any effort to bring this new business to our cash-strapped city and wants to be kept in the loop. We chat about my neighbors across the tracks, Cloverleaf wines and bringing business to the southend by hosting events like the Royal Oak wine stroll coming up in May. Our new best friends at Michigan Brewing were quite the help with the beverages and if there's a party in the house Tim from Zumbas is always, I mean ALWAYS, there with some tasty mexican fare not to mention lots of other folks that pitched in and even humored my 11-year old son and his friends who were busy making and selling their origami creations ($36 all told!: they think it's the best party ever!!) Even though business is off to a slow start, you cannot beat the fierce loyalty of that Detroit tribe, you just say the word and they are ready to charge....

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Detroit: the new LA

What we lack in climate, jobs and confidence, we make up for in grit, determination and loyalty. And for the moment we got a cheap place to make movies. (Yo you political types, you just gave Royal Oak away to Saab so don't bs me about the state losing money on movies.) Local trades and talent are polishing their images and mobilizing so that when the movie makers come to Michigan, they don't have to bring outside skill and talent with them. To that end, the creative pros (union and non-union): production and set designers, set decorators, costumers and their suppliers are gathering at my store tonight, the heritage company 2, for a meet, greet and information sharing. There's a lot of movie productions coming to Michigan this year and we want to be ready for them. I'm doing my part as a local connector and supplier. How about you just let your legislator know, this is important work for Michigan now and in the future and we sure need it! P.S. and don't you just love the new acquisition that will greet our guests tonight? Hey, if you can't be pretty, be shocking...

Monday, March 15, 2010

March Madness Means Merchandise

Haven't even had time to photograph the stuff from all points south because half of it sold before I could even arrange it, hit two auctions last week, covered 500 miles and dug deep to satisfy everybodies' spring fever. If the media gods (goddess in this case-editor Angela at Real Detroit) decide your the "it girl," you better have the merchandise coming in daily. First up was the auction at the offices of Yamasaki famed architect of the twin towers and 50's Cranbrook modernists. With a museum in the offing (see Detroit Free Press article from last Sunday) I was lucky to get posters of projects from Dubai, Beijing and one of the big man himself. The pristine coffee table from his original office c. 1960 is all glass and chrome and too precious for the shop at the moment, but housed nearby. The real gem however is the entire collection of model miniatures from his original office and the angels sung when I opened the drawer full to the brim with 1/4 scale people in every color in the rainbow. There are people in 3 different sizes, including arabs in robes, plus buses, cars and airplanes. I'm feeling a 911 model coming on, count on me to be irreverant.

I have to confess I was pretty disappointed after the 500 mile and 16hour roadtrip to Indiana and Western Michigan. One of the hardest things about this business is the complete unpredictability of finding interesting things and the pickings were slim. Between upstairs dealer Amy Nolfo Wheeler and John Raven, we brought home a huge 1960's vase with a mermaid on it, and an assortment of toolboxes, trophies and primitives. The only thing more heinous than the items at the Niles antique mall was the road food. Remind me to pack a cooler next time. We chose Culvers over McDonalds, Wendy's and KFC because different might be better. Not. I did love the milkshake but mostly because the perky counter clerk who made it actually came to the table to see if I loved it as much as she did. Plowing through the junk at the Niles mall made us ravenous. Thank god Amy had snacks, which we consumed on her tailgate in the mall parking lot.
In between and around town, I picked up some cool industrial bits, a great marble topped table, fire hydrant (I always have to have something impossibly big or heavy) and managed to rearrange the entire shop in time to host the michigan film creative people this week. Covering all the hours at the shop means there will always be something new to see and yours truly to give you the back story, good bad and ugly.