Sunday, June 26, 2011

The essence of imagination is a lack of focus

Braniac Danny Hillis said this and is making millions by flitting from idea to idea (fascinating story see Is it vindication or hope I feel? Would anyone go along with this statement that I'm working all the time even though it looks like I'm pub crawling or making cookies or reading the New York Times?

Washing down the calamari with those yummy margaritas at El Barzon ( reminds me I have to wash those big tuna nets so I can cut them up for drapes. It's the complex layering of many and sometimes disparate elements that creates this seductive moodiness that I'm convinced draws people to places like third stop Cafe d' Mongo's (

If it's now the secret to success to have several ideas firing at one time, the money should be rolling in anytime now. However, you might have to simplify some things to be fresh and productive, so Larry Mongo like yours truly, limits the hours of operation (the cafe is only open Friday nights). Me, I need some baking time. The other night while creaming the sugar and two sticks of butter, but before adding the eggs, a big decision was made to just go for it and do the red and putty-flecked, fabric-covered wiring with those black enamel shades. You don't add the flour until after all the wet ingredients are blended. It's a scientific procedure you have to follow. The washers and the bolts will attach the socket and shade together on a short length of eighth inch threaded rod and then that unexpected bit of colorful wire coming through and up to the canopy. Just right, don't overbake it.

The truth is it's all I can do to keep this entry to three ideas and the inventory to one truck load. It's about editing and I can't type too much longer, my shoulders are so sore from pulling the mass of grape vines off my building yesterday. I thought I was relaxing and being really efficient. You can really get into the zone gardening and I was making good progress editing the list of inventory. Plus the weather was gorgeous, Mark was outside playing beautiful music and I just lost track of time.

Speaking of time, I just read in the Times that they are covering trucks with artwork and glittery bits in Pakistan. I would love to do that, but I shudder to think how much extra gas you'd burn with the additional weight. Weight. Man am I feeling it across the top of my shoulders.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ask Not What Your Garbage Can Do For You...Ask What You Can Do With Your Garbage

These are not garbage, these are the white ones... it's a complicated story, naturally

These are mine...and definitely not garbage nor I making this complicated?...Maybe

This is, or was, garbage, but someone bought it so it's not, here's the story...Breathe

Up early with the phone and now thinking...and drinking coffee...always a dangerous combination...and came up with this genius title while writing on facebook ( about some salvage I skimmed off the top of the bulldozer's bucket (true story) when an idea (or more) came on. And, that is: there's nothing new under the sun (not this idea anyway) and plenty of old crap lying around (which isn't new either but free.), It just requires cleverness, and now about the ringing phone...

Today's requests (three before 7am) First, I NEED THREE END TABLES FOR MY PARTY THS rush, just something cute, yet stubstantial, something "Detroit-y" for a big Detroit group...that can be outside and kicked over and not break cause we really just want to borrow it and actually not buy it...Of course I have the perfect thing, why else call me at 7am and the last minute? So, I'm gonna take some crates from the curbside mall and spray paint them (the crates not the people...hmmm) with...You guessed it.. " A BEAUTIFUL DETROIT BEGINS WITH YOU." Marketing savant that I am, I'm subtley selling the idea that this is now a cool thing that you need to BUY, AND, if not this exact thing, we'll whip up something else on what's lying around that you now want but need differently.

NEXT.... a set designer needs 1970's chic patio furniture for a pool scene of drug dealers, lots of them, dealers and chairs alike, but deco and groovy and they are in my backyard, well some and not white and not deco. There's a guy who said he knew of lots of them, but now can't find the guy with them, and would I want mine painted white? And why isn't the guy answering his phone? (that's the second guy) now that she needs them NEXT WEEK so she can have little yellow pads made for them. Maybe he's out of town, the second guy, she and he said, that's her and the first guy, and where's the concerta?... I guess they can be white, mine that is, if that guy fails to appear and/or changes his mind, are you with me? I forgot his number, oh yeah, he's two...sigh, getting paid is plenty clever in this business.

MOVING RIGHT ALONG (faster, it's after 10am now) the money is in from the last guy (which is a different guy than the first two, which makes three, of those who called before 7am, breathing). I gotta pick up the money from his bank and give it to another guy who is selling my guy, number three, a table, but not for the patio,...and now my other guy who never calls before 7am because he's a friend and isn't buying nor selling me anything, is coming to help me do my accounting, for free, which is nice and not clever nor garbage, but tiring so I'm making more coffee.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Designer Drug Dealer Digs and You

Making the rounds of my favorite haunts in the city with an Elmore Leonard movie set in mind, I found a few stylish items that transition from a 1974 era drug dealers' hideaway to your home or place of business.

While the deal can be done nicely on this vinyl sofa, it's the perfect place for your toddler to spill his juice while watching t.v. Nothing like vinyl for easy clean up of sticky blood or sugary beverages. It sure looks great here in my driveway, where I dragged it from the neighbors. Instant office, just add laptop and my daily drug of choice, black coffee. When my colleagues showed up, we commenced our meeting, brilliant isn't it?

And how about these candy-colored lounge chairs? That fresh poppy lime and kelly green, safety orange and cherry red brings a room to life while someone else's is getting taken. And whether your selling kilos of cocaine or car parts, they offer a crisp professional look. Equally smart in the family or living room, these are really versatile with a contemporary or mid-century white or black leather sofa and great with danish modern teak furniture. I wouldn't hesitate to use them as dining chairs, you could pair them with a classic white Saarinen tulip table, the popular 50's retro Heywood Wakefield table, an industrial steel table or contemporary chrome and glass table. Whether on the lam or the run, you'll dine in style. Super clean, comfortable and lots to choose from.

Now hear me out on the lowly commercial carpet square. I know your standard issue detective office does not say high design, but when I saw this sea of similar but different patterns in all these shades of office greys, beiges, mauves and blues, I saw creative possibilities. Endless patterns made with different patterns, I'd mix it up and make a rug of one and a border with another. Don't stop with two patterns, create an optical illusion and expand outward making every border different. You could do a checkerboard or diamond pattern, stripes, or...maybe you should sit down, relax and let me do it since I kind of have an idea anyway. Like Jack Foley says, "you'd be surprised what you can get when you ask for it the right way."

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Third Round Draftpick Team Steampunk

Somehow I got it backwards. Aren't you suppose to start out living the gypsy life and then becoming conservative by the time you're crowding 50? Me in a suit, coiffed hair, heels at 25... that was an interesting role. Now I'm wearing 1900's french peasant clothes, enthusiastically describing an antique dealer's life on the road, adventures in foreign lands, the glitz the glamour, to a group of renaissance/goth/comicons on the steampunk tour.

I've just been told by the insiders that I'm now one of them. Seems like just yesterday I was with the green party, draft-picked from the shabbily chic having been picked up from the strictly architectural farm team. The making new things out of old things keeps me in rotation. I'm gonna have to sit out sword fighting and dungeons and dragons games and hope they overlook the ripped jeans and workbooks under the tophat and tails. I like costumes but I don't think I can play in a cinched corset. My longevity depends on adapting my market strategy but still be brand heritage co2. It's still about finding cool stuff, in this case gadgets and old machines, figure out what to do with them and get it built.

I am intrigued by the intricate fabrications and the engineering of this stuff. You gotta check it out ( The tricked out wheel chair, computer desk on a victorian printer's stand, old typewriter parts and an armature holding a skull with glasses…provide a much needed new way of looking at antiques and design. And boy do we ever need to find a fresh market. Our hosts, The Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation, is promoting preservation of America's manufacturing heritage which fits right in with my message. The Steampunk City event in their hometown of Waltham, Mass. drew 10,000 aforementioned costumed steampunks..and curious locals. The movement is building momentum and a following all in less than two years, pretty impressive.

The 1950's folk art tractor and the floor lamp put together with an adjustable 1920's automotive headlight and a fine wooden surveyors tripod I brought got a lot of attention. So here I am wearing what amounts to old cotton undergarments and telling stories about how this all came to be. It's in the gypsy job description, that and wearing lots of hats, changing costumes and personas, keeping the act fresh and selling the new show from town to town. It's an interesting life and somehow there's always money to keep the show on the road. Best of all, you don't have to wear pantyhose. But for Godsake, don't tell the parents who put yours truly through university thinking I'd be an engineer, you know the regular corporate kind.