Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Vignettes from Vermont: Feng Shui'ification Part 2, King of the MHL Pub Crawl, 'Jersey Girl"

BENNINGTON -- Forgot to include a sidebar in yesterday's feng shui post, about the woman who bought a used beer sign from the Brew Vault at Fiddlehead at Four Corners.

Susan Lopez told me the Miller High Life sign, a personal favorite of the gallery owner, will be a present to her oldest son and explained why. But I half-heard some of the details of her decision to buy the sign while I bubble-wrapped it.

She emailed last night to clarify the story based on the "limited information" a son gives mom in situations like these:

Susan's son and his Brooklyn drinking buddies did pub crawls in Manhattan, she said, but they only crawled into pubs that served Miller High Life on tap. The boy can pound 'em, apparently, and has been anointed "king" of the MHL pub crawl. The title comes with a cape "fashioned of a Miller banner," she said, and "a crown bejeweled with Miller bottle caps.

"Ahhh, the things that make a mother proud."

Feng shui had nothing to do with that sale, the first of the day at Fiddlehead. Beer signs have been in the Brew Vault for years. There's no urgency to move them around.

But minutes before Susan walked into the gallery, I spent an hour moving nice bowls and colorful vases and unique plates and other neat art pieces into new spots. It just felt right. It felt like the pieces were screaming for a change in scenery. Lo and behold, pieces I had just rearranged were bought within minutes. You cannot ignore that kind of energy, so I moved more things today.

Plus, new stuff -- really cool stuff -- arrived yesterday and today. Yesterday's shipment included 4 beautiful blown-glass vases and 2 blown-glass perfume bottles from New Orleans.

Spent 30 minutes trying to find the right spot for them. Anyone who knows me probably knows which vase is my favorite.

Today the mailman delivered a box from New York. It contained 28 Vegetabowls -- or functional handmade pottery made from real fruits and vegetables -- bowls made of grapefruits and oranges and honeydew melons and cantaloupes and cabbages.

Tremendous artistic idea and execution.

I arranged them on a cylindrical counter beneath Foster's "Beauty and Despair" and a painting by Michalopoulos so that customers see them as they walk in and out of the Animation Vault. Three plates sat on the counter in the 6 weeks I've run the gallery, and they were getting zero play. I moved them to a counter across the room, where the sun can reflect their beauty, and wouldn't you know that within an hour a customer stood in front of one and gazed at it for a few minutes.

A little while later I looked out the window and saw two men and two women -- most likely married -- and a golden retriever. Had a feeling they were coming into the gallery. Thirty seconds later the women walked in. I asked if they were the ones with the dog. They said yes but that poochy was with the fellas resting on a bench across the street. I told them to bring her in, so they walked outside then returned seconds later with a fluffy golden retriever by the name of "Jersey Girl".

Jersey Girl is a rescue dog, 10 years old.

"She's been a momma too many times," her mama said.

She rescued Jersey Girl two years ago.

The women are from New Orleans. Oh really? "The vases you're standing next to just arrived from New Orleans," I told them, thinking they might feel a connection to the flower holders and buy a few.

They felt no connection.

The men left with Jersey Girl. The women walked around the gallery. They're gallery professionals. You get to know habits of the art types rather quickly. One of the women stood in front of an oyster-shaped turquoise and blue and green and yellow bowl I moved a few days ago. It was lonely where it was. I could feel its loneliness. It breathed life in the new spot under the wall that displays wonderful works by John DeAmicis.

The woman took a few steps back and crossed her arms and looked at the bowl with the same intensity Ferris, Sloane and Cameron displayed as they looked at great works inside the Chicago Institute of Art.

The woman from NOLA wanted this bowl very much. You could feel it. I knew she'd buy it.

But she walked away and eyeballed 20 other works in the gallery. Hmm. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe she didn't love it.

She joined her friend near the Nawlins vases. I thought they were going to leave. In fact they turned toward the door. Then the woman turned and locked eyes with the bowl across the gallery.

She walked toward it, as if defenseless by its magnetic pull.

She stood in front of it.

She picked it up.

She turned toward me and carried it to the counter and bought it.