Posted by Sam Kaffine on

 SPROING!! That's an energetic reference to Spring - you know, like it has sprung, although here at 7000*, we don't really get Spring as celebrated elsewhere. This year we're getting beautiful sunny mornings, mid 50*s until 11:00 or so, then a light blowing snow and temps in the low 40*s for the rest of the day. Don't ask me how it can snow when it's that warm, I'm just telling you what I see, every day for the last week or so. Before that, I couldn't say, as I was On the Road. I luuuuv to travel, and as dehumanizing as flying is getting, it's still magical and amazing, to fly across the country in a few hours. I got a last minute invite to accompany a friend to AZ then NY, and I have to say, I don't turn down trips to NY. It's like a *rule*, you know?

So we fly into Phoenix - I'm to act as my friend's (Shen) personal assistant, help her organize and take advantage of her recent hailstorm of opportunities as an artist. She was doing demo's at the NAMTA - National Artist Materials Trade Show - which was amazing. I took notes, took photos, followed her around and goggled at all the beautiful rainbow displays of colored pencils, pens, paints, brushes, handmade papers, organizers, and artist materials so esoteric I have no idea what they were. We stayed at a lovely old hotel (think Grandma's house, with chandeliers and an elevator) until the last night, when we moved to the Hilton for some luxury. Phoenix was gorgeous, gentle breezes, 80* days and 70* nights, sipping wine and noshing sushi on the patio while chatting with Prada toting matrons and gentlemen with strong French accents. Lovely. Our fourth and last day, after the trade show was over, we rented a car and drove to Scottsdale, to explore the Old Towne Arts District. Amazing enclave of money and taste - like a summer Vail, really, or a more genteel Palm Springs.

Monday morning found us in the Bowery district of Manhattan, crashing at a $35/night youth hostel I wouldn't recommend to my worst enemy. I mean, I'm not high maintenance (hello, wildland firefighter, 8 years - I've lived in my pickup truck for a month- no shower, no toilet, slept in the woods, slept on fire trucks, curled up under trees, shared a single bathroom with 40 bikers and loggers - but that's DIRT. Germs are different.) - this place was rough. Our 'rooms' (cells) were 6'x4' - mine had a 24" square closet - it was a cross between a handicapped bathroom stall and a solitary cell in jail. 40 rooms on our side, one common ceiling (noisy as hell) and common toilet stalls. I kept thinking about a coworker who dropped a contact lens into a nightclub sink, resulting in a virulent pestilential eye infection that her doctor couldn't figure out. Ish. Blech. But this hostel was how this trip was do-able, so I dealt. OK, I whined when the first bedbug attack hit - those bites ITCH!! - but other than that, I tried to deal. Shen, of course, got not a single bite, bringing home to me, once again, the power of our minds. I KNEW there would be bed bugs at a $35/night hostel in the middle of Manhattan - Shen thought positive, and didn't get bit. I got ATE up - upwards of 20 incredibly itchy, crazy-making welts. Luckily, Manhattan is the one place I can think of where you CAN just sleep in your lodging - the rest of the time you want to be out there, in it. So we did. The first two days, we traveled to Parson's, a school in....somewhere, forget, but it was a $40 train ride, to watch a silkscreening demo with some of Shen's associates from Daler-Rowney - one of the biggest art supply companies in the country. The next day was Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and after that we were on our own. We spent the days walking around Manhattan seperately, each of us looking for promising galleries and boutiques who might be interested in carrying our art. I enjoyed it SO much, I haven't words. The people, the energy, the beauty, the ..differentness. It was amazing.

Too much, actually, to write about at one sitting. So I will carry on later, to drag out the experience in my own head, to relive the dare-I-say-it synchronicity and wonderfullness, to savor it fully - that is, when it's NOT 12:38 am and I am alert enough to share, not ramble. Rambling here. Sorry to do this in episodes, but there it is.

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