Well, I am sitting in a kickass sushi restaurant in Austin, Texas enroute to Houston on Friday for the Bayou show. Shot pics in Clarksdale, Mississippi (Blues flavored city, think juke joints). Shot in Helena, Arkansas, Tuesday before King Biscuit Blues Festival starts, spent that night in Texarkana, just a pit stop there is nothing here to get excited about.
Which gets me back to here.
St. James, a legend in their own minds, now in its 60th year, is a fading maiden, long past her beautiful power years, still shouting out the siren call, luring the newbies in, as long as they can still fool them, they will endure. Frankly folks they are not worth their almost $600 booth fee.
So a little history about this show. Let us call it foreplay. I have done this show 21 years.
So, once upon a time in Anerica I met my darling wife, Ellen Marshall, here, 19 years ago.
Back then you could just show up anytime and start setting up, no waiting in two-hour-long lines.
Me and fellow photographer Jack Stoddard had traded friendly insults and copious shots of Cuervo while we set up. Mind you, I was still very clear-sighted.
So, around 5 pm I had finished my setup and I spotted this gorgeous apparition bathed in sun lite.
The sun rays bathed her in heavenly light, her ample figure was so vivid. I was smitten. I walked up to her and said, "You know, a man could fall in love with a woman like you."
She looked at me and cocked her eye, she probably felt like I was feeling my oats a wee bit too much. But I guess I intrigued her. I asked her out to dinner at a jazz club. My best bud Jim Wilbat served as a yenta. The rest is history. She is my wife, still a beautiful babe, the best blue eyes ever, and she is a phenomonel artist.
Oh well, a little history never hurts anyone.
OK Nels, how was the show?
Thought you would never ask.
This is a tough long, expensive show to do, it is not for everybody in spite of their lofty reputation.
For almost a $600 booth fee, single space, I would expect more. Hell, I did better in Kalamazoo, Michigan than here.
If you go to my past blogs you can find ample blogs about this show that give you the meat about this show. I am not going to repeat them now.
First off, you are looking at a minemum of $1000 in expenses to do this show. You are going to be there five days for a three day show. You are staying at one of the most expensive convention center towns in America, there are no cheap deals here. Sure, you want to sleep in your van and eat cheap boring food you can get by here. But why would you do that?
Most years, in the last 20, we have had cool, crisp fall weather. Lately, this show has been plagued by rains. This year, most of Friday was a wash out because of the weather. Slim crowds and slim buying. If you made $800 on Friday you were one of the lucky ones.
Saturday started off cool, a few raindrops but by noon it was clear sailing.
Most of the crowd walks done the middle of the street, sucking on their $9 bloody Mary's without even looking into the booths.
Mostly, low end sales were being made. Every once in a while I would see a big piece go by. Ellen sold a big cow, for a big price to a Canadian couple. She was one of the lucky ones.
There are five shows going on here. Much like Ann Arbor. Too many good artists for two few buyers.
If you have a good mailing list for Louisville it might help.
If you have low end repeatable items it will work, think under $40.
This is a very traditional, conservative audience. They do not easily embrace the new, like buying it. Compliments are plenty but they do not pay your rent.
Sunday was the best weather day but it did not produce the best sales for most of us.
I did better than last year, but it not take much to beat that, since I barely sold more than $1900 last year, it was a debacle.
Ellen said this would be her last year, but now with the big sale, she is conflicted. Is there another lucky Canadian couple waiting for her next year?
I am tied to her coat tails here, if she goes back so do I. I was a juror this year, so I am automatically in next year.
BTW. I gave every photographer at St. James a top score. I think this was some of the best photography I have ever seen there. Way to go, guys.
In closing, all I can say to you newbies, this show is an expensive gamble. Frankly, if Neptune remains on the same weekend (it will next year) I would rather be on the ocean any day of the week.
That's all folks, I got red bean ice cream to eat.