Saturday, September 1, 2007

Where the big kids roam

So, I took my first trip to Chuck E. Cheese in about 20 years yesterday. I took another day off from work and tagged along with Carly, my mother, and Carly's sort of stepson, Seth, for a day where big kids like me can have as much fun as the little ones. Chuck's is so much different from when I was a kid. I guess they've modernized it out of necessity, and while it was quite disappointing to see that things like the cheese hole under the main stage no longer exists, they managed to come up with a place that was entertaining, although quite expensive. I had a blast, surprisingly. I think we all did.

The day was set up with Seth in mind, and after playing countless video games, gorging ourselves on cheap pizza and soda, and then following it up at a place that sells homemade, hand-packed ice cream, the day felt complete. It still confirms my complete lack of interest in having a kid of my own, but it's nice to know that places like this exist so I can take other people's kids there for a day and still have fun myself.

I had almost completely forgotten that we were invited to a gallery opening where my friend Dave had his paintings entered in a show. The Kismet gallery is a wonderful place in Troy, about two blocks from where I plan to open my own shop and gallery, and the turnout for this opening was incredible. The place was PACKED and people were spilling out into the street most of the night. Seeing all of those people who were out and about for Troy Night Out, participating in the night's events reminded me that my own little space in the neighborhood can and will be a success. I thought I was excited I can hardly wait!

The towns in this area have decided that they will have their own "Night Outs" on various Friday's of each month. Albany started it with "First Friday", where on the first Friday of every month, little shops stay open late and have big sales, the galleries have new shows and the restaurants offer amazing discounts on meals. There are usually street performers in various spots all over, and a lot of the shops hire live performers to play music throughout the evening. It's a lot of fun, and it caught on with cities like Troy participating on the last Friday of every month. I think Schenectady does theirs on the third Friday, although, who goes to Schenectady for anything other than gang fighting and to purchase drugs is beyond me. I shouldn't knock their attempt at bringing more than crime into their city, but hey, I think they need to do a little more than put a band-aid on the situation.

Anyway, Dave's work was amazing, as usual, and I've already booked him as my first show when I open up the doors to my gallery. I wanted to have the opportunity to introduce myself to the owners of Kismet, but the place was jammed and I figured I'd hold off until a quiet day rolled around. I believe the place is owned and run by a husband and wife team and I know I met the husband a few years ago at a craft fair in the concourse in Albany. The seem like good people.

Their son had 4 or 5 little drawings he did using crayon on construction paper and he was walking around the place selling them for two bucks. The little man couldn't have been more than four years old and he melted my heart. I bought a wonderful green piece, slipped him a fin, and sent him on his way to go and sell more. Before we left he had only one more in his hand. The other hand, of course, was tightly clenching a wad of crumpled bills. I hope he didn't lose any. I don't know if people would think I'm nuts or not, but I'd love to offer him a show, too, and give him 100% of the profit. I think it would be neat, and a fantastic experience for such a young artist. Children's art is fascinating...incredibly unrestricted. I wish we'd never lose the ability to be so free and unedited.

Overall, last night made me realize how proud I am of the friends I have around me. They're all incredibly artistic and creative. Some make movies, some paint, some take photographs, some play music and some go nuts in the kitchen. It's incredibly inspiring, really. It makes me wonder if, through the process of editing over the years, I've singled out the creative ones and kept them close, or if I'm just drawn to people with those kinds of abilities. All I know is that I love them all, and I'm more than happy to have them around.

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