Vintage Bazaar, Holiday Pop-Up Shop

Over the weekend, the folks from Vintage Bazaar were sponsoring a pop-up shop at 2133 Milwaukee – right next door to the Congress Theater. Unlike their prior events, this one was a more intimate affair – a smaller space with 14 vendors.

The event was officially open to the public on Saturday/Sunday, but there was a pre-show party on Friday evening. To attend, you actually had to buy tickets (which also got you food and some drink tickets to a bar staffed by Longman & Eagle).

Liz and I were planning on going over the weekend, but a few weeks back were contacted by Katherine (one of the event organizers) and invited to the Friday pre-show party. It was quite flattering to get the invite, and to be added on the guest list.

I mention this not in a “ooh, look how awesome we are” kind of way. It’s worth mentioning because the tickets to attend were $20 each, and we did not pay our own way. I don’t think this biased either of our views or changed the manner in which we documented the event… but it still seems like something worth noting, in terms of being on the up and up.

Outside the entrance. A fairly unassuming front door, but the moment you got a glimpse inside… you could see there was definitely something afoot. While I was out here shooting, I saw several folks walk by, stop, and peek in through the windows.

Looking in at the Dethrose Vintage booth.

In addition to furniture and clothing, there were a few booths that also had posters/prints for sale.

We arrived shortly after the doors opened, and were among the first to show up. Liz and I went our separate ways and went around taking photos, before the crowds arrived.

The first area I went to was my favorite of the whole event – Dethrose Vintage. This was a shared booth by Karyn (who handles the clothes) and her brother Jon (who handles the antiques).

Honestly, as I was looking around… it felt more like an exhibit or an installation piece. I got sucked in to all the objects on display, and kind of forgot that everything I was looking at was for sale.

If you remember some of the photos I took of their booth at the Pilsen show, you’ve probably guessed that Jon’s a graphic designer, given his fondness for type-related items. Also… having seen their business cards and some of the signage he’s done – Jon’s a a very good graphic designer.

In hindsight, I’m not sure why I never lifted up the cover. I’m not sure if this was a book or some kind of old, Victorian Science kit. The strange parlor-room look of the cover, juxtaposed with the title and the fact that the girl on the right is holding some kind of fledgling makes you do a double-take.

Nearby, I spotted what looked like an old-school autograph book.

Remember what I said about it feeling more like a display, versus a booth? How awesome is this?

An antique lamp with an exposed lightbulb, showing off a small assortment of small items.

I see that creepy doll guy is still with us. I’m not sure what’s more disturbing – the creepy doll’s nonchalant cross-legged pose, or the fact that the creepy doll has his own, smaller creepy doll.

I’m a grown, 37 year old man who is fairly rational and believes in all things science. But if you asked me to sleep in the same room with this doll, I’m confident I would out and out refuse. There would have to be money involved, and I’m telling you right now – the more I stare at this guy, the higher that number’s gonna be.

I wonder if they sold the mechanical bird and dog.

Hot House Market – run by Doug and Carrie Rosen, who travel between Chicago, IL, Lafayette, IN and Brooklyn, NY to sell their wares. Which is something I wish I knew, when I was at the event on Friday. I would have loved to ask them how, exactly, they’re able to span three such diverse locations (NY in particular).

Chair details.

The stack of old suitcases against the wall made me think of travelling somewhere far away… by train.

Houndstooth Vintage – one of many booths that had couches for sale.

What I loved about vendors selling furniture is that oftentimes their areas were incredibly inviting. I know folks were all trying to sell their wares, but part of me imagined everyone in a contest to create the coolest looking spaces – with each group trying to get the most people to come and hang out in their area.

I don’t think these actually count as terrariums, but I loved the look of these bell jars nonetheless.

You can find out more info on the official site.

Nearby, I met up once more with the folks from Apartment 528.

In passing, I learned that vendors aren’t allowed to bring anything that’s 100% hand-made to sell. I was surprised to hear this at first, but then learned it was a pretty strict rule. Makes sense, but it was something I never even thought of before.

I didn’t ask, but I’m guessing this was an old slide projector.

There’s a small part of me that wants this device. I have no purpose or need for this guy, but it just looks cool. I think I must have been a hoarder in a previous life.

At the booth for BackGarage – the online shop run by event organizer Katherine Raz and her husband Jem. We all fell to talking for a while, which was a nice change of pace. At prior events, I’d see Libby and Katherine always answering questions and moving from spot to spot (due to the large size of the events).

Here, it was a little calmer and seemed like Katherine could relax a little bit more. I still noticed her scanning the other booths, keeping an eye on things… but we got to chat for a little while, as more people showed up.

The four of us got to talking a bit about Pecha Kucha, and I was trying to encourage Katherine and Jem to do a talk. I had such a fun time with my presentation… it’s now something I encourage others to try, without hesitation.

PK has come up a lot, the past few days. So much so that I’m now considering signing up again – it’d be fun to try to do another talk.

A shot of a cool faux-fireplace (that actually provides a bit of heat).

Three people you wouldn’t imagine together – Liz, Mick and Mr. Dali.

At this point in time, something a little weird and unnerving happened. As I was standing here taking a photo, I noticed this guy who was sort of standing in one spot, kind of weaving back and forth like he was about to lose his balance. I wasn’t sure what was going on, and it took me a little while before I fully grasped the situation.

This was a younger kid, maybe early 20’s. He had on a camelbak – a backpack designed to store liquid, complete with a nozzle that lets you drink while wearing the thing. He was kind of talking to himself, and stumbling a bit… on the verge of tipping over, but then catching himself at the last minute.

At one point, he nearly topple over into a display (and would have broken a great deal of stuff). At another point, he had bent over trying to reach something (but there was nothing there).

I walked up to the guy, and asked if he was ok. Did he need water? Did he want to sit down? He politely refused all my requests for help. He said something like I know what you’re thinking, but it’s ok. It’s ok.

He had what looked like two terrific welts on his face – one along his cheek, and one big one on his forehead. They were red and looked fresh, and were sizable. It was as though he had crashed his bicycle and faceplanted into the ground, prior to walking in the door.

I stepped back and was conferring with the vendor, who was looking around for Katherine. Neither she nor I really knew what to do, but could see that things were going to deteriorate soon.

At this point, I noticed the kid looking into the distance and laughing a little. As he did so, a big chunk of drool fell out of his mouth, and that sealed the deal for me. I went up and put my hand around his shoulder, and asked if he wanted some fresh air. Despite him refusing, I kept suggesting it and guided him away from the booth and slowly towards the door.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I’m glad he agreed to walk with me. A few times, I was holding on to his backpack and had to keep him from falling into other people. I got a few nasty looks because I bumped into people, trying to keep the guy from keeling over (I don’t think they had any idea what was going on).

Outside, I led the kid to a lamppost and I waited to see how he was doing. There was a rubber trashcan nearby, and he tried to sit on the lip of the thing – something I had to prevent him from doing, lest he topple backwards and fall into the trash can.

A few moments later, he stood up and asked Will you follow me? I probably shouldn’t have, but did… and was walking behind him as he staggered over to the Congress. There were a ton of folks in line there, but he wormed his way in near the guy collecting tickets. At this point, I kept my distance and heard the bouncer say Go HOME! I told you to go home!

At this point, I turned around and left. I feel bad doing so, leaving this kid to his own devices… but I don’t know what more I could have done. Put him in a cab maybe, and gave the driver $20 to take the kid home? It seems a callous thing to do, but now that he was back on the street… it felt like my job was done.

My guess is that the kid was on some seriously, seriously powerful drugs. He had no idea where he was, and the best outcome I can hope for, for his sake, is that the cops eventually picked him up.

Back inside, I walked to the bar area and got myself a little whiskey. It was completely uneventful, walking the kid out, but I was pretty tensed up the whole time… unsure how he would react, and kind of primed to expect anything. Even outside, I was unsure how things would go. I chilled by the bar for a little while, then went back to taking some more photos.

Much like how they’re always at flea markets, old typewriters were everywhere at this event as well. I think it’s funny how I no longer really write poems, but I still want/crave the devices that make writing happen. I could also seriously see myself as a hoarder of typewriters.

Liz, checking out some things at the booth.

Lovely signage from Yellowbirdd Vintage.

A patron, looking through a big stack of prints.

The vendor, showing off some larger size prints.

I think this was the vendor that might have had an original Warhol piece. I couldn’t find a ton of info about this vendor (John Fisher-Dann, Studio Zvi)… but VB did a great interview with the guy.

Over at the Manly Vintage booth, I got to talking with the two guys there. I met Jim (I may have gotten this wrong) and Morgan. I learned that Morgan works full-time with the business, and sells a majority of his items online (and even has space at his place, dedicated to storing/showing his wares).

It was cool to see and hear about someone taking a side venture, and having it become a full-time livelihood kind of deal. Talking with Morgan, you could tell he was happy and excited to be able to devote all his time to the work.

Liz, chatting with Nicole from BombshellShocked.

This is me, posing with Michael. He also goes by the Twitter handle @mpkiser. I saw his name pop up on Twitter two days ago, and tonight is the first time I met him in person.

This is a funny story.

So apparently Michael found me through an old joke/site of mine called He was with a client at the time he found the site, and both of them were surprised when they saw me. Apparently, me and Michael’s client look alike.

I’m not sure what it is with my particular look – Asian guy, long hair, facial hair, glasses. Whatever the reason, I get mistaken for someone else quite often. Or someone will tell me I look like someone they know. And tonight in meeting Michael, I’ve got a guy I don’t know telling me I look a lot like another guy (who I also don’t know). What are the chances of this happening? Who knows?

I guess his client doesn’t have hair, so we’re not an exact match. Regardless, Michael wanted a photo with me – something he could send to his client.

After the photo, I told Michael about how I met my dopplegänger. Through a random series of events, I was able to contact Ko – the guy I suspected was my double. We ended up meeting for drinks, got along smashingly, and luckily… didn’t cancel one another out.

It was a lot of fun meeting Michael – particularly since he knew quite a lot about me, and we had only just met. Sometimes, I forget how much info I have posted online… but it was kind of awesome to trace the random sequence of things that seemed to connect us both.

I made my way back to the front of the space, and hung out a bit by the Dethrose Vintage booth. They had set up a small backdrop and were taking photos of people (I didn’t realize you could actually sit on the moon).

Looking around some more, I spotted a couple holding this awesome… I don’t know what this thing is. At first I thought it was an astrolabe, but then remembered those things aren’t spherical.

I’m not sure what it says on the outer ring (I think it’s Latin). The inner band depicts various symbols from the Zodiac. I noticed the price tag of $10 on the thing, and commented how I thought it was a steal. The couple agreed.

Anyone have any idea what this is, or what it’s used for?

Some stuffed animals for sale. Oddly, Liz said she found the Jackalope “kind of cute.”

A few minutes later, I looked up and saw Michael coming over with a small group of people. Apparently, our random series of coincidences was about to get a little crazier.

As Michael was relaying the story of how he knew me to his coworker Jenn… Jenn’s friend Lisa was listening. When the topic of my dopplegänger came up, Michael told them about how I met Ko in person. Not only did Lisa know Ko, but she remembers the night he and I met – she was at the bar at Cleo’s, when we first got introduced to one another!

Small world. How freaking crazy is that?

L to R it’s Hillary, Michael, Jenn and Lisa. At the time, I didn’t realize both Hillary and Jenn totally photobombed me.

Less bombing, more smiles.

The one purchase I made: an old Autograph book from the late 1800’s. I paid $20 for this, which I thought was a good price. I’ve got some big plans for this guy.

On our way out, I got a photo with Liz.

// Note: If you’re curious to see more photos from the event, you should check out Liz’s recap.

Vintage Bazaar At The Congress Theater, Chicago 2011
Vintage Bazaar, Pilsen
In Which He Is Presented With Incontrovertible Proof That His Dopplegänger Does, Indeed, Exist
Meeting Me For The First Time
It Seems I Have More Than One Dopplegänger
The Word Of The Day Is: Doppelganger

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