Personal Statement

Personal Statement

Friday, April 15, 2011

Things I'm Digging: Down on Mainstreet

[Humming Joe Cocker as I type.]

Main Street Arts Festival opened yesterday, which means that one-half of the attorneys in our office took a long lunch - coincidentally, in the Main Street vicinity - and did a little art shopping "on the way back." (Remember the old Family Circus cartoons, where Billy would meander all over creation to get from Point A to Point B? Yeah, you get the general idea.)

I picked our lunch spot: "Slutty Border Town." AKA "Border Town Brother-Turned-Taqueria." Real name: Ojos Locos. But the other names are more descriptive. Picture a Hooters in Matomoros and you get a general idea of the overall vibe - and waitress dress code.

This is the Ojos Locos logo. Do the O's turned into eyes suggest something else to you? Something . . . . mammarian? Fairly sure that's intentional.

Here's an image from the O.L. Web site, taken during Super Bowl Week, when the temperature hovered around freezing:

These are the winter uniforms. Now that the weather is getting warmer, the servers are basically wearing bras. Nothing over them - just bras. Also apparently part of the dress code: tramp stamp tattoos and braces. For the full-blown Mexican border town brothel vibe.

Why do we go there? They serve really good border tacos and, at Happy Hour (which is actually five very happy hours strung together), extremely cheap and cold beer. As in, "$12.95 for 100 ounces of domestic cheap and cold beer."

We had a Slutty Border Town newbie with us on Thursday - one prone to being situationally scandalized. We had warned her about the uniforms, but apparently she didn't believe us that they were THAT blatantly slutty. Her reaction was priceless - I think the phrase "Holy-f***ing-moly" was involved?

But then they sat us in the front, by the big garage-style doors that had been cranked open to let in a delightful cross-breeze. Not enough open-air dining for our tastes downtown, so this won a point. An additional (and sizable) point was won when the server OFFERED WITHOUT BEING PROMPTED to bring out a glass of ice so that we could continuously chill our tea. Warm tea is a personal sticking point with my coworker, and, normally, she has to ask for additional ice. She was stunned that the server understood this concept on her own - even more so because said waitress looked to be about nineteen and was dressed like Lolita from Tampico. (Actually, her name tag identified her as being from Guatemala.) Further points were racked up (small - or large - boob pun intended) when (1) the tacos came out, delicious as always, and (2) Miss Guatemala offered us roadie cups at the completion of our meal.

I think that Slutty Border Town may have itself another convert.

Then we walked around the festival, and I have to say I was impressed. In too many years past, the festival has been marked by pretention and "Are you kidding me?" pricing. This year, the art was accessible, both in terms of subject matter and feel and in terms of cost. Lots of prints to be had for reasonable dollars, and a lot of the original works were reasonably priced as well.

One booth caught my eye because of the Superman-themed still life at the front of the print rack (featuring a comic book and various kids' toys). Where Superman is, Wonder Woman and Batman cannot be far behind. Sure enough, there was one of each. I was particularly fond of the Batman one, featuring a Batman comic, a bottle of Coke, a loaf of Wonder Bread, peanut butter and jelly. God, I loved Wonder Bread - and when we first moved to Texas from California, I was devastated to learn that Houston grocery stores (at least back then) didn't carry the brand. Everyone in H-Town was CRAAAAAAAZY for Mrs. Bairds. Perfectly fine-tasting stuff, but where were the Garbage Pail stickers and sci fi movie trading cards? My parents received the full brunt of my six year-old wrath. It was bad enough to cut me off from Granny Goose potato chips and Otter Pops, but you had to derail the bread bag prize gravy train on top of everything else?

I continued to flip through the prints . . . and heard a gasp from my (male) coworker, because there, right behind Wonder Woman, was The Dude. And, behind The Dude, "the other guy from 'Big Lebowski' who is not The Dude, as portrayed by John Goodman." Confession: I've seen the movie, but I'm not a huge fan. However, my coworker is. No doubt he knows all of the characters' names. And The Dude had actually come up in conversation during Slutty Border Town lunch.

And suddenly, miraculously, there he was.

The artist helpfully supplied the information that there was a two-for-one deal on prints, so if I could just decide whether I wanted Batman or Wonder Woman, Coworker could have his choice of Lebowski icons, at a substantial discount. And, God love him, Coworker ALMOST pulled the trigger on a day-glo image of John Goodman waving a large (cobalt blue) pistol. We discussed placement - it could go in the corner of his office, blocked from plain sight by a bookcase, and exist simply for his enjoyment.

In the end, he decided that he might catch some guff for displaying an image glorifying drug use. That, and he couldn't decide between the two characters.

But there are three more days of the festival. We may be back.

I did purchase a silk-screened image of the iconic sign of a Dallas burger institution. Reason: I represent the landlord of said burger institution, and the negotiation of the latest lease for that space was - ahem - memorable. And long. Bataan Death March long. And Bataan Death March memorable. So I bought two of the silk-screened images and am mailing one to the client.

LOVES me some workday open-air art festival happy fun times . . . .

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