Shop 'til you drop

by Ted Holteen

If you haven’t seen it by now, you just don’t watch enough TV. Between a controversial war overseas and hurricane alley here at home, the photogs of the national news media have had more than enough material to garner everyone on staff a Peabody or two just by turning on a camera. So it’s no small surprise that the image of the year came from a Wal-Mart last Friday, as the Holiday shopping stampede left America’s newest sweetheart not only trampled in the mad rush but also wigless. CNN’s 10-second clip is a microcosm of the USA heading into 2006, a society unfettered by war and suffering, whose lust for bargain-basement consumerism is exceeded only by its vanity. Of course I’ve got to blame someone for this, and as Al-Qaeda has established itself as a decidedly anti-Christmas/Hanukah organization, to keep things simple I’ll just blame you. You, the one looking forward to your annual Christmas shopping crusade in Farmington sometime this month. You, the giver of Home Depot and Wal-Mart gift cards, the “enablers” of this ongoing addiction. And even you, the quiet ones, who sit at home and play online Santa at L.L. Bean, The Sharper Image and Best Buy-dot-com. Every one of you has wig on your hands. You are the problem, but there is a solution. Please pay attention.

No, I’m not going to call for an outright boycott of holiday shopping and gift giving. I’ve loosened up on that and am even looking forward to the season for the first time since I was 9 years old. Giving stuff is good, getting stuff is even better, and sticking it to the man is best of all. (Unless you like girls, but this isn’t a sex column. Get your mind out of the gutter.) Whenever I self-righteously berate someone for shopping somewhere that I don’t like (I really am a hypocrite), the most common response I get (that can be printed in a family paper) is “Well, it’s just easier and cheaper.” Humbug. Negotiating that parking lot at Wal-Mart is not easy. Cheap? Perhaps, but you get what you pay for, and if you are truly moved to give someone a gift, price shouldn’t be a part of the equation. Plus, everything that comes out of that place is either sealed in plastic or trapped in a box. Rather an impersonal way to show how you feel about someone – insulting, even. And so I, in my high-handed, holier-than-thou and, let’s face it, condescending manner of generosity, have invested nearly 11 minutes to make it possible for you to have a hometown shopping experience this weekend that will keep your dollars local, put a smile on the face of your lucky gift-getters, and make you feel almost as smug as I do.

You may have missed it during your last 42 trips to the Walton family mint, but there are some damn talented artisans in and around our little town. My exhaustive research has yielded at least three different venues on Saturday where they will be consolidated for your holiday shopping convenience. Start at the Four Corners Gem & Mineral Club’s Holiday Bazaar, happening at the club’s headquarters at 2300 Main Ave. from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tucked safely into caves for much of the year, club members will emerge from the dark to offer cut and polished stones, jewelry, ornaments, weird minerals and related oddities, many of which will undoubtedly make for that elusive “unique” gift usually reserved for the person on your list that doesn’t need presents. And they’ll have hot chocolate, cider and snacks and stuff for free, so don’t be shocked if you have to rub elbows with a homeless person or two looking to ward off the chill. It’s Christmas – lighten up. Next stop is the Smiley Building, where from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. local artistes fantastique Maureen May and Paul Pennington will have a garage sale to end all garage sales at their shared Smiley studio. I’m not ashamed to say that Maureen is my favorite artist, local or otherwise, but it should be noted that I can only think of two other artists living at this time. I won’t embarrass myself by listing them here, but what could be a cooler gift than a one-of-a-kind creation from an artist in your hometown that can’t be had anywhere else, even in the big city? Oils, pastels, photos – put ’em in a frame and the back patting will take care of itself.

Finally, the Abbey Theatre will put on the second annual Good Spirits Art & Gift Sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. I say “finally” because this will be the only scheduled Christmas bazaar with a cash bar, and in consideration of the other bazaars, it’d be nice to make the Abbey your last stop. As to the wares being hawked, they’re top notch. Clothes, girly soap stuff gifts, art, stained glass and all kinds of handmade things that I can’t make should make this as close to one-stop shopping as you can find this side of Highway 160 East. And if you care at all about the folks on your list, don’t leave without a stop at Jennifer Adair’s world of pottery miracles. At the risk of giving away a big surprise, I myself will be sending a sampling of Jen’s handiwork across the country to an as yet unknowingly fortunate young lady who’d better appreciate what she’s getting or else. (Have I earned a free beer yet, Jen?)

While I’m on the subject of the Abbey and writing an entertainment column, I should probably mention at least one actual entertainment event. On Friday night, the day before the theater becomes a mall for six hours, the Abbey will host a joint fund-raiser for Durango Acoustic Music and the Durango Bluegrass Meltdown featuring three bands. Paonia-base, old-time string band Sweet Sunny South headlines the show, with opening performances by local bluegrass groups Rock & Rye and The Magpies. Doors open at 6 and tickets are 10 bucks early, $13 if you wait ’til Friday.

One more thing – on Monday, the Bayfield Renaissance begins. If you’re in town, stop by Mill Street Brews and say “hi” to Denny and Scott, the fabulous Rahilly Brothers. Congrats to Denny on his first day as a capitalist pig. Mention that you read it in “The Society Page” and receive your first year of coffee free.**

Send me your Christmas list. Jesus hates Wal-Mart.

** Offer void in New Hampshire and Colorado. •



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