Early Friday morning. An empty Metropolitan Pavilion awaits the arrival of hundreds of record dealers, who are lining up outside on 19th Street, waiting until noon, when they can start bringing thousands and thousands of obscuro records and CDs. The two fellows in the far right picture were at the front of the line. They arrived at 6am to secure their place!
The night before, the Pavilion had hosted a fancy-schmancy benefit dinner where a motorcycle autographed by former Police-frontman Sting had been auctioned off. When we arrived early Friday morning, the motorcycle was still there, and some of the volunteers and I took turns sitting on it, including lovely volunteer Mary, who you see here. The Stinger-cycle was just the first of many brushes with fame during the Fair. Other reported celebrity sightings at the Fair this year included actors Benicio Del Toro and Rosie Perez, musicians Carlos D (Interpol) and Tom Verlaine (Television), and comedians Rachel Dratch, Jeffrey Ross, and Horatio Sanz, who showed extremely good taste in choosing a "Where Dead Air Lives" t-shirt to purchase from the WFMU Swag table.
Meanwhile, outside on 19th street, some WFMU DJs got their shopping started early. Uber-volunteer and ace traffic-director Ken donned his orange MTA vest in anticipation of the arrival of WFMU's big rental truck filled with a mountain of records, CDs, merchandise, broadcast merchandise, and assorted other goodies which an army of volunteers had loaded out from the station that morning. Traffic on the street was stopped as Station Manager Ken carefully maneuvered the truck into the loading bay of the Pavilion.
After unpacking the truck and 3 hours of set up, we were ready to go. The dealers were in place. The swag stand, where I was working for the weekend, was all set up and Volunteer Shayna waited for the first customers. WFMU's massive selection of LPs and CDs was laid out and ready to be snapped up at low low prices. At 4pm, the doors opened, and hundreds of eager music aficionados streamed in, first getting their hand stamped by a friendly volunteer as they walked in the front door.
The Pavilion soon filled up with early bird collectors. The shopping was intense. Someone even seemed to have lost their sneaker and not even noticed, so intent were they on finding special sound treasure. Everyone was on the hunt. There's Volunteer Director Scott considering the purchase of a Tom Wilson record (which I actually later snapped up). 6 hours later, even super-collector (and WFMU DJ) John Allen seemed a bit over-stimulated by all of the amazing records and CDs available at the Fair.
Saturday featured more record and CD deals and lots of people brought their kids. Al Gori set up his Homespun Merry-Go-Round which delighted the young and old. WFMU's Wheel O' Fate ($1 a spin) gave people a chance to win fabulous prizes, or to witness amazing stunts, such as those performed by Volunteer Art, pictured here balancing a large tube on the tip of his nose for the entertainment of one lucky lad.
Some of the highlights of the weekend included the great live performances. Saturday afternoon, Slavic Soul Party livened up the Record Fair with their gypsy marching band style, complete with a belly dancing majorette.
Sunday afternoon, Dave the Spazz hosted King Coleman and the Creepy T's, who brought the house down with their fiery performance. Sunday afternoon's entertainment was wrapped up with The Super Fun Time Karaoke Band backing up brave and talented singers who were transformed from record dealers, shoppers, and volunteers into Super Fun Time Rock Stars.
As the Fair wrapped up Sunday night, the bargains really started coming out, including at the refreshment stand, where all beers were going for $3. Dealers packed up their remaining merchandise, WFMU's staff and volunteers loaded the truck back up again, and it was back home to Jersey City for us. Only one more year 'til the fun begins again. Hope you can make it in 2006!