New York City is just about the worst town in the world for buying used records. I know that my own music-acquisition jones took a steep nosedive when I moved here, not because there was a shortage of record stores, but because the rents in this town don't really free up much in the way of disposable income. My desire for Jah Wobble EPs, the Sun City Girls' "Three Fake Female Orgasms" single, and the first Pink Holes LP remain locally unanswered because as with used record hunting in most cities, too many people here are also looking for stuff like that. In order to have a successful day of record shopping here, you either have to have really pedestrian musical taste ("Nitzer Ebb CD for a dollar!!? Score!!") or limit yourself to only buying new releases.
I figured out that I was a musical cheapskate a long time ago. And no, I don't lurk on Soulseek or any other P2P networks, wasting precious bandwidth by pulling down thousands of MP3s. Like a lot of other people, I find no reward in an overstuffed hard drive with no memories of the hunt to match it. But on the other hand, if you present me with rows upon rows of used LPs or cheap CDs to plow into, you'll be sorry you ever asked me to marry you. As such, I now save the lion's share of my used record hunting for weekend retreats to remote college towns which almost universally have one good record store and one good bar at which to drink away whatever cash is left after unloading your wallet on the first three Nikki Sudden solo records. While putting away the booze, it's good to pour some on the curb for the knowledge that there's no way you'd ever have such good musical fortune in NYC. The amount it costs to fatten the record collection in Princeton or New Paltz won't pay for much more than crappy East Village sushi and a sleeveless promo copy of the new Aesop Rock album back home. Yep, where matters of record collecting are concerned, I say to hell with New York City and the whore she rode in on.
But next weekend, November 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, all of that will change...
The WFMU Record and CD Fair is this radio station's biggest and most looked forward to event of the year because for one weekend, it transforms New York City into the greatest record shopping village in the world. The Fair brings in more than 200 dealers from around the globe -- dealers specializing in the fringey sounds that keep you coming back to WFMU again and again like Krautrock, Brazilian, Dub, Experimental, Psych, Freakbeat, Jazz, Funk, Garage, No-Wave, Post-Punk, Hip Hop, Metal, DIY, Breakcore, Blues, Electro-Acoustic, Hobbit Rock, Folk, Minimal Synth, Soundtracks, Dancehall, Weirdo Propaganda, Afrobeat, Comedy, Rockabilly, Hardcore, Spoken Word, Noise, 20th Century Classical, Disco, Gospel, and pretty much any other genre you might try to one-up your pals by casually proclaiming an affinity for.
That said, the Fair is about much more than mere product. It's a party! A party with beer and Two Boots pizza, and a Merry Go Round (nothing like riding a Merry Go Round while drinking beer and eating pizza, let me tell ya), and live performances from DJ/Rupture, The Lexie Mountain Boys and Sato & Jonny. Not enough? There's DJ Trouble/DJ Maria's famed LP Modification Station (where you can artfully exact your revenge on the crappy 70s pop LP of your choosing), as well as Mac's Traveling Flexi Museum, which is ordinarily only available in the online realm, but makes this annual appearance in meatspace especially for WFMU. If your wallet is maxed out, you can retire to the dark and soothing confines of the A/V Lounge and check out a dizzying assortment of wild vids with WFMU's peculiar aesthetic in mind. DJs Bronwyn C., Mr. Finewine, Rex, Terre T., and Dave the Spazz will all be spinning live from the Fair, and you'll be able to catch off-air sets from FMU heavyweights like Hatch, Brian Turner, Noah Zark, Dan Mackta, and Billy Jam throughout the weekend.
The smiling faces of our hard working staffers and volunteers is what makes the Record Fair such a hoot. United under a common purpose (raising money for WFMU), we celebrate our common sickness (record shopping), and pack a lifetime of memories into three paltry days. I hope we'll be seeing all of you there.
The WFMU Record & CD Fair will be held on November 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, 2007 at the Metropolitan Pavilion. (125 West 18th St, NYC). Regular admission ($6) will be in effect on Friday from 7-10 PM, and Saturday/Sunday from 10 AM - 7 PM. Early admission ($20) begins on Friday at 4 PM. Early admission entrants get unlimited access all weekend long!
To find out how you can volunteer to help out at the Fair, email Volunteer Wrangler Scott Williams. For more information on the Record Fair, click here. To see a list of attending dealers and short descriptions of their merch, click here. For the full entertainment schedule, click here. To watch some guy smile at you for four minutes and twenty one seconds, click here.