Tag Archives: art

Neon Toast: An Original

10 May

Last night I went to an art auction benefit.  An art auction.  Like, a silent one.  With paddles.

Okay, they didn’t really have paddles.  And quite frankly, I was disappointed.  But there was art and there was auctioning and apparently these days people are just running around pretending that you don’t need paddles to make it official.

You do.

So there I was, mingling with community folks and pretending I thought things were funny and holding a drink in my hand so I only had to think about to do with one arm and not two.   I walked around, I looked at poorly displayed art, and I looked at silent auction items for which I didn’t even have enough money to start the bid.   Not just on my person, but in my bank account.   

Did I mention that this was a benefit for the LGBT community?

I was there for only two hours and my coworker was invited to a naked party, I saw a man very disappointed with the state of the flowers in the table arrangements, and I’d seen enough amusing outfits to make even my third grade self look bland.   Also, the auction opened with a belly-dancing act.  Which I thought strange.

I also thought about how I’ve never seen a fit belly-dancer.  And then I thought about how it is that I’ve come to know so many belly-dancers.

There was food, but it was for the most part ridiculous.  There was a table with a chef that put a packaged, unlabeled confection out for the taking, but I stayed away from it because it looked like a moldy Nutter Butter.   It was slightly longer and slightly more rounded, but it was most certainly a moldy Nutter Butter.   I got really excited when I saw a whole room of free sushi from one of my favorite fish restaurants, but somehow the Event Coordinator didn’t think of the fact that it was on the top floor of an enclosed, unairconditioned room that was going to be chock full of people that evening.   So by the time I’d pushed myself through the moist bodies to the tail of the food line, I was so disgusted by my back sweat and other people’s dewy skin that the idea of raw fish suddenly wasn’t so awesome.

I’m not convinced the auctioneer was any good.  Actually, I feel safe saying he kind of sucked.  Without any certification or training in the basics of Auctioneering, I declare him to be of little worth.    He was heckling the audience for not bidding generously.  In fact, he called out one of the sponsors of the event, which happened to be a well-known financial company, as if the folks that were there were supposed to be bidding away the company’s fortune.  I was pretty nervous.  After all, I was there representing an 8 billion dollar company and if this guy thought I was walking around with a portion of it in my pocket, he was sorely mistaken.

The auction took place in an auditorium with a balcony and at one point he suggested that all the people who intend on bidding come downstairs and everyone else go upstairs.  You know, a sort of a separation-by-class thing.  No big deal. 

The truly preposterous part of it all was that there was not an overwhelming sense of labor put into providing backstory for each piece.  At one point, when reading the notes on a piece from a Latina artist, the speaker couldn’t pronounce it and clearly didn’t look at the cards before she came that evening.  She literally said “(Insert Artist Name Here) studied in Blah blah blah and blah blah blah.  Sorry folks, I wasn’t paying attention in Spanish class.”

WHAT?!  I’m sorry, excuse me.  WHAT?! 

People’s idiocy, not to mention lack of respect, is sometimes astounding.  

I kid you not – they followed up that beautiful linguistic display by putting up a decent looking oil painting in a magnificent frame and saying “Well, to be honest we don’t really know anything about this one but we are sure  it will make a beautiful addition to your home Retail value, $3,700, We’ll start the bidding at $350.”

No one bid.

No one bid because after watching you heckle the audience, put on a witch hunt for any members of financial firms, and mock people who passed on an item after a few bids, they weren’t exactly prepared to drop a couple thousand on something YOU DIDN’T EVEN RESEARCH.  I could have made up something that would have at least made it interesting.  I could have whipped up a backstory for that sucker so super cool that even though no one believed it, they would bid on it just to be a part of the saga.

It got really awkward after a while.  One item had to start at 5 dollars.  That’s embarrassing.

So after I felt I’d endured enough of the misery, I left.  Though I’d been there for 2 hours, it was going to go not-so-strong for another 3 and that would have been certain death.

There was certainly a strange feeling that overcame me while I was there.  It was kind of like the feeling I get when I want to jump off a bridge for the thrill of it and not to kill myself.  Every time a ridiculous item came up that was within my bidding range (you know, if I dumped my entire checking account out at once), I’d fantasize about raising my number.  I’d think, What if I pretended to be a mysterious rich socialite tonight and bid on something? What if I went head to head with this guy on this bright neon painting of toast?

I didn’t get the toast.  But I did recreate it for you here:

Happy Lollipop Tuesday. 


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