There were sequins glistening in the strobe lights and a crazy blonde bustin a move to a brass band when my head screamed - It's too much! Go back to your room!
I left the indie showcase party in the nick of time...it was starting to look like an ad for Vegas. What was really cool was the Step Afrika spotlight showcase I caught at the very amazing, very old and beautifully restored Folly Theater. Once I locate my mem card adapter I can upload the footage. That was something else. Riverdance meets the Motherland. I wish the Dirty Dozen Brass Band could have been there...it would have made for a killer collaboration.
This was after my 2 hour walk around downtown...my attempt to locate the Arts & Culture "District." Walking down Main Street, I took tons of photos of cool old buildings and was even greeted by a sign that read "Arts & Culture District." I continued on foot, scouring the neighborhood for galleries and boutiques. Hmmm. Warehouse after warehouse in an otherwise industrial wasteland. Ooh - a fun antique shop! Oh wait...it closed 30 minutes ago? On a Friday night?
Around the block, up a hill - there were NO signs of life. I walked east on 18th Street and I was instantly reminded of that Brady Bunch episode where the gang stumbles upon a ghost town and somehow winds up locked up in the local jail. Brick buildings, sand swirling up in a poof, and me. I take a left and see 2 girls up ahead. Finally I found the "strip!" Whoo hoo! I approach what seems to be a bustling street to realize it was merely...a bustling corner. Now there was the local coffee joint and some shops so SCORE for me. I was so desperate to see life and some form of funky shop that I unloaded - financially - in this 100 yard stretch. I made some new friends, talked up the performing arts to this one gal who owns a lingerie shop and also created a 1-woman show, bought my son a cool vintage baby hoodie (there is actually baby vintage out there) and a few duds for myself. Like I said...I wanted a fun souvenir. I wasn't prepared to search all over the Plains for it so when I finally laid eyes on goodies I'd go berserk, but I did. I never did see any actual galleries.
Possibly, my expectations were a little too high for this very Midwest city? It gets kudos for being clean, friendly and laid back - I do love those traits. But as my NYC exhibit hall buddy and I joked - us east coasters want to walk out of our hotel and see our coffee shop RIGHT THERE. We're so demanding.