Like the speakeasies of the 1920s, the Speakeasy Lounge is difficult to find if you don't already know where it is. Just trust the voice of your GPS, and that unmarked building on the southwest corner of Federal Highway and Second Avenue North is indeed the Speakeasy Lounge.
Because this venue is typically host to an array of local and out-of-town musicians in its performance area and because there is often an alcoholic thirst that accompanies concerts, a long, narrow bar greets us inside. There's little sign of the ARToberfest so far, but I order a Warsteiner and search for the art half of this fest. Luckily, the bar is just the entryway into the larger lounge area. It's early, and few people are milling around, mostly the artists themselves.
I recognize several of the artists by their art if not their faces.
Almost every artist here tonight is a regular on the local indie craft
circuit. Unlike the big festivals, these more intimate shows
artists a chance to catch up with one another, talk to people.
I stop first to chat with Katie Caparros of SydneyLou Whoo?
dressed properly for the venue in a top that looks like a pink lace bra
and rubber cowboy boots with skulls and roses on them. I recognize her
skeleton cameos right away.
"My inventory got wiped out atStitch Rock
last week, so it's slim pickings today."
has fliers set out on her table for all the upcoming festivals and
the weekly event at Dada, the monthly Downtown Open Markets in Boca and
Boynton, and the upcoming Blair Stitch Project. She keeps looking
beyond my shoulder and waving to people she knows as we chat.
By now, a few dozen people are wandering around. Paul Caprio
has quite the crowd gathered around his table. Most of them are
examining a large drawing that looks like a jumbled brain.
(Lisa Parrott) is just starting a large live art piece that's turning
out to be one of her signature wide-eyed girls with a caterpillar
crawling on its shoulder. And in the opposite corner is the raffle table
upon which is one piece from each artist to be raffled off over the
course of the night.
I've moved over to a table whereDavid Gonzalez
, who frankly looks too young to be in here, is spray-painting small canvases.
friend in the blue shirt asks what paper I'm with. When I tell him, he
looks excited and says, "Oh, are you Tara?" I get this question
sometimes. When I'm forced to tell him I am not Tara Nieuwesteeg, former
Nightwatch columnist, he looks visibly disappointed.
"I used to read New Times
all the time when I took the train," Blue Shirt Guy says, "but now I
drive." Oh well. I ask David Gonzalez for a
business card, and he spray-paints one for me on the spot.
All night, I've been hearing an odd refrain in the background, and now it is directed at me.
"Do you like tarot? I do readings." Maricruz Gonzalez, owner of the Kanzashi & Steampunk Jewelry Garage
(and time traveler extraordinaire, according to her business card), is
wearing a red bowler hat and matching red vest. I smile and ask her
about her art instead. Her steampunk goggles are perched up on the hat,
and she gestures to her jewelry creations while talking to Mister and
"I'm a Batman girl," she says, holding up a purple sparkly
vampire-bat necklace. "I'd love to dress up Bruce Wayne in some
steampunk -- maybe a monocle."
Now I'm back around the loop to Allison
Kapner's table. I'm eying the many varieties of homemade mango jams
lined up on the table. I could eat a jar of mango jalapeño jam. That's
dinner, right? "There's a reason my fans call themselves jam junkies,"