There was a time when the Washington, D.C., area, where I grew up, was utterly devoted to The Dead. The Grateful Dead. Not only was R.F.K. Stadium an annual stop for the band, but they always played multiple shows there, and for some reason many who lived in the region found this to be cause for celebration. Colloquially, these performances were known simply as "The Shows." As in, "Hey, bra, got tickets for The Shows yet?" "Phil-side, dude." This "culture" manifested itself in all kinds of strange ways, one of which was that you used to see a lot of ads for shared dwellings in the D.C. area that billed themselves as crafts-oriented. "Crafts" here was a euphemism. It meant that this was an entrenched Deadhead household where people supported themselves in large part by making jewelry and other trinkets to be sold at The Shows. It was also not uncommon to find a home-grow operation among the "crafts" practiced in these houses and apartments. My knowledge of these hippy holes, for lack of a better term, was strictly peripheral. I had one friend who'd found herself living in such a house through some shady health food store connections that I never fully understood. The patriarch of this particular household was a self-proclaimed Buddhist named Doug. Doug had an extensive hydroponic operation in their basement that ran on power that was being illegally tapped from the local utilities company. He also sold veggie pitas by the hundreds at The Shows. Every year Doug wore the same outfit to The Shows: knee-high lace-up moccasins + purple unitard + turquoise Star of David pendant + facepaint. Apparently this outfit had helped Doug sell thousands of veggie pitas over the years. Apparently that's not the only thing it had helped him do.
All this is to say that I've come to understand an element of the frenzy that led up to The Shows. For the second year running, Michelle and I have found ourselves busily preparing not for The Shows but for that annual dose of rock-n-roll mayhem known as the Pop Montreal Festival, and specifically their arts and crafts division known simply as Puces Pop. Švestka Preserves Inc. has been in high gear since the summer and we'll have all kinds of jams, jellies, confitures, and chutneys to offer TO YOU, dear reader. The music'll be rather different, there won't be any friendship bracelets or hand-blown pipes or purple unitards (that's what Tam-Tam, Montreal's weekly love-in, is for), but it should still be a lot of fun.* Puces Pop, the "fairest of fairs," runs from October 7th to October 8th. We encourage you to attend both days to take full advantage of the vendors, the fashion show, the "Indie Science Fair" (?), etc., but please keep in mind that our "...an endless banquet"/Švestka Preserves Inc. booth will only be in operation on October 8th. Got it? October 8th. Location: Canadian Grenadier Guards Armory, 4171 Esplanade (corner of Rachel), directly facing Parc Jeanne-Mance. Time: 12 noon - 7 p.m. (or while supplies last). Pop Montreal, as the image above attests, lasts from October 4th - October 8th. We encourage you to indulge in the Dionysian excess. Sensibly, of course.
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