Wednesday, June 17, 2009

6/13/09 The day after portable TVs became useless.

Euclid Ave. - Candler Park “Yard Sale”

The seller gave me a warm welcome as I was an old friend as I approached this sale on his porch. I had a vague memory that I had been here before some time back but I recalled not a man two older women selling a lot of antique like stuff on this porch. I also had a vague memory that I had seen the selection of Elvis collectibles and the collections of old glass electric insulators before. But one insulator looks like any other two me. Insulator are one collectable that I have never understood. I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone to actually collect these but there were a lot of them on this porch gleaming in the harsh morning sun. I didn’t spend much time here looking at a copy of the Da Vinci Code, a few old Pez dispensers or the unopened bottle of Woodbridge wine, which may or may not have been for sale. I told the friendly seller to have a good sale and left buying nothing.

Elvis stuff on Euclid Ave.

Euclid Ave. - Candler Park “Yard sale”

Just a few homes down was another sale. This one featured a man and two women presiding over a collection of clutter in their front yard. One of my artistic schemes for another exhibition is to create a series of portraits of sellers with their goods. So I spent most of my time here convincing the sellers to pose for me. The man posed holding a large Chinese style wall hanging that appeared to be crafted from plastic. The women posed on a very ugly sofa they referred to as big orange. “Oh we’re going to be in a coffee table book” one remarked. I took this to be a sign of fortune and made a mental note to get out at least one query letter to some publisher this week. I need to do something with the 7000 plus photos in this series.
Among some stuff found in the yard were two chairs badly in need of recaning, a red union suit, a pillow embroidered with “the best is yet to come”, a door, an old gaming console, a vacuum cleaner and women’s clothing. There was a sign that said “Popcorn 50 cents” One of the sellers remarked that their son had sold not any popcorn thus far on this hot June day.
I bought nothing.

Seller with Chinese wall art.

Village Walk – Decatur “Yard Sales”

I had taped an interview the previous day on the local AM arts station WMLB and the host had told me that he was having a sale today so I felt obliged to visit. He had remarked that he collected a lot of stuff so I wanted to see what he had accumulated. One the way towards Decatur I made some stops at two totally forgettable sales and one that I am trying to forget. The later was a so-called estate sale that consisted of two tables of old décor items in the front yard of a tiny bungalow. It wasn’t the size and misleading manner of the sale that I want to forget but the odious smell. In front of the yard was a large open dumpster fill with damp broken things reeking of mildew. The molding smell was so strong I was able to taste it in my mouth for two days.
Village Walk an infill community in Decatur had no noxious smell there were three sales happening in the small community when I arrived. My host from the radio station did have a lot of collectible items. Most notable was a large animatronic singing and talking bust of Elvis. The eerie android King rolled his eyes curled his lips and talk and sang the entire time I was there. Other stuff neatly displayed on several tables included a selection of bobbing headed characters, a plush M&M dressed as Luke Skywalker, a bread maker, an unopened copy of the urban myth game, a storage rack for baby food complete with a sample bottle of baby food marked “bad” and an end table with a base of faux books.
I bought nothing but thanked my host for telling me about the sale.
Two other homes in Village walk had smaller sales. One mostly had a lot of modern house wares and a large collection of sweaters. The other had a large cat maze. I bought a portion of the cat maze. My cats have yet to play in it.

Singing, talking, lip curling Elvis bust.

One of my purchases for the day. A cat toy my cats don't like.

Russell St. - Forrest Hills “Street Sale”

This was a relatively small street sale with about six homes hosting medium to small sales. Yesterday marked the final day of analog TV broadcasting and strangely I found three old portable and now totally useless TV here. One was the once fashionable and high end Sony Watchman. Today it is just a curiosity that just picks up static. I did get a woman at one sale to pose with an especially dreadful striped sweater for my portrait gallery. Among some other stuff I found here was a replica of a grass hut, an extremely ugly baby doll with removable hair, a table full of holiday décor selling for 25 cents an item and a large vibrating lounger with a built in cup holder with instructions not to use it as an ashtray. I bought some pieces of copper pipe that I need for a sculpture I’m creating in the fall.

Seller posing with ugly sweater.

Useless electronic device.

Ugly and scary doll.

Forrest Ave. - Forrest Hills “Yard Sale”

This was an extensive yard sale with a lot of stuff covering the front yard of a brick ranch home. Much of the stuff was baby items. In addition, they also had a used motor scooter, yet another non functional portable TV, several pairs of Crocs that appeared never to have been worn, an unopened package of toe separators, a Marilyn Monroe doll and a sweater almost as ugly as the one a the prior sale. I bought nothing but as I was leaving I encountered a large snapping turtle walking across the road towards the sales. I took this to be a good sign.

Marilyn doll overlooking baby items.

Why is the turtle crossing the road?

Delmar Ave. Ormewood Park “Multi Family Sale”
I headed from Decatur to SE Atlanta but several of the sales listed in Craigslist were not happening or were tiny events not worth documenting. The sale on Delmar was spread across the yards of two neighboring homes. Sadly most of the stuff was more baby items. I view baby items as the reverse of old home health care items. The later stuff often marks the end of a life and carries with it a certain amount of pathos. Baby items have no dramatic pathos but do mark the beginning of a new life and the dream of more clutter to come. Regardless of its promise of clutter to be I don’t find strollers, diaper bins, basinets and the like interesting to document. But there were other things going on here, such as several tables covered with older popular Cds selling for 3 for five dollars. Next to this they were selling Obama t-shirts and buttons. I do not know if they had over invested in Obamabelia or had created the stuff just for this sale. Other stuff here included a novelty rock star wig, two motorcycle helmets some women’s clothing and another now useless TV.
I bought nothing

Obama stuff on sale.

Clocks and helmets on Delmar.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Big Church Sale redux- 6/4/09

The Yard Sale, Decatur

This is a yearly sale that actually generates talk on the street. “Did you see that church with all the crap in front of it?”, “It looks like a 747 carrying the contents of 10 Goodwill stores crashed at a church in Decatur” or “The stuff goes on for miles”. People were calling me and sending me emails. When I heard church and yard full of junk I knew it was a reprise of the sale I had documented last summer. The sale is a delight not so much for the uniqueness of its goods but more for the massive volume of its clutter. It is a sight, a veritable field of clutter all scattered in a somewhat organized manner across several acres of grass.
Today I was just getting around again. I had had surgery only last week and was not moving to well but I decided that this event would be a good way for me to return to normalcy. While I mostly needed to protect my still bandaged abdomen I cautiously proceeded around the sale hoping no one would jostle my midsection with bedrails or curtain rods. I also found it challenging to bend and dip to inspect sundry goods and take proper photographs.
The sale this year had been dampered (as nearly all local sales for the past two months) by on and off rains showers. But while I was there the skies were clear. The organizers of the sale clad in “The Yard Sale” t- shirts had separated the contents by use and type much like in a large thrift store. Some things were more organized than others.
The art section (one of my favorite areas) had the work divided by size with tiny five-inch framed works on one end and sofa size art on the other. Among some of the better art work was a wonderful naïve painting of a duck family, a painting of a drooping palm tree, a print of a busty fraulein and a hand carved boy scout plaque.

All manner of holiday décor was represented here in no particular order. It appeared that at the start of the sale Xmas, Halloween, Easter items had been separated but by the actions of so many shoppers the seasons had been mixed into an tangled endless sea of holiday charm. I was most impressed by a highly degraded light up Nativity set that now presented the Holy family as a trio of lepers.

The technology section is notable for its excess in dated devices, most of which I fear will end up being recycled. In some ways it looked like the last stand of the cathode ray tubes as old TV and monitors were huddled together hoping to have once last chance at life and utility. The sale also demonstrates how disposable ink jet printers have become as these nearly covered the front steps of the sanctuary. Telephones, CPUs, cheap small speakers and masses of tangled cabled completed the mix.
Two surprising pleasant displays were the old baskets and luggage gathered underneath two large blooming magnolia tress. Nothing says the deep south more that a bunch of old crap piled under a magnolia. It was at this point that my doctor called me to come in and have my bandages removed. I would not see the rest of the sale but I felt I was now fully on the path to recovery.

Tangled mess of holiday decor.

Duck painting.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Revisiting the Land Trust 5/23/09

Lake Claire Land Trust Yard Sale

Not far from my home is a unique green space known as the Lake Claire Land Trust. The Land Trust is sort of an unofficial peoples park, it hosts drum circles, is home to an emu, contains many community gardens, a sweat lodge and a small pond filled with algae and bullfrogs. Strangers who wander into this remarkable green space often remark “So this is where the hippies went to”
Each year the Land Trust puts together a fundraising yard sale and for the past several years I have documented the curiosities that its supporters donate to help with the upkeep of this urban oasis.
Today’s sale was in the cul de sac on Arizona Ave. the same locale used in past sales. Many of the same things or things that were more of less identical had returned this year. These included a well used looking pile of plastic toys, outdated electronic devices with tangled cords, mismatched cookware and kitchen utensils.
As I perused the book collection a volunteer was sorting the philosophy volumes. Among some titles there were “Bhagavada Gita”, Love Magic”, “Who Moved My Cheese”, “The Whole Soy Cookbook”, “Art of Serenity”, “Getting Rich” and “Beyond Pendulum Power”. A selection of tattered board games dominated one whole table. One notable game was entitled “Don’t Wake Daddy”. Clothing was much more orderly this year than last as item were hung neatly an arranged fashion. Last year the apparel was randomly dumped atop a massive pile of wood chips and mulch.

There are always a few surprises at this event. A very tiny sailboat with trailer was parked in pavement looking for a buyer and a small hatchback was loaded with old TVs. If they do not sell (as expected) they can be driven to a recycling center. One notable item was the reappearance of a strange oval painting I had seen at two sales in prior months. This odd rendering of a horned naked woman with mystical designs on her entrails may be the monkey’s paw of Atlanta yard sale items. I photographed it them noticed that w woman was purchasing it. When I told here about how it keeps reappearing she responding that she was going to use it for a prank. It seems she is house sitting for a friend and is planning to hang it in his house to surprise him when he returns. He lives in the area so I expect to see it soon at another sale.
In addition to strange artwork the Land Trust always has a huge collection of boxes of old New Age magazines offered for free. If one ever needs to get an old copy of Dream Journal this is the place to find it. In addition to all this the sale featured home made peace signs, henna painting, fresh bakery items and Tarot readings. I bought a brownie.

Countless copies of free new age journals.

The horned woman returns.