The Room Show Must Go Online
Years ago when I started popularizing room shows during NCECA week the whole process was a bit edgy and subversive. The idea caught on, grew and spread, but it still has that spontaneous, underground vibe. A week or two before the event each year we put out the word to stay alert. We let people know where to meet with only hours (or even minutes) to spare.
And hundreds of people show up.
What a thrill!
A room show isn't just a place to see what people have for sale. It's a place where you can count on meeting up with friendly faces year after year. It combines the positive energy of a flash mob, an art opening, a fund raiser and a cocktail party. With a little bit of Christmas thrown in. People who have never experienced it before are amazed.
One year at NCECA my good friend Paul Blais stopped by the room show. There was standing room only with more people in the hallway. He decided to record an impromptu segment for the first nine minutes of his 200th podcast. We were standing there holding microphones. I was explaining about the room show for Paul's audience while people came up at random to talk to us.
Photo credit: The Claw and the Sea
It was a huge disappointment to have this year's NCECA conference cancelled and, with it, the room show. Big picture it was a good thing. I want us all to be healthy and be able to get good medical care when the nasty COVID-19 coronavirus hits any of us hard. Still, it has been a disappointment to miss catching up with everyone. Plus I had lots of people who told me they were looking forward to buying my pots, tools and brushes.
Disappointments make me restless. I want to go jumping after alternatives. That's what artists do when faced with setbacks. We remain flexible. We consider new possibilities. We keep trying until we can create something that will carry our vision and passion.
So, I ask you, fellow artists:
My room show buddy Denise Joyal has created a Virtual Roomshow website so she, Andrew Linderman, Tameria Martinez, Ron Philbeck, Sherri Raffaele, Tom Sherman, Megan Smith, the Sexy Mermaid of Midnight Ceramics and I can throw a room show party at the previously scheduled date and time yet still maintain a socially responsible, germ-free distance from each other and our visitors.
For my part, I intend to recreate, as much as possible, the Room Show experience, reinterpreted for "These Trying Times." You can help. Think of it as performance art, or a party game, or a portal to another dimension. Whatever cheers you on!
Here's a Checklist of things I suggest we all do to get ready for The Virtual Roomshow: (scroll below graphic for larger text)
Readiness Step 1
Stock the bathroom counter with booze. (If you have to, move the cases of TP to the shower stall.) Add a cocktail snack of choice, e.g., cheese cubes, cookies. Anything to keep you going for the duration. (Um, use those disinfectant wipes before setting out the food.)
Readiness Step 2
Pour yourself a drink and stake out a comfortable corner of your bedroom. Squeezing yourself between a mattress, desk and dresser is a prime ingredient for creating proper Room Show ambience, so choose your corner well. You should position yourself at least 6' from anyone else in the room. Since this is a Virtual Roomshow, make sure your bedroom corner has an internet connection and a charger.
Readiness Step 3
Turn on a heater and crack open a window. It's hard but possible to recreate the sensation of a couple dozen bodies in close quarters. Just in case the window doesn't dissipate enough heat, set a chair outside in the hallway and save it for yourself by setting a backpack on it.
Readiness Step 4
Set yourself a calendar reminder for 4 pm EDT Thursday, March 26 then text your friends to make sure they know about this event!
Readiness Step 5
Help us generate excitement for The Virtual Roomshow. As you complete each item on the checklist, post a selfie on The Virtual Roomshow Facebook page or on Instagram #VirtualRoomshow. Label your photos Step 1, Step 2, Step 3 etc. so we can all be inspired to be ready for the party to start.
So, what's the program Thursday for The Virtual Roomshow? Go to Denise Joyal's Virtual Roomshow "hotel room" and click Enter Here.
(You can also get there from The Virtual Roomshow Facebook page by clicking Learn More!)
Register to win a door prize. There will be links to each of our individual Room Show online sales. Join my live stream at www.TroyBungartStudios.com where you will be able to sign in and chat and shop.
Remember, the booze is in the bathroom. Wash your hands carefully. Talk to you then!
About the Authors
Troy Bungart is a popular social media promoter within the pottery community. He creates one of a kind vessels -- including his exquisite woodfire sippers (perfect for bathroom booze). He also makes finely crafted wooden pottery tools and handmade paintbrushes for artists who want to hold inspiration in their hands. Talented as he is, livestreaming from his bedroom is a new experience and he asks everyone to be patient in case there are any blips. Have a drink and buy stuff from his store. He'll be with you as soon as he can.
Valerie Bungart is Troy's wife of 36 years. She has never before had hundreds of guests expected to show up in her bedroom. Nor has she ever stocked a bar in her bathroom. She has a week to dust, polish and disinfect. She may keep a 6' distance from Troy in the meantime.