The Midnight Fair

by Matthew Hawkins

Once again, it’s the same old story: I’ve never had so much on my plate?

BTW, for those wondering what the hell is going on with FORT90ZINE4ANSWER, the deal is this: it’s being worked on, trust me. Problem is, I am unable to work on it as much as I’d like. Basically, when you spend a solid 8-12 hours a day, cracking out content for three different outlets, plus have other freelance commitments (sorry, but I have bills to pay, and like all labors of love, the zine is NOT a money making endeavor; the whole point of the Kickstarter in the first place to make sure I didn’t lose as much as I would have, as compared to previous editions, and to account for the extra stuff that I had planned (which is why inquired has increased quite a bit as of late, with the success of the Double Fine fundraiser and all, but plus how it’s WAY overdue).

And in case anyone out there believes that, instead of gallivanting around town, or posting wacky pics on Twitter/Tumblr/Facebook, I should instead spend that time towards finishing the zine, all I can say is that, after putting in X amount of hours of work each day, one needs to get some fresh air and blow off steam ever once in a while! For the record, absolutely no one has said anything to that effect, though if I had put money down for a copy, I’d sure as hell would be asking so myself! But yeah, it’s being worked on, just finding time has been a real challenge. Though it’s making it’s public debut at TCAF later this year, so it is getting done, one way or another!

All that being said, am also way behind as it pertains to the blog. It’s almost mid February and my end of January link dump is nowhere to be found. Plus today was day 1 of Toy Fair 2012! But I’ll save all those pics for a bit later this week (hopefully); first, from last night. Which, due to mostly poor lighting conditions, are all courtesy of my iPhone. Hence why they all went through the Instagram treatment; I forget if I’ve ever voiced my somewhat snarky attitude towards the app when it first hit the scene, and its early adopters. Which somewhat persists: I still believe it be just the most popular method for distributing the most banal of info for the time being (“I am eating a sandwich? with some old timey photo filter.”).

But that’s not important right now. Instead, let’s discuss? got invited to check out the Lost Horizon Night Market. It’s basically a completely unadvertised street fair, often in the seedy parts of NYC, and taking place almost entirely inside U-Hauls. Attendees only know about it via word of mouth, via participants, who themselves only know of the exact location the afternoon of.

This most recent one took place in an industrial part in Brooklyn, not too far from where I used to live in Sunset Park. All you’re given is an intersection, with the instructions being “follow the clues.” There certainly wasn’t any signage, and even if there was, it would have been blown away in an instant. That night was cold and windy as hell. Though it certainly added to the overall atmosphere.

Basically felt like I was making my way to hipster Barter Town (from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome). Here’s what it looked like upon first approach?

Again, a bunch of U-Hauls, all lined up, on the side of the road. With no indication of what were inside, so you basically had to pop you head in. Asking folks waiting to enter didn’t help, since they too were in the dark, but it was great hearing what they had just checked out. The first truck I entered had a makeshift boxing ring managed by a trio of punks. Advertised as “Settle Your Beef” (at least I think that’s what it was called), it offered the chance for attendees to do just that, with boxing gear.

Initially I thought to myself, great, Hipster Fight Club. Which exists, and is as lame as it sounds. And you could tell that the punkers were real the deal, cuz they kept referring to the hipsters in the audience as “hippies.” Eventually two folks entered, and began to fight. I mean, REALLY fight. One clearly had an issue with his pal. It was awesome?

Next was the Fairly Sandwich Making truck, operated by Jenn De La Vega, a spin off of her Randwiches experiment! Playing the part of a magical pixie, she made a totally random sandwich for everyone, one that was intended to spread good luck and all that jazz. Unfortunately I missed out on a piece, but the appetizers she had before hand were scrumptious?

As noted, you often found yourself waiting in line for a truck with no idea what was inside. Next was a photo shoot, in which everyone was asked to wear goofy accouterments while lights were flashed all around, for a time lapse picture. It was cute I guess; certainly would have chosen to wait in line for another van if I knew what I was getting, but it was a chance to get out of the cold for a little bit, plus the photographers were really nice?

Around this point, it began to get especially chilly, and the lines became super long. The plug was set to be pulled at midnight sharp, so everyone began hustling for things that they heard were must sees. Tried getting a pierogi from the (surprise) pierogi truck, but it was so crowded that they had to instill a raffle system. And I lost, but at least folks exiting passed along their extras. Was delicious! Also by then, got the following text?

The game show truck was crazy packed, didn’t even bother trying to make it inside. The hot tub one, on the other hand, had plenty of room. The completely naked hairy guy that was running around would have instantly killed any interest if there were any. Others you could just tell were arty-farty, which I didn’t bother with. Also couldn’t find the truck selling records, as evidenced by all the folks toting 45s.

Similar to the boxing one from before was another U-Haul that held pillow fights. Combatants also had to dress up as either a chicken or slab or beacon. Was mostly cute. Meanwhile, t only attraction that didn’t have a van was a cherry picker that was advertised a chance to reach the heavens. But given how blustery the wind was on the ground, but up and exposed sounded like hell to me.

On that note, near the end was when some attendees began to get annoying. No doubt, some had more booze than they should have, in an effort to stay warm. I wouldn’t mind checking out the Lost Horizon Night Market during the summer, but I can only imagine what a circus it would be when the weather is warmer. If they even have it; one of the rules was to keep it quiet, as to not attract attention, and the noise level was pretty high as it was.

But overall, it was fairly chill and most folks I brushed shoulders with were totally cool. Near the end was a tea party, which may have been the reason why I didn’t get pneumonia that night. The fondue was also excellent! I’m just pissed that I didn’t ask the very pleasant French girls I was chatting with for their contact info. Moving on, the final truck of the night was the Cupcake Machine, which was also where I also ran into some other friendly faces?

It was basically an interactive installation created by Nick Fortugno. After being given a run down of its fictionalized background, visitors would have a chance to operate the machine themselves, which amounted to playing some simple light-based games, to net a tasty treat. But due to technical reasons, only one of the activities was operable. Which I know bummed Nick and his crew out, yet all the visitors seemed to enjoy themselves (and the cupcakes) nonetheless, and that’s what counts.

Eventually it was time to exit the premises. I thought about redeeming the free drink tickets that were given out by all the sketchy dudes that had swarmed the place, all associated to various strip clubs in the are, but instead went to the only watering hole that I care about in that part of Brooklyn: Lucky 13 Saloon.

And real quick, a pic from the night before; had dinner with Colleen, and while passing through Union Square, we came across a mysteriously large pile of dirty snow?

It needs to be emphasized that there hasn’t been a considerable of snowfall here in NYC in many weeks. And here’s another random pic, while waiting for someone at a Japanese bookstore?

Last but not least, a taste of things to come! Just a few of the splendors at Toy Fair that I bothered to take pictures of via my 4S?

EDIT: I keep forgetting to pass along heads up’s for notable Fangamer podcast episodes in the pipeline! And our next show has some potential: it’s about games that one should like, but are not able to for whatever reason. A subject that’s somewhat near and dear to me (I can’t wait to pass along my list of do not likes to the rest of the FG crew).

As is the case with most weeks, recording will take place this upcoming Monday evening, and steamed live via the Fangamer office cam (live call-in’s is not quite possible of yet, but there is a chat that we’re able to interact with). Should start around 9PM-ish, EST. Otherwise, simply check out the Fangamer blog for the final product, which is usually published the following Wednesday evening/Thursday morning.

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