Boston MARIAB Book fair – report from the front

Marvin Getman may be on to something. He was the ringmaster of this ‘Boston Antiques Weekend’ where a Book fair, Antiques show and Vintage textile show run concurrently in the same venue: the Bayside Expo airplane hangar . . . scuse me – Center. I am not sure the 1st year for an event is the best way to judge it from the vendor standpoint. The Bayside is hell and gone down in Dorchester – which will take folks some time to get used to – but if you have ever seen the screaming hordes who attend the Boston Flower Show (held last week) you might be inspired to stick it out. Making it an ‘EVENT’ instead of 3 ‘events’ has gotta help pull customers out of their winter doldrums. I was in line behind some nice folks in from San Diego who commented that it was chilly. This is laughable, it’s not ‘chilly’ in New England unless your breath freezes mid sentence and crashes to the ground.

Event triptych

I did take a walk through the rest of the joint. And it was filled with untouchable pretty prettys. To give you an idea of the tenor – I peeked into a booth where a large Victorian box covered with seashells caught my eye. The occupants were standing outside the booth looking in, so I said “I once made a box like that for my Mom, but I used macaroni.” Well you would have thought I had just shat on their carpet. I dunno about those folks but I thought it was a damn clever joke for end of the day.

Bookfair backsides – my god we are a hefty people

I made my obligatory glad handing with the 7 or 8 dealers I knew there. Luckily no one to whom I owed money. Then tried to chat up a couple new ones – not fooling myself, I can see the gears turning behind their eyes “who IS this peculiar person?”

Johnnycake Books, Salisbury, CT.
I was oh so tempted to go a little wild with the cookbooks. These were lovely.
Best condition I have ever seen in vintage cookbooks

I did manage to keep my purchases down to only cash on hand. I didn’t even take the chance of pissing money away on frivolous things like food. I brought a couple of cheese and pickle sandwiches to eat in the car. (borrowed of course, the car not the sandwiches – Mama still needs a head gasket) The Bayside makes its SERIOUS money on food and parking – $12 bucks to get into the parking lot and $50 to get out . . . . it IS Dorchester after all.

John Brooks Dodge Collections, Bedford, MA.
Nearly every book fair is 50% ephemera these days, the stuff sells better IRL than on the net I am sure.
These Valentine’s cards are gorgeous

Bookworm & Silverfish, Wytheville, VA.
Quite a number of vendors from out of town.
Here Patrick is showing off some spectacular full color US War Dept posters

Paper Art, Newburyport.
You KNEW I had to look inside this flip file.
That’s where I found my Muerto. He looked so lonely. These guys weren’t taking any chances.
they were handing out packing tape, post it notes, shopping bags, hair pins, sexual favors – very slick, very hungry.

Griffon’s Medieval Manuscripts, St Pete, Florida.
Nice folks with some very pretty stuff under glass.

From the customer point of view I thought it was a damn nice fair, and I hope it grows like Topsy. I’d like to hear that it was monetarily successful. Ian @ Lux Mentis has already started posting his impressions and Don Lindgren is 7 ways of giddy about the impeding birth of his new Rabelais Bookshop due to land in Portland, ME sometime in April.


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