Wednesday, August 8, 2012

We have pizza! Hello? Anybody there?

A not so busy Claire
Pesto & roasted tomatoes
   Life is funny, when you're looking one direction waiting to catch the ball it seems to come at you from behind and hit you in the back of the head. We were flying high from the Pear Fair success and 6 days later, feeling invincible, we did the Soul Food Festival in Stockton. Just another one day event so we had put together a specialty pizza for the Soul Food crowd. It consisted of pepperoni, Andouille sausage, red & green peppers with red onions and a dash of Louisiana hot sauce. Thinking it would be like the Pear Fair all over again, we were ready this time. My brother Chris and his 18 year old daughter Claire, were with us and another friend from Starbucks named Cliff, to round out the staff to 5 persons again since my partner/brother, Greg was back in Minnesota with his wife and children attending a family gathering.
   They told us that the festival would open at 10:AM. We were organized, set up, plugs plugged in, fire stoked, aprons on and anticipating the crowd with baited breath. Then it was announced that a marathon running past the entrance would delay the opening until 11:00. We waited and then the health inspector showed up. We're good, I thought. Should be a cinch. That's when we discovered the electricity to our booth had shut down. No refrigeration, no hot water at the hand wash station. All the booths at our end of the fair were going to be shut down through no fault of our own. The city of Stockton had filed bankruptcy awhile back and they had only one maintenance engineer on duty who had completed his tasks and left. Now what? Fortunately somebody was able to reach him and get him back and the power turned back on. Phew! The fair opened up and a few people trickled in to look but nobody was buying pizza. What a shocker that was to me and a bit embarrassing as well. I kept telling my staff, "It wasn't like this at the Pear Fair. No, really."
    Being new to this, I take the blame for being inexperienced and booking a festival that wasn't particularly pizza friendly. People come to a Soul Food Festival to eat soul food, not pizza. Even if we did have our Cajun pizza advertised everywhere, they came for what they can't get at home. Deep fried fish, shrimp, smoked BBQ etc. but not pizza. We didn't even clear the food costs but we did learn several important lessons. The main one I think is, don't try to compete with a whole class of foods. One item fairs like pears, garlic, asparagus, apples etc. is what people, I think, are looking for in uniquely prepared foods. Not to worry, I got the message and we'll rethink our thinking once more, I think!

Chris as the fire keeper baking a pie


The Jazz Band with Tamara singing

 Several days later I am out in the garage, straightening things out in the pizza trailer the phone rings. It's a recent mural client that I had completed 2 murals for. She says, "Vince, would you like to be on TV?" "What's up, Tamara?" She was proud of the two murals I had painted for her and showing them off at work. Somebody got wind of it and said that Sacramento Today is interested in doing some coverage on me. "Really?!" I said excitedly. Be at my house Saturday the 18th for a TV interview and possibly some in-studio time to talk about that other career I have aside from pizza, you know, painting murals. Too cool! Dare I say, I've never watched that show? Just like the Blue Moon thing when they had called, I had never tasted a Blue Moon beer. I guess I live a rather sheltered life. For me, this is huge! Free air time interviewing me? What do I wear? Do I need a hair cut? What if I stumble over my words or God forbid, say something stupid! It will be at 7 in the morning. I hate myself at that hour. I wake up stupid, my brain isn't working, I'm hungry, that bright light in the sky makes me squint, my bones hurt, and I can't find my keys or my glasses. Also, I never turn the TV on in the morning as I really don't want to hear everybody's chipper voice telling me what a beautiful day it is in Sacramento. Basically, everything is an annoyance to me that early. I can't wait to get my morning coffee at Starbucks. Then, and only then, am I starting to wake up and be normal. I'm just not a morning person. So, to pull this off will be something of an act on my part. I'll just have to remember that they're interviewing for my art and not my pizza. Should be fun. Hmmm, I wonder which side is my good side.