Interview: Libby Alexander on this Saturday’s The Vintage Bazaar
Former Open House star Libby Alexander told me about this Saturday’s The Vintage Bazaar several weeks ago, and I asked her to give me the scoop about the pop-up market she co-founded with Backgarage publisher Katherine Raz. But I had conditions. Everything we discussed would be on the record. No questions were to be off-limits. And she waived her normal veto clause. Libby agreed, so I’m happy to present the transcript from our no hold’s barred discussion. Also, consent to the aforementioned conditions was more assumed by me than actually spoken by Ms. Alexander. Finally, if you don’t know Libby already, she has what they call an easy laugh. At the corniest joke. Having spent several afternoons with her, I’d wager Libby makes all her friends feel like they’re the most charming people in the world, which is a pretty charming quality itself. Thanks Libby.
I didn’t prepare any questions, so . . .
Libby: We’ll just go crazy. (laughs)
So what are you guys doing?
Libby: (laughs) Well, let’s think about this, I’ll just start at the beginning. The real genus of the idea was Katherine’s. We had met when she wrote about my apartment on Backgarage, and we were talking and she mentioned that she wrote the zine Retail Whore.
Katherine? She wrote a zine?
Libby: Retail Whore. It was sold it at Quimby’s in early 2000, and I used to buy it and read it all the time.
Side Note: Ever since I read a book about the proliferation of zines during the 60’s and 70’s, I’ve wanted to write my own zine, so this is very cool. Also, I’ll bet they’re worth something now or will be soon. I know I want one. Curious, I looked for a visual on Katherine’s personal website, and I wound up downloading her resume. Check it out. Isn’t it awesome? Incidentally, I’ve never used the word awesome to describe a resume prior to Katherine’s.
Libby: So we got along really well right from the beginning, and we kept communicating and totally became best friends forever. She told me about this idea and asked me to do it as a team. There are a lot of antique markets, but there aren’t a lot of markets for the average gal or guy.
Vintage Bazaar co-founder and Backgarage publisher Katherine Raz
What’s the goal?
Libby: It’s very basic. We wanted to give people who sell online at Etsy and Ebay . . . Big Cartel’s another one, to give them a venue to sell their pieces. I’m a thrify gal, and I want to sell at a thrifty price.
Where are you going to hold it?
At Dank Haus. The ballroom that we’re in is huge! Alderman have their shadoo’s there. Is shadoo a word? I don’t know . . .
Libby: (laughs) So we’re thinking about having food and snacks.
Do you have a magician yet?
Libby: We should get a musician! Or somebody who juggles!
Or a fire-eater!
Libby: You have a line on a fire-eater, right?
Yea, I do actually.
(We both laugh)
We then starting talking about how the Fire Dancers have a very spiritual coventry with the elements, which reminded me of some Earth-based religions, and then Libby disclosed that a prior roommate had been a Wiccan, and we agreed it was a shame that people didn’t know more about the religion. Then I said:
(We both laugh)
Back to the sale . . .
Libby: It’s going to be at the end February when everybody’s sad bastard and needs something to do, so it’ll be fun.
What’s the goal after this? Are you going to do it again?
Libby: We’re going to do it again. One of Katherine’s brilliant ideas is to do a British-style boot sale where we have a big parking lot and everybody opens the trunk and sells their stuff.
A booth sale?
Libby: Boot. Like a trunk. They call trunks boots in England.
You should call it About the Boot.
(We both laugh)
It’d be funny when Canadians said it. Aboot the boot.*
Libby: That’s funny. So that’s it. Pretty simple. There are a lot of clothes, a lot of vintage jewelry. We’re going to have tamales. Wouldn’t that be fantastic?
* No offense Carol.
But wait there’s more!
The Vintage Bazaar. 4740 N. Western Avenue. Saturday, February 27. Noon – 5 pm
What it is: The Vintage Bazaar has 40+ Chicago-based vendors of vintage housewares, furniture, clothing and accessories — presented by Alexander Salvage and BackGarage.com, sponsored by Yelp, with music by CHIRP (the Chicago Independent Radio Project) and food by Tipsy Cake Bakery. It’s a hip indoor flea market — great vintage finds at affordable prices. Among the vendors: Kelly Donovan of Griffins and Gargoyles in Lincoln Square; Morgan Gagne and Jayson Franklin, who write the Chicago-based design blog Manly Vintage; Christine Bejasa of The Sometimes Store, a modern clothing pop-up; Diana Durkes, author of Fine Diving in Chicago and Garage Sale Warrior; and Andrew Schultz and John Tyler of Study LLC.
Some background: Created by Libby Alexander, who writes AlexanderSalvage, and Katherine Raz (me), author of BackGarage, the garage sale home decor blog. Both decided to take the leap from just writing about vintage stuff to over-the-top vintage flea market promotion and The Vintage Bazaar is the first attempt.
More info: attached is a press release, and you can get images, etc. on our press page here: