For those who might not know, the BC/EFA Broadway Flea Market plays a significant role in my artistic journey. To be as succinct as possible: My great friend Ed Watts commissioned a sketch for the opening night of [title of show]. Soon thereafter, I was visiting NYC and learned that I'd be there during this event called the Broadway Flea Market. I contacted the [tos] folk to see if I could tag onto their table with my meager prints and quick-sketching. The table team was headed by the now famous author and 54 Below talent bookie Jenn Tepper, and it afforded me the chance to get to know the [tos]sers-in-chief, Heidi Blickenstaff, Susan Blackwell, Hunter Bell, Jeff Bowen, and Michael Berresse. (All of them continue to be depth charges of inspiration to me.) But the following year, Susan in particular played a part in my leap to the Big Apple. I planned a trip around the Flea Market that year, which ended up in the Roseland Ballroom due to rain. But Susan was shooting her very first on-site video for Broadway.com, and it was on this day she introduced me to Paul Wontorek of said website. The next day, Paul and I exchanged e-mails wherein we both learned that each of us wanted to resurrect the regular Broadway caricature publication feature that really hadn't been filled since Hirschfeld passed. I began making plans to steer my ship towards the east coast by way of Milwaukee. I arrived in New York City in May of 2010, and within a couple of months, I was drawing regularly for Broadway.com, celebrating the new and exciting on Broadway and beyond. And within a few months of that, I was creating the first poster of my two year tenure as the BC/EFA main event poster artist.
Today marked the sixth of the last seven Broadway Flea Markets I've had the honor of taking part in. And I'm feeling all sorts of feelings.
As I set up my little table in the Times Square area, I was once again taken aback at the number of folks who come together to make this event (and many more) happen. Staff and volunteers. Folks involved in theatre-related organizations. Show folk, from onstage and backstage. Law enforcement and municipal assistance. And the Broadway fans fans fans! So many people coming together to funnel funds to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and organization that does so much good in NYC and across the country and around the world, benefiting heavily those outlined by their original goals, but now also addressing many additional desperate needs. I feel so lucky to have the chance to work along side you all.
I need to acknowledge my own team today: Nikki Hislop, Lance Roberts, Laura Ware, and Justin Roller (oh, and Greg Hildreth, who supervised a little) who went above and beyond to man the table and field questions and keep it all ship shape, even while I had to step away to see a show I have to draw this week. (Work calls!) And those of your who bought prints and books and sketches and buttons. With all of your help, our little table brought in an amount respectably into the four digits for BC/EFA. Thank you thank you thank you!!
And one of the singular blessings of an event like today's is that I get the chance to speak face-to-face with folks I've been in touch with primarily online via my Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram accounts, and my website. So many of you came out today and made a point to say "hello", and I'm so grateful! Folks I've drawn in shows and some who've bought prints in previous years. The Meg from the Phantom Vegas Spectacular who must have thought I was being distant while I was only trying not to burst into tears over her beautiful words of gratitude about a piece my friend Kristi Holden commissioned years back. The fellows who showed me photos of their entertainment center they decoupaged entirely with printouts of my Broadway.com sketches. (Me and Mod Podge: Quite the team!) The teenager who communicated mostly through his mother about his passion for drawing and theatre, and asked advice for how to forge on, and then bought prints and an original pencil sketch. Friends I've gained over the years at Broadway Flea Markets past, and some I met just today. You all did my heart so much good. I sit at my desk to create this stuff, and I enjoy it very much. But it's really something when I get to meet up in person with people who tell me that they enjoy it. It's not why I do what I do, but it's the absolutely most amazing perk. Thank you all!
So now, my heart is full to overflowing, and I've got Can-Can rehearsal at 11am in South Orange, NJ. I'm going to finish this celebratory beer and hit the hay before midnight. And I'm sure I'll shed a few more grateful tears over the vast glory of this September day.