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mondomondothreadspoolmondomondoacornmondomondorubymondomondoalaskaroll

Reviving the ancient practice of barter that lay behind the putative origins of our fair city--that is, the ability to trade almost anything for a handful of beads--is Mondo Mondo Trading Post. Go to the 6th Floor at Cooper Union during the hours listed below and swap anything you have--a poem, a song, a piece of crumpled paper lying at your feet--for a pretty souvenir made of Perler Beads, a craft kit item I'm told I'd know more about if I'd recently left high school. The Mondo Mondo traders, Kevin McGarry and Matt Savitsky, have taken their economic roadshow up and down the Northeast, setting up temporary displays with cardboard totem poles, an array of multi-hued blankets, and a table of Souvenirs. Trades are documented with online photos of the crap (and also good stuff) people coughed up. From the website the project looks to be a combination of hippie-era hopefulness about creating an alternative system of exchange and a kind of wised-up parody of a colorful kid's show world where the bottom line is you take home something made of plastic. Judging from the pictures of McGarry and Savitsky stoically manning their booth in a host of public spaces (plazas, museum grounds, bookstore sidewalks), there is something beautiful and sweet about the activity but the stupid factor is not to be overlooked--the quality of the hapless, doomed quest to change the world through a single throwback gesture. The website captures the spirit nicely, with its melange of happy colors, texture-mapped wood grain, and sprightly MIDI tunes downloaded off of various fan sites (especially fine is the one that greets you on load-up, Radiohead's "Paranoid Android"). Hopefully I'll have a chance to go tomorrow and can give a better report.
Saturday Nov. 13th - 3PM to 5PM

Wednesday Nov. 17th - 9PM to 11PM

Saturday Nov. 20th - 6PM to 8PM
UPDATE, Saturday, Nov. 13: Visited the Trading Post and found it as winsome as described. One slight inaccuracy above is the trades don't stop with you taking home a Souvenir--everything ever traded is for sale. Previous swaps from New Hampshire, PA, NYC, etc. were arrayed around the room in hand-cut cardboard display cases. Poems or stories were handwritten on card stock and would be recited or reenacted by the proprietors on request. I traded a Gimme Shell 7-inch EP for a robin's-eggs-in-nest Souvenir. It's a gem.

- tom moody 11-13-2004 4:43 am [link]