Tacky Treasures Road Show 2013
The Tacky Treasures Road Show is modeled after the PBS program "Antiques Roadshow," except that in this case the question the appraiser always asks is, "Do you have any idea how tacky this is?" I love the sound of that, so I do it every year.
This was the first year that the Tacky Treasures Road Show took place outside of my home. It has outgrown my living room and dining room, where for the past few years, I haven't had enough chairs for all the people who have come. I think I've found the perfect venue: the Silver Spring B&O Train Station. No longer used as a station, it has been restored (by Montgomery Preservation, Inc.) to look as it did in 1945, complete with ticket booth, lockers, phone booth, and a waiting room with comfy benches.
We had twenty-four entries, down a bit from last year. I think it was due to my selection of the night before Easter and the middle of Passover and spring breaks. Even so, we had a nice turnout, and the slightly shorter show meant more time for old-time tunes to be played before and after the show.
This year's judges were: Jeff Chumley, Karen Collins, and Steve Smith. They are to be commended for their rapid deliberations. I had just enough time to display the prizes to the audience and also to demonstrate the Instant Underpants (more on that below) before they returned with their decisions.
This show would be nothing if not for the enthusiastic participants who enter the competition. There was stiff competition for the five prizes, and as far as I'm concerned, anyone who didn't win can rightfully say, "I came in sixth." I also want to thank, and give due credit, to everyone who sent me photographs.
Key to the photographers' codes on the photos:JM = Julie Mangin; BC = Bob Cantor; LR = Liz Roll; TL = Tara Linhardt.
First Place: Watergate Era Poster
This was one of the surprises in the show. The person who entered it had never been to a Tacky Treasures Road Show before. John Sery works for Montgomery Preservation, Inc., and handles the rental of the B&O Train Station on behalf of the organization. While I was working with him to set up the rental, he told me that he would be present at the station throughout the evening that we would be using it for the Road Show. I then encouraged him to make his own entry to the show. Little did I know that he would take first prize.
The poster was published in 1973, and depicts President Nixon with a pack of unruly dogs on leashes. The heads on the dogs are members of his White House staff or cabinet who played a role in the Watergate affair: John Dean, John Ehrlichman, H.R. Haldeman, John Mitchell, Jeb Magruder, and James McCord.
What made this entry even more special was that John Sery attended a twenty-fifth anniversary of the Watergate break-in event at the Kennedy Center, and had the presence of mind to bring this poster with him. He asked G. Gordon Liddy to sign it. Not only did he sign the poster, he added one word of commentary to it: He wrote "Liar!" and pointed the word at the figure of John Dean. What a tacky treasure!
Second Place: Boob Lady
There's a fine line between folk art and artistic ineptitude. I think this piece of art straddles that line. When Chris Romaine brought it to the registration table, the first thing that happened was that one of the figure's boobs fell off. That could have spelled disaster for Chris's entry, especially since it took him several minutes to reattach the boob. Apparently, the judges were taken by its simple charm, and "Boob Lady," by an artist we'll just call "Susan," took second place. Chris won second place last year with his boar's head soup tureen.
Third Place: Fluffy Bunny Wonders
I think this is the kind of Easter decoration that could make a child fear the Easter Bunny, and we don't want that to happen, do we? The creepiest thing about this bright yellow and white plush wreath is the plastic bunny head stuck in the middle. Maybe it's just me, but I thought the way the whiskers on its face reminded me a bit too much of Adolph Hitler.
Fourth Place: Bed Pan Banjo
Cathy Fink, renowned banjoist, brought her bed pan banjo to the Tacky Treasures Road Show. It was made by Art Thieme, a Chicago-area folk musician who apparently has a tacky sense of humor, too. Cathy has played this particular banjo for many patients in hospitals, who I hope were moved (but not too much) by her playing.
Fifth Place: Giant Inflatable Cockroach Pool Float
Esteemed old-time musicians and documentarians Walt Koken and Clare Milliner definitely have a tacky side. Both their entries were inflatable, so that may give you an idea of where they are coming from (see the inflatable sheep elsewhere on this page).
Honorable Mention: International Farting Contest CD
This is a very funny, punny recording of a "crepitation" contest, that is, a farting contest. The contestants are named Paul Boomer and Lord Windesmear. The play-by-play is delivered in a British accent, however, the announcer makes a reference to "CBC," the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. This recording was made in the 1940s, and has been floating around as a bootleg party record for years. Because we didn't have access to a CD player at the road show, we could only imagine how tacky the contents were.
The winners were invited to reach into the prize bag, in order of their rank in the contest. Therefore, the prizes were:
Instant Underpants Demonstration
I received this as a gift, and decided to demonstrate it for the Tacky Treasures Road Show audience while we waited for the judges to return with their decisions. To say that the slogan on the can, "Just Add Water" is misleading, is an understatement.
I filled my hillbilly wine glass (which is, by the way, a much better gag gift than instant underpants) with water, and dropped the underpants into it. It looked like a giant aspirin tablet. It just floated on top of the water, and didn't absorb it at all. I pushed it below the surface with a pen, but that didn't help. I took the tablet out of the water, pulled it apart a little, and stuck it back in the water. No dice. The thing just wouldn't absorb any water at all. I finally set it aside. About an hour later, it was still floating in the water, looking just the same as it did before. I will never buy this product, and the forty people who watched this demonstration probably won't either. I was so disappointed that I poured the water out of my hillbilly wine glass and got me a drink. So there.
After a while, someone pulled the still tightly-compressed pair of underpants apart. It was completely dry inside. Here are some silly poses some of the Tacky Treasures Road Show participants made with the allegedly instant underpants:
That's all folks!
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