In many ways, it is quite fitting that my first ever art show should take place at Inwood Village. It's a shopping center that is so tied to my childhood. I had my first job there -- at Smoothie Zone (I can't even remember if that was it's real name!) down where the TCBY used to be, near the old Black Eyed Pea. I made smoothies and served up fro-yo back when I was old enough to work, but not old enough to drive so my mom had to pick me up and drop me off every work day. I had my second job in Inwood Village. I worked at the Zuka Juice that became a Jamba Juice that is now a high-end candle store. So many fond memories of working at the trio of smoothie joints that tried to make a go of things in Inwood Village.It's amazing that I can get so nostalgic for a simple shopping village, but I love that place. It's anchored by the ever-bizarre Inwood Theater, where, a few weeks ago, my mom and I were walking past the box office as a ticket seller sat in the booth serenading the empty parking lot with his guitar cover songs. I believe he had turned on the box office microphone and was belting out John Denver's classic "Country Roads." It has shops that rival Highland Park Village, Preston Center and Snieder Plaza, yet it is outside the Bubble, and therefore more casual and serves a broader, more diverse community.
In my childhood we took family walks to Inwood Village, accompanied of course by our most beloved dog, Montie. We'd walk to that Starbucks and the cashier would bring out a cup of water for Montie and she'd make a big mess. Now days, there's a permanent doggie water bowl outside the Inwood Village Starbucks, but back then you'd have to tap on the glass, point at your dog and hope that the employees were feeling generous.
The countless hours of time I've spent there eating and shopping, bumping into friends--I really feel like its my home base. I remember my cousin Emily's surprise birthday party at the pizza joint that eventually became Lover's Egg Roll, only to recently become the crepe hot spot, Rise. Emily thought that no one loved her because we'd all done such a great job forgetting her birthday that she ran away from home and missed the first hour or so of her surprise party. And when that pizza place closed, I thought it was the end of the world. And again, when Lover's Egg Roll met its demise (that's the original location, you know), I thought that the place would never be the same. But Rise fits in as well as any place before it. But now I see that it is in those cobblestone paved streets that things are always changing. A smoothie store can become a candle store. And Children's Collection can become Chico's. And Mario Accardi's parents' costume supply store above the floral shop can become Tyler's Dallas. And, finally, the girl who's mom dropped her off to make smoothies $8 an hour can show her art at Starbucks at age 26, 11 years after her first debut in the Inwood Village community.
So, at the top is my invitation to my art show. Which really isn't much of a show because it's just four paintings on the wall between the bakery counter and the bathroom (pretty glamorous, huh?) but it is a start.
And sorry if I get a little too verbose on the subject. I haven't written much lately so I'm feeling a bit wordy.