Brian Matuszak column: Spring is in the air, and so is the Home ShowSo the mud is free-flowing, the insects are buzzing, and although you might think it’s election time already, those are actually signs of spring.
So the mud is free-flowing, the insects are buzzing, and although you might think it’s election time already, those are actually signs of spring.
Time for sun-soaked days filled with fresh hope, followed by gin-soaked nights as that hope is crushed by yet another Twins loss and/or Vikings draft debacle. But why dwell on professional sports ineptitude this spring when we can dwell on our dwellings? Spring is also time for the Home Show!
Yes, just as you can set your clocks to local TV stations doing stories about Gordy’s restaurant in Cloquet reopening for the summer and calling it “news,” you can look forward to the spring arrival of the annual
Arrowhead Home & Builders Show. Every year, the Duluth
Entertainment and Convention Center (motto: “Conveniently located inside the Arena!”) hosts this celebration of all things residence-related. From backyard landscaping (AJ’s) to stink bug removal (Duluth City Hall), there are booths set up for everything you’ll ever need when dealing with either your house or the Last Place on Earth.
(OK, that last part was obviously a joke. LPOE probably doesn’t have stink bugs, and Don Ness has more important things to do than sit in a booth at the Home Show. Those Harlem Shake videos aren’t going to parody themselves, you know.)
As I’ve chronicled in columns past, I used to work on the overnight labor crew at the former Arena/current DECC/constant lake-view obstacle, and the Home Show was always one of our favorite events. The entire complex would be taken up by various businesses, which meant our expected labor output was minimal; vendors were responsible for setting up and taking down their own displays so we didn’t have to do much. Some light sweeping here, spot-mopping up a glob of Denny Anderson’s toupee paste there ... piece of cake!
When break time rolled around, we would lounge about in the various exhibits, pretending that we actually owned luxurious spas or expansive backyard decks. As long as we cleaned up the orange Doritos dust and empty vats of Top The Tater from our healthy lunches, the boss gave us his tacit approval. Some of us would pretend to be on winter vacation at our lakeside cabin, while others just kicked back in our huge hot tubs. For one magical, thirty-minute lunch break (taken at three o’clock in the morning), we could be anywhere we wanted to be. Which was usually not at work at 3 o’clock in the morning.
I always think about those minimum wage/maximum fun days when another annual event rolls back into town and sets up shop down by Duluth’s harbor: the Home Show, the Boat Show, the Shrine Circus, the Ice Capades ... oops. The Ice Capades doesn’t come to Duluth anymore. I wonder if it was because someone accidentally left the Arena floor heaters running all night and Tai Babilonia had to attempt a triple lutz on a rink of frosty slush. Hmmm, um, I guess we’ll never know the, uh, true story there, um, will we ....
Gotta go! I just saw on Channel 6 that Gordy’s is open!
Brian Matuszak is the co-founder of Renegade Comedy Theatre, founder of Rubber Chicken Theater, and can no longer work an overnight shift because he’s always groggy by 5:20 in the afternoon.