Today I went to the Punk Rock Flea Market. This takes place a couple of times of year. It’s pretty much what it sounds like. A bunch of people with tattoos, chains, and leather get together, set up card tables, and for the most part, sell shit that they apparently found lying around in their apartment.
There was some controversy this year because they were trying to hold it in the old Lusty Lady, a Seattle strip club institution that closed down several years ago. Apparently, they did not leave it in very good shape because the fire marshal closed it down the weekend before it was to go live. Instead, they moved it up to Capitol Hill at the recently closed Value Village. This apparently passed muster because that’s where it took place.
I think from a vibe point of view that this worked really well. Capitol Hill is generally a better venue for fringe-y popular events like this. This was the weekend of Gay Pride, so Capitol Hill was already booming. Also, Gay Pride brings out the alternative in apparently everyone, so that crossed with the Punk Rock mentality really made for an interesting crowd scene.
It was great fun. The entry fee is a grand total of one dollar. You walk in and there’s probably well over a hundred vendors jammed together. You navigate carefully through very narrow paths through the vendor tables.
If anything, this year might have been even more punk rock. In previous years, there were a lot more apparent working artists. You’d see silk screens, paintings, and hand crafted items. There were people like that here, but it was way more just a bunch of random items strewn on a table. For example, I could get a book named Yiddish with George and Barbara (as in Bush). I could get soaps in shapes of a penis, vagina, or anus. How could I choose? There were square tiles that usually have positive affirmations. Here they said fuck, shit, and cunt.
However punk rock it is, it was noticeably a capitalist enterprise. Most merchants accepted credit cards. When you think about it, the Square credit card reader truly is a revolutionary leveling force in frictionless capitalism. Most of the merchants carefully kept a ledger of purchases, even if hand-written in a snarky Hello Kitty notebook.
There was a bar serving beer from donated kegs. There was a DJ playing 45’s on a retro player.
It was packed and it looked like everyone was having a great time.
How did Karl Marx ever think that he could topple this?