Convenience Store Theory?

After reading Wayne Koestenbaum’s Hotel Theory and attending the slideshow presentation for Bill Mackey’s newly released Field Guide to Tucson Convenience Stores at MOCA, I’m wondering if there’s not a cigarette-smoking monkey sitting at a typewriter somewhere out there writing Convenience Store Theory. The presentation and book were excellent, and – in hopes there will be another – I can’t wait to check out the next IGNITE! Tucson (which took place on Oct. 18 but am unable to find any descriptive links about).

Field Guide to Tucson Convenicne Stores

In the pamphlet’s introduction, Mr. Mackey writes “Convenience stores are our landmarks, our meeting places, a part of our cultural heritage.” Since my journey moving a houseful of furniture, a husband and a 57 lb. dog 1,000 miles from Austin to here just over two months ago, I strongly concur with the idea of convenience stores as landmarks and cultural sites. But perhaps “meeting places” needs to be qualified. Yes, they are gathering places in the sense that everyone simply goes there because, at some point, you have to. Indeed, they’re convenient but they are really more like fleeing places. Places of shame. Places to starve the body of nutrition with a high fructose carbonated 32 oz. fountain drink and possibly a cheese powder-covered corn-based snack to get me through the next 200 miles, items I’d never purchase in my regular grocery shopping. When traveling in-town, a place to occasionally stop for a 99-cent tall boy to sip covertly in the car en route to a party. For others, to buy candy and porn and beef jerky and skewered hot dogs. Jarring, uncomfortable places with faceless consumers and workers that I want to exit as soon as possible, praying litanies to Our Lady of Clean Restrooms. A place of its own exclusive mood, like a hotel. Just as Koestenbaum identifies the taxonomy of what he calls “hotel women,” surely the shadows of convenience store women exist (subsist?) in a similar twilight realm.

P.S. DRAWN, on display in the gallery, was also pretty cool, for a drawing show (hint: it’s also a fundraiser). I especially liked the glitter on posterboard pieces.

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