That’s just the tip of the iceberg on the weird and unusual trinkets you encounter at the two day event that is nearly packed to capacity in Trenton, NJ. I first discovered the TPRFM last April and have been a fan (and vendor) ever since. An avid and loyal fan of the Monster Mania Convention in Cherry Hill and of course – Wizard World hosted in Philadelphia- a craft show filled with oddities, hosted in an abandoned, drafty warehouse in the middle of nowhere, naturally seemed appealing.
Original is the only word that could describe the TPRFM. Here, you have the chance to mingle with some of the most interesting and innately talented artist this side of the Betsy Ross. Every booth tells a story. From handcrafted soaps (like Lave Soap), to jewelry and artwork of every theme, color and size you can imagine, these items speak to the buyer in a way they can’t get through a retail experience. TPRFM promotes weirdness. They promote interests outside what others may even deem “appropriate.” They offer a safe space for people’s creativity to take center stage – that’s what I love about it.
When I was a vendor for the first time back in October, I didn’t sell a single thing. What I realized, though, was that it’s not always about selling; it’s about the interaction. The interaction is what I remember most because it’s when I get to understand an artist’s story. It’s about mingling with the person across your table, whose smile, pierced lip and Easter egg, pink dyed hair looks and gets excited over how “fucking cool” that is. I make hand crafted guitars with heads on them – they’re not exactly a piece everyone has a place for in their home, dammit!! The experience though, still carries a massive impact. If I were to bring those products anywhere but here, they’d be scoffed at. They’d be misunderstood. Those feelings aren’t present here.
As a consumer, I can’t even begin to count at how many tables I stop at, fingering through buckets of handmade pins, flipping through artwork, making googly eyes at this one vendor whose always there with baby doll heads dangling from a wire – god, what’s her name? My walls only have so much space and my wallet…
well…it’s the equivalent of that time Britney had a mental break down.
The point I’m trying to make is that the Trenton Punk Rock Fleamarket provides a niche for us artists (and fans) to gather and let our freak flags fly. There are no rules, no expectations on what you should buy – or what you fucking love. There’s music, beer, endless food trucks, tater tots, live bands (who are sublime) and an energy that can’t be matched elsewhere.
That’s probably why it never will.
TPRFM will be back at it again on August 11th at the Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company.
In the meantime….