and Cemantha Crain, seated after sundown in the caged lanai behind Crain's home, run through items on their printed meeting agenda.A bottle of neon-orange Gatorade and a bag of Terra Red Bliss potato chips crowd the table, already littered with paperwork and pens.
Lucas looks as if she
jogged over for the meeting, wearing running sneakers and stretchy black pants, her
hair pulled back tight.Crain sports navy jeans, a black sleeveless T-shirt and a lime bandana.
Discussing the niggling details of the arts and crafts fair they are organizing, the two hash out potential advertisers, on-site security and swag bags.
nods enthusiastically, puffing on a borrowed Gauloises Light.
The world of alternative crafting -- or "anti-craft" as Lucas
dubs it -- has popped up all over the media map in recent years.
In putting together Atomic, Lucas
and Crain also exploited the connective possibilities of the Internet."MySpace has been invaluable for getting vendors," Lucas
says.Originally, the two had hoped for 40 vendors.Now, Atomic is "bursting at the seams," with more than 50.
And with each vendor comes a built-in crowd for the bazaar."All the local vendors are dragging their friends to this shit," Lucas
says, reassuring Crain at tonight's meeting that attendance will match their expectations.
The two have been holding planning sessions just like this one for six or so months, coordinating all the details in the time away from their daily work.Lucas is an assistant to the CEO at Planned Parenthood, while Crain handles marketing for Admiral Travel Gallery on Palm Avenue.
The original spark of inspiration for Atomic may have come last fall, when Lucas
visited the Stitch Fashion Show and Guerilla Craft Bazaar in Austin, Texas.
accosted passersby with postcards any time she
could, even while browsing the Dollar Tree, targeting those whose clothes indicated they might be into the fair.Her
hours of experience canvassing door-to-door for her
pro-choice, feminist politician mother while growing up in Ohio came in handy.
All that time spent promoting and planning Atomic begs the question: Why?With full-time jobs, with their own independent projects, with special DVD editions of Valley Girl waiting to be watched, why are Lucas
and Crain sitting at a table discussing the city's insurance requirements?
"Most of us have day jobs," Lucas
explains, "but most of us want to quit our day jobs."That dream -- supporting yourself doing what you love -- is pervasive in the alt-crafting world, and to create a vibrant community where that level of success is possible requires showcases like Atomic.
and Crain, if such a community does become a Suncoast reality, the ramifications are huge.
But despite being burned out on the glitzy parade of American politics, Lucas
, Crain and their cohorts may be helping further a wiser, more organic vision of capitalism that seems to be flourishing right now.
Even though having alcohol at the city-owned auditorium means more security and more insurance, Lucas
and Crain are convinced that the kegs of Pabst are worth the headache."It's going to make everyone happier," Lucas