I was booked for a gig earlier this week at a big new shopping mall just north of Calgary. Family Day - the only stat holiday in February. I travelled up with Matts Zoumer, a cowboy caricaturist (ie cowboy + caricaturist, not a caricaturist who does pictures of cowboys. Though he does that, too), and as we arrived early we took a wander around.
Ended up in Bass Pro Shop. I think it was developed by conjoined twins who were obsessed with hunting/fishing/generally killing stuff, and museum curation, respectively. It's like the Natural History Museum surrounded by stuff you can buy.
Stuff including, but not limited to, giant shotgun shell shaped mailboxes, 1.5 litre beer mugs and camouflage negligees. I suppose for some women that's the only time their man is likely to buy them ANY lingerie, but it takes a certain type to want his half-naked partner to blend in with woodlands.
Every square inch of the substantial wall-space was covered in outdoor-scene murals that must have taken a team of painters months to complete, and I'd swear half the mammal population of Kananaskis provincial park has ended up stuffed and mounted in astonishing dioramas. Half a dozen bears, a dozen deer, twenty caribou (being chased by most of Alberta's wolf population), three amorous moose, two big-horn sheep and a partridge in a pear tree.
Here's a snap of the staircase between the upper and lower floors...
I titled this one "Wolves Hunting Fat Canadian Shoppers", but my friend Steve calls it, "Beaver Shags Float-plane".
The gig was good (out in the mall itself, not in the shop) - no shortage of people eager for free entertainment. Best moments - doing a multiple-selection card routine (ten cards selected and found in odd ways); I always remember the names of the people picking the cards. Not hard on its own, but a challenge with names you've never heard before. In one go I had a Japanese woman, two Africans, a Nepalese guy, two South Asians, an English family, a Spaniard and a young Chinese boy who kept correcting my pronunciation because I couldn't get the tone right. My Chinese sucks. I tried, but was probably inadvertently calling him something rather rude.