Incident at Lace Gallery

I was reminiscing about LACE Gallery in my last post, and I started thinking about an incident that happened at LACE many years ago. I used to stop in the LACE store often, they carried all the expensive art magazines I couldn’t afford, and most of the magazines I had to have. I spent a fair amount of money there, considering I was a starving artist, living in a decrepit loft that cost every penny I earned.

So one day Susie and I are shopping in the store, they had a huge bowl up on the counter full of buttons. I love to collect buttons, and I have some particularly fine old buttons with punk band names, slogans, etc. No self-respecting punk rocker would be caught without a nice button on their jacket. So we rooted through the bowl, looking for some amusing buttons. I didn’t find anything I liked so I went over and looked at magazines while Susie kept searching. As I was reading an article, Susie came over and gave me a button. I read it and laughed aloud, I thought she’d bought it for a quarter and given it to me. So I put it in my shirt pocket. I returned to reading and completely forgot I even had the button.

A few minutes later, as I finished selecting some magazines to purchase, the guy running the cash register came up to me and started yelling at me that he saw what I did. I didn’t have any idea what he was talking about. He yelled at me about shoplifting. I said I intended to purchase these magazines. Without any explanation, he grabbed at me, so I pulled back and put up my fists. I told him that if he wanted to lay a hand on me, he better be prepared to put up a fight. The scrawny kid looked at me, a 6’2″ 225lb punk rocker in a leather jacket, and decided against it. He yelled that he was going to call the cops, so I told him he better do it NOW, because I was leaving and I was not going to purchase these $25 of magazines either. The kid did not call the cops, so I stomped out of the gallery and got in the car to go back to my loft (yeah, I only lived 2 blocks away but nobody walks in LA, especially near Skid Row).

As soon as Susie got into the car, she burst out laughing. She told me what had happened. She merely intended to show me the button, and I pocketed it without realizing that she hadn’t paid for it. She started the whole incident, and said nothing while it went down. Of course I was pretty mad, but mostly because I didn’t get to buy my favorite art magazines. I still have the button:

I'm Easy, Getting Rid Of Me Isn't

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