Displays Of Place

Tee Pee

My dog walking routine has changed since I’ve acquired a more anti-social dog. I had a regular route that would take me past the window of Kenton Antiques most days. There were times when I would stop and study everything on display. I appreciated that the displays would change or evolve, sometimes even an additional item would be added and I’d notice. I’m not walking by the store as much. Our current dog encounters more dogs in downtown Kenton than anywhere else in the neighborhood and it can be harder to maneuver him around so rather than face a vicious muzzle to muzzle encounter we take alternative routes. I still get by the store plenty and always appreciate a wave from the owner Mo Bachmann. Stuff from the store is always displayed in the front window with some displays being more random and others fitting themes centered around holidays or going back to school.

I appreciate the Kenton Antique store because it was under different ownership when I first moved to Kenton. The owner then was nice enough. Sometimes there was coffee brewing in the store and candy and I had more time to kill then. I’ve seen a difference in the level of interest Mo has in her customers since she’s taken over the store. She’s also shares her interests in collectibles and antiques in an enthusiastic and infectious way.

I’m familiar with her window display work because I made a short film about a particular display she made. It’s been years, but when Mo broke out the 80’s figurines and pitted them against a brigade of plastic army soldiers and staged it around a scale model battleship my mind was blown. I used to work in a group home and late one Monday evening coming back from work, I was riding my bike through Kenton when I saw the display. I was impressed that rather than display objects from the store the scene in the window was a multilayered narrative. It stirred my imagination and inspired me to get back into making short films. I knew Mo a bit at that time and felt comfortable asking her to sit for an interview. She was also generous in allowing me to run around the store crouching and crawling through her window display to get footage.

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Detail from the film The Battleship Battle.

Tee Pee (1)

Which brings me to why I’m writing this in the first place. Sometimes with window displays it’s one item in particular that I relate to without knowing why. I remember seeing a teepee in the window, a strange one-off item and it was hard to tell if it was something decorative or a child’s toy. It seemed like that dug into my subconscious on some level because when the book The American Indian and the Occult appeared in the corner of the window I had to have it.

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It might have been the title, the subject matter or the design of the book or all three that captured my attention. Most things I can pass on but this book, I was worried someone else was going to snatch it up. It turned out to be a book that I would have appreciated more while serving detention in middle school, but it is a good book full of strange stories. It’s probably not the type of book you’re going to find anywhere else but at Kenton Antiques. The sad story of the Tukudeka Indians also known as the Sheepeaters who lived in the rugged mountain ranges of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho was especially poignant–a whole tribe of Indians wiped out by small pox.

.Chief Joseph

Not only did Mo’s teepee in the window sway me, but I’ve had a sense of NW Indian culture around me since moving out here. It’s resonated in various ways from hearing the history of the people who lived here and seeing images like the one at the local elementary school named after Chief Joseph that I used to pass on my way to work. All this has combined to create a magical vibe that now has me studying the psychic secrets of ancient people.

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See the re-edit of the video The Battleship Battle. I’ve posted this before but I really felt the need to fix one particular shot.

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