Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cow Palace Memories

The Cow Palace. Home to monster truck shows, gun and doll shows (at the same time), tattoo conventions, music concerts, the circus, Grand National Rodeos, horse shows, dog shows, political conventions, and most important for us, District Conventions.

Who names a building the Cow Palace? We all got so used to saying it, it just rolls off our tongues. Flashback to when they were naming the place, what titles were also in contention? The Pork Pavilion? The Mutton Mansion? Hog Hall? But there it was each year, you will be having your convention at...The Cow Palace.

I have been attending DCs for 35 years or so now, in various venues.

Oakland Coliseum
Candlestick Park, San Francisco
Cal Expo, Sacramento
Arco Arena I
Arco Arena II, both in Sacramento
Reno, NV
Green Bay, WI
Kiev, Ukraine
Budapest, Hungary
Frankfurt, Germany
Nuremberg, Germany
Leipzig, Germany
Imola, Italy

We would have to bring sun umbrellas, rain umbrellas and seat cushions. One thing we can say about it, the Cow Palace was inside and those seats were cushy. Leaving meant walking into a wind storm, but at least it was comfortable inside. I don't know how many conventions we attended at the Cow Palace, but there were a lot, because even when we went to one in Europe, we still attended the English in San Francisco. Lately we went from Thursday to Monday because of sound department servitude volunteering.

Even with all my preparations, we never could seem to have a seamless time of it. Lost badges, lost parking tickets, forgetting which hotel we booked (!), dropping off our dog at the Tuchakovs and no one is home and Kodie is attacking their chicken and we just have to get out of town, vomiting the last morning away because of my inner ear problem - even without kids we were just never a good photo shoot for pre-convention joy. But as much as I complained about going to SF, about having to clean the Caucus Cafe (re-named by the sound department the Carcass Cafe) of rat poop, the gobs of money we spent on hotel rooms and eating out, sitting in traffic on Friday night etc., I sort of miss the place.

Now the Sacramento Convention Center is wonderful, easy, convenient, safe, cheap for us, all one level and clean. It is fabulous. There is a Starbucks in the building for Pete's sake. But what will this crop of kids have to look back on for their conventions? "Man, we had to walk like 3 blocks, dude. That Starbucks was at the FAR end of the building. I once saw a dust bunny under my seat, it was gross." No, these kids just won't know the excitement that went along with a convention at the Palace of Bovine Wonder:

If there is an earthquake, will the giant disco ball suspended from the ceiling come swinging down, and if so, what would be the trajectory?
Have those drapes been cleaned since the Nixon years, or ever?
Will we get pigeons on the stage this year?
If people are barbecuing in the parking lot, why am I never invited?
Where exactly is the Round Up Room, and will I meet cowboys there?
Will people ever stop parking on Geneva Avenue?
What time of day will that eerie shaft of light go through the coral colored seats?
Will children ever stop falling through the gold colored seats?
Will they ever just call them what they are, yellow and orange seats?
Will the Artist Formerly Known as Prince be here?
Will we be here next year?

I wish I had known in 2009 that it would be our last year, at least for now, at the Cow Palace. I would have liked to say a better good-bye.

Definitely a Glamour Shot of the Cow Palace