Les Marches aux Puces — Long Beach Antique Flea Market

Over 800 vendors of ‘antiques’ descend upon the Long Beach Veteran’s Stadium, the third Sunday of every month and lay out their wares. Thousands of buyers, browsers and bull-shitters perambulate through the aisles–looking for the next important find.
The vendor above sells African mask and artifacts from his native Mali (and points thereabout.) He wasn’t very communicative and that may account for the lack of people at his booth.
These ladies, ensconced in a peppermint tulle striped tent, sell contemporary dolls in hand-made costumes–a bit of old Scarlett O’Hara in the curtains and add a dash of salsa.
When I asked the rug merchant about her rugs…she pointed to the cell phone she was on and mimed “I’m busy”…another reason her booth was empty, I imagine, in spite of the fact that she had some incredible carpets for sale.
These Mexican and Central American ‘santos’ and religious icons were one of the most exciting items found at the market. Folk art at its most emotional, painted (and carved) from the most humble of materials–even if you’re not religious–they have a mesmerizing power.
Tough economic times bring out the crowds to a marketplace that trades in the basic need of humans to collect…whatever. It is truly the locus of the ridiculous to the sublime.
Gil sells weapons, specifically, knives, swords or anything with a sharp edge. Mostly antique, but some contemporary. He’s shown here with a metal glove with razor sharp ‘nails.’ He is a major dealer in the arcana of weaponry and is known throughout the country for his collection.
This woman had stumbled upon her favorite book from childhood. The one she insisted on reading over and over and over again. Her mother, she told me, threw the book away and 30 some years later, she found a copy at the flea market and as you can see in the photo, she was ecstatic. You could literally feel the positive energy flowing out of her at the thought of having the book in her possession again.
A pottery collector admires a vintage Van Briggle ewer at the Billy Blue Eye Pottery tent. This dealer actively engages customers and was the only vendor I spoke with who had a website–see my sidebar for the link.
What can I say? Sometimes a shopping cart is the best way to attend a flea market…these ladies (the pink ones were together, Miss Brown just happened to cross into the photo) were having the time of their lives, picking up this and that…like crows.

1 Response to “Les Marches aux Puces — Long Beach Antique Flea Market”

  1. 1 Andrea Alvin
    March 16, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    I want to see the Santos icons up close!

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© Robert Patrick, and Cultivar, 2008-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, photographs and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert Patrick and Cultivar with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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