There could not have been a better way to start the west coast leg of the tour than with the Crusade pop-up event Saturday in Venice.  It was ridiculous - sunshine, huge crowds, lots of pre-event buzz, energetic and talented participating photographers, enthusiastic audience. . . it was beyond, beyond my highest hopes. From the first minute we pulled up in front of the Alternative Apparel store (an awesome partner and responsible for our tour-exclusive t-shirts and hoodies), it was bananas.  People everywhere wanting to know what was going on, what the Crusade was about, where exactly this Lady Blue was going. . . Shannon Leith, one of the superbly talented local photographer showcasers, said it best (and caused the group to double over in laughter) when we stopped in the middle of the fantastic chaos to take a group photo, and she leaned her face up to the sun, eyes closed, and said, "feel this moment, guys".

Bootsy Holler, Tom Johnson, Shannon Leith, Kurt Simonson, Jeff Rau

Bootsy Holler, Tom Johnson, Shannon Leith, Kurt Simonson, Jeff Rau

In case you need a refresher, five local photographers are curated into the project in each tour city.  They each give away ten signed copies of one of their images in a 6x9ish size.  And they need to have chutzpah too, since they actively engage people walking by.  This group was tops.  There wasn't a single moment of pause - it was a chorus of "Would you like to become an art collector today for free?" and "Would you like an original signed photograph to take home today?".  Art guns blazing, charm for days - these photographers were amazing and each made it a point to have meaningful conversations with their new collectors about the image, about themselves, about the project, about the awesomeness of art.

You're totally jealous you missed out on these beauties, right?

Be on the lookout for the webisode of this pop-up on our YouTube channel in a few days, but in the meantime, here are some fun photos from the event to give you the flavor.

6 Comments