It’s not quite a night at the museum, but it may be the closest thing: spending the night in an art gallery.
You don’t need to be a celebrity or performance artist. There are a couple venues out there (and many more that I may not know about) for us ordinary folk.
Was in St. Petersburg, Florida, this past week and decided to give this photography studio a shot. I was told I was only the second person to try it out and lodging was still in the “experimental” stage.
One look at the official greeter, a rescue dog named — what else — Konica — and I was in. I would have gladly cuddled with her in her beanbag chair the entire stay.
Waiting with big smile and air mattress at the ready was the photog-in-residence, Clinton Lee.
I started to get deflated when I saw said air mattress without any air. I’ve only camped once in my life, in the Australian outback, and I expected that to be rough. Besides, that outdoors was free. This experience was costing me 65 bucks a night.
It turned out to be one of the most-comfy mattresses ever. No kidding.
Clinton is an area native. He does a lot of weddings, but here’s the neat part — they’re all over the world. I never thought wedding pictures were high art, but he has a way of making them so — and I’m not just saying that because he’s a really nice guy.
That pays the bills and gives him tons of contacts. The rest of the photos are random shots from here and there: his true passion.
There was also a big workspace. And a little fridge, stocked with juices. A thoughtful touch was a bottle of water on my pillow every night. A must after a day in the sauna that is St. Pete in summer.
All the eye candy made up for one big shortfall: a place to bathe.
There was a half bath in the back. But no shower. I had to coordinate with Clinton to use the shower in the apartment he shares with his roommate. Fortunately, it was just above the studio. (There are also pay washing machines in the building.)
It was a tad inconvenient, but the shower was clean, with plenty of hot water.
Clinton realizes that’s a big drawback, and is thinking about getting a portable shower for the gallery. Until he does, that’s the setup.
Being that I was camping out at a business establishment, I couldn’t lounge around in my jammies for too long, like I could in a strictly private room. Texting helped keep me and my host on schedule.
But I had the workspace to myself all day long. Breaks were a blast.
I spent three great nights there. A much longer stay might have been trying, given some of the limitations. It was one of the more memorable places I’ve ever stayed. Your tolerance may vary.