While much of New York City was entrenched in fashion week, I put on the same Norwegian ski sweater I've been wearing all season, pulled up my black boots, threw a scarf around my neck and headed off to the 2010 Westminster Dog Show at Madison Square Garden. (Sure, I would have traded all that for a ticket to the Rodarte show, but that's a whole other story.)
Though the dog show was spread out over two days, I only bought tickets for the second. And compared to any other cold winter morning thus far, wherein staying under the covers is the only defense against a heating system with a cocaine addict's schedule in mind (ready to climb into bed at 4 a.m.? 'Cause that's when it gets cozy!), I jumped out of bed with alacrity on Tuesday and was on the subway by 8:15.
Going into Madison Square Garden for anything other than a rock concert was bizarre. Suddenly, MSG was no different than a convention center in Topeka. There were booths brimming with diamond-encrusted Lhasa Apso-themed leather jackets, paintings of hunting dogs valued at thousands of dollars, West Highland Terrier neckties, doggie-perfume displays and demonstrations of cleaning products taking place on well-worn La-Z-Boys. Never had I been to something in New York City that 1) could have taken place anywhere; and 2) barely featured anyone from New York City. In other words, I felt right at home.
Sure, I wasn't wearing a hat with a brim shaped like a snout, nor was my purse a dog-shaped stuffed animal with a zipper. My pantsuit didn't have a Mastiff's head stitched on the front and I wasn't wearing head-to-toe gold lam� — but I did know each and every breed and, well, I was there before breakfast.
The Westminster Dog Show is a bench show, which means that from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., one can venture backstage and look at all the dogs. You can watch an Alaskan Malamute get his hair dried, witness a Cocker Spaniel getting her ears cleaned, or observe a Scottie receiving an eyebrow trim. The only thing that would have been better would have been to watch the handlers getting into their outfits and putting their make-up on. My suggestion would be to make that a part of future shows.
The mood in the Garden was competitive, but also very spirited and generous. Someone walked by me and muttered, "That Weimaraner judge didn't know s—-" and the people behind me during Best in Show said that if the Scottie won, they weren't coming back next year, and that they'd lose all faith in dog shows (the Scottie did win, by the way). But for the most part, it was just a bunch of dog enthusiasts and a few too many people talking about the wonders of Valium.
As for the rest, I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. And, since this is a music blog, I'll mention that I heard Miley Cyrus' "Party in the USA" more than any other song.