Pictured above is the headquarters for the Hot Springs Showmen's Association ("No Business Like Show Business"), a meeting hall/entertainment center for carnival folk. In a way, this place sums up Bill Clinton better than anything else could.
Ike was born in Texas and raised in Kansas; one can see how a state like Kansas (or even Texas) could give rise to someone like him. Likewise, one can see how a state like Arkansas - and especially a place like Hot Springs - could give rise to Bill Clinton, the anti-Ike.
Unfortunately, all of the carnivals have shut down for the "winter." The winter at that time was 80 degrees. The building appears to have been built back in the 60s, and the inside doesn't look like it's been redecorated since. It has dark wood panelling, a bar, a stage with a big sign "There's no people like show people" over it, and there's a creepy cardboard cutout of a clown in the front lobby. The walls in the lobby are filled with tributes to the deceased members and the large number of their deceased presidents.
The front door was open, but there weren't any cars out front or in the parking lot. I thought it might be a trap, and I was going to end up being shanghaied or worse by a group of carnival freaks. The only person there was a cleaning guy who looked like an old carnie. He said someone would be there around 2pm. Since that was an hour away, I decided to go check out the alligator farm down the street first. See the entry a couple back.
After the alligator farm, I came back. Despite waiting until 2:30, no one else showed up, and I somewhat reluctantly decided to hit the road. (Did the carnival guy there deceive me? No! It can't be true!) It would have been great to have gotten permission to shoot on the inside. I think that would sum up Hot Springs - and Bill Clinton - much better than mere words. So, you'll just have to imagine what the place was like. This guy apparently lives in AR, and he can't raise anyone there either.
BloggingAcrossAmerica · Sun, 11/09/2003 - 11:26 · Importance: 1