Yes, there is more to the Internet than porn. Maybe porn is all you care about, but the rest of us are using one of technology’s greatest advances to auction off crap to the highest bidder.

Proving that artists are just like you and me, the owners of Missoula’s Goatsilk Gallery are also using the Web to unload their wares. But unlike most eBayers with their useless Pat Boone 45s and snow tires without tread, Goatsilk isn’t peddling crap. After a successful run of its eBay show (the owners spent months gathering artists’ work on the on-line auction site), the gallery resold the show as a package.

After one false start (the gallery cancelled the first auction because it didn’t get the featured listing it paid for and the auction wasn’t getting much traffic), its second listing spent 10 days on the site and was viewed by more than 900 people, yet only three people bid. The top bid of $206 came in from a man in San Francisco who goes by the hip Web handle luv60473—not bad, considering Goatsilk spent no more than $25 on any single piece, and in some cases paid less than $5 for pieces. Of course, the minimum bid was $200, so luv60473 didn’t have to get into one of those famous Sotheby’s bidding battles. To view the completed auction page go to ISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3632565787.


Speaking of eBay auctions, struggling Saint Paul, Minn., independent bookstore Ruminator Books is getting a helping hand from some of America’s best and brightest. Among the items up for auction is a log from Rick Bass’s writing cabin. After renovations, Bass kept some of the old building and not only has he signed the log with a Sharpie, but also he’s asked the lucky bidder to write the U.S. Forest Service and tell the agency to do a better job preserving the Yaak wilderness.

Bass’ log is odd, but Eve Marofsky, who is putting together the auction, says it’s not even close to the strangest thing the bookstore’s received.

“I like the piano roll a lot,” says Marofsky. “Jonathan Safran Foer wrote a letter to Russell Banks on an old piano roll of ‘It Don’t Mean a Thing if It Ain’t Got That Swing.’ It’s really cool because the letter is really writerly.”

Other items of note include a shirt given to Neal Karlen by Kurt Cobain, Paul Auster’s reading glasses and a CD of Rick Moody’s electronic music.

“We haven’t listened to it yet, but the idea of Rick Moody’s music is pretty funny,” says Marofsky.

The bidding will take place Nov. 15-19 on eBay.


Montana Pride has found an unlikely ally in Sen. Conrad Burns. Gay rights advocates from Montana and across the nation are trying to stop the Federal Marriage Amendment some lawmakers want to introduce in Congress.

While not a subscriber or fan of the gay lifestyle, Burns wrote to Pride members: “While I personally believe that marriage should be defined as a union between a man and a woman, I have great concerns over amending the Constitution.”

Baucus, a Democrat (sort of), playing against type said in a letter to Pride members that he’d support the amendment.

“I voted for the Defense of Marriage Act…[that] defines the words ‘marriage’ and ‘spouse’ so that marriage is a union between one man and one woman.”

When you think about it, gay advocates and Burns really do make strange bedfellows.

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