Arts & Culture News

Artopia 2014: Please Don't Ask Photo-Wagon's Melissa Mackaly to Strip

This is the first of what we plan to be a regular series of Q&As with the people behind some of Dallas' more interesting, unique, art-inspired local businesses. Know of any good ones? Drop us a tip in the comments.

We're leading off with Melissa Mackaly and Photo-Wagon, the mobile photo booth that will -- entirely coincidentally -- make a stop this Saturday at Artopia, this big arty party the Observer is throwing at Three Three Three First Ave. We wanted to find out who she is, what she does and why when it's your turn to take a picture, you should never, ever ask her who's gonna strip.

Where are you from? Mesquite.

Are you a Skeeter? No, I'm a Poteet Pirate. Poteet elite.

What do you do? I'm a freelance dental hygienist and I also own the Photo-Wagon.

What do you do for inspiration? I really like magazines like Kinfolk Magazine, trolling online and I like a lot of vintage stuff.

Describe what you do in three words. We capture a memory ... well, the way I describe it on our website is you step into the past and take a picture of the present to enjoy for the future.

Shamelessly plug yourself. Why should people come see you at Artopia? Well, it's probably the only time in their life that they're going to step into a 1958 Cardinal travel trailer. Really. Probably ever. And kiss their lover. And get a great picture.

What is your average day? Well, the hardest part is just getting there. The trailer is 1958, it's original - bearings, springs, everything's original so as we're driving Johnny [co-owner/boyfriend] is looking in the rear view mirror and I'm looking in the side view mirror just hoping it doesn't fly off. Once we get there it's super easy to unload and then we just spend the day chatting with people and having fun.

What's your favorite cuss word? Fuck. Any combination or plain on its own.

Aside from your own, what's the best shop in Dallas? My pretentious answer is We Are 1976, but mostly I shop at Value World thrift store over off Gus Thomasson.

What posters hung on your wall as a teen? The Power Team, a Christian weightlifting competition team. They'd rip phone books and blow up water bottles only through the power of Christ. That was early teens, but once I rebelled against Christianity, James Dean and Marilyn Monroe.

What do you do when no one's watching? I don't wanna say this ... I pick my fingernails. I don't bite 'em, I pick 'em. I think it's a little OCD. I don't like any fringe at all. I don't want anything hanging over that can, like, catch stuff.

What is the best gift you ever got? And you can't say the love of Johnny. A waterbed for my 13th birthday -- queen-sized with a mirrored headboard. I would turn the heater up so high and all my friends would be like, "Melissa, can we please turn the heat down?" and I was like, "NO!" They hated me. Probably.

Everyone kisses, don't they? Uh-huh. Oh, or this is what I get every time ... so the sign says "five dollars, four poses, two strips." EVERY TIME someone's like, "Who's gonna strip? Are you gonna strip?" No. Uh-uh. No one's gonna strip.

You can grab Artopia tickets here.

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Allison Perkins