Friday, September 3, 2010

A Not-So-Weird Evening

Yesterday evening, I took an opportunity to view the Bowers Museum’s Weird and Wonderful: Celebrating 75 Years of Collecting that opens this weekend. The exhibit appeared to be just a hodge-podge of artifacts from their permanent collection. This was unfortunate since some of the pieces, like an old photograph of Orange County’s only known lynching,* obviously deserve their own time on the center stage.

Quilts: Two Centuries of American Traditions and Technique was also open, so I peeked into that for a few minutes. While gazing at the familiar patterns I’ve seen before on family members’ work, I chuckled to myself remembering my feeble attempt at quilting as a child. I wasn’t the only one. As I moved around the displays I overheard a number of older women comment similarly.

After taking a break from the museum to listen to a few blues numbers by 3rd Degree, I headed over to Gemstone Carvings: The Masterworks of Harold Van Pelt. Absolutely heaven! It’s fascinating how he’ll incorporate the stones veins, which I’d always seen as flaws, into his designs. My favorite piece was a jar made from petrified wood that was absolutely gorgeous. If I had my own house and an endless decorating budget, I’d definitely hire the man.

*My interest springs from having read Ken Gonzales-Day’s Lynching in the West: 1850–1935 and seen The Ox-Bow Incident starring Henry Fonda, which touch upon an often ignored part of American history: the lynching of white and Hispanics in the “Wild West.”