I began my night promptly at 6 p.m. Parked my car by the artWORKS Teen Center and on the dot went in. I didn’t get to see much. The musicians were still setting up, the food truck had not yet arrived, but there were lots of anxious teens ready to go. I hopped on the shuttle thinking I could always spend a little time at the end of my night at artWORKS since I would have to come back to my car.
Some of the shuttles were nice! To tell you the truth I enjoyed some of them plenty – leather seats with security belts, tinted windows, air conditioning… quite nice.
Anyhow, I arrived at the Pasadena Museum of California Art, to which I had never been before. The Alfredo Ramos Ramirez exhibit here is really good (it’s still on), with great paintings of all sizes. What impressed me the most was the work that he did over newspapers. It was a great way to get cheap “canvas” for an artist who did not have a lot of resources. On top of that, the newspaper shows the date, which lights up your imagination to the day when this man must have bought a newspaper, read the headlines, and felt moved to draw something. Really, very cool. I recommend it. I felt moved to pull out my phone to snap a picture of one of his paintings (this is what we do in this day and age when we get inspired, we Instagram, and yes, with no flash). I took a picture of the painting of a young Mexican woman who stared back at me as she carried a large basket full of bright flowers. She stood in front of what looked like my grandmother’s curtains – a lilac fabric also adorned with yellow flowers. As a whole, the painting is just a gorgeous display of color. My appreciation of the piece was interrupted by a volunteer who told me “no pictures please.” Bleh. That doesn’t happen even at the MET in New York.
From there I walked to the USC Pacific Asia Museum. I’d never been here either. I guess ArtNight does have a point. The museum’s courtyard was set up for a mini-concert by guitarist Gerardo Morales and company. The temptation to sit put here, drink one of the beers for sale, and listen to the music was HUGE, but I didn’t. I checked out the exhibits, admired the enormous fish in the pond for a bit, and got on my way.
The Light Bringer Project at Day One was mostly for kids, but inside of me there is a poor trapped child. How could I not just love the ice sculpture! A totally awesome chunk of ice cut and curved to perfection, made even more interesting by lights of all colors. It was also here that I got to cover fruit with chocolate, and I have to be honest, the volunteers dressed up as Chiquita Banana and bunches of grapes tickled me. Here I also made my first food truck purchase – lobster sliders accompanied by some totally awesome garlic fries off the Slammin’ Sliders truck.
The band at City Hall wasn’t quite ready as I walked by, so I continued on my way to the Convention Center where I knew Muse/Ique would perform. And it was AWESOME! People stood by the band at the Center’s Plaza, but many more sat across the street on the steps of Paseo Colorado. That’s where I stayed. It was great, as if the steps had been put there as bleachers for the concert. As if this was the $1 cheap ticket area that often times ends up being the best place to be. This was good.
One of the places that I wanted to visit during ArtNight happened also to be the furthest point away from everything – the OffRamp Gallery. To get there would take jumping on a couple of shuttles. The first one took me to Side Street Project, which by the way was fun with all their innovating items – dinner tables with seats that are actually bicycles, a sewing machine that will work only when someone powers it through bicycling, and the back of trucks turned into perfectly good living quarters. Very cool.
From there, a second shuttle, who took not a little time getting there, took me to OffRamp, where the awesome guy with the balloon that he plays as a bass performed along his buddies (Unpopable Balloon Bass Band) with sounds that you cannot believe can come out of a balloon. This was fun. The Susan Sironi exhibit inside was mind blowing as well, as you try to imagine how long it must take her, and how much concentration, to convert an old book into a 3-D art piece.
It was 9:30 p.m. at this point. I’d learned that the NorthWest shuttle was not the fastest. And my car was miles and miles away. I began to worry and to do the line for the blessed shuttle. Doing this, that, and the other, I made it to City Hall, where I was to hop on an East shuttle to take me to my car. Only that there were another forty people trying to do the same. And the shuttles were rapidly going out of service.
Let’s put it this way, ArtNight was GREAT… until the clock struck 10 p.m. Then it wasn’t so great. A woman actually grabbed my arm as I was getting into my final shuttle. “I don’t think so lady!” she said. “I was here before you!” And there she went… Along with her five kids… Thankfully I still made it in. Breathe…
Ahhhh, the beauty of ArtNight. I would totally do it again. Make it happen 2015!!
Photos: At PMCA and Day One – by Dena Burroughs