Category Archives: Ephemera

New artist

So now you might be wondering, what was the recent gallery opening about? And why did I feel impelled to go?

This piece was the first one created by this artist for the local “art on the street” project , and it has always been my favorite (I actively hate some of the work of other artists). It has been here for a couple of years and I am amazed by the number of my friends who have never noticed this and don’t know what I’m talking about. Anyway, the statue was vandalized by some jerk last year, and this is actually the second version. The artist came to town to fix this, and decided that he liked the place so well, that he and his family moved here from Korea. So now I guess that makes him a local artist.

This is this years’ selection for “art on the streets”. And because one does not have to put any money in the parking meters on Sunday morning, I was out and about to take this new photo of these amazing steel Betas. It was rather breezy and they were moving in the wind, as is proper for fighting fish.
So besides making massive sculptures, he also does smaller pieces, like this tiny tree (it did not have a tiny price tag). This tiny gallery is the perfect sort of place to show small art. (Not sure if it is the perfect sort of place to sell art). But there we all were, seeing and being seen, drinking cheap wine and admiring the art.
I did love this piece, and after a glass of wine I had a few fangirl words with the artist (and I hope that he understands English, or maybe it’s better if he doesn’t).

I had found out about the gallery show from an article in the local newspaper, and this mentioned that the missus of the artist did fiber art. Well, so do I, so I wished to meet her. But we do very different sorts of things, and I guess I am not a fangirl, but I definitely approve of following one’s muse. I hope that she and the family like this town, and that they continue to be local artists, because we need great art for the streets (wait a minute, that brings tourists, so maybe not).

More signs

I do love the whimsy of signs, just a brief announcement of something, anything that gives one a snippet of information or direction. Now that proper gallery openings are allowed, I had popped in to see the show of a new resident (more later). By proper gallery opening, I mean there were nibbles, cheap wine and no masks, just what one expects. And signs.

This was the entrance to the gallery, referencing a rap song from the past, so I would guess the gallerists to be in their 40’s.

Rather useful information, and I am sure the persons inside got tired of repeating this to passersby.

This looks to have been posted by a trout, or perhaps a friend. I am unaware of any fish actually living in the creek. And like many signs, it appears to have been ignored.

This sign was the best of the lot, as well as being the most cryptic. Walking on the sidewalk is what one does, I suppose this indicates to walk one’s bicycle, the other two images were more mysterious, but I eventually decided that they referred to skateboards and rollerblades. I doubt if this is legible or obvious as one rolls along, but it’s an interesting graphic. Nice try, city.

Anthropomorphics

It started with this guy, the King Trumpet mushroom. (I assume he is male, because he is a king).

I had used the mushrooms in my dinner, when I noticed the bag these came in. I decided that King mushroom was a rather snazzy figure, and started to wonder who made the choice to have an anthropomorphic design to explain and sell this product. (Sadly, there were only ordinary mushrooms in the packet). So I decided to look around to see what other anthropomorphic designs I might find.

I was lucky to find that I had saved this container to use for storage, because Mr. Peanut was killed off by his company! Yes, some genius decided that a peanut with a monocle, gloves, cane and a top hat (spats are not pictured here) was not the proper salesman to flog their product, so they declared him dead (although as an inanimate cartoon figure I am not sure if this is even possible). Oh well, he lives on in my heart (and pantry).

I am happy to see that the Kool-Aid man, a staple of my childhood, still lives on (and cherry remains my favorite flavor).

I took this picture at the grocery store, because the sweet cereal that I do eat uses a cartoon character, instead of this friendly fellow. Because the last thing one wants when sitting down to breakfast, is a bowl of grumpy cereal.

But the winner of this contest of mascots has to be the King Trumpet mushrooms. Because they don’t just have one smiling figure, there are also all of his friends. Perhaps they are on the way to a party, or are running a race, whatever. They are happy to see one, and I expect I shall purchase them again (and not the ones that come in a plain package.)

Hot Dog

I still read the daily newspaper (delivered to my home by mysterious means early each morning). And I was excited to read that the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile was in town. I caught a glimpse of it when I was driving along downtown, but I had an appointment, and couldn’t quite catch up with it. But all was not lost, there it was at the supermarket the next day.

Of course I have seen the previous versions driving down the road in years past, but this was my chance to get up close and personal with one. To see what it was actually made of (custom fiberglass body on a truck chassis). Yes, I do want one.

And here it is, a giant driveable hot dog, perhaps leading the way to the future with its spaceship-like design. It had a pair of drivers who were handing out discount coupons and swag (like the postcard).

This is just one of the many (six) Weinermobiles and it came all the way from Wisconsin.

I don’t care what hot dogs are actually made of, they’re delicious (in moderation).

But not everyone loves them. I guess there is no pleasing some pterodactyls.

Getting a Head

According to the dictionary (yes I looked it up in an actual book) a trophy is: “something symbolising victory or success” and under b: “A mounted fish, animal’s head, etc.” It’s also a rather weird thing to do. I do occasionally go the the local Elks club, a fraternal organization devoted to something (I think it involves beer), and displaying lots of its’ namesake beasts.

This elk seems to be giving a bit of side-eye, meant perhaps as a bit of reproach for his untimely demise. He is tastefully situated on a fake lodge wall, that’s not a real mantle under him.

This elk is in a much plainer setting. Staring straight ahead he seems to be either sad or indifferent to to goings on in the room.

Now this elk was more of an actual trophy, with fine 12 point antlers, he was a lovely specimen in life. However, the way that he is mounted gives him a look of surprise. (It shouldn’t have been a total surprise, didn’t he notice that hunter creeping up on him? Maybe not).

And then there was this fellow, laying down on the job. From the looks of it, he has been around for a number of years, so perhaps this is understandable, sometimes one just needs a break. And if this is on display at the “Elks”, I worry about what is stuffed and mounted at “Modern Woodmen” another fraternal organization. 😉

Ornamental

My favorite Christmas tradition is decorating the tree, because years ago I banished all the generic sort of ornaments and went with only special and unique ornaments.

I remember buying this ornament at an after Christmas sale (surely the best time to acquire these). It must have been about 35 years ago, or more (that can’t possibly be true). I had gone to the St. Louis Zoo with my friend and his dad, and we went a little crazy buying things. There was something about this fox that spoke to me, so I bought it even though I did not need it.

I bought this one on vacation in Hawai’i and it is a Humahumanukunukuapua’a (spellcheck actually accepted that word) which is the state fish of Hawai’i.

M and I used to go to a couple of conferences every year, and while the men were busy, S and I would go in search of Christmas ornaments. She loved Christmas decorating but was a purist and would not buy anything made in China, which sometimes made it hard to shop. But we were in San Antonio and I found this lovely lizard which was made in Africa, so it came home with me. I can’t remember if she bought anything on that trip.

This elephant came from another conference trip. Me and S had gone to Macy’s in San Francisco and I got this beast, while she found some ornaments that were made in Germany (the former primary source of Christmas things).

I bought this one right here in town, I’m just including it because I love it. And I have had it for the past 32 years.

I’ve only had this one for two years, a friend gave it to me after Miss Dog died, so in many ways this is the most special ornament of my collection. But they all bear the weight of memories of times and places past, like Christmas itself.

More stuff

I went to Santa Fe recently to see M’s cousin. And I was reading the newspaper while I waited for her to get ready to go to dinner, when I saw a notice in the paper about an interesting looking estate sale. I looked up the addy on my phone and thought I knew where this was (as it turns out, I didn’t) so the next day we were off, looking to score some treasures.

The sale was at an impressive house up in the foothills. The guy selling the stuff said that it was mostly from his uncle, although some of it was his. The uncle liked to collect things so much that when he filled up one condo with things, he had to buy another one to live in. And here it all was, and although there were no bargains to be had, it was fun as usual to be able to snoop through someone’s life.

It was an interesting collection of bits and bobs from various cultures Native (Red Indian) and foreign (Thai artifacts are quite popular). M’s cousin bought the basket visible in the upper left corner and it fits in nicely with her decor.

There were two rooms of this stuff. Here we have a bronze lady lamp and an African thing in the back, then a Native storyteller figurine (very popular in the 80’s), a bodhisattva from India, an antique Hispanic Santo, modern Santos, a bust (could this be of the uncle?) and a bit of hand painted pottery all mixed together on this one shelf.

This grouping was interesting to me because of the dolphin vase and Aegean candlestick figurine. I guess he must have touristed Greece (they don’t sell this stuff in the local tourist shops).

The seller had so much stuff to get rid of that he had hired a person to come in, price everything and display things, and he still had this collection of figurines and artifacts shoved into a box. One could purchase similar items in the smarter sort of tourist shops today. But one has to remember (I’m talking to you, self) that this is the ultimate fate of our personal talismans.

Stuff

I think that we all start out with a fairly minimalist home at first. As a young person one can hardly go out and acquire everything at one fell swoop. And our style changes over time as one has leisure and money to pursue objects that mean something to us. And then there comes the time when we are gone but the stuff remains. What’s left is the estate sale.

I went to a nearby estate sale after a friend mentioned that it was full of interesting stuff. And it was packed to the gills with items, so I took a few pictures in lieu of buying things and adding to my personal hoard.

These are empty commemorative whiskey bottles. Shortly after I took this picture the coal miner was sold and was off to a new home. Perhaps it will be sold again someday from it’s new estate (or perhaps it will end up in a charity shop).

The woman of the house was a doll collector and these represent a few of the many trips she must have taken. They are the sort of thing sold to tourists, they aren’t really made to be played with.

When I first moved here (many years ago) I worked in a toy store. The doll department (Mrs. O) had a list of collectors that she called whenever a new shipment came in, I’m pretty sure that this woman must have been one of those customers. And now her entire room devoted to dolls was being sold off, bit by bit.

There were these unattractive figurines representing medical conditions, so I assume that her husband must have been a doctor (why else would one have these?). It was her estate sale, so he must have predeceased her.

These are not exactly dolls, but are Kachinas, which are spirit beings in Pueblo religions. They are carved from Cottonwood and represent both the spirit and the dancer. These were originally made as an act of devotion for family members, but now are made for sale to tourists. These are a popular decorative item for Southwestern decor, and she obviously loved the Southwest and Native (Red Indian) culture.

It is a somewhat melancholy experience to be going through the detritus of someone’s life, but on the other hand, she had lots of pretty things and obviously enjoyed them. A minimalist like Marie Kondo would be appalled at the quantity of stuff I’m sure, but we each live to please ourselves. I would much rather be surrounded by beautiful things, like the late Mrs. X, and I suspect that I shall go the same way. 😉

Set dressing

Before me and Miss dog were movie extras I had no idea what actually went into making a movie. The movie we were in (we were sort of in, our scene was cut) was set in present day, so we just dressed in a tidier form of normal wear. But the movie that M’s uncle was in was a period piece, dust bowl 1930’s so the town had to get a few additions to make it look the part. It did not need much to make the town appear old and decrepit.

This is actually the window of the old post office, they built a new one about 15 years ago. Perhaps there was once a barber shop in town, but not in living memory.

An elderly resident remembered when this was a general store, but of course the window sign is new. I don’t ever remember this being open for business in the past 43 years.

The set designers stuck up a few posters to give some atmosphere, I guess this sort of thing might have played in small towns. Maybe?

A faded circus poster for an imaginary circus. I suppose that elephants could have got here on the train (back when it stopped in town).

And here’s another poster for a competing circus, they were certainly popular, I guess. The other addition to the town, a dirt street, was removed after filming. Only these signs and posters show that they were ever here.

All of this flotsam of moviemaking has piqued my curiosity about this movie. I did check and it has only been released at a film festival and in Russia (?). But I expect that one day, sooner or later the movie will be released on Netflix or Amazon Prime and I will be able to satisfy my curiosity (or the scene will have been cut). 🙂

Fate

I think that most people wish that they knew what Fate has in store for them. And there are different ways to try and find this out.

When I was a young woman I did go with a friend to see a palm reader once. We were driving around aimlessly with a guy when we passed the fortune teller’s house, and my friend suddenly needed to know her fate. So she got the guy to pay the five dollars, and was told the usual sort of vague promises, while me and the guy giggled in the corner. I can’t remember if any of the predictions came true, but surely after all these years at least one of them must have. (You will meet a stranger, you will come into money, you will marry a guy, etc. etc.)

For a much more impersonal reading than from a live person, this machine would give your fate based on one’s astrological sign. And for only a penny! Surely the machine would know one’s fate.

Then there was this palm reader, which will work for only a quarter. The image shown is wearing a turban, so one can count on this reading being accurate.

Or would a yak be a more trustworthy fortune teller?

This guy has the crystal ball, tarot cards and the turban, so I assume this machine would be the most reliable predictor of one’s future. But I don’t know for sure because I put my quarters in the horse racing machine (I lost).

So I leave you, dear reader, with a few quotes about fate saved in my commonplace book: “there’s fate at the end of every story” and “knowing too much of your future is never a good thing”. Both are possibly true.

Or maybe this is the machine with the answers? (Your actual mileage may vary).