September 4, 2009

LOLA Art Crawl, hefty bike ride, summer awesomeness

Last weekend was the first annual art crawl produced by the League of Longfellow Artists (LOLA). There are many celebrated art crawls/fairs/festivals spanning our short summer months, but this new event was exciting for me because the Longfellow neighborhood borders my own. Plus, some of our other art fairs are quite large and draw a lot of national artists - which is great! - but I also appreciate being able to see what my neighbors are turning out. AND it was the perfect day for a bike ride - sunny and 70 degrees. Actually, I was going to drive, but got to the empty garage and then remembered that hubs was using the car to help out a friend that day. So, yes, I biked out of necessity. But it was also delightful.

I stopped at 18 of the 23 locations, which speckled an area of about 20 by 30 city blocks. What is that in miles? I don't know. I do know that I biked about 9.5 miles (15 km), which is probably more than my bike has traveled in the last three years. I did map my ride, but the map would not save, so you can't see it.

In any case, the lovely Glass Endeavors (above) was one of my first stops. It's funny: I may never choose to put glasswork in my own house, yet I think it's fascinating and the colors are like candy. This place teaches classes and has sheets upon sheets of colored glass. Mmmm, candy.

After a few other places, I decided it was a good idea to open up my $600+ camera and take pictures while riding my bike. Don't tell hubs. Just kidding, he already knows. It's hard to hide things when they're on the internet.

I'm obsessed with trees, so I took a bunch of really boring pictures of them because I was trying to capture the way the sun looks shining through all that green. It's probably my favorite thing ever.

Somewhere in here I happened upon Vi Runquist, who has sculpted the cutest group of snow monkeys in the world and if I had the money I would totally buy them. She doesn't have a website, unfortunately, but you can Google her.

A couple of stops later, I found myself at the fabulous Mother Earth Gardens, and the Riverview Cafe and Wine Bar across the street (below). Rain barrels! The Ball Blue Book of Preserving! Weeding tools! Oh, I'll have to go back there someday. And glass artist Lisa Arnold was there, as was Linda Schneewind (one of my very favorites of the day, she designs organic tees).

Moving on...I came to the Fireroast Mountain Cafe (below). Honestly not a big fan of their coffee, but the building is fun and there were a few tents in the parking lot to be seen.

Now, I always felt like people who had animal art were a little crazy. Surely they weren't always crazy, but it's a slippery slope. Normal is at the top, and eccentric fanatic is at the bottom. Once they bought that first dog picture, it became easier to get the dog keychain, and then it was easier to commission someone to do a portrait of their dying dog to put over the mantel.

Well, Kat Corrigan and Mike Traver (not part of this show, but a former colleague) might make me change my mind. I'm not at the commissioning point yet, or even at the keychain point. But I really, really like their paintings. You can sort of see Kat's stuff in the tents (above).

Another awesome find was Gordon M. Coons, who was displaying at one of my next stops. He's an Ojibway/Ottawa artist and does paintings (some take-offs of classics, like "New World Scream") and small sculptures. My faves were the Red-winged Blackbirds, which aren't on his website, but the really cool "Makwa II" is, as well as some examples of how he incorporates gold leaf into his paintings.

Side story! I worked at a Dairy Queen the summer I was 16. Not this one. Every night I would go home with dried soft serve all crusted up my arms from making blizzards because this was in the days before they had those nifty paper tubes to assist in the blizzard-making process. And I remember that every shift, I would hear a Smashmouth song on the radio, make dilly bars, and eat some delicious treats. Those are the best hotdogs in existence, damn it! On the other hand, you don't ever want to sip the misty stuff without putting a flavor syrup in it. You also should think thrice before getting a dipped cone, because while the soft serve and even the hot fudge aren't so bad for you, whatever makes the dipping stuff solidify is VERY bad for you. But delicious, yes, I know. That job is also where I learned that rancid dairy products in the garbage really stink.

So I planned my bike ride to end down by the scenic Minnehaha Falls and park (above). The park building is not so pretty inside, but it serves the purpose of providing shelter and bathrooms, and I think you can host parties there. You can also have picnics and BBQs all over the place outside of the building, where there is an expanse of grass, trees, benches, tables, a little playground, and a band shell.

Steps away is the falls itself (below), which is currently actually flowing because we've had some rain. That has also made the park and everything else nice and green. You can walk down a bunch of steps to the bottom of the falls and go across, walk around, take pictures. Just don't do it in June with kids who will point out every dead caterpillar along the way.

You can rent these bike-thingies, which are pretty cool. I've seen people riding them at least a mile from the rental place, so they must be fun. At this point in my day, I was pretty tired. Too tired to find out what the bike-thingies are actually called or how much they cost.

Sea Salt Eatery is also right there in the park. They specialize in, um, seafood. And they host events and donate to neighborhood causes, so that's neat.

With only a few stops left, I crossed the Minnehaha Creek (which connects our fine city lakes), where some ducks were lazing. This area always amazes me because you might never guess it's in the middle of a city - that a block away there's a lightrail station and just down from that are grain mills. My great-grandma lived a couple blocks away from these ducks and when I was very little, I would visit her and she would take me on walks by the creek and teach me to spot Red-winged Blackbirds.

I've gone by this part of the creek many times, but just noticed that there is a fire hydrant almost hiding in the reeds. Weird.

This is why I live here.

Last pic from the bike.

Last stop of the crawl - Twisted Groove. They liked my hat (I made a red one for myself), and I liked them.

Home. 2 pm. Every Saturday should be like this.

No comments: