The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

24 April 2004

Some day my prints will come

"Art for art's sake," argued W. Somerset Maugham, "makes no more sense than gin for gin's sake." Which is true as far as it goes, but until they decide to have a Gin Festival downtown, there's always a good reason to go to the Festival of the Arts, especially since the clouds that had been dampening things all week unexpectedly lifted late this afternoon.

It doesn't cost anything to get into the Festival, though you'll be hard-pressed to find a place to park your car for under five bucks. (I opted for the usual parking garage on the edge of the Arts District, which cost exactly five bucks, though the poor anxious fellow at the gate gave me back $15 in change for my ten-spot, presumably thinking it was a twenty. He was most happy to be corrected.)

And once within the periphery, it's wall-to-wall people, or would be were there any walls: take these photos at Awe Contraire, shot Thursday, and double the number of bodies. Saturdays, especially suddenly sunny Saturdays, are like that. And it's sort of democratic, in a way: you can't immediately distinguish the people who always show up for these things from the people who popped in on a day trip from Wichita. Some find it stale; I find it stirring.

Knowing my propensity for sampling every last food vendor, I figured it would be safer for both my metabolism and my wallet to have dinner before going. A wise move, generally, though a lighter meal probably would have translated to more energetic movement; by the time I got back to my car, I was pretty well shot for the day.

I really hadn't been expecting any individual artwork to call out my name, but a monotype by Gillian Kemper caught my eye; we conversed on some level, I put it back down, walked around for ten more minutes, sang two verses of "Some Kind of Wonderful" (the Drifters hit, not the one by the Soul Brothers Six) along with one of the performers, walked back to Kemper's tent, resumed the conversation with the piece, and finally bought it.

I also had an extended chat with an Arts Council volunteer who was happy to tell me how much the Festival had changed in the last twenty or so years, which presumably was learned from a script since she couldn't have been much over twenty herself, and if she was, I want some of whatever — probably not gin — she was drinking.

It was good to be back.

Posted at 8:41 PM to City Scene