friday, 7/12/13. anna picked me up after work. it was opening day at the state fair. the fair is an annual tradition for la familia bronson/lopez. i really don't know if anna and i had missed a year attending the fair in our relationship. mind you, anna and i have been together going on something like 23 years. summer is not summer without a trip to the california state fair.
the evening couldn't have been nicer. tho there were lots of people at the fair it didn't feel crowded at all. and the temperature -- some years the highs are in the triple digits, which makes for a miserable experience, nothing makes on crankier than a lot of people roasted by a blast furnace sun -- was a very mild high 70s, nearly sweater weather for summer.
we stayed until closing. there are the traditional exhibits showcased in the exhibits buildings such as FUR & FEATHER [rows upon rows of caged ducks, chickens and rabbits], INDUSTRIAL ARTS [local schools and colleges featuring student projects], FINE ARTS [a clearinghouse of california artists], and CRAFTS [quilts, scrapbooking, dress making etc etc], and a few other high tech extravaganzas like a 3-D tour thru an enchanted forest [sounds silly and nerdy but was quite well done and thrilling].
now, in the FINE ARTS section there are some very good paintings. but in the CRAFTS it all appears to be victoriana kitsch [there was a wonderful quilt with a halloween theme that i adored]. the victorian age doesn't seem to want to die. however, i wondered, what is art. i mean, how do we ascribe meaning and depth to made things. if it is a painting, particularly of a serious subject [like death, like politics] then we give it more value. however, if the subject is a scene of christmas patched to a quilt or sweater we give it less value. more value is art and the less value is kitsch. even i am guilty of such assignations. but why. what the hell is art anyway but things made by humans. everything has some meaning to someone. the definitions of art are dynamic. art is what we say it is. and the person who created that halloween quilt is, in my humble estimation, an artist like the person who made a huge dia de los muertos sugar skull in the FINE ARTS exhibit [which was really cool, but i'm afraid i couldn't own such a piece even if i had the space for it and the money to purchase it. for you see it was really made of sugar and i'd have to have a lick. and once you start licking candy you can't stop until it is gone.].
art is what makes you it. for me there is no high art or low art. there are only the things we create and if it speaks to you then let us call it art. which brings me to the concerts. for the life of the state fair there are a number of musical acts and bands. for the main stage are the headliners, bigger name bands and musicians, and on the smaller stages located in various corners of the fair grounds are local acts. you will not find bands like U2 or the Rolling Stones on the main stage. however, one year anna and i saw The Go-Gos, all original members, who freaking rocked out. sometimes there are some good bands. other years, well, it depends on your taste.
i couldn't figure out who the band was on the main stage which is located in a central part of the fairgrounds. even if you are not in the audience you can't avoid hearing the music. the band covered ozzy osbourne's song 'crazy train' and a song by journey. i thought they were a cover band for vintage pop metal. but there was a song the band played that i recognized but couldn't quite place. the tune was very popular in its day. i thought the song was by loverboy, and early '80s pop rock outfit. not to my taste at all. nick thought 'crazy train' was rocking and he was banging his head to the tune. the boy does like his rock&roll.
it wasn't till later i found the identity of the band, night ranger, who, like loverboy, was huge in the early 1980s. i loathed night ranger. they were the soul killing top 40 corporate cash machine that fueled my teenage rebellion as i listened to hardcore punk bands like MDC, Flipper, Black Flag et al. that was then this is now. i looked at the audience for night ranger. they were having a great time. and the band was in tune and were tight. who the fuck am i to say it wasn't good.
still, i didn't like it. i still don't like that kind of music. but it is art. just not my art.
later there was another heavy metal band playing a smaller stage on the other side of the fair right in the thick of the kids' midway. these guys were also doing a lot of cover songs. every member of the band were either my age or older. they still sported long hair and a style that spoke of '80s couture. the lead guitarist had a cool mane of silvery locks. they rocked hard putting energy and soul into their performance. i don't like heavy metal, especially since i came of age during the reign of iron maiden and, a bit later, metallica. metal ain't my thing. but these dudes were good and so i stopped on the tarmac standing near stage right next to the silver maned lead guitarist to listen to a band seriously kicking out the jams. the amps were cranked to eleven. i didn't stay for very long because the music was too loud for anna and nick. for the few moments i stood and watched and listened i knew i was, de gustibus non est disputandum, in the presence of art.