Monday, July 11, 2011

21st Century Mod

Saturday was a good day. It was an arty-farty day, light and enjoyable. It was even a trip back in time, in a wonderfully retrospective afternoon.

I went to see the Tim Burton exhibit at LACMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. I ended up going by myself since my arranged play date had to cancel. I didn't mind. I looked forward to savoring the exhibit by myself, taking as much time as I wanted to, to soak in the details, especially anything that had to do with Edward Scissorhands.

The museum was crowded, and I wasn't the only one meandering alone. I enjoyed seeing a few art student types, with their avant-garde hairstyles, geek-chic glasses, and espadrille shoes. As a forty-something adult, I relish the 80's-inspired fashions that young people are wearing.

As expected, a lot of the art on display was dark in tone, often infused with humor. A lot of it was gory, and violent, even, such as the drawing of spaceships landing (but not from "Mars Attacks!" - that was later on in the exhibit) and aliens spearing human beings on the run. In the same picture, bloody corpses were trapped under giant alien eggs as bloodthirsty creatures were hatching out of them, dinosaur-esque and tentacled creatures.

The costume for Edward Scissorhands was on display, a patchwork of various leather pieces and many buckles. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I started to tear up when I first saw it. It was practically - and unexpectedly - my own personal Shroud of Turin, melodramatic as that may sound. Seeing the costume so close up and in person brought back the direct connection I had felt to the abandoned, childlike character two decades ago.

I needed to take a moment to step away and then come back to it. I walked into the next part of the exhibit featuring characters and scenes from "A Nightmare Before Christmas," before returning.

Next to Edward's leather bondage suit was a single set of scissor hands. It was under a cube of Plexiglass. I loved being able to examine the detail so closely, seeing that the "thumb" was a closed pair of pliers. Even upon such close inspection the metallic plastic covering the long blades, like Mylar wrapping paper, was still pretty convincing.

LACMA is within walking distance of Molly Malone's, an Irish pub. It was my lucky day: I got to see a small but conspicuous scooter rally gathering outside of the pub, a new generation of stylish mods among their tricked out Vespas parked on Fairfax Avenue. It did my former wannabe-mod heart good to see this specific subculture adapted and re-translated from the 60's to the 80's, and all the way into 2011. The newer mod generation seems tougher, grittier, with their piercings and many tattoos. They still appealed to my Inner Teen, and the young-extrovert-I-used-to-be, so eager to express my rugged individualism via a thrift store wardrobe and a Vespa scooter, circa 1986.

The cherry-on-top of my arty-farty Saturday was seeing a bright purple smartcar parked in the neighborhood. It was a candy-colored shade of purple, like the special edition M&M's you can buy in Las Vegas at M&M world. Like the uniquely accessorized scooters, it must have been a custom job. I would have been more jealous if my twenty year Purple Period hadn't ended a decade ago.

My inner Donny-Osmond-meets-Duckie-Dale reveled in the visual stimulation of it all.
It was a good Saturday.


quin browne said...

A good Saturday, indeed.

I, too, teared up at the Edward Scissorhands suit and hands. I wallowed in the wicked darkness of Burton's visions.

I envy you the enjoyment of the pub, the Vespas and the visual pleasure of the purpleness of the Smart car.

Steve Bailey said...

Sounds like a good day. I cant wait to go see that exhibit.

Erin said...

And THAT sounds like a glorious day on many levels.


Erin said...

Now THAT sounds like a glorious day!!! You were spiritually fed all day long!

Peter Varvel said...

Erin, yes! I wish I had thought to articulate/describe it that way . . . sometimes I forget, so thank you for the much needed reminder!