Art Car weekend is always a great time, and there was no exception this year – the 20th Anniversary year. It started for me at the Art Car Ball which had moved to the Son’s of Hermann Hall on Heights/Yale. There was an “outlaw” ball this year at the Meridian, location of the ball the last few years. I suspect it was because planning had already begun on the Meridian’s part by the time the move was contemplated by the local artists.
There was a bit of rain (which is to say a massive torrential downpour replete with hail) that washed some of the attendees inside and definitely kept down numbers. It was still quite fun, though, and I met some people I didn’t previously know.
Friday morning came early as I met with Big AL to drive one of his two cars in the Main Street Drag. This is a truly fun event that begins early in the morning at the zoo, as cars are divided up into packs of about 10 each and go on different routes visiting schools and hospitals. Two motorcycle police escort each team through town to keep the pack together.
Friday evening the symposium and all around gathering was held at the Art Car Museum with half of Heights Boulevard being blocked off. Several bands play outside. There’s some talks given inside. Some nice fire from cars which is not allowed in the parade. (Mark Bradford was driving/walking his cars around the citgo parking lot belching flames.)
The talks included the Burning Man art director talking about a group of “burners” who went to Mississippi after Katrina and helped in debris removal, a talk about two cars who have been built by Traumatic Brain Injury patients as part of therapy, and racing art car.
The evening was punctuated by the 20 fireworks hats for 20 years being ignited in the median of the street, and the 20 people underneath them dancing about. It went for 5 or 6 minutes.
Saturday morning was another early rise to drive Big AL’s cars down to the parade. It takes quite a while to negotiate the judging and staging before you park and wait for the parade. I got to spectate the parade. Walked the staging area. Saw many friends. Walked back to Sabine St. where Nunnally and Connelly had assembled a crew of others and a cooler. We only had a few cars to spare before we jumped into Kenneth Howard Hates You to get a ride with Big AL to the after party at the Last Concert Cafe, partaking of free food and beer.
From there we went to the Art Car Museum expecting to hook up with the illuminated cruise, but it actually started from the Last Concert. There were many people at the Museum so we hung out there for a bit, and joined the cruise when it came by. We briefly hung out at one of their stops but decided to call it a day a bit later.
The next morning I drove Versatile over to the Orange Show for the brunch and award presentation. Lots more fun hanging out and chatting with people. Big AL finally got to meet Robert Williams and mid afternoon I finally drove home to nap – Versatile will camp out with me for the next few days.