#165 In which our hero takes his lovely wife out on the town Pt. 2
After we made hotel reservations I started to poke around on the Internet and find out what there was to do in Columbus the weekend we’d be there. I thought about going to a show, but there wasn’t anything that we really wanted to see. But I did discover (actually, re-discover) that the Gallery Hop was that weekend. It’s been years -- probably about 10 years, actually -- since I’ve been to a Gallery Hop and I had forgotten all about it.
On the first Saturday of every month, all of the galleries in the Short North stay open late. And many of the shops that aren’t galleries (hair salons, antique stores, furniture stores) put art up on their walls and transform into galleries for the night. Many of them serve wine and cheese, and often they save their big exhibitions for this night. People come and wander in and out, look at art, listen to the street performers and generally enjoy the night. It’s a good time. In college, a group of friends and I used to do this all the time.
Like I said, I hadn’t been there in a decade or more, but I was surprised at how much the Short North had changed. In college it was an artsy part of town, but pretty run down. Lots of students lived in cheap studio apartments, and there were several mini-markets, bars and head shops in the area. And at least one strip joint (RIP, The Garden. The one and only strip joint I’ve ever been to… and it couldn’t have been nastier. Maybe if the strippers hadn’t been so skanky and the environment so perverty, I may have gone back to another one).
But now! The area is really cleaned up. There are these cool iron arches over the street, and lots more galleries than I remember. The shops are a little more up-scale (see below) and the entire area us just nicer. It was a very pleasant surprise.
One of the shops we passed was a Segway dealership. That’s all they sold! You wouldn’t believe the variety of Segways you can get now… big knobby cross-country ones, sleek high-style ones, they even have an optional seat you can buy.
But, what drove me into the store was that they were allowing people to take test drives. Ever since I’ve seen these things, I wanted to try one out. And it was cool. I was a little shaky on it, my balance isn’t the best in the world. The PR for these things made you think they worked like magic… you just think about moving forward, and it goes! To go backwards act like you’re going to take a step back and the machine moves for you! But it wasn’t like that… you leaned slightly and it went. You turned the handle to make it go in circles. It was cool, but I wasn’t blown away. The Scientist got on and of course she was instantly gliding around the store like she’s driven these things all her life. They were cool… but at $5,000, I’m not going to rush out and buy one.
We strolled around a bit, but were really only looking for one gallery. Earlier in the day we were at a coffee shop (actually, THE coffee shop. Stauf’s, where I proposed) reading the local arts papers and I found a story about a performance that night at the Gallery Hop.
A local artist (a sculptor, not a painter -- which is important for reasons you will see) had been painting a landscape a day for the past 30 days. But not just any landscape, a Bob Ross landscape! He painted along with the lesson of the day on The Joy of Painting and was exhibiting the results. But best of all, he was going to do a painting live that evening along with the show!
We got there just in time. The gallery was packed, and it took a lot of jostling to get The Scientist into a position where she could see what was going on. I, being a wee bit taller, didn’t have a problem seeing.
It was great. Bob Ross serenely turned a blank canvas into an amazing scene in seconds, and the painter tired to copy his work. It was really amusing to watch Bob Ross on the big screen TV effortlessly painting, and the in-gallery guy frantically trying to keep up. Clearly, it’s not as easy as Bob Ross makes it seem. After the 30 minutes the results were mixed… the sky and mountains looked great, but the trees needed a lot of work. I guess 30 days isn’t enough to master the technique, even from a professional artist.
Afterwards, we strolled around a bit more (it was a beautiful night) before heading back to the hotel. We stopped at the bar and boozed it up a bit before heading to bed. The next morning we ate breakfast, and headed home to the girls.
All in all, an absolutely wonderful anniversary weekend. Here’s hoping we can make it again next year.