Saturday, July 21, 2007

Pleased and fairly stunned to report that we survived Artscape!

I mean, who would do that? Who would take a 1-year-old to Artscape?

In fact, if you're like many people, you're asking: who would even go to Artscape? At all?

It's the annual outdoor arts fest in Baltimore.
It is always always always scheduled for the hottest days of the year. With the highest humidity.
Perversely, it's always completely mobbed with people, hundreds of thousands of them. Many visit the small press tents and the art installations, but many more come looking for cheesesteaks and funnel cake.
(Since most art -and most art patrons- do better INDOORS, some of the art and performances are tucked away in buildings and courtyards around the Maryland Institute campus. NOT SO with the cheesesteaks and funnel cake, which are right there on the street - at least a mile of food vendors. This leads the waggish to refer to it as Food-Scape.)
Plus, they sell yards of Coors on the street starting at 8am.
And you park like a mile away. (I guess the walk to your car gives you time to sober up. I hasten to add that, when I lived in Baltimore, in the next neighborhood overm and could easily have stumbled drunkenly home, the beer was not as much of a feature of Artscape.)

I love it.
I love everything about it.
I love the art, I love the art cars, I love the outdoor concert where you sit on the hillside at Mt Royal Station. (It's where I saw Taj Mahal, Betty and Johnny Clegg. Different years.)
I love a cheesesteak.
I love the several hundred art and craft vendors.
I love the idea of showing experimental short films in a tent in in the middle of the street on a Saturday afternoon in July.
I love the way guerilla art projects seep into other parts of town.
I love the people standing outside Theatre Project, inviting people to their original one-act plays like a barker at a sideshow.
I love that there's a ferris wheel, and it's free, and so people bring their little kids and walk around eating popcorn and have conversations about sculptures. That makes me so happy I could practically faint.

I love that it's the same weekend as Otacon, so that, as you drive up Charles from the Harbor, you see people - SERIOUSLY, LIKE A HUNDRED PEOPLE! walking down in homemade elf costumes.

(incidentally, the internet is a making us all smarter, I just learned the word "glomp".)
(I've had them, I just never knew there was a word for them.)

Anyway, I threw Petulant Baby in the car this morning, and I really didn't think we would get all the way to Baltimore. I thought we might get to the ATM, and maybe the Target. But it was such a beautiful day that, once I got him strapped down, and was driving with the windows down and the radio on, I said "To hell with it! Artscape or Bust!"

He obligingly fell asleep, and work up in a stroller on Charles Street.

Of course he protested. I was actually a little nervous - was he just going to be a little crab, a surly little crankypants, and harsh everyone's buzz until I capitulated and took him back home?

We were saved by a monkey.

That's Django, with her friend Jerry. After the jerk chicken stand and the line for the ferris wheel, they were the first thing we came to upon entering Artscape. A welcome sight indeed, as Ian was completely transfixed for...a long time. I got Jerry's card - he does lots more than just pimp monkey kisses, though that was most in demand today.

Anyway, watching Django kiss other children was plenty of entertainment for Ian, and the thrill of a real live monkey - not just on Animal Planet! But in person!- created enough afterglow for him to sit happily in the stroller while I purchased and ate a piece of cherry pie from Rodney.(Ian declined.) AND while we looked at some handmade jewelry and some of this and some of that - a crocheted OBEY afghan and some cool photos
and it was really fun and a nice day SO WE WENT HOME.

I'm ambitious, yes, but I am not stupid. I only put an hour and a half on the parking meter. I knew that he'd hit his fill line eventually, and I was almost spot on.

But I'm really really happy.

Since we have entered the run-up to the terrible twos, I sometimes (ha ha SOMETIMES, that's a special literary device I learned in school, it means PRACTICALLY CONSTANTLY) feel very put-upon. "Oh, fine," I think to myself, "I'll just never do anything fun again. I'll just spend the rest of my life sitting around a townhouse in the suburbs saying 'good job!' and 'Come on, eat one more carrot,' and 'Ew, who has a 'tinky butt? Who? WHO?' until I am too old to enjoy anything except {God forbid} bringing the snacks for travel soccer and complaining about the coarse language in mainstream movies. I am so screwed."

So to be able to take my son to Artscape - even the smallest northeast corner of Artscape, for an hour - really makes me happy.

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