Table by Lexa Walsh and Mutants by Annabel Blue Dudash and Elsa Rudolph.
I have to start with a confession. Usually when something is being described as “cool,” I run the other way. The really cool doesn’t need to be told. And, if it is “a scene,” that scares me off even more. Still, I will let you in on the coolest place to be in San Francisco on a Friday night. It’s in Oakland. Yes, you have to hop on BART and take a quick ride to the Lake Merritt Station. You might even hear the music when you come up the stairs – a block away is the Oakland Museum of California. Their Friday Night “scene” is the best and precisely because it’s a non-scene scene. A friendly crowd spilling out onto 10th Street where there are food trucks if you’re hungry and, well, a great museum.
Most every major museum has one evening a week where they stay open late. This is often the best time to go. Admission is usually half-price, the museums are rarely over-crowded, and, when you wander away form the party, there is usually a calm energy in the rest of the building where you can enjoy the exhibits. It’s like being at a big house party where you explore the house and find a quieter place to hang out with a few friends. Even in San Francisco at the de Young, you can escape the fashionistas on a Friday evening and enjoy the museum in piece. The LACMA on a Friday is something I try to do every time I visit Los Angeles. One quiet Thursday I had a great time up in Boise, Idaho and felt I had the museum to myself.
Currently in Oakland there is some good work to check out. The on going We Customize exhibit is bringing different artists into the museum every week. Lexa Walsh’s sound table is a lot of fun (I want one of my own) and Annabel Blue Dudash and Elsa Rudolph’s mutants cracked me up (see images above). And the “don’t miss” show right now is Beth Yarnelle Edward’s Suburban Dreams. She has brilliantly captured a time and a place in Turn-of-the-Century Silicon Valley Suburbia. Her photographs are stunning in the present. I suspect that a century from now they will be recognized as very important historical and artistic works from the current period. Go see them!