Monday, October 01, 2007

9/28: the accidental avant garde

Jamie and I just tried to go to the VIP reception for the Houston Latino Book & Family Festival, where we’ll be working all weekend. It was to be held at the Museum of Fine Arts, and after we parked, the security guard waved us toward the staircase.

At the bottom, we encountered a throng of nicely dressed people, an open bar and a mesmerizing animated canvas that reminded me of Snorks. We helped ourselves to drinks and prepared to not mingle, since the only person we expected to know was Tony Diaz, the festival coordinator, who would probably be really busy.

We admired the current exhibit—a collection of art jewelry, from the wearable to the straight-out-of-a-surrealist-dream to the “I could do that with some old computer parts and pipe cleaners”—and people-watched.

“I’m surprised how few Latino people there are,” I said.

“Are these the funders and stuff?” asked Jamie.

“I guess so. Maybe funder types are always white. That’s sort of depressing.”

“Everyone has really cool jewelry on. Look, that lady looks like she’s wearing a bunch of light bulbs around her neck. And I’ve never seen so many brooches,” Jamie observed.

“That woman looks like she’s wearing a pin cushion around her wrist,” I said. “Maybe this is what rich people dress like. I don’t go to enough of these things to know. Ooh, I like that girl’s skirt.”

After an hour of speculation, Jamie finally leaned over to a woman standing near a display case of futuristic pendants. “Excuse me, can you tell me what this event is?”

The woman laughed warmly. “You guys just wandered in?”

“Well, we didn’t mean to,” I said.

“It’s the opening of the avant-garde jewelry exhibit,” the woman said. “So all the avant-garde jewelry people are here.”

We went back upstairs because the party was thinning anyway. When we reached the lobby, a man pointed to my seashell necklace, a gift from my sister, purchased at Cost Plus World Market, I’m pretty sure.

“Ooh,” he said, “That’s one of the best ones we’ve seen all evening.”

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