Posts filed under Space Oddities

Space Oddities - April: Webb Gallery

I decided that once a month in 2018, I’m going to take a quick trip to explore/see/do/hear something weird and unusual in the space around me. I’m calling these Space Oddities and this is April…

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At the beginning of the year when I decided to undertake this Space Oddities project, I spent a few hours on Atlas Obscura making a list of places that would fulfill my mission to see some weird stuff. It was there I came across the Webb Gallery in Waxahachie, Texas, and it immediately made my list: Purveyors of fun, culture, and creativity who collect the mysterious, the unusual, and the striking? Sold.

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I drove down this past Sunday (they’re only open Saturdays & Sundays from 1-5 pm) and it was such a nice day to get out and explore. The gallery is located just off the main historic square on W. Franklin. There was no sign, but I knew I had arrived from the colorful woodwork facade, the amazing toothpick structures on display in the front windows, and the mannequin-manned ticket booth near the entrance (but does it dispense fortunes like Zoltar?).

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The curators of the Webb Gallery, Bruce and Julie Webb, are a husband-and-wife team who have scoured the country over the past few decades in search of oddball art and “just plain kickass stuff.” Some of their speciality collections include carnival banners:

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Fraternal order objects and architecture:

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Folk art:

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And general oddities:

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The galley also hosts special exhibits. I happened to show up on the last day of the Drifting Door to Door exhibit, which showcased some pretty amazing vintage tattoo flash and the works of artist Max Kuhn.

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I browsed the collections for a good hour, soaking up the weirdo vibe and visual stimulation. If you’re in search of a quick day-trip in the DFW area, I highly recommend checking out the Webb Gallery. The owners are super knowledgeable, interesting, and have great stories.
And they have two Boston Terriers who greet you at the door.

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Or they stay asleep on the couch. Either way, dogs and weird stuff. It was a great visit.

Have any recommendations for future Space Oddities in the DFW area? Let me know!

Posted on April 26, 2018 and filed under Space Oddities.

Space Oddities - March: Texas Pinball Festival

I decided that once a month in 2018, I’m going to take a quick trip to explore/see/do/hear something weird and unusual in the space around me. I’m calling these Space Oddities and this is March...

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This past weekend, I hit up the Texas Pinball Festival in Frisco, Texas, with my sister, my niece, and my niece’s boyfriend. We met my brother-in-law Stephen up there and had the best night wandering around what amounted to a 40,000 sq. ft. free play arcade. Leave your quarters at home, kiddos.

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In organized rows up and down the convention center ballroom were 400 pinball machines, along with a handful of other classic video games, simultaneously dinging and whirring and clacking and glowing. It was sensory overload and it was fantastic. Some of the machines were for sale and some were just for exhibition, but they’re all available to play. In addition to the game room, the festival hosts a swap meet, vendors, speakers, tournaments, and even celebrity guests – Lou Ferrigno was set up next to an Incredible Hulk pinball and was available for some mean selfies.

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Though my brother-in- law has been restoring pinball machines and exhibiting them at the festival for several years, I had never been and he knew exactly where to point me first: Dolly Parton. My sister and I have a thing for Dolly. I mean, forget the Leg Lamp. This machine by Bally epitomizes the soft glow of electric sex. Well, maybe that was the Playboy pinball, but this is a close second.

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I really enjoyed the juxtaposition of vintage-era machines and more modern pop culture references as we walked up and down the aisles. The older machines drew me in with their stylistic art, interesting shapes, and amazing analog (for lack of a better word) playfields. The craftsmanship of these machines was undeniable and something to appreciate.

 
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But, man, the pop culture machines were fun to play, too. The lines were usually longer for these pinballs, but worth the wait. We stopped at The Wizard of Oz, The Big Lebowski, Game of Thrones, The Simpsons, and a few others for a chance to beat high scores (which totally did not happen).

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My favorite machine of the night had to be the Zissou Life Aquatic pinball. It was an older, re-themed machine – a vintage body with a pop culture makeover – and the Adidas and Campari just finished it off perfectly. If only I had been wearing my red beanie! #teamzissou

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I highly recommend attending the Texas Pinball Festival next year if you get the chance. Go with a group of friends and make a day of it. It’s worth the price of admission for even a few short hours, but, really, there’s so much to explore and see and do and hear, you’ll need a full day.

Posted on March 19, 2018 and filed under Space Oddities.