First Thursdays, First Fridays

The past two days saw even more Nights of Hobnobbery, as I attended 1st Thursdays at the Orlando Museum of Art and 1st Fridays along Ivanhoe Row.  The events continue in the early days of February!  Onward we go, so grab your coat and let’s hit the town.

Members of the Maitland Art Center provided art pieces and installations in one of the galleries at OMA, resulting in some interesting experiments with art and audiences.  One of the more notable pieces was the little room of doors created by Brigan Gresh and Andrew White, in which the artists (and perhaps another person or two?) were inside this installation and people can peer insidethrough peepholes and keyholes, as well as slip notes and little “gifts,” plastic toys and playing cards, into the letter slot on one side of the door-room. OMA-goers seemed intrigued by the interaction with these people they couldn’t see, and it was fun to slip notes and to hear what the reaction would be.  I also found Martha Lent’s work interesting in her use of vintage ephemera.  The large piece with the rusted bedsprings was hers, if you happen to recall.  I don’t believe I had gotten a good photo of it, unfortunately, but you can see the snapshot I did get on my Flickr account.

It had been a while since I had been to the OMA during an evening event such as this, so the crowd was overwhelming in the RS-21 room when we had first gotten in.  By “we,” I mean myself and my companions Jeremy, Jessica E and that dashing man-about-town, who also happens to be my roommate, Clark.  After the admittance fee of $10, which I didn’t have to pay since I am still an OMA member (nyah, nyah), and bumping into Fran and Joe (hello!), we dove into the fray of the fashionable and hip, brushing elbows against the well-heeled and  well-wined.  Pondering a route of likewise libations, Clark and I (apparently the drinkers of the group) pondered before the cash bar before passing on the Shipyard and Seadog; he didn’t want to pay $5 for a beer, I didn’t want to use my $10 bill featuring the older, aesthetically-pleasing design. So, dry, we left and went into the less-crowded galleries featuring what was currently showing at OMA.  We ran into Joe again, who was looking for his fiancee in the melee of glass and mirrors in the Therman Statom exhibit, and meandered around through the other rooms before going back to a less-crowded RS-21 exhibit.

Epilogue: Clark and I went home and had martinis, which were free since I always have a bottle of Hendrick’s Gin on hand, and had picked up a bottle of Noilly Prat about a month ago as well. 

First Fridays along North Orange Avenue was a different affair.  Centered more around local commerce than art, it was a bit sad how empty the street was and how many shops had remained closed despite the publicity in the form of little signs along Orange.  Clark and I walked from our house along Virginia, as opposed to driving, because I had thought there would be problems parking and, well, I needed a walk.  Clark was surprised at how short of a walk it really was to get from our place on Ferncreek to Orange Avenue, and along the way we saw other places of interest: The Black Sheep, a few restaurants and bars, a weird credit union that didn’t look like any sort of bank, etc.  We ate at The Greek Corner, a favourite among our social circle for their food and quick service.  Lacking my partner in mezze (aka Hao), Clark and I split an order of grape leaves and I dug into a very tasty and filling Greek pita pizza.  Mmmm… I’d eat it again tonight, but that would be, perhaps, a little overkill.

After paying the bill, we walked back out into the chilly weather, which may have kept some people and businesses away on this so-called event.  After poking around Washburn Imports and seeing a Buddha statue that cost as much as Clark paid for his car four years ago, we looked into the windows of stores we wished were open until we found one that was, actually, open.  A relative newcomer to the block, Docking Bay 94 Comic Shop’s open door glowed like a beacon on the horizon across the street, and like a moth, Clark fluttered to the light.  Despite being nearly 9 o’clock, we were the first ones who had come in through the door, and Rich, one of the store owners, welcomed our company.  He became even more animated once he hit upon Clark’s nerve of affection for Conan the Barbarian.  Several minutes later–in which time I had gotten a good poke around the store, put my hat back on, walked down the block to the only open antiques store, walked a bit further until I got to the Savoy, then turned back around and reentered the comic shop–Rich was still talking to Clark about other shared and not-so-shared interests.  Jack, the other inhabitant of the shop who introduced himself as someone who “didn’t work there, but was always around,” informed me of the box of free stuff that happened to have manga in it after noting my interest in a Lupin III manga in Japanese.  In the box were several copies of the 13th volume of Bleach, which happens to be the very next volume I needed in my collection.  Le score!

After asking about what trade-ins were taken and informed of the shop hosting swap meets in the future, which I will try to use in order to get rid of some very old Dragonball Z cards I have from my adolescence, we all parted as new friends, and Clark and I made the walk down Virginia towards home.  Although the showing of people was low for the street’s First Friday due to the one-two punch of the lousy economy and the cold weather, I hope the next one will be better populated.  At least Clark and I made a new store discovery, one which was walking-distance to boot.  And as someone who prefers cooler weather to warm, now is the time to walk to local stores rather than when it’s hot and sticky the rest of the year.

Tonight there are other events going on, at least one a few blocks away, but I am staying home tonight with a batch of laundry to fold, worn out from today and the previous nights put together.  Today I hobnobbed with my mother, puttered around in Thriftko, and stopped off at Whole Foods, picking up some stuff for making scones at Stardust tomorrow morning.  So yes, Virginia, there is stuff to do in Orlando if you know where to look.  Tomorrow after baking comes the Enzian Film Slam, where my friend Kate has a showing, and then, hopefully, Coraline.

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