The most hipster party in the most hipster city …


Murray Art Show_7

On Friday afternoon, I ditched work early (don’t worry–I got permission from my boss) and made the four-hour drive north to one of my favorite cities in the world. I had all my Bill Murray paraphernalia in the car–my Bill Murray earrings, the Life Aquatic t-shirt that Colin and my boss Ryan bought me for Christmas, and a red beanie. Just in case. I wasn’t actually planning on wearing Bill Murray attire to “The Murray Affair: A Bill Murray art show.” As Colin put it, “It’s like showing up to a concert wearing the band’s t-shirt.” It’s just too earnest.

I’d bought the tickets for the show several months ago, the very day I first realized someone was hosting a Bill Murray-themed art show at Public Works in San Francisco. As a self-proclaimed Bill Murray stalker (lite), I felt obligated to attend. Plus, if he happened to show up to the art party the night the show opened and I wasn’t there to see him, I knew I’d never forgive myself. As soon as I walked in to the gallery, I knew there was no way in hell Bill Murray would ever show up in a place like that for an event like an art show centered around his genius. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We arrived in the city a few hours early and ate okonomiyaki at Mifune Don in San Francisco. Colin has been jonesing for okonomiyaki ever since he had it in Japan, and San Luis Obispo certainly doesn’t have the diverse food scene necessary to produce a dish as unlikely as a Japanese savory pancake. All Colin could tell me was that it was a heap of deliciousness slathered in Japanese mayonnaise and barbecue sauce. Of course, I was game to try it. Fortunately, Mifune Don offered a vegetarian option and though the copious quantities of mayonnaise and sauce masked many of the flavors, I detected egg, onion, mushroom, and a whole bunch of other ingredients which remained unknown to me.

Fortified with delicious food and fancy clothes–which we changed into in the back of my car in a parking garage because we didn’t have a hotel for the Murray Art Shownight (thanks Outside Lands!)–we made our way to Public Works around 8:15 p.m. The reception was scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m. and there was a lengthy line winding around the corner. We knew we were in the right place due to the fact that there were a handful of ghostbusters, at least a dozen red beanies, a few Steve Zissous, a pink wig like the one Charlotte wore in Lost in Translation, and a guy with a fish swimming in a mason jar around his neck.

As we got closer to the front of the line and I saw the bouncers checking for IDs, I remembered that the event was 21 and over and started searching my purse for my driver’s license. Typically, I also have my passport on me (in case I need to make a quick getaway) but I’d brought my smaller purse for the event, leaving my passport and alternate form of ID back in SLO, four hours away. But I couldn’t find my ID. We got out of line and took turns tearing my purse apart. Still no ID. I was coming to terms with the fact that I’d lost my ID for the first time in the 14 years I’d had it right before going into a 21 and over event that I’d driven four hours to attend. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I pretty much immediately went into crying girl mode. At least, I was on the verge of crying and ridiculously embarrassed that I could have been so irresponsible. My best guess was that I left my license at the tattoo shop on Monday when I got the third round of work on my arm (more on that later). But it didn’t really matter where my ID was if it would take a four-hour car ride to get there.

I would have left then and there, but Colin pushed me back into line and we pleaded our case. I felt pretty terrible about that too. I mean, someone has a job to do and you’re preventing them from doing it because you weren’t sufficiently responsible to remember your ID. If it had been anything else, something I hadn’t come so far for, something I hadn’t been looking forward to and talking about for months, I wouldn’t have tried. But I did. And apparently the combination of A) swearing I was 30 b) insisting I’m usually a very responsible person, and c) adding that I’d driven four hours combined with the fact that I was obviously about to cry was sufficient. We got in, and I refrained from drinking or going anywhere near the multiple bars inside the space as a thank you to the bouncer who took pity on me.

The artwork was all over the map–good, bad, ugly, hilarious, exceptionally ugly. And there were dozens of pieces in almost every imaginable media. Sadly, I don’t think I got a photo of my favorite piece, which was made from pieces of duct tape and resin, but Colin had his camera handy and spent the night snapping away, next to hipsters with their phones practically implanted where their faces should have been. We checked out all the artwork twice and then giggled at the dance floor where a few people were trying to rock out to music that had nothing whatsoever to do with Bill Murray while a video projection of BMX bikers played above the stage (no clue what the connection was between Bill Murray and BMX bikers).

I really wish I’d taken the time to write down the names of all the participating artists to give them the credit they deserve, but frankly, the space was crowded and overwhelming and even if I had remembered my notebook, I don’t think I would have accomplished as much as I hoped. At a certain point, I just sort of abandoned all intentions and allowed the crowd to determine my speed and direction. Nonetheless, here are some of the photos from the event, taken by Colin Rigley.

Was it as good as I hoped? Maybe not, but nothing ever is. And, at the end of the day, if I hadn’t gone, or if the kind bouncer hadn’t allowed me in (which I would have completely understood), I know I would have regretted it.

The bottom of these two stained glass pieces captures my favorite moment from Groundhog Day. Don’t drive angry …

Murray Art Show_8 Murray Art Show_9

Bill Murray in “Makeup” by Laura Osterweis.

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This was a top five piece for me for sure. I don’t know why, except that there’s something about the expression on his face and the whimsy of these two animals he’s holding. It feels like a very Murray moment.

Murray Art Show_2

Allison Hoffman’s crafty figures were a welcome change and loaded with personality …

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This was another one of my favorites, mostly because it was something different and unique.

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I think this painting was Colin’s favorite piece. He kept talking about it even after we arrived back in SLO, and I didn’t have to prod him to take this picture.

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I didn’t actually particularly like any of the individual rings, but I did really like the idea behind this piece (or pieces).

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Simple. Classic. And I really like the frame.

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A little bit of everything …

Murray Art Show_1

And this is how I’ll probably always think of him … Image by Dan Toro.

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  1. That sounds like an interesting art show! It’s cool to see how diverse the pieces are.

  2. Looks like fun. Anything like this in Florida???

  3. I love how your expeditions always have a funny story attached to them, Ashley.

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