Odd Night on the Sod at the Autry Museum


By Jennifer Bentson


Git’ out those Western Boots and get ready for some fun, shopping, art, music and child friendly entertainment!  Friday, May 22, 2015, from 6PM to 11PM was the kick off of “Odd Nights at the Autry” an event for the whole family.  Western Hoopla lives and thrives in Los Angeles and is kickin’ at the Autry.  Yessiree Bob, Odd Nights at the Autry, is a fantastic addition to the Autry Venue of Western Culture.  Located next to the main museum, in Griffith Park, across from the Zoo, is a huge grassy spot, perfect for a blanket and a picnic while listening to the acoustic music and the vibes of a wonderful night of food, craft and art.


I sashayed down the promenade of artisans and superb craftsmen to visit many of the booths. Along the way I met some real gems.


Ever squish a bug? Well now you can honor those bugs with “Biological Jewels”, wwww.biologicaljewels.com.  Andrea and Oscar are the couple who founded this business. They met at a tree hugging event, and have been together ever since.  Oscar scours the forests and urban nooks of Los Angeles looking for bugs. They then use the lost wax process and cast the bugs or bug parts, in the case of the tarantula jewelry, into high quality exquisite silver or brass artifacts.


Photography can be a window to your soul.  Brock Daves at www.brockdaves.com, has images that would open a wall to the soul of nature. His Chuckwalla series feels like you are experiencing the world as a Chuckwalla.


Visit Guy Long www.rosecityca.comillustrator and designer, and get a penny to visit his booth. He has created a whole city of characters who live in Rose City.  He introduced me to the pictures, images of the characters on clothing, and a map of Rose City.  Wow, did you know that the inspiration for the Bear on the California Flag is Leslie? You can visit Leslie at Rose City. You can even take a quiz and learn what character you would be in Rose City.  Are you Theodore who runs the city, Alistair the California Quail (our State Bird), or a host of other fictional, but important characters in California?


Is Alchemy dead?  No, and neither are metal smiths who create Champlevé’ Jewelry.  The beauty of metal with bright glass inlay is an ancient process.  Sharon Kaplan, www.sharonkaplanjewelry.com, has ignited a scintillating line of luminous necklaces, earrings, and other adornments.  Sharon began her career with a love of antique jewelry and has studied metallurgy for over 14 years.  Feel like a princess with Champlevé’ around your neck.


Elisa Goodman is nota Curmudgeon but is the founder of www.curmudgeoncards.com.

Elisa’s art cards can been seen all over Los Angeles at many Museums and stores.  She hand fabricates her cards from unique materials, stamps, her own illustrations, and found objects.  When you send one of her cards you are sending a piece of art.  Elisa said she is inspired by her husband who left us in 2010.  She feels like life is just being discovered and this is evident in her beautiful cards.


Beach time at the Autry? Even though we are miles away from the beach, I felt like I was visiting the shores when I entered the rolling boutique of “Waves of Attire”, www.wavesofattire.com.  The two owners, Katie and Jessica bought an old bread truck and outfitted it with clothing racks, jewelry stand, fitting room and cash register.  This truck rolls all over Orange County and Los Angeles County since 2014, selling clothing from the back “store”.  You can schedule the truck for a party or event, kind of like a food truck.  Katie and Jessica said, it’s like a beach party in a truck!


Ears to Jessica who loves Disneyland, “I started putting my creativity to use back in 2012, I always made myself a festive pair of ears when going to Disneyland on a Holiday. While wearing them I began to get tons of compliments and questions, ‘where, when and how can I have those? So I began to make a few here and there.
And now here I am, in awe of how much love and support I have gotten and over 1000 sales!! I’m so thankful and so busy doing what I love.”  Jessica makes unusual mouse ears and custom mouse ears to wear around town or to your next visit to Disneyland: www.shophouseofmouse.etsy.com.


Ashley Urban has been a thrift shop miner for years.  She repurposes the treasures and has an Etsy Shop online.  I purchased two of her handbags crafted from vinyl LP’s and love them! Find her at the search field for etsy.com: golden bee oddities.


So you just don’t know how to present your lobster dinner to your guests?  Problem solved! Ellen Cline of Long Beach, California, designs and creates elegant white earthenware crafted by happy hands at her home suitable for that special dinner.  Her background includes being a chef who loves food and its presentation.  Her work is sold all over Southern California in Art Museums (Norton Simon) and in gift shops. But if you want a pure artistic experience, contact Ellen directly at www.ellencline.com.  She pours her heart into every pot.


Admit it, going to Home Depot is inspirational.  Well it is to Kathleen at “United by Form”, www.unitedbyform.com.  She has used copper tubing, brass rings and other unusual objects from all types of genres to create artworks either worn or hung.  The pieces are genuine and will work to accent that black cocktail dress or repair a sink in a pinch, although they are so lovely you won’t want to use them for anything but high fashion.

Saddle sore?  Need a new belt or handbag?  Try an artisan crafted high quality leather fashion from La Rue Leather.  Eldon Asp who is the tall drink of water that crafts the leather, is from a long line of leather workers.  He grew up on a ranch in the Yukon Territory (that’s in Canada) and his father was a saddle maker.  Visit his store at www.larueleather.com.


Tired of shopping, is that possible?  Well there is something for everyone at Odd Nights at the Autry, there is food! Maine Lobster, Korean BBQ, Hamburgers and whatever you can imagine from a food truck.  The trucks circled the camp just like a western cattle drive. It was an exciting confab of wonderful, fresh, food that nourished the cowpunchers in the crowd.


Lots of folks brought their kids and settled in for an evening of jumpies and trampolines and music. Live music.  Wonderful musicians that had the kids up dancing to a unique version of folk music.


I can’t wait for the next event on Friday, June 19, 2015, 6PM to 11PM.   Lots of free parking at the Autry, or the Zoo across the street. Look for the Art Quench Magazine Table!


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