Columbus – April 2018 – Gallery Day

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The Riffe State Office Tower in downtown Columbus is the home of a gallery that rotates exhibits every few months. Since January the display has been the 2017 Quilt Nationals, featuring artists from across the country.

Expecting the usual symmetrical circles and patterns of ‘country quilts’, we were pleased to see a totally different approach – more like art in the form of a quilt.

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Many had no patterns at all – rather they resembled paintings as they dealt with the artists emotions at the time of creation. But they are indeed quilts.

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Those that did have patterns were more free form.

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Even the symmetrical ones had a modern feel.

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Not your grandma’s quilt.

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Meanwhile just around the corner is the Ohio State University Urban Arts Center, located on the lower level of an old department store.

This exhibit featured the works of the senior art students.

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While the exhibit wasn’t officially open yet, they let us wander around.

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George Romero would be proud.

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Columbus – April 2018 – SCCA Tech Day

For more than 70 years the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) has lead the effort for grass roots road racing across the country. While it does promote professional racing, it is best known for making racing somewhat affordable to all who want to race.

The Alliance Autosport team is based on the west side of Columbus in a nondescript industrial park building (on the outside – inside it is great). On this cold Saturday they were holding a ‘Tech Day’ to get ready for the upcoming season and hold an open house to encourage others to check out racing.

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Alliance Autosport offers ‘Arrive and Drive’, the ability to rent race cars, thus avoiding the high cost of ownership. Their collection of cars were neatly stacked on pallet racks

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Most of the cars they have run Spec Racer Ford Generation 3 engines. The theory behind these engines, and the car setup in general is that by prohibiting modifications it makes all the cars equal, as well as keeps the cost down.

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A couple of the cars were down on the floor with their covers off for closer inspection…

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While the racked ones gave an interesting perspective. Everyone at the event were passionate about racing and very welcoming for a couple of people wandering in to check it out. It’s time to go racing!

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Columbus – March 2018 – Women’s Final Four Bounces into Town

College sports is a big deal, both socially and financially, and every city longs to host the finals of the basketball season. This year the NCAA Women’s Final Four was held in Columbus, and as with all major sporting events now they have a festival to accompany the games.

One of the highlights for this weekend was an event called ‘Bounce’, which gives thousands of kids a free basketball and T Shirt and allows them to dribble along the street next to Nationwide Arena up to the Convention Center where there was a number of activities for them (as well as adults).

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To coordinate such an event takes lots of volunteers, who all seemed to be having as much fun as the kids.

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But eventually they were set loose – the sound of basketballs dribbling reverberating off the buildings.

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The little ones even maintained their focus.

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Soon the street was filled with the kids and their parents.

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Once they reached the convention center there were unique skills tests waiting for them.

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A highly energetic host lead a game of ‘basketball musical chairs’, requiring them to dribble around the circle in the middle of the court – when the music stopped they had to run down, make a basket and head back. Easily the host was the most amusing part of the day.

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I am not certain the city makes the money back they invest in the games, but it does draw some attention to the city, for a few days at least.

 

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Columbus – March 2018 – The Bronze Age Comes To An End

The American Bronzing Company was located in a Southeast Columbus industrial area, enjoying an 80 year run of providing America a needed service – bronzing baby shoes (and I found out today many other things). Amazingly this company had bronzed 14 million baby shoes in their history.

This traditional now however has essentially disappeared so the business recently shut down. Today they were auctioning off the entire factory; office equipment, machinery and any remaining inventory.

We paid a visit not to participate in the auction, but to check out the factory – it was well worth it for a unique piece of American cultural history.

Up first – a bronze hat, and not to be outdone – a silver one.

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An ice skate!

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Some of the aforementioned 14 million baby shoes.

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A taco shell???

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Bras??????

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Meanwhile back in the idled factory you got a sense of how dirty the job must have been.

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A discarded sprayer.

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The shelves are now empty.

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With a number of baby shoes that went without the honor of being encased in bronze.

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But mine had been bronzed (many years ago).

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Columbus – March 2018 – Dior in Ohio

Ohio State University has a large collection in their ‘Costumes and Textiles’ Museum. For a few months this year they have had a feature called ‘Dior in Ohio’

The collection features dresses and accessories from the 1950s through the 1980s.

Displayed in two rooms, the primary room featured many from the 1950s including a Gray Wool and Silk Two Piece Dress from 1950. This dress, as with many others, was on loan from the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland

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Also on display were shoes and hats.

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A collection of the 1950s dresses.

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A collection of ‘Post Dior Evening Wear’.  Some in the collection had been worn by Hollywood stars including Lauren Bacall.

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An example from the 1970s

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The 1950s suits. While small, this display shows the classic elegance that fashion had in the 1950s, while showing the bold changes than came in the 1960s and 1970s.

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Columbus – December 2017 – Krampus

This year I learned something new, the legend of ‘Krampus’.  According to the legend (and Wikipedia), Krampus is a half goat- half demon who during the Christmas season punishes children who have been bad. Over time the legend coupled Krampus with Saint Nicholas to encourage children to be good.

For a full description please see the Wiki link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krampus

Krampus celebrations are a big deal in Germany, Austria and other countries in the region. This was the first I had seen any celebrations in the states, and while small, was entertaining.

The group gathered in the a parking lot in the Clintonville neighborhood of Columbus.

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Noise makers and elaborate costumes were the order of the day.

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Apparently the Grinch and Mrs Grinch fit the bill as well. The costumes were great.

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Three horned ladies.

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The legend says they use sticks to ‘whip the children into behaving’. Clearly not a 21st century approach.

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The parade went down the sidewalk for about 3 blocks.

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I behaved myself.

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Another Krampus monster.

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Mrs Claus has a new look, along with apparently a Clint Eastwood fan. Hopefully this celebration catches on and grows larger each year – it is a nice change from the repetitiveness of the usual Christmas celebrations and festivals.

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