Friday, July 6, 2012

Des Moines-Heck Yeah

A couple of weekends ago we went to the grand little city of Des Moines to enjoy the Des Moines Art Festival. It would have been much more enjoyable had I not almost died from the sun's brutal assault on my fair Irish skin, but we had a fabulous time despite the heat. Oddly enough, most of the artists at the fair wouldn't allow you to photograph their work, so I don't have any photos of the main event. I thought I'd share some of the other things we did and bought that weekend instead.

Our favorite artist of the fair was David Burton. His assemblage pieces are a throw back to Louise Nevelson, but with a fantastic pop culture twist. The Husband and I have long since admired Louise, so when we came across David, who combines her style with the toys and symbols of our childhood(and let's be honest, our adulthood too), we were a little more than excited. David was also a freaking amazecakes oasis of fun in the midst of a bunch of very talented and kind, but also a little overwhelmingly pretentious "serious" artists. We purchased two of his pieces-both featuring super heroes of course! The large piece is titled "Big Egos". The smaller piece is aptly titled, "Bat In A Can".

We also went to the Des Moines Art Center, another place where you cannot take any photographs...*sigh*. I mean, I get why they don't want people snapping away, damaging things with their flashes and all, but sometimes I think we hold art a little TOO sacred. Especially when considering the nature of the featured artist's work. I was not terribly impressed by his "pieces". I mean, I think I have a pretty open mind when it comes to appreciating other artists' work, but filling a room full of piles of junk, like you forgot you had an art show opening so you raided your trash to come up with a quick theme, and expecting people to marvel at your intellectualism, is just a little out of my league as an art appreciator I guess. And I say this as an upcycler, a person who adores trash and junk. But, more power to him as he conquers the world! I will continue to seriously ponder his displays and maybe someday, elightenment will descend upon me.

Sidebar-When you see me at any show or market, PLEASE feel FREE to take photographs of my work!

Since I couldn't take any photographs as mementos(Oh John Singer Sargent, how I wish I could have!), I bought a few little items at the Center's gift shop.

This little book of postcards is a most meaningful gift, as the cards are high quality art cards, which means not only will the recipients get an old fashioned and hand written "hello", but they also get a little something that they can frame and think of me whenever they glance upon it.

Technically we picked up these little books for The Kid, But The Husband and I enjoy them just as much as she does! I am totally in love with the concept-combining learning with popular art culture. As a home full of artists and art, we have to wonder why we had never seen these anywhere before...

No trip to Des Moines would be complete without a trip to Raygun. And while I find the actual store itself maybe a tinch too hipsterish for me personally, the Iowa themed shirts are worth wading through the throngs of young, scarf in the summer wearing, kids. I left with a shirt, a couple of inspiring sketch books(sorry Mom!) and a nifty Tyvek wallet birthday present for one of my younger brothers.

We always like to eat outside the realm of typical fast food joints when we travel, so we get a real taste of the place we are staying. While in Des Moines we had the good fortune to try out a couple of new places this time around. And yes, we eat really unhealthy food when we travel, heh heh.

Zombie Burger is a really clever little burger place which at first, may seem to just be riding the coat tails of the whole zombie obsession that has seemingly taken America by storm(and even if that was all it was, I would still love the place for the theme alone!), but upon closer inspection you find that they really know what they heck they are doing. Their menu features clever names like the "Tallahassee" milkshake(Twinkies, cherry Kool-Aid powder and vanilla ice cream) and The "Undead Elvis"(peanut butter, fried bananas, bacon, American cheese, egg) and really good food like fried Brussel sprouts and goat cheese and jalapeno poppers.

I had the Trailer Trash burger. And, I can honestly say, it was the greatest burger I have ever eaten in my entire life. Fried cheese curds, chicken fried bacon(yes, you read that right!), a fried pickle, ranch and two kinds of cheese. DIVINE. I could have died of a heart attack right then and there. And then come back for more!

We also stumbled across a very small and crowded bakery, near the Art Center, called La Mie. We figured since there were so many people waiting in line, it must be worth the wait. It was. If you have the time to stop by on your next trip to Des Moines, definitely do. You won't be disappointed.  I wish I would have photographed the delectable pastries we consumed, but all I got was the empty box. Sorrrry!

Since we were in Des Moines for the weekend, we went ahead and swung by Ames to take one of my brothers out for dinner at Hickory Park. Hickory Park is this fabulously huge, old fashioned style restaurant where they give you heaps of real good, hearty food for not a lot of moolah. They also have a mind numbingly large selection of ice cream sundaes to choose from so definitely leave room for dessert!

Back in Des Moines we stumbled across a little taco shop called, appropriately, Tasty Tacos. And indeed, they were.

A few more random images from our time in Des Moines...

Our beautiful capitol!
Hmmmm....I beg to differ...

Every time we travel, it rains at some point. I swear!

We try to take at least a couple of weekend trips to Des Moines each year, because while it definitely isn't Chicago or Houston or St. Louis, it is definitely bigger than our little hometown with a crap ton more things to see and do, but without the stress and hassle of a trip to a bigger city. Des Moines is also a low cost getaway. We spent less on two nights at a hotel than we did for the little piece of Burton art.

I know many people find Iowa a joke and the thought of Des Moines as a vacation spot laughable, but that's alright with me. I don't mind if they leave me my space to walk and breathe. And there is definitely still plenty of that in little ole Des Moines(That's French for "The Moines")

A few of my other favorite places to visit while in Des Moines-

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