Deep Ellum is well known for its artistic inclinations (one need only look at all the murals all over, not to mention the Deep Ellum Art Park), and once a year they hold a fun little blowout called the Deep Ellum Arts Festival. This year’s took place April 4-6, and was sponsored primarily by Jeep and Chrysler. When I attended, on Saturday, April 5 (a beautiful day, incidentally), it wasn’t terribly crowded; however, I enjoyed myself immensely. One caveat: it’s a good idea to eat before or after the festival, rather than during; while they had plenty of food and drink for sale, it was of the extremely expensive carnival kind. In other words, a 16-ounce beer cost the equivalent of $5.00 in festival tickets. Guess what I didn’t drink? The tickets came in batches of 10 for $10. That’s worse than the State Fair. If you must eat while you’re at the fair next year, try one of the restaurants or bars along the edges of the displays; they’re slightly more reasonable.
Anyway, they’d basically blocked off all of Main Street and given it over to copious vendor booths, art, and stages for bands. And did I mention that Jeep was a major sponsor? Chrysler was there too, but they didn’t have nearly as grand a presence as Jeep. Jeep trucked in about five big trailers worth of stuff for display, not to mention numerous Jeeps n various models that you could take for a test drive. I didn’t do the later, but I wondered around the trailers. Here’s what was in the first one:
Nothing like a half-dozen complicated engines to start your day off right. Not that this hadn’t already gotten my blood pumping as I was walking in:
Yes, it’s more of that mural art that Deep Ellum is well known for, probably painted by one of the people who colonized the place in the 1980s and can no longer afford to live there. There’s a lot of good stuff like this in Deep Ellum, as I believe I mentioned in a previous entry, which makes it worthwhile just to go wondering around the place looking at the buildings. Local celebs like Norah Jones and Lisa Loeb are depicted in their own murals, along with all sorts of other people and things. I have no idea what the guys in the picture above are supposed to represent, but aren’t they special?
Here’s another piece of art I thought was way cool, and it was in the process of being created as I watched:
I’m so friggin’ jealous of people who can actually do art like this. Incidentally, that’s what the festival was all about — there’s a juried art show that the event is built around. I only saw a few of the exhibits, and found them interesting; but most of the art wasn’t my thing. I suspect that most of the people attending the fair came there for other things than the art itself, though it’s hard to pass something like this by:
That’s definitely ripe for a quick “WTF?” as you walk by.
There seemed to be a lot of people out with their dogs that day; I even saw one little hound dressed up in a Superdog outfit, but he (she?) wouldn’t pose for me, so I got no good pictures. I may be wrong, but I think there may have been some kind of pet parade or something later. One thing I did get a piccie of that I thought was cute was this pet food stand, where they’d spelled out a charming message with dog biscuits:
And I liked this sad-looking little car, too:
It’s amazing what they can do with decals these days, eh? On top of this, there was some very nice music from rock, folk, and bluegrass bands and individual artists. Here’s the band that started the day off at the stage at the far western end of Main. I believe it was the Chrysler stage. Anyway, their name is Trip Rocket, and they’re pretty good. I loved the lead singer’s rich voice.
Meanwhile, I encountered some crazy people as I was wondering around. First of all, there was this, which as you know I would never, ever do unless the alternative was dying:
Nope, I’d never jump out of a perfectly good airplane if I could help it. See, I’m not just afraid of heights; and it’s not just that I’m afraid of falling. It’s the possibility of that sudden and final stop at the very end that gets me worried.
On a tamer note, but still well within the definition of more-than-a -little-crazy in my book, there’s this rock-climbing thing that Jeep had set up. I don’t know why it is that car companies all seem to have these things — you see them at state and county fairs, festivals, and such all over whenever you see Ford or Chevy or Jeep displays. Chrysler didn’t bring theirs this time (or if they did, I didn’t see it). Maybe you’re supposed to associate adventure with their products. At least they rope you on so that if you do fall, you’ll just look like an idiot instead of going “splat.”
One more cool thing. Since my last visit, I’d been wondering whether there was a Guardian Angels presence in Deep Ellum. (If you don’t know what the Guardian Angels are, click here). There’s a sign on one building suggesting there is, but I wasn’t sure if that might not be something religious (this being the South and all). Well, this past weekend I got confirmation. There were Guardian Angels working the festival as security staff. Well, at least there was one.
To learn more about the Deep Ellum Arts Festival and to find out when next year’s event in taking place, check out their website at http://www.meifestivals.com/deepspr.html.