Tuesday, January 25, 2011
We Know More About Your Stuff Than You Do (Update: We Also Have the Power to Get Other People to Watch Phantom Tollbooth)
For his birthday, Matt's parents decided to send us to Santa Fe for a few days. It's only an hour drive north, but we've only been one time and that was to see Eddie Izzard perform live (and then we stalked Robert Englund) but we didn't get to really see much of the city.
The drive up was quick, especially with Matt driving.
Matt: You're like a woman in labor having contractions.
Matt: Every few minutes you look over at the speedometer with a stressed look on your face.
To be fair, we made great time despite my constant panic. If you're wondering how fast Matt drives, barely over. When I drive (which is rare), I'm that irritating person on the road going ten under the speed limit.
We had to turn around once before we finally used the GPS to locate the place we were staying, but within that short time frame we got a basic layout of Santa Fe and could easily figure out where things were from that point on. We checked in, got the keys to our room and opened the door to a weekend of luxury.
A king size bed for instance . . .
A fireplace . . .
Living room . . .
Entertainment center . . .
Fully loaded kitchen . . .
A huge bedroom . . .
And a bathroom with a tub so deep that I could have swam in it. Picture not included. I'm guessing each room had their own separate water heater because that water never got cold. It was amazing. Water so hot it steamed up the mirrors within a minute. A perfect blank canvas for a handsome artist to sculpt a masterpiece.
Friday morning we headed out on foot, because you can hoof it around Santa Fe pretty easy. At the recommendation of a co-worker, Matt chose Bert's Burger Bowl as our first local cuisine. A little hole in the wall type place (which usually is our favourite type). All seemed well. They even had the Food Networks stamp of approval.
Honestly, it was okay. Nothing to write home about.
If your unfamiliar with Santa Fe, it's basically a city filled with artists and old churches. That's pretty much it. But, lucky for us, we're suckers for decent art. They also had a Chuck Jones Gallery. We went and visited the Andrew Smith Gallery first which had amazing photos by Annie Liebovitz, Herman Leonard, and a massive collection of Ansel Adams.
We were going to check out the Georgia O'keefe museum, but we were trying to see what we could without spending much money, and Matt said that the price for admission wasn't worth getting to look at "a bunch of flowers that vaguely looked like genitalia".
After the Andrew Smith Gallery, we found the Chuck Jones Gallery, which was actually the reason we chose Santa Fe as our vacation destination over Taos. If you don't know who Chuck Jones is, he's basically the father of most of your childhood cartoon favourites. The gallery was swimming with scuptures of Wile E. Coyote and The Roadrunner. In addition to Chuck Jones original sketches, cells, paintings and sculptors, there were plenty of local artists that were featured at the gallery.
When we walked in, the manager thought we were simple tourists who just stopped in to look at pictures of Bugs Bunny. Oh, how she underestimated my husband.
Manager: Are you interested in anything specific? As you can see, we have a lot of his classic characters.
Matt: Do you have anything from Phantom Tollbooth?
Manager: Woah . . . . you know your stuff.
The manager went into the back and dug out a piece worth thirteen thousand dollars, seemingly the most expensive they had there. It was hidden back behind other prints more recognizable to the public eye. The manager then explained that she'd never seen the movie and that the only reason she knew where to find the piece was because it was the only one they had. Matt went on to educate her properly.
We went home for a quick nap afterward, and then ventured out in search of some local cuisine. We didn't yet have a map of the city, so we drove until we found anything that sounded vaguely mexican. After spotting a place, we browsed through a few local shops and galleries, finding some amazing leather sculptors, metal religious works, and retro western paintings. We also found the highlight of the trip for me.
A little jewelry store near the restaurant featured antique coins in the window. We went inside just for the heck of it. A little jack russel terrier pup greeted us at the door. The owner, named Jessie, came over to show us some of the pieces. The store specialized in taking antique coins and setting them in rings, bracelets and necklaces. Browsing through, something caught my attention. A tiny tag attached to an old coin that read "Thrace 550 AD". My heart skipped a beat.
I don't talk about it much on my blog, but I have a strong passion for world history, particularly that of Greece, Rome and Scandinavia. Been that way since I was a little girl and stuck with me for years. Spotting a Thracian coin just got my blood pumping, especially since I knew that Spartacus Gods of the Arena was airing later that night. The owner pulled out several other Thracian coins for me to look at, as well as some from Macedon that had the face of Phillip the second on it.
Owner: I don't need to tell you who that is.
(Father of Alexander the Great)
Then I began to madly search through the displays, eagerly browsing for what I really wanted.
Owner: Is there something specific you're looking for?
Me: I know it's a stretch . . . but do you have anything from Rome?
Then she smiled, and stepped over to a display case where a long gold chain held a silver coin with a familiar face on it. I recognized it immediately and held my breath.
Owner: This is a silver denarius with the image of Apollo on it.
Me: A real denarius. *heart pounding*
Owner: Yes, it's dated at 90 BC.
It took every power I had not to shout out "Oh my Gods" at the revelation. I held my composure. Mostly. I may have teared up a little. And started hyperventilating.
Matt: Are you okay?
Me: This predates the birth of Julius Caesar. I could die, like right now.
More vacation updates coming soon . . .
Update: As y'all can see in the comments below, folks from the Chuck Jones Gallery have corrected me on a few things. The lady that we spoke with was not the manager at all, but a new consultant and the piece we had looked at was three-thousand, not thirteen thousand. I easily mix up numbers, especially when I'm coming down from vacation high.
Also, since the Gallery folks have apparently read my blog, I want to express a few things that I mistakenly left out of the original post: The Chuck Jones Gallery was AMAZING. And while the consultant we spoke with had not seen Phantom Tollbooth (though I've been assured she's been forced to watch it continuously since this posted) she was nothing if not wonderfully kind and knowledgeable about all the other pieces.
Like I mentioned earlier, the whole reason we chose to go to Santa Fe was because of this Gallery and we were more than pleased. Hell, my husband was over the top thrilled with the experience!
PS: If the Chuck Jones Gallery folks are still reading this, there was an artist on display there and I can't remember his name and I eventually want to purchase some of his work. The consultant mentioned that he was local and he added hearts to his paintings for his daughter who had some kind of condition. I'd love it if you could let me know his name so I can add his works to my wish list and spread the word about his gorgeous paintings.
PS x2: Just a side note, but how cool is it that Wile Coyote commented on my blog? Awesomeness.