From Hippos to KISS albums to Yanni: The Best Hobby Collections of the Alameda County Fair! View my collection!

You won’t believe what you’ll learn in #7.–it’s HUGE!!!
#collections #AlamedaCountyFair #ACFair

#1 Collect a soft drink!

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One of the best pavilions at the Alameda Co. Fair is the HOBBIES pavilion, where you can get ribbons for artfully displaying the stuff you collect. Notice the judicious use of quotation marks in the detailed description by the Pepsi memorabilia collector here. Is “Antiques Dealer” really just a euphemism for mom being a “hoarder”? I think so!


#2 Collect a decade!

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Hobbies can be anything, but they are the most fun when they involve STUFF. Not sports. Who wants to sweat? Going to yard sales to get STUFF is so much better! Hooray for STUFF! Let’s call this collection “The ’80s!!!” I had all this stuff. Do you think this collector is gay? I do!!! Yay for the Thompson Twins and ’80s hair! Yay for the Psychedelic Furs and teenage melancholia!

#3 Collect things that don’t really go together!

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Hobbies are great!!! Especially when they involve Yanni! Let’s put up a display booth of New Age shitty music and some weird things to balance it all out, like a Wicked playbill. Yay for hobbies! Yay for non-traditional thinking!


#4 Collect rock and roll memorabilia–a no-brainer!

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Let’s collect KISS! Are they Knights In Satan’s Service or are they just a bunch of so-so musicians with kick-ass makeup and amazing marketing skills? When you get famous you should diversify, right? So notice the bottle of KISS wine on the far right. Do you think they stomped the grapes with their platform boots? KISS THIS! But don’t drink it! Save it for your collection! Tasty!

#5 Collect Smokey the Bear!

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As a child, I had a Smokey the Bear doll, so I am predisposed to liking this collection quite a bit. Plus Smokey has emerged as an unexpected emblem of gay subculture! Bears are great! Smokey also helps prevent forest fires! Some people might want to burn this collection, but not this aficionado! I hope he has a Smokey suit he can wear to the Furries Con in San Jose. Yay for Smokey! Fun fact: Smokey really existed! There is a comic book to prove it. But sadly the real Smokey was not nearly so anthropomorphic as the one on TV. (Don’t expect a good bio-pic. A lot of plot points similar to Bambie. #TriggerWarning) Love Smokey anyway! Mmmm! Fur! Stroke it! Be nice!


#6 Collect an Amazon superhero!

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Who wouldn’t want to collect Wonder Woman? (Boys, probably. At least straight boys.) A Wonder Woman collection is probably not going to go over well with the fellas on the football team, but who cares? Grab your magic lasso and make them tell the truth! EVERYONE loves Wonder Woman! Little girls in the 1970s spun in front of their TVs trying to turn into her. This little boy did too. MS. Magazine put her on their cover! She’s a freaking icon! How more wonderful does it GET?


#7 Collect Hippos!

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Hobbies are informative! And you know what? Hippos ARE HUGE! This girl doesn’t lie. I would give hobby #17 a blue ribbon for artfulness and attention to basic facts. Plus, it’s always a strategic idea, once you’ve made the basic case for your argument, to leave your audience with a new lingering question. Like, “Where’s Rhino?” I wanna know! Don’t you? Let’s hear it for HUGE!

#8 Collect semi-perishable foodstuff!

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You know what? If you can’t think of anything else to collect, COLLECT SUGAR! Who knew sugar could be so beautiful? This hobby is a real steal, and it encourages you to get out of the house more and into restaurants! Grandma can help! Just make her bring her pocketbook! Steal, steal, steal! Sugar, sugar, sugar! It’s almost poetry! (This collection can also help start a new one: ANTS!)

Don’t let Alameda County, CA, have all the fun! You TOO can start a collection. Some collections I’d like to see next year:

Stuff I Stole from Church
Parts of Bugs
Broken Hummels
Belly Button Lint Portraiture
Things That Are Invisible (like Wonder Woman’s plane! And ideas!)

There’s always so much more! What do YOU want to collect? (Tell me below). Open your eyes! Fill a display case! Consider joining a group like 4-H to help legitimize your collecting habits. Make a list of yard sales. Get started now! Remember, the more the merrier. Nothing is too insignificant. Egg cups, erasers, old gum in interesting shapes. Hobbies are the folk art of the common man! Let your collection help you fly your freak flag!
(Hey, who wants to help me start collecting actual freak flags?)

Kelly McQuain, June 19, 2015
California

Superheroes Reimagined in Stunning Portraiture

Ever wonder what your favorite superhero or sci-fi characters would look like if they were plopped down into another time period? Sure, true aficionados will realize such reworkings are an occasional trope of the genre, primarily in “what if” or time travel stories. But never have retro superheroes been realized with such painstaking photo-realist detail as in the work of French artist Sacha Goldberger. Goldberger recontextualizes these American icons alongside fairy tale characters in a manner that invokes the techniques of 17th century Flemish painters. His work has been shown at the School Gallery Paris in a show called “Super Flemish”, where he uncannily channels the likes of Christopher Reeve’s Superman and Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman. Sacha’s good. Just ask his mom, who calls him the “best photographer in the neighborhood”(!).

Take a look here at Sacha’s droll website here:
http://sachabada.com/portfolio/index.php/nggallery/page/1?portfolio=super-flemish-12

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From July 8th, 2012–New Philadelphia Inquirer Column

Shazam! My new column in The Philadelphia Inquirer

Shazam! Thought I would share some good writing news: The Philadelphia Inquirer asked me to contribute columns to their Sunday edition. The first one debuted July 8th. Future columns will likely cover topics as diverse as baseball, gay parenting, the Philly poetry scene and serving as a wedding officiant for a friend’s wedding. I’ll be rotating with a few other local writers. Here is the link: http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/inquirer/20120708_A_new_golden_age_of_super_heroes.html

Photos courtesy of Eric Moran, The Smoke. You can read about his homemade movie-making and cosplay activities he and his friends do by clicking on the Inquirer link above.