Thursday, September 08, 2011

The Sausalito Art Festival

My partner received a pair of comp tickets to the annual Labor Day Weekend Sausalito Art Festival this year, so we climbed aboard a ferry boat on Monday to check the event out for the first time.

The day could not have been lovelier and it was a pleasure escaping from San Francisco's traditional Labor Day fog into Marin County sun.

The Art Festival started in 1952, probably as a homegrown bohemian affair, and has grown into a slick, corporate sponsored event that charges $40 admission. According to the program, beneficiaries of the festival's proceeds have ranged from deserving charities such as the Sausalito Chamber of Commerce to the Rotary Club of Sausalito.

There is a juried competition for the 275 artists from around the country who sell their wares in little white tents. Most of the art was priced between $500 and $1,500, and for the most part looked like the heavily commercial pieces you can see in galleries at Fisherman's Wharf or in downtown Sausalito. You will have to take my word on this, since the program asked that photographs of the art not be taken without the artists' express permission.

That was fine, since the real focus of the event seemed to be eating, drinking, and listening to music played by famous old rock musicians.

Monday's headliner was Kenny Loggins of "This Is It" and "Footloose" and dozens of other hard-to-eradicate earworms.

Sitting in the music tent was tricky, because festival-goers had staked out places at various tables and were looking for empty chairs with eagle eyes. We happily stumbled onto The Pier Lounge, just behind the musical performers on the water, which had its own seating and cocktail lounge.

The people watching was fun, although I think we were one of the only gay couples in the entire festival, which seemed odd.

Most of the attendees looked as if they were about to audition for "The Real Housewives of Marin County."

In fact, the vibe can best be summed up by a woman in her 50s on the ferry boat who was telling her friends, "When I was young, I used to think I was going to marry a rich hedge fund manager and we were going to live in Sausalito happily ever after. I guess that's not going to happen."


AphotoAday said...

Oh lord, $40 just to get in?

Civic Center said...

Dear Donald: Yes, $40, and the art wasn't even half as fabulous as your work. (Speaking of which, you might consider applying next year.)

Kit Stolz said...

That is really funny, Mike, and the pictures are great, too. I have no difficulty believing what you say about the art...

Do you ever get any guff from your human subjects, may I ask? And if you do, do you have any techniques for calming them down? Because quite a few middle-aged women I've known don't like to have their pictures taken.

Civic Center said...

Dear Kit: Thanks for the compliment.

As for guff from my human subjects, I try not to use any deliberately unkind photos of people, but as you point out a lot of people just don't like to have their pictures taken. Thankfully, when they are strangers, I doubt if most of the subjects ever even see them since my blog is more of a cult than a mass media thing. However, I've had requests from a few people to take their pictures down for various reasons which I always honor.

Civic Center said...

Dear Kit (again): Oh, another thing. I'm pretty sneaky when I'm taking candid photos of strangers, and the best way to be sneaky is to be completely upfront and look like you're taking photos of the crowd for a magazine. It helps to have a big Zeiss lens, too, just to make you look more official.

Kit Stolz said...

Thanks...I will remember that advice.

Also have to compliment your last quote, which I think is just hilarious -- New Yorker worthy.

Aeron Noe said...

Check out the Kings Mountain Art Fair in 2012. Also Labor Day weekend, but set in the redwoods between Woodside and Half Moon Bay - and best of all - free admission! The art is spectacular, too.