Monday, September 18, 2006

all eyes on florence avenue

Still very hot and dry in north central California.  You feel like one match, and it would all go up in flames!  Luckily, it didn’t, and we got to see Litto Damonte’s Hubcap Ranch in an isolated pocket of wine country near Pope Valley.  The road’s still winds around, but a whole lot less than when Litto first started collecting the shiny wheelcovers that would pop off cars coming past his place.  He’d put them on the fence for folks to retrieve, but instead they just brought him more, and more, and more...

   Litto loved the socializing opportunities that being a folk art environment brought his way, and now his grandson Mike is carrying the tradition on. Mike’s wife Shannon showed us around, and another grandson, Dan, reminisced about how Litto would art direct while the kids did the work, with his cane as a motivator!

We think this is good fro Don to hear...

More hilly driving followed, then we lunched in Calistoga, but declined numerous chances for mud baths and healing waters. No sooner had we reached Sebastapol, when we spotted one of Patrick Amiot’s big junk metal sculptures--a cow in a field of, well, cows.  Many more are sprinkled around this funky little town that he settled in after migrating down from Canada and up from LA.

Florence Avenue, i.e. the street where Patrick lives, is chock full of metalworks in almost every yard--from Batman to a soccer player, a farmer, a fireman, biker and surfing girl, not to mention some that are just plain wild and silly.  And they’re drawing lots of attention, nearly all positive.  Patrick’s a busy guy these days, and was only going to give us an hour, but then the talk turned to hockey (hey, he’s Canadian), fabulous self-taught artists (we’ve met quite a few) and the merits of Starbucks vs mom & pop coffeeshops (we agreed to disagree.)  Next thing you know, it’s three hours later, and he’s wearing a Big Ball T-Shirt.  You know, I think he even posed for a picture or two.  Thanks Patrick.  Now get back to work!

Music in the van--new Allison Moorer, Rolling Stones Starbucks “Favorites” Collection, new Tom Petty

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