Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Dr. Bailey, we presume

Science lessons were flying faster than our little brains could handle today, thanks to Clayton Bailey, the Mad Scientist of Port Costa.  These days he’s best known for his shiny junk-metal robots, which cluster around him in the studio, along with the space guns and jaw’s harps which he also plays.

In a previous lifetime Clayton was trained to make ceramics.  He still does that too, including gargoyles that rise above the fence to shoe intruders away, though he admits they actually work more as “bait.’  

  We learned from him that old issues of Mad Magazine were a big inspiration in bringing about this sprawling complex of art and mock archaeology.  There’s a Bigfoot dig pit, and plenty of errant robots on the roof, in the yard and hiding amidst the prickly pears.

In fact, Mike snagged some nice ripe figs to add to our California fruit collection, leading us to admit that the show’s really just an excuse for me to weasel coffee while he snags piemaking ingredients.  Big Ball T-Shirts were left behind to commemorate the occasion,and we headed on to San Francisco itself, to meet a man who’s been very helpful in finding good stops for this trip, John Turner.

John’s a TV guy himself, a producer/editor at the ABC affiliate, and writes about outsider art for Raw Vision and other fine publications.  He introduced us to his co-worker Cheryl, who then joined in some impromptu street catch with one of our handy guest gloves.

As the day was about to end, we wandered out to the bay for a look at Alcatraz and a session at the Wave Organ.  It’s an installation of old cemetery stonework and pipes that jut out into the water, and, in theory, transmit beautiful sound back to zenned-out listeners.  This is one we’ll have to fix in post.

Music in the van- “Flying Burrito Brothers Greatest Hits” Don’s Backpacker version of “Shakin’ All Over.”

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