Pistols and plastic horses: Fun at the Autry Museum

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Spotted in the parking lot of the Autry National Center’s Museum of the American West last weekend. Read all about the trip after the jump.

K and I went to see the pistol exhibit last weekend (the same one 5000! took his mom to see last month). The exhibit was, at once, more and less interesting than I thought it would be. The focus is really on engraved pistols rather than pistols in general, so most of the guns were ornamental as well as functional. They even had an engraver dude at the entrance to the exhibit so that you could get your very own firearm adorned should you be so moved. So there was more pretty stuff to look at than I’d anticipated–I particularly appreciated seeing Annie Oakley’s gun and the guns made by Tiffany. But the signage could have been better (I will admit this seems to be my complaint at many exhibits). The exhibit bills itself as illustrating “how art, historical events, and popular culture have influenced the design and symbolism of decorative weaponry,” and I was hoping for more explanation in that vein. Even more crucially, I personally am a ballistics bonehead, and I would have missed quite a lot if K hadn’t been there to explain to me how the different kinds of pistols work. Happily he is both a firearm aficionado and a good teacher, so I had my own private docent.

http://blogging.la/archives/images/2007/07/plastic%20horse-thumb.jpgAfter the pistol exhibit we wandered around the rest of the museum. If you haven’t been, you should go. It’s a well done space and a fun way to spend a Saturday. You can even get your picture taken on a plastic horse. The only other time I’d ever been to the Autry was when TSOL, the Dickies, and DI played the courtyard there a few years ago. (You know you are truly old when the rebellious music of your youth qualifies as “Western Heritage.”)
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I see no sign of impending punk shows any time soon but at the end of the month, you can catch the Southern Californian Indian Center’s Pow Wow there, and you can access photographs (check out the 19th century mugshots) and other images online anytime. And who doesn’t love a stuffed steer now and then, I ask you?

2 Replies to “Pistols and plastic horses: Fun at the Autry Museum”

  1. One of the best things on offer this summer in LA is at the Autry every Thursday night through the end of August:

    http://www.autrynationalcenter.org/sizzling_summer.php

    It’s only $5, and includes some astonishing talent, like the legendary Francisco Aguabella.

    Last week was superb; Son Mayor were fabulous. I spent a fair amount of my evening in awe of the band.

    It’s open air, and the perfect way to spend a summer evening. There’s also a bar, tacos, and lots and lots of dancing, including a dance floor for children, and quick, fun classes for people who’ve never danced Salsa. It kind of reminds me of the vibe LACMA’s jazz Fridays used to have in the early 90s, when guys like Horace Tapscott and Billy Higgins were regulars–before their sad demises–and before the vibe seemed to turn more in the direction of professional singles angling for dates around a crowded bar, with music as backdrop rather than centerpiece.

    Long live great music outdoors in great public spaces!

  2. Thanks for the tip Pieter. Like I said, I’ve only ever been to the punk show at the Autry, so I couldn’t speak to Thursday nights there, but how can you go wrong with tacos and salsa?

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