A Mother’s Day visit to Griffith Park’s Autry National Center of the American West happened in part because my mom had never been there and also because my wife Susan and I kept putting off going to see its “Bold Caballeros y Noble Bandidas” exhibit, which was closing that day. So off we went, and once inside we discovered another exhibit that opened in April titled “Sparkle & Twang,” showcasing country music artist Marty Stuart’s collection of memorabilia that illustrates his connection to some of the greatest icons of the genre.
Being neither country music’s biggest fan, nor very well-versed in its legends and lore, I entered the gallery somewhat reluctantly, but quickly warmed to the story Stuart’s stuff told — especially when it came to the section dedicated to Johnny Cash. One piece (pictured at right, click for enhanced readability), consisting of two pages of handwritten — and illustrated — lyrics to a song titled “Don’t Make A Movie About Me” that Cash wrote back during Christmas of 1982, particularly enthralled me given the delicious irony of the Hollywood going ahead and making a movie about him some 23 years later. From some of the amazing things Cash writes, “Walk The Line” didn’t even come close to capturing who he was, and I’m pretty damn sure he didn’t want it to anyway.
“Sparkle & Twang” will be at the Autry National Center of the American West through August 23.