Lucy in the sky with diamonds

One of the better things about living in the DC area is the number of celebrities that come our way. A few weeks ago I saw one icon from my teenage years and tonight I got to be up close with another.

The icon from last month was Bob Dylan. While I’m happy to have seen him, his portion of the show was horrible — I could not understand a word he said and it seemed to be lackluster. I feel it might have been a waste of money and time. No, I take that back. I can now die saying I SAW BOB DYLAN.

Last night I saw Peter Max, someone who’s name was familiar to most teens of the 1970’s. Many of us had posters or stickers or teeshirts with his art on it. I had a poster of his in my bedroom and a towel with the famous lips image in the middle. (my dad brought it home from a gas station giveaway).

I heard about this show on my current favorite radio station, 94.7 The Globe and figured since my husband and kids were at the Morrisey concert, I could go see someone whose art was a big part of my past. Plus the showing was very close to my house at one of the two local malls. I went to the website of the mall and noted that the show went from 6 – 9, so figured I could come anytime in between.

I arrived at 6:30 and sort of a queue was beginning to form. A group of elementary school students were in the front of the line and various others were behind them. One couple had two posters with them – perhaps hoping he would sign them. (I would have brought my lips towel, but couldn’t find it) .Because I didn’t expect to actually talk to the artist, I got a glass of wine and stood on the side.

I had an iteration of this guyAt about 7:00 Peter Max walked into the gallery with a man with a huge camera. The walked through to the back room of the gallery, then came out and Peter Max began talking to people – first the children, then other people in line. He signed and doodled in books [which sold for around $250]. He signed the back of his artwork — I never noticed if he signed the posters for the couple in line.

After a while the children and their adult companions unrolled a yellow poster proclaiming that their elementary school loved the art of Peter Max. It looked like all of the students in the school had signed this poster. To his credit the artist spent a lot of time with this group, posing for photos and signing gallery announcement brochures. I spoke to a woman for a few minutes about the significance Peter Max played in our lives and why we were at this show. We both were impressed with the kids. It never occurred to me that Peter Max was the kind of artist to be studied in schools, but why not?

I moved across the room and had another chat with a different woman about the same sorts of things. We then discussed Bethesda and DC. She’s only lived here a year or so and was very pleasant to talk to.

All-in-all, I cannot say I was impressed with the artist. It was like Bob Dylan all over again – OK, maybe a little better. Bob didn’t seem to care about his fans, but Peter Max was gracious, especially to the children. The fact that he left by 7:30 was weird though. The show was supposed to go on for 3 hours. I suppose if you are a pop icon you can promise one thing and do something else.

My favorite part? Talking to other 50-something women out for the evening on their own. The free wine was nice too.

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