Iron City Oddities

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Oh hi again, Pittsburgh!

I hadn’t been down to my gallery Box Heart in three years, so I thought it was time to go by and swap out my old portrait work for some pieces from my newer series. As always, I hate going by myself, so it was “adventure day” with my husband and a few friends. My friend Beth suggested Trundle Manor as our main focus for the trip. After struggling to get the hell out of Cleveland and navigate freeways with Google Maps giving wrong directions as per usual, we finally goT underway.

As always, we went to the Church Works Brewery, and Ben’s fav record Store on Liberty Avenue, Sound Cat…

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Then on to Trundle Manor…

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So, as we first went up the steps, the owner of the home was on the ground next to the belt sander. We weren’t sure if this was a joke (they knew we were arriving that afternoon), if he was drunk, or if an accident happened with the power tools and he was dead. We debated as to make a run for it! But his fiance said he has been working hard on the cars all day a decided to nap. Mr. Arm does it all time.

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Trundle Manor is a private home/museum that houses an amazing collection of taxidermy, oddities, and things in jars. It seriously gives the store Loved to Death a run for it’s money! Hobo bindle displays, death masks of Bela Lugosi and Vincent Price, mummy cats, and tumors that sing. We also got to pet the sweet and shy snake that lives in the kitchen by the microwave.

Our hostess, Velda von Minx…

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Hi, pet me!

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I had one of these little taxidermy alligators as a “toy” when I was little, and then his tail broke…

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The dining room of absinthe bears…

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Pet me moar!

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Hobo Bindle museum!

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Ben and Beth…

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The singing tumor from a belly dancer friend! I asked for MY tumor but it got cut up into pieces and is sitting of shelves at Cleveland Clinic for research. And to think, I could have made mine a glorious entry way decoration such as this!

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The garage is quite fun..

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Plastic flamingos in the front yard? Psht!!!

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Cars, collecting, and taxidermy are their passions. So glad we got to make a visit!

My First Trip to Youngstown

Or rather, my last. Have you ever been? God I hope not. I only spent roughly 24 hours there and in many of the outer suburbs and I can honestly say I have no desire to go back.

My husband entered the Youngstown Peace Race, a race that has been nationally known for decades. I had heard The Butler Institute of American Art was amazing, so I figured this would be a nice excuse to stay over the weekend and do those wacky, crazy, silly, quirky trips my husband and I do every so often. I thought we had learned to make any day trip fun, no matter the destination. Wrong! The Butler Institute closed at 4pm on a Saturday, so I never got a chance to visit. I then proceeded to drive around several outer suburbs where the houses were nice enough, the trees were gorgeous, and the main drags looked typical of most American cities littered with car dealerships and a Pizza Hut every so often — Pizza Hut looking the cleanest out of all the Cash for Gold stores and abandoned strip malls with weeds growing from cracks in the parking lots.

It was hard to find a nice restaurant anywhere. In fact, we couldn’t even find an Outback Steakhouse or Chili’s when desperation set in. When going online to find something with good reviews, I found a lot of recommendations for the Applebee’s. We drove downtown, all dressed up, thinking there might be something, a hidden gem, or a strip of amazing places the way Grand Rapids, Michigan, surprised us. Nothing was to be had. One brew pub seems ok until the smell hit us as we walked in. The areas we drove around were downright scary, if not completely abandoned. On occasion there would be an Italian eatery that was clearly a front for some kind of dicey operation — nothing too welcoming. Just me taking photos around the area caused a lot of weird drifter types to yell at me, “what the fuck are you doing?” and “hey girl, come here!”. Maybe I was missing something? Maybe I happened upon 4 or 5 of the worst areas of town by accident?

America is beautiful…

So my husband and I did something we had never done before. He in his black velvet blazer and nice shoes; me in my designer clothes, French perfume, and pashmina wrap. We went to an Eat ‘n Park. I never felt so glamorous as sitting there at an Eat ‘n Park getting stares as I ate whatever microwaved entree I had ordered. The food wasn’t too terrible, actually.

At least I can say our Fairfield Inn was very nice and mod. I’m glad I chose to stay there versus the Econolodge next door that looked like a brothel. Well actually, it kind of was because it was next to this truck stop…

A trucker’s paradise to be sure. I wondered what kind of quality product works at a truck stop by Youngstown, Ohio. The best!

In any event, the race was Sunday, it was all fine and good. A lot of people from around the country come to the race because of the prize money. My husband was 2nd in his age group — he’s kind of a stud. Walking around was a tad depressing, though. All of the nicer buildings that hadn’t been abandoned were all banks. All of them. One even had blood strewn across the door. A sign of the times.

Fake blood, that is…

So….yeah. If I do go again, I’ll stick to the Butler Institute and be sure to come right back home. It’s only an hour drive, after all.