Yesterday I went back to State College for the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. Since I was just there last week I was able to concentrate on the festival and spent less time exploring the town. On my very first trip to State College in 2015 the festival was taking place and it kind of interfered with my explorations.
The first challenge was finding the event parking lot. Another car was following me and got misled since I didn’t know where I was going. There were a few signs but once I approached Beaver Stadium they failed to provide a sign that was specific for the arts festival. The sign only indicated event parking so I drove past it and had to turn around and go back. I paid $5.00 for parking for the entire day and had to place a receipt on my dashboard where it would be visible. After leaving my car I took some photos of Beaver Stadium because it was right in front of me, looming like a mountain. Beaver Stadium is the third largest stadium in the world. I walked to the nearby bus stop and waited for a Blue Line bus. I picked up a Town & Gown’s Official Program Guide at the bus stop. The first bus I saw was full so it did not stop. The next bus was pretty crowded but I did manage to find a seat. I got off the bus at the first stop on West College Avenue instead of waiting until it reached The Corner.
I stopped at the first booth I saw to buy a festival button for $10.00. This was probably a waste of money but I pinned it to my dress shirt so that everybody would know I was there for the arts festival. I walked up Allen Street and saw the stage, some kind of mist tunnel, and a water fountain for the kiddies. Near the Schlow Centre Region Library I saw the BookFest tent so I went there. I bought the book Nervermore by Paul Michael Kane from the illustrator Chris Ring who autographed the short story The Gold Bug. All of the stories in the book are by Edgar Allan Poe. I bought this book because I am currently reading a biography of Edgar Allan Poe and could use a slim volume of his short stories to refresh my memory.
I needed to find a restroom and I found one in the State College Municipal Building. This building appears to be open to the public and does not have any security so I think it would be a good place to find a restroom on future trips. There were some brochures and free flyers in the lobby. I lucked out and found a program and schedule for the 2019 Central PA Theatre and Dance Festival. This was exactly what I was hoping to snag on this trip. The program has a wealth of information on the festival which you will not find on the web site. For example, I learned that the playwriting competition received over 120 submissions from as far away as South Korea. There were also pages in the program for different theater groups that are unknown to me.
I began to seriously explore the art work in the artist’s booths. I saw a lot of amazing art work. Some of it gave me ideas for something I could do in Processing but I did not see a lot of abstract geometric art. Eventually I bought three art prints which was more than I intended to buy. I was just going to buy one but I was inspired. At Foster Avenue I found the Italian Street Painting which is art drawn on the street using chalk. The artist booths stretched around the block to Fairmount Avenue where I found the State College High School building. The artist booths continued down South Fraser Street where I saw the Memorial Field, KCF Technologies, and St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. I noticed these things because I was still looking for establishments to research. After retracing my steps I bought my first art print, Mr. Entertainment by L. Lee Junge, Giclee on Canvas, from the Jackson Junge Gallery in Chicago IL. I could not resist this art work because it was very colorful and depicted a performing arts fantasy world. Fortunately the print came in a clear plastic bag that I could put my programs and book into. I was concerned that my Central PA Theatre and Dance Festival program and schedule was going to get smudged and crumpled from my sweaty hands.
Once I had my stuff in a bag I could think about lunch. There were a few food trucks at Nittany Avenue; Specially Grilled Cheese from Selingsgrove and Brazilian Munchies. I like grilled cheese sandwiches so I went with Specially Grilled Cheese. There did not appear to be a long line to order but there was a lot of people milling about waiting for their sandwiches to be made so it took almost a half an hour to get my sandwich. I also bought a can of Pepsi for a drink and it was no longer cold by the time my sandwich was ready. I ate at a picnic table set up in the street. After lunch I walked back down Allen Street and noticed that the Penn State Downtown Theatre Center was open so I went in there. I saw the current art exhibit and the ticket booth. I picked up some brochures for Penn State Centre Stage and the Center for the Performing Arts.
Next I went to Webster’s Bookstore Cafe to buy more books. Somebody offered me a stool to reach the top shelves. I only bought one book since I was getting weighted down with purchases, Hamlet and Oedipus by Ernest Jones. Lately I’ve been thinking that I ought to be seeking out theater makers with a serious case of Bardolatry. Bardolatry is the worship, particularly when considered excessive, of William Shakespeare. People worship Shakespeare because they worship genius or the idea of genius. Harold Bloom is a notable critic who seemed to worship genius and he has already come to my attention, although I have not read many of his books yet.
After buying that book I headed across East College Avenue onto the Penn State University campus to check out the artist booths along Pattee Mall. I saw an orchestra playing on the Old Main Lawn but I did not stop to listen to them play. At the Art of Discovery booth which was a Penn State Booth I picked up a free poster of Ladies of La Vie. This poster shows the changing fashion of women on the cover of the Penn State Yearbook. The artist booths extended down Pollock Road to the Westgate Building. Along the way I saw the Steidle Building, one of the most iconic buildings on the campus, so I took lots of photos of that. At an artist’s booth along Burrowes Road I bought my second art print, an abstract oil diffusion by Sara O’Connor. This artist specializes in heavy-textured pointillism but the print that caught my eye looks more like it was produced by adding oil to liquid color, like watercolors. Sara O’Connor is based in Richmond, Virginia, the city I visited for my vacation this year.
I was keen on visiting the Penn State University Bookstore, which I imagined would be as lavish as the Bucknell University Bookstore in Lewisburg since they are both associated with Barnes & Noble. The Penn State University Bookstore was definitely a lot smaller. To reach it, I had to walk far east along Pollock Road to the HUB–Robeson Center which is a significant student center that I had not seen. It was difficult to find an entrance to the Penn State University Bookstore as it is entirely inside the HUB–Robeson Center with no outside entrance of its own. But I managed to find the place without wandering throughout the entire complex, which was massive. At the book store I bought a copy of Selected Poems 1966-1987 by Seamus Heaney. To be perfectly honest this was sort of a symbolic purchase because I’m not sure if I will ever read this book. Reading a book of poetry takes forever. Each poem has to be slowly read and thought about or you just won’t get it.
Before reaching the HUB–Robeson Center on Pollock Road I saw the Old Botany Building, the Penn State Veterans Plaza, and a historical marker outside the McAllister Building which caught my eye. The historical marker was for Combinatory Logic. It honored professor Haskell Brooks Curry for his contributions to combinatory logic. Combinatory logic is used in computer science. In fact, the Haskell programming language gets its name from this Penn State professor.
When I left the Penn State University Bookstore I headed back downtown and decided it was time to return to my car to drop off my purchases. This was not an easy proposition since my car was parked near Beaver Stadium. I had to get on a Blue Route bus to get there and since there were no empty seats I had to stand almost the entire ride, until a bunch of students got off. When I got to my car I discovered that some of the back windows were down a crack since I forgot to power the windows shut while attempting to roll down the driver’s side window to pay for parking. I did have a bottle of Gatorade in my car but it was boiling hot. I put up my window shades and windows before leaving my car. I would have driven home at this point but I was on a mission to explore State College so I took the bus back downtown to wander around until 6:00 p.m.
When I arrived back downtown I visited the Student Book Store where I bought an 16 GB USB flash drive with the Penn State logo. This was the only item they sold which I had any use for. I also bought a bottle of Coke because I was dying of thirst. I immediately drank the entire bottle of Coke while sitting on a nearby bench facing the Inspiration Mural. Next I wandered down the length of East Calder Way taking photos of a number of establishments which are hidden away on this street. I found College Mart, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church Christian Education Center, Calder Square, Avant Garden, Looks Hair Design, Yallah Taco, Epic Art, Shandygaff, the Douglas Albert Gallery, Underground, the Escape Room, and Jax Bar Kitchen. Epic Art looked like it was a cool art gallery with round windows but it appeared to have gone out of business. I did enter the Douglas Albert Gallery which was a cramped space full of fantastic, but expensive art. I also saw the Centennial Pigs statue by Eric Berg. This statue is beside the Tavern Restaurant on McAllister Alley.
When I got back to Allen Street I sat down to hear one song played by a band on the Allen Street Stage. Then I walked up to East Beaver Avenue to walk down its length. Along Beaver Street I saw Margarita’s Pizzeria, John’s Shanghai, Kung Fu Tea, and the Palmerton apartment building. When I reached South Atherton Street I began to walk north on that street. I walked past the Imperial ‘400’ Motel and saw the University Club building on West College Avenue. Further up South Atherton Street I found Lion Antiques, Rainbow Music, and the Greyhound Bus Station. Basically this was me in full exploration mode locating every establishment I could while just walking down streets. But I was invited inside Lion Antiques which was a cramped antique store filled with high quality merchandise. I was impressed by the quirky collection of wonders and rare items. But eventually I found the books and settled for buying a book. I found The Complete Talking Heads by Alan Bennett. I thought this would be a book about the rock group but Alan Bennett is a British dramatic writer. I bought this book for $5.00 and got into a brief conversation with the store owner during which I revealed that I was an aspiring playwright. I don’t usually mention this but he asked just the right question when I revealed my interest in a book by a dramatic writer.
Even after that I was not quite done for the day. I walked along West College Avenue looking for an ATM. I passed several before entering a CVS Pharmacy because I knew their ATM would not charge me a withdrawal fee. I got $80 in cash and bought a can of Peet’s Van Latte because I was dying of thirst again. I can tell by my receipt that this was at 4:38 p.m. I then proceeded to walk very far down West College Avenue to East College Avenue. I was going to eat at The Waffle Shop but they were closed by the time I got there. Instead I entered McLanahan’s Penn State Room. This establishment proved to contain a massive convenience store where I bought a lessentials 2 USB ports wall charger and another can of iced coffee. I think I found my way back to a portion of East Calder Way because I found The Makery and an arts mural to photograph. When I reached Allen Street I made one final trip up this street and bought my third art print, an Asian watercolor by Bryan Yung for $45.00. Finally I took the Blue Bus back to the parking lot outside Beaver Stadium and left for home at 6:00 p.m. I had spent seven and a half hours in State College, 10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. which was a good amount of time.
On the way home I stopped in at Zindel Park, on the north end of McElhattan. Zindel Park was deserted since it was getting late and the mosquitoes bothered me but I wanted to see this mysterious place again. I also took a few photos of the Henry W. Shoemaker mansion which still looks deserted, although I thought it may have been cleaned up a little.