Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Adventures in Hedonism - The Orange County Fair

Heeding the call to hedonism, a brilliant opportunity came up to join some friends and spend an afternoon at the Orange County Fair. So much for easing back into hedonism – the Orange County Fair is not so much a dipping a toe in the pool as a leaping headfirst into the deep end,all the while hoping there really is a deep end.

No doubt about it, the Fair is all about indulging one’s pleasures, particularly those gastric ones involving anything that can be battered and fried. And as the Fair sets out to prove every year, really what cannot be battered and fried?

Which brings up another important aspect of the fair – bring a friend. Not only is it good to exercise one’s social graces, it helps to have someone there to share in the indulgences (and perhaps keep over-indulgence at bay). Case in point, a “single serving” of garlic ribbon fries.

Yeah, the fair could be quite easy in this place to let one’s pleasures turn quickly into regrets. This of course is when the “enlightened” portion of enlightened hedonism kicks in to gear – so while I consumed (with help) a good portion of these fries, much was left behind in search of other pleasures.

One of the tenets of Enlightened Hedonism is an ongoing cultivation and refinements of one’s interests, and so I took great pleasure in touring the hall of people’s collections. It’s amazing the things people will collect, some were to be expected: royalty memorabilia, matchbooks, ceramic bull dogs – but I found a few odd collections that really tickled me.

A collection of velvet Jesus paintings – too much glare on the showcase to get a good pic of it all, but this was clearly the staring piece.

Hitler pin cushion – I wonder if there’s an Osama one out there somewhere, or what other historic personages received such an homage?

The Gentleman’s Companion – which bears certain note on my part as I’ve found this as to be  an awesome source of many classic and exotic cocktails. (I’m sure I’ll be featuring some of its delights in future blog posts). Any collection that contains these volumes gets a gold star from me.

Then there's the box of used staples. This one delights not so much as a collection but almost as a talisman, a piece full of sympathetic magic and symbolism – the staples pulled in some work project to scan an enormous collection of documents. Here is a way to capture in an object the tedious horror. We've all had those jobs, and to turn that kind of pleasure killing monotony into an object of humor and awe – well that’s enlightened hedonism at its best.

With that, I’ll just conclude with the hopes that all of us continue to similarly explore the many ways that make us happy.



  1. The collections hall is my FAVORITE part of the OC fair. We must have spent about an hour there when we went previously. Thank you for sharing it!

  2. Abandon overdone pleasures and seek new ones...that's some very good advice.

  3. I didn't even know about the Collections Hall. Must go as it reminds me of the Museum of Jurassic Technology, a favorite place of weird in L.A.

    We are Demolition Derbying twice next weekend, so I will make sure to camera-up and drag Erik trough this hall.