When you walk down Key Highway toward the entrance of the American Visionary Arts Museum (AVAM) you are greeted by sunflowers. I can't get enough of these cheerful flowers. They definitely make me smile.
My colleague Tom and I were invited to the preview party at AVAM for the new show called What Makes Us Smile.
Ted and Billy greeted us at the entrance of Sideshow, Ted's most excellent store. More about the shop later in the post.
Rebecca Hoffberger, founder and director of the museum and my sweet Katiecakes also gave big hugs as we entered.
Matt Groening and Gary Panter were co-curators of the exhibit.
Groening handed out his cards to all the kids who attended. Panter is the guy that designed Pee Wee's Playhouse and Groening gives Panter credit for inspiring Bart and Lisa's spiky hair design in The Simpsons.
Gary Panter signed these books for Ted at Sideshow. They are on sale now if you are a collector.
This fan was very prepared with his Marge Simpson Pez dispenser and sharpie in hand. I ran into him later and he did get Matt Groening to sign it. Groening even drew a tattoo on a guy that was headed straight to the Tat Parlor to get his ink set permanently.
Katie introduced me to this nice couple, Steve Hestler and his wife Dolly, saying they lived on Capitol Hill. I said one of E. and our best friends, Mary Margaret and Scott, just upgraded to a bigger Capitol Hill house. Steve said, "You aren't referring to Mary Margaret Plumridge are you? I sit on a board with her in DC." Of course you do. These small world moments happen to me all the time.
When you enter the museum the ceiling is lined with flying contraptions.
I love this ode to Snoopy and the Red Baron flying with all the planes.
Bill and Ted created maybe the most fun item in the show.
A Whoopee Cushion bench.
There were little boys in this room every time I went back. They just couldn't stay away. It was so fun.
Prepare yourself for a bit of silliness and get ready to smile your face off.
Chris Roberts-Antieau is from Michigan. We love her hilarious quilts. Watch this funny video of her life. Panels of The Embarrassing Dog Quilt are below and capture the moments so well.
This was my favorite piece in the whole show.
Look at the artist's smile. He is from Lake Erie and used drift wood to create this piece, "Sweet Face".
Rev. Aitor is an artist that draws unflattering portraits.
He was talking about how sometimes the imperfect things about our partners are the things we love the most. The sleep in their eyes in the morning. Bed head. Drool crust. It is funny when you think about it.
I think Ted looks very flattering. He's too cute for words.
Rebecca's warmth shows through her portrait as well.
I caught John Waters viewing the portraits.
There is so much to make you smile in the exhibit.
Gloria uses makeup to paint. That is her mother Rose on the right.
Anado McGlaughlin and his partner live in San Miguel, Mexico.
You have to click here to see Anado's home.
This was a little creepy, but I had to push the button.
Dreams that wake hold warning. Huh. Not sure how this makes me smile.
The greatest part of this opening was hearing roars of laughter in the different galleries. It was infectious.
There was even a hallway that was decorated in Cheetah!
There are surprises at every turn.
Sideshow is the gift shop at AVAM. You can see Ted's eyelashes from far far away. He is always behind the desk and will help you find anything you need.
He's so helpful.
He even has Chris Roberts-Antieau's quilts for sale.
Fun and chunky rings.
I couldn't get enough of Bill and Ted's eyelashes!
They even have ta ta's for sale. Perfect for October breast cancer awareness month.
Great options for Halloween costumes.
Our buddies Susan and George arrived for the big party and we headed over to the barn.
There was a DJ playing happy tunes.
And there were painted ladies, a staple at AVAM parties.
The curators invited all the guests over to see the show.
I took a little rest inside Fifi.
Thanks to Katie and all the gang at AVAM for such a nice event. I look forward to going back again and again. There are so many fun things to make you smile.