I do not carry, or sell, or handle, or trade in, or have anything to do with hubcaps

Second Time Around: The Hubcap as Art is toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national program of Mid-America Arts Alliance.

Re: Hubcaps going second time around for art at the California Center For the Arts, Escondido from April 8 to May 28…

Disclaimer: I do not carry, or sell, or handle, or trade in, or have anything to do with hubcaps

Let me make this perfectly clear: I am not —- repeat not —- a hubcap dealer.

OK, the tussie-mussies were one thing. I mentioned these tiny flowers in a knot that Victorian ladies carried around in connection with a North County Times story about a home garden party business. I got a few e-mails and phone calls from readers.

Fair enough.

The stories about farmworker housing got a couple of calls. The stories about unemployment, trade with China and the sale of the Los Angeles Times: No calls.

But hubcaps? By Monday, the story I wrote about a San Marcos hubcap dealer, published the previous Friday circa 2000, generated 30 phone calls from readers and a half dozen e-mails, and that in the pre-mobile technology era.

Every one of these callers played a single-note variation on a theme-type question. Do you carry a hubcap for… (fill in your make and model)?

Again, let me repeat: I do not carry hubcaps. Not for sale anyway.

I referred to myself as a “writer.” I wrote about citrus. I wrote about coffee shops. I wrote about hubcap companies.

However, I did not sell oranges. I did not sell coffee. I did not sell hubcaps. Nor did I wish to start.

The first calls from hubcap seekers started coming around 9:30 a.m the Friday of publication fame. I didn’t give much thought to these. Callers immediately launched into their hubcap wish lists. I let them ramble. Then, I asked if the hubcap company phone number had been printed with the story in the edition of the paper they received.

It was. It didn’t matter.

About a half dozen of these calls later, I began to realize something was astray. Each caller seemed to believe I was selling hubcaps. Each caller wanted hubcaps. And, in case that point hasn’t been made perfectly clear by now, I reiterate. I don’t sell hubcaps.

Noon brought a rush of hubcap calls and the hits kept coming. By this time, I had caught the drift. As soon as they said the magic word —- hubcap —- usually, about one second into the call, I read them the Hubcap Co. phone number that was included in the article. It was (760) 744-8852, by the way.

Foolishly, I left the office for a brief walk. Upon my return: five hubcap desperately seeking messages.

And the e-mails. Yes, hubcap e-mails were rolling in, too. Typical was the message from a lady looking for a 1992 Dodge Caravan hubcap.

“There are numbers on the back,” she said. “4626103 16280 MIP CAV 2 (91.)”

Hmm, let me check. Do I have 462103 16280 MIP CAV 2 (91)?

No. I have no idea where to find that. I don’t know anything about hubcaps. I do not sell hubcaps —- have I mentioned that?

By this time, (un)lucky caller no. 20 had checked in and checked out just as quickly. I called Rande Peterson, Hubcap Co. owner, to see how life was on the other end of the hubcap line.

It was going pretty good at Hubcap Co., actually, maybe even better than on my end. Peterson reported up to 50 calls. A lot of them were seeking hubcaps, of course. But a lot of them, too, Peterson said, were asking him how he liked being a reporter.

Peterson may like journalism, but he sells hubcaps. Unlike me. I don’t sell hubcaps.

In any event, I believed the hubcap story had blown over that weekend. Ha. The joke was on me. Hubcap seekers had left seven weekend messages. And the early Monday morning calls kept coming. When the aggregate total was finalized around noon Monday, it had reached 30 hubcap-related calls since Friday, all about hubcaps.

This whole incident reminded me of one of Gilda Radner’s Rosanne Rosannadanna lines from “Saturday Night Live.” In other words, “It’s always something.”

So, the day will come again, I said —- although not too soon —- when I will revisit hubcap journalism. I now sense hubcaps connect with our readers and vice-versa.

And that day came again, sure enough, many years later; today, April 12, 2017.

But that’s hubcaps as in writing about hubcaps and companies that sell hubcaps. I don’t sell hubcaps although based on this experience, hubcaps are probably a pretty good business to try if this journalism thing doesn’t work out for me.

For now: no hubcaps for sale here. Sorry.

Part 2

Second Time Around: The Hubcap as Art

Hubcaps have kind of faded in today’s society where alloy wheels with small centerpieces are all the rage. Only olde vehicles and some budget-type cars have need of ye old hubcap these days.

So, they’re history. And these days, they’re art.

Now, you’re in luck though. Somebodies took an interest in the artistic side of hubcaps and this exhibit April 8 to May 28 at California Center for the Arts, Escondido dedicated to hubcap art highlights “a creative alternative to mindless consumption while focusing on the importance of repurposing,” according to CCAE officials.

“The exhibition aims to be a proactive response to the growing concerns about our carbon footprint on the earth. Second Time Around: The Hubcap as Art features 35 unique selections from Landfillart Inc, a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit that solicits artists from around the world to transform reclaimed hubcaps into fine art.”

Dana Hand Evans curated the exhibition. She is executive director at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley (Winchester, PA) in partnership with a curatorial team from Marywood University (Scranton, PA) and a professor of Educational Studies at Shenandoah University (Winchester, PA). Dana Hand Evans is available for interviews.

The exhibition’s featured artists Marla Mclean, David Medley, Rick Dethlefsen, and Noel Molloy “aim to intrigue and inspire audiences to approach their own relationship to the natural world in the fresh way.”

The “metal canvases” serve to empower and challenge these select artists while inciting creative thinking and problem solving for environmental issues. Ultimately, Second Time Around: The Hubcap as Art inspires audiences to cultivate new perspectives on the highly material culture we live in.

California Center for the Arts, Escondido is dedicated to supporting artists of California. Augmenting Second Time Around: The Hubcap as Art is a series of Hubcap Milagros by famed local Chicano artist, David Avalos.

Terrilynn Quick (Art Teacher, Bear Valley Middle School) has sifted through junkyards and amassed dozens of hubcaps to equip two of her classes with ‘canvases’ so they can create their very own masterpieces. Collaborating with a local artist, students experiment with recycled materials and fused glass for their works on display as part of Second Time Around: The Hubcap as Art.

Second Time Around: The Hubcap as Art is toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national program of Mid-America Arts Alliance. ExhibitsUSA sends more than 25 exhibitions on tour to over 100 small and mid-sized communities every year. More information is available at maaa.org and eusa.org.

California Center for the Arts Escondido is located at 340 North Escondido Boulevard, Escondido. For more information call (760) 839-4138 or visit www.artcenter.org.

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