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How to enjoy Western Art Week if you’re a hipster

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At first glance, hipsters and Western Art might not seem like they have a whole lot in common.

Western Art Week 2014
Western Art Week 2014

Western art tends to be about tradition, cowboys, Indians and protecting the romantic idea of what the west once was.

Hipsters, on the other hand tend to be folks who follow the latest trends and fashions, ” especially those regarded as being outside the cultural mainstream,” according to a quick Google search.

However, if you’re a hipster in Montana, there’s still plenty you can enjoy as Western Art Week begins later this week. Western art, after all, is a bit outside of the mainstream, and even if you don’t understand any of it, you can at least pretend to enjoy it ironically.

So, without further ado, here is Big Sky State Buzz’s “Hipster guide to enjoying Western Art Week,” which was written with our tongue firmly in our cheeks.

The first thing you’ll want to do as a hipster before even getting to Great Falls for Western Art Week, or WAW as it’s often abbreviated, is determining what you’ll want to wear. Seeing as this is a cowboy-ish event, you’re probably going to want a cowboy hat, but not just any cowboy hat.

You’ve got to find the most hipster of cowboy hats ever made, afterall. Something like this:

hipster hat one

or the one seen below

A hipster? A cowboy? Both? You decide
A hipster? A cowboy? Both? Does it really matter?

definitely fits the bill.

Lucky for you, the second hat is easily found on Ebay for under $30. Score.

Once you’ve got the hat, you’re going to need the rest of your outfit.

The good news is that, you might not need to adjust your typical hipster outfit, seen below, that much.

In fact, the fine folks over at Westword have put together an entire article showing how hipster style isn’t all that much different from cowboy style, anyhow. You probably don’t even have to change too much when it comes to wardrobe.

So, now that we’ve got the most important part of the experience out of the way, you’re going to want to know where to go to find all the hipster hotspots in town when WAW gets rolling.

I might recommend starting at the Second Annual Missouri Falls Fine Arts Show and Sale located at the La Quinta Inn.

Why, you might ask? For one, it’s only in it’s second year meaning as a hipster you can check it out and claim you got into it before almost anyone else did.

Secondly, many of the artists attending this show are totally people who are the farthest away from “mainstream” as you can get.

People like Kathleen Zuelke or  Jean Mazur, for instance.

And finally, this show totally helps the non-profit Arts Association of Montana. You’re enjoying art AND helping a good cause that you can brag about for the next month after you get home.

So OK, now that you’ve checked out the Missouri Falls Fine Arts Show, you’re going to want to get some food, right?

And not just any food, you’re looking for the most hipstery food possible.

These hipster outfits can easily become ‘Western’ with a few small adjustments.

As it so happens, people in Great Falls who aren’t hipsters also tend to enjoy food that isn’t deep fried in bacon grease.

One place downtown to visit is the Umami sushi restaurant located at 24 5th St. S and tell them that Jake sent you.

They probably won’t know who Jake is, but they’ll recognize your hipster hat and will totally let you in for free without a reservation.

I’d recommend the delicious Umami Roll, one of my favorites, or the Egg Drop Soup and/or the lettuce wraps.

If your’e not feeling up for sushi, you can try the tasty Taco Del Sol located at 16 6th St. S. I always like to order the fish-supreme burritos. Plus, as luck would have it, while you’re there you can take a gander at what’s hopping around town as they do a good job at keeping posters updated about local events.

Finally, I’d probably also recommend both the Celtic Cowboy at 116 1st Ave. S and JJ’s Bakery at 112 Central Ave. if you’re still looking for something else to dine on.

Now that you’re nourished with the finest of Great Falls’ hipster food, also known to everyone else as just plain food, you’re ready to get back on your steel horse, which may or may not be a 2003 Subaru, and continue ironically enjoying all of the Western Art.

On Friday, you’re going to want to check out the  Russell Skull Society of Artists Suites downtown at the Mansfield Events Center.

While the Russell show might seem mainstream to some of you, the Skull Society is a not-so-secret secret group that features some of the most hip of Western Artists.

It’s almost like if the Lumineers fan club joined forces with the Neutral Milk Hotel fan club but instead of obsessing over all the whiney emotional music, the members all did some incredible art that may or may not be similar to the same things they did last year.

Plus, the Skull Society only started in 2013 so it’s still pretty fresh and hip.

The Russell Skull Society features Nancy Dunlop Cawdrey’s colorful animals that look like the picture of your pug after you dyed his fur purple, red and blue,

Michael Coleman’s breathtaking landscapes that are totally better than that great shot of the sunset you posted on your Tumblr page last week,

Jay Contway’s intricate horse sculptures that are much more detailed than that Redstone-powered zombie farm you created in Minecraft and,

Tom Gilleon’s tipi paintings that not only put your feline tipi to shame, but also harken back to how people used to live before modular homes became the norm.

The great thing about this show, and all of the shows, in fact, is that you can chat with the artists and snap photos of their work for your Snapchat and/or Instagram feeds.

Before checking out the Skull Society, but unsuccessfully becoming a member because, let’s face it, your dad was right. You aren’t an artist, you just like the idea of being a real artist like Sidney Pollack or  Roy Lichtenstein, you might be looking for something else to do during the week.

On Thursday starting at 3:30 p.m. at the Best Western Heritage Inn, the Out West Art Show presents the Origin of the Buffalo Dance By the Missouri River Dance Company.

The event also will feature a story narrated by Earl Old Person, translated into dance and performed live.

Old Person is the chief of the Blackfeet Tribe here in Montana and a pretty cool guy in his own right.

Earl Old Person
Earl Old Person

While we don’t recommend you to take a picture with him for your Instagram feed with the caption “Hanging out with an Old Person, haha” you can knock yourself out if you choose to do so.

The Missouri River Dance Company is a local ballet group that creates a type of art way too hip for the mainstream to ever fully appreciate, thus is ripe for hipsters to claim as their own.

While you’re watching, please do Snapchat that shit.

That asshat Derek from San Diego won’t be able to Snapchat anything nearly as interesting — even if he does live right on the beach and got to throw out the first pitch for the Padres that one time last August.

Finally, the main event at every Western Art Week has to be the The Russell Live Auction, which this year takes place at the Mansfield Convention Center with social hour from 5 to 6 and the auction itself going down from 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturday.

If you’re a hipster with a lot of money, you’ve got the chance to really throw your weight around on this night.

Last year, Charlie Russell’s “Offering a Truce (Bested),” sold for $1.25 million, a record for a painting sold at the Russell auction.

This year’s auction will feature two Russell oils, “For Supremacy” and “Scouting Party,” which estimated to sell for more than $1 million each.

Even if you don’t have a lot of coin to spend, but like seeing others do it, this is the place to be on Saturday night.

Plus, who knows, maybe you’ll strike up a conversation with a single magnate who will, at the very least, buy you drinks all night, or you could both make a connection that leads to you falling madly in love while drinking Mai Thais on his/her yacht in the South Pacific later this year.

That’s the magic of Western Art Week, you don’t really know what might happen, except that there will be lots of art, lots of friendly people and plenty of things a curious hipster can check out before it was cool with the rest of your hipster friends, even asshat Derek.

For more information on Western Art Week, visit the event website here, and keep checking back at Big Sky State Buzz for more updates as the week progresses.

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