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Bakersfield Trip – April 2015

07/25/2015

One of the things I appreciate about Bakersfield is that it is still relatively untouched by hipsterism. It is just a little too far from Los Angeles to have the Sunset Junction/Silverlake contingent invade. And has a bit too much of a “reputation” to be considered a destination spot. The town has a rich American history that I am keen on to explore and experience. I love classic Americana art in popular culture, primarily in marketing and advertising. Bakersfield’s cup overflows with it.

Did you know the famous Steinbeck book The Grapes of Wrath was about this area?

Did you know that Bakersfield once had such a rich country music scene that it was dubbed the “Nashville of the West“?

Legendary and mega-famous country artists Buck Owens and Merle Haggard are both from Bakersfield. AND both MARRIED the same woman (at different times in their lives, respectively); Bonnie Owens. An exceptionally talented country music artist/singer in her own right.

Dwight Yoakum and Buck Owens once did a famous duet (written by Homer Joy) about the town. It even went to number one on the Billboard Country Chart in 1988 – “The Streets of Bakersfield” The video here.

Do you remember that the The Rolling Stones sing about it in their hit song “Far Away Eyes“.

Dubbed “The Food Basket of the World”, The San Joaquin Valley produces 12.8% of the United States agricultural production. Imagine for a moment your local grocery store without any avocados or almonds.

This area of California also is one of the nation’s most productive and important oil producing areas. A strategic national resource that helps the United States be more self-reliant.

Have you seen the Daniel Day Lewis movie “There Will Be Blood“? That’s the oil rush story about the valley area around Bakersfield. An excellent movie by the way, regarded by many as one of the best films of the 2000’s.

One of my favorite mid-century modern artists also is from the area – Johnny Ramos Instagram.

Below are a few pictures from a recent trip in April 2015 that I made to Bakersfield to see Merle Haggard with my friends at the historic (and well kept) Fox Theater in downtown Bakersfield.

If you like these images, I made another post here a while back that you can explore too.

The history of American music, oil, cattle, art, and agriculture, all can be experienced to varying degrees in Bakersfield and the valley that it anchors.

In Bakersfield you can even drop by the dollar store and pick up a Brut knockoff simply titled…”Macho”.

Yes you can, and it’s no Fabergé.

Macho

In the Belvedere room at The Padre

Padre Hotel

Mural in a Bakersfield alley –

Mural in Bakersfield

It’s never too late kids –

Merle Receives High School Diploma

On with the show –

Merle Haggard Live at the Fox Theater Bakersfield

Merle takes the stage –

Merle Haggard Performing at the Fox Theater

This historic Woolworth’s location in downtown Bakersfield now is this antique shop with tons of great stuff –

Woolworth's Bakersfield

The golden age of advertising –

The Golden Age of Advertising

And the golden age of art in useful design –

Vintage Typewriter

I have no idea what is going on here –

What?!? Is that!

Famous Fisk Tire advertising campaign (designed in 1907) still resides on the top of a building in Bakersfield – “Time to Re-Tire” –

Fisk Advertising Time to Retire

There is a significant Basque population in Bakersfield and a few historic family-style restaurant spots like Wool Growers and Noreiga’s. Both provide a dining experience not to be missed. We ate at Noreiga’s this time around and it was excellent.

Noreiga's Restaurant in Bakersfield

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