Feb 4 2011

Our McMenamins artists having been painting new historically based panels for the Crystal Hotel (opening in May 2011) for months now. Below, artist Lyle Hehn gives a slightly mysterious explanation of one of his latest pieces...

"A Call from the Past" (4' x 6', acrylic on panel, 2010).

A Call..The scene is a bar, sometime in the middle of the 20th century. As you approach the bar, you see that burnt-out light bulbs have been dropping out of the ceiling sockets, one by one.

The bartenders have been dutifully catching them and placing them on the bar top. Finally two glowing red live bulbs drop down, and as they fall, the two bartenders leer at each other knowingly, as if they've gotten the same idea, and it may or may not involve your arrival.

The grinning patrons seem to be in on some secret joke, as you are invited to sit down with them at the empty stool and answer the telephone.  Some movement draws your attention to the mirror behind the bar, and that's when you see the woman standing there, occupying the space where your own reflection should be. She's holding the receiver of the telephone up to her ear, waiting to talk to you.

As you reach for the telephone, something about it makes you doubt which side of the mirror you're on. Everywhere you look, now, things are askew, ungrounded, disconnected or even missing entirely.

You order a drink instead.

About the author: Lyle Hehn is one of our McMenamins artists and has been with the company since 1988.
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Comment on this Posting:

#1 Susan

I grew up in Portland, so after turning 21, I went to this really cool new spot out in Troutdale, where you could watch movies and drink beer. That was about 1992-1994. This October, my cousin was married in the Powerhouse. I spent HOURS, the next day, walking though and around Edgefield looking--really looking--at all the art. What you guys do is really special. I love that you bring a places' old life (and possibly, after-life) back to it. The stories that you tell of the people who have wandered those halls before us, helps to keep them remembered, and you guys do it so incredibly well (my favorites at Edgefield are the panel depicting how the residents wound up at the poor farm--actually turned into a quick history lesson that my 10 and 13 yr olds actually wanted to hear!--, and on the 3rd floor--the "Beehive" and the flying residents in their wheel chairs--how fun for them to get to finally get to go flying!). Now, I'm all grown up (shhh! don't tell!), living in Monroe WA, and you guys are getting ready to build a new place 30 minutes from me in Bothell. How lucky am I?!?!?! I can't wait to see the magic that you guys paint there. What stories will you uncover and share with the rest of the world? Thank you!

#2 Mike Burns

Hey Lyle, I hope to be working there and enjoying your art.
Looking good.

#3 Mary Owens-Allen

Oh this is a very eerie story.  It will be fun when I can view this painting in person...