Museum Offers Laughs, Chat, Shows

The Pacific Pinball Museum (PPM), which continues its fundraising efforts to secure a permanent home at the Alameda Carnegie Library recently announced a series of events taking place in May.

Art shows
The museum will be opening two new exhibitions of artwork this month starting tonight at 7 p.m. with Pinball Style by PPM curator Melissa Harmon.

This exhibition of pinball backglass art from the 1940s through 2000s includes commentary on fashion as reflected. Harmon explores dramatic and historical context with a touch of fashion police humor. Harmon’s show runs through July 1.

Then, tomorrow night, Friday, May 9, PPM hosts the opening of Baseball Collections of Duane Tom, at 7 p.m. The one of a kind art event features a unique collection of baseball ephemera paired with baseball themed pinballs and pitch-n-bat games.

According to Tom, collections are stories. “The story can be a simple one, or it can be more complex,” he said. “By putting together a collection, you are helping to ensure that future generations will be able to find enjoyment and knowledge in that particular genre.  You are creating a mini museum where you are the curator and caretaker of the cherished object.”

Tom’s show will appear through July 15.  

Art Talk at Frank Bette
As part of the Frank Bette Center for the Arts’ (FBCA) monthly series on art history, PPM founder and executive director, Michael Schiess, will discuss “Early Pinball Backglass Art” on Wednesday, May 14. FBCA Art Talks are held on the second Wednesday of each month, from 7 to 9 p.m., with doors opening at 6 p.m.

A significant part of the appeal of pinball comes from its art. Schiess will present samples from the extensive PPM collection as well as the collection of Richard Conger, which includes some of the most rare and oldest games known to exist. Schiess hopes to host some of the Conger Collection at the expanded operation at the Carnegie Library.

Schiess will review the art, the artists, the process of making backglasses and the companies that produced them. He  will also discuss the museum’s mural program which has enabled local artists to craft stunning hand-painted murals of several backglasses.

The presentation will review classic backglass artists such as George Molentin and Roy Parker, whose works span five decades, and mid-century artists Art Stenholm, Christian Marche and Dave Christensen.

Admission is $10 for guests, $5 for FBCA members. For more information: visit www.frankbettecenter.org or call 523-6957. 

Comedy Night at PPM 
In celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, PPM will host a special night of stand up and dancing called “Asian Pacific American Comedy” at 7:30 p.m.

Comedians Josef Anolin, Lilybeth Helson, Justin Lucus and special guest Molly Sokhom will provide the laughs, and DJ Darewon will provide the music for dancing afterwards. The museum dance floor is open until midnight. 

The event is $15 and includes all night pinball, no host bar and free flipper finger food as well. 

Order tickets online at www.eventbrite.com, or call 205-6959 for more information on this, or any events happening at PPM. More information is available at www.pacificpinball.org.

PPM is located at 1510 Webster St., and is a non-profit  organization dedicated to teaching art, science and history through the game of pinball, while also preserving this unique American pasttime.

Eric J. Kos is or has been a volunteer, employee and contractor for PPM.