Dolly Parton Album Covers
Crowsenberg's Half & Half
923 SW Oak St, 222-4495
Through May 31
Art is not just found within the confines of blue-chip galleries. Art with a capital A is potentially everywhere--it's all about the viewer. Exhibit A: art on display at Crowsenberg's Half & Half, a deli/sundries shop located in downtown Portland, in which co-owner Keith Crowe shares with the public his impressive homage to the Country-Western diva, Dolly Parton.
On the wall above the café's lunch counter, 30 album covers are arranged neatly in a horizontal group. The collection is eerily compelling, even for those who would not otherwise give Dolly the time of day. Truly, she is Americana at its finest--the dreamy, 1970s album covers push kitsch through the roof. The collection resembles a shrine, and the images of Dolly at various stages in her career are telling. In the 16 years represented on the wall, Dolly does not seem to age one bit. And more creepy yet, her expression is constant--one big, smooth, perfect smile. Crowe's collection spans the earlier portions of Dolly's career: 1971-1987. Why Dolly? Crowe grins sheepishly when he admits that "she reminds me of my mom." Ahh.
One of Crowe's favorite album covers, Bubbling Over was released in 1973. The cover captures Dolly standing poolside in the background, dressed in a bold, floral ensemble. Armed with big 'ole hair and that eternal lipstick smile, Dolly beams under summer skies. Above her an apparition with bubbling edges floats above, and lo and behold, it's Dolly herself, grinning down at this damn beautiful world and all her adoring fans.
Another notable cover illustrates the classic, 9 to 5 and Odd Jobs, from 1980. Poolside Dolly makes way for a tough and crafty Dolly. The Tennessee darling is dressed in bluecollar-chic tight blue jeans, silver high-heeled stilettos, and a ball cap that rests gingerly atop her teased hair. She is ready to tackle what the world sends her way, and has various tools in hand. A pair of work boots, a paint roller, a garden hoe, a typewriter--all part of Dolly's master plan to take over the world. Her trademark smile and blonde locks are intact, under a thick layer of 1980s makeup and Aqua-Net sheen.
Perhaps the best aspect of the Dolly covers is that the collection appeals to such a wide array of people. Hard core country music fans, thrift-store hipsters, or simple Breast-Men can all gather together and adore the blonde goddess of mountain music.