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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 18, 2000)
California mystique flourishes in exhibit
■ Promotion, propaganda
unite in drive toward
settlement of western state.
By Josh Nichols
Four hundred years ago, the area
now known as California was a mysteri
ous, foreign land that eastern settlers
knew nothing about
Now, in the year 2000, California is
the most populated state in the nation.
There is a reason for this, and it has
been called the California Dream.
Stories like those of the Gold Rush
and beautiful San Francisco have creat
ed an aura about the place.
The reason it has been a fascination
for so long is not necessarily because it
is that wonderful.
Instead, this fascination has been the
result of a barrage of promotion and
propaganda that has poured out of the
state for hundreds of years.
This will be shown in “Pacific
Arcadia, Images of California 1600
1915,” the Joslyn Art museum’s latest
The show features images and writ
ings from the past three centuries that
were developed to portray California as
the ideal place to live.
Chronologically orde’red with six
different parts, the exhibit begins with
“Terrestrial Paradise,” a collection of
maps and images that make California
out to be a paradise island.
Brandon Ruud, assistant curator at
the Durham Center for Western Studies
at the Joslyn, said early explorers mis
took the Baja peninsula for an island.
The 17th- and 18th-century paint
ings, he said, made this island out to be a
golden land with peaceful American
Indians and pearls the size of ostrich
The next exhibit, titled “The Golden
Dream,” features a number of images,
Images of California
WHERE: Joslyn Art
V ' Museum, 2200 Dodge St.
WHEN: Opens Feb. 19
COST: $6 for adults, $4 for
S 1 students
THE SKINNY: Exhibit
features artistic propaganda
from California from 1600
i m 1915.
signs, lithographs and letters that were
sent to the East Coast promoting the get
rich-quick dream that one could achieve
if he or she came to California.
Gold was discovered in the foothills
of California in 1848, but Ruud said
overall, the California Gold Rush was a
propaganda event in itself.
In the 1850s, when miners began to
give up in California and moved on to
Colorado and Nevada, California began
to be promoted as an agricultural par
The third part of the exhibit,
“Cornucopia of the World,” exhibits
still-lifes of wonderful landscapes with
rich farm ground and well-off, middle
These images were sent east to con
vince civilized easterners that the wild,
rough Gold Rush days were over and
that California was a wonderful place to
settle and lead a peaceful life.
The Pacific Railroad, which owned
large amounts of land along its railways,
played an integral part in this promo
Later, portrayals were created of
California’s natural landscapes, which
included Yosemite Valley, the Sierra
Nevada and the giant redwood forest.
“Rush for the Wilderness” shows
this effort to attract people to California
because of its natural wonders.
Ruud said one of the displays con
William Han’s painting “Harvest Time” from 1875, is part of the Joslyn Art Museum’s “Pacific Arcadia:tmages
from California” exhibit. The show opens today in Omaha.
tains a quote by a photographer who
was documenting the California land
It read, “When hiking these moun
tains, I see God.”
After the completion of the
transcontinental railroad in 1869, pro
moters tried to alter the perception of the
large Spanish population in California.
At the time, Europe provided the
main attraction for those who were
interested in experiencing another cul
ture that included classic architecture
and a rich history.
To promote California as an alterna
tive to Europe, the focus shifted to the
rich Hispanic culture in California.
“What had been a negative stereo
type at one time was now spun into an
attractive tourist attraction,” Ruud said.
The propaganda worked, and soon
cities like San Francisco had been
Viewed at one time as a lawless,
dirty, behind-the-times city with no
paved roads, San Francisco was soon
promoted by capitalists as culture-filled
and as the leading city on the West
Pictures of grand hotels, mansions,
the palace of fine arts and the exotic
Chinatown were soon being sent out to
show that this city way out west was
every bit as illustrious as Chicago,
Boston and New Yoric.
This is shown in the last part of
Pacific Arcadia’s display, “Urban
Bryan Le Beau, chairman of the
Department of History at Creighton
University, is incorporating “Pacific
Arcadia” into his Public Memory class
He said he plans to emphasize how
California was looked at historically.
“California has always had an ideal
ized image that has attracted people to
it,” he said.
Images were used to create this ide
alization, but as Le Beau pointed out,
the promotion of California was a repeat
of what was done a century before.
“There are striking parallels to what
was said to attract people to California
and what was said to attract people from
Europe to the New World,” he said.
Both Ruud and Le Beau said peo
ple’s attraction to California three cen
turies ago has contemporary relevance.
“The idea of Arcadia is still appeal
ing to Americans desiring to start over
again and return to a natural environ
ment,” Le Beau said.
Propaganda is a commonly used
term, and Ruud and Le Beau said it is
“That is what is interesting, the res
onance this exhibit has with the contem
porary society,” Ruud said.
“It’s interesting to see how this has
been going on for two centuries or
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Hang Ups indie-pop style
catches on after 10 years
By Jason Hardy
In the past 10 years, Minneapolis
based indie-pop combo the Hang Ups
has played countless shows, released
three full-length albums and caught the
attention of Semisonic’s Dan Wilson
and Soul Asylum’s Dave Pimer.
It’s not a bad resume for a relatively
But up until last year, the group had
never done any extensive touring, a key
factor in establishing the aforemen
tioned relatively unknown status.
Armed with a new rhythm section,
the group recorded its most acclaimed
work yet, the 1999 Restless release,
“Second Story,” and hit the road, spend
ing 160 days last year touring the
In a phone interview from some
where in between Minneapolis and
Chicago, the group’s frontman, Brian
Tighe, talked about the Hang Ups’ new
dynamic and about finally developing a
band identity after 10 years of playing
“We’ve done so much touring
recently that I think we’ve really grown
as a unit,” he said. “It definitely feels the
most like a band now. Our previous
drummer was unable to tour, so this is a
“I really wanted to see what it’s like
to live that life on the road, and it defi
nitely has its good and bad points.”
On Sunday, the Hang Ups will open
for Matt Wilson, formerly of Trip
Shakespeare, at Duffy’s Tavern, 1412 O
St. The show is part of the group’s cur
rent tour. Tighe said die Hang Ups were
growing with every show.
He said by touring, the group has
grown tighter, in terms of performing
and their relationships. It’s something
Tighe said he had always wanted.
“It feels good. It feels really good,”
-g Hang ups with
* • WHERE: Duffy's Tavern
^ 1412 0 St.
, 4, l WHEN: 9:30 p.m. Feb. 20
THE SKINNY: Band brings
: ten years of music to Lincoln,
he said, “both the camaraderie of it and
just being able to do what you love. It
feels like your job.
“Not only that, but the increase in
the quality of the band. It’s just a really
good feeling when the band becomes
Tighe isn’t the only one who’s
noticed the group’s growth during the
past year. He said many long-term fans
have complimented him on the group’s
rejuvenated live energy.
Andy Fairbairn, entertainment
director for Duffy’s Tavern, said he was
thoroughly pleasal with the band’s per
formance at Duffy’s last November, and
he was looking forward to seeing them
“I’d never seen them until they
played here in ’99,” Fairbairn said. “I
was impressed because they’ve just got
really solid pop-song writing.”
Tighe said the band’s recent success
and accolades have made all the touring
very satisfying but is quick to point out
that, even after 10 years, the group has a
long way to go.
“Along with it comes a realization
that touring is not easy, so with the good
feeling of‘now we’re finally doing this,’
is a sobering feeling that we’d better
watch it,” he said. “It’s always been a
slow build for us, and it continues to be.
But just the fact that it hasn’t gone back
and it continues to grow is a good testa
“It feels like we’re still going in the
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