Road to the Roadshow: The Lawrence Welk Museum

Remember June? When I was all "I went to Antiques Roadshow, and here is my tale! With a 'series title' in the blog posts and everything!" And then the Summer of the Sprained-or-Whatever Back took over. But look, now I'm blogging twice in one day because I'm a bit sick - ironic.

Except I'm going to be very cheaty and pretty much just re-post my Yelp review of the Lawrence Welk Museum, which is where we stopped after leaving Big Bear Lake and before reaching San Diego. (Don't ask me why I started Yelping and didn't return to blogging. It started with just needing to gush to a wider audience about restaurants I've already discussed here, and now it's all about becoming the Duchess of places when I check in with my iPhone. I was even briefly a Baroness, but it was in a scuzzy part of town that iPhone-using hipsters don't frequent, so I didn't mind the inevitable coup. Not that I'm taking it off my resume or anything.)

(Speaking of resumes, I have two hours left to complete a followup application online for a position at the new Cosmopolitan resort. I've gotten over whatever snit at school caused me to apply in the first place - and by "snit" I mean a tiny drop of the fog of despair that chokes me whenever I have to deal with people with no interest in listening, be they child or adult - so I guess I'll let it go. I guess. It does pay more. And I could trade ridiculous hours and tasks for the sane, straightforward life of a clerk. Well, maybe it wouldn't hurt to apply... but what if there were lay-offs? At least I have some job security right now... Hey, you know what's in the fridge? Chocolate egg cream soda!)

This is what I wrote on Yelp about the Lawrence Welk Museum:

Are you on a long drive?
Are you on I-15?
Are you approaching Escondido?
Do you need to pee?
Can you finish the following line: "Mairsy doats and doasy oates and _______"?

If you answered "yes" to the five questions above, then the Lawrence Welk Museum will be a fun pit stop on your way to somewhere else.

I'm not a huge Welk fan or anything, but I've seen enough cute clips on YouTube to block out those terrible pre-cable Sundays growing up when Welk was the highlight of early Sunday evening television programming. Dark days of the 1970s.

I can appreciate any kind of museum, really, if it's done well. I could go to the Museum of Hot, Manky Brussel Sprouts and enjoy myself under a devoted curator's care. So why not break up our trip from Las Vegas to San Diego with a stop here? (With a nod to the Roadside Attractions website for the tip.)

The museum, or "museum," is actually just a lobby display in the community theatre on the grounds of the timeshare properties built by Welk. The theatre is part of a not-unattractive but rather generic little shopping area that also includes a beachwear shop and a Pizza Hut Express. The hills to the east are quite tranquil and lovely, though. It's a better place to stretch your legs than some diesel-belched parking lot.

Very little interpretation happens in the theatre lobby. You've got the enormous champagne glass, a fake studio set with a cut-out of Welk, a recreated radio booth, a piano, a big screen playing faux-Beatles (what was up with that?) in front of some plush sofas, and many posters and photographs.

The staff at the desk didn't say a word to us as we entered. I got the feeling they were only there for box office concerns. Surprisingly, there are no Welk souvenirs. No pens, no biographies, no ornaments, not even a souvenir champagne glass or bubble wand. I'm disappointed. I expect more from my tourist traps.

To be fair, this isn't really a tourist trap at all - I think it's really just a very nice and absolutely free lobby display that someone unfortunately decided to call a museum, and now things are out of hand. But who can regret seeing the world's largest champagne glass? No one who needs to use a clean bathroom, that's who.

And now some photos:

Mike and Lawrence Welk

Lawrence Welk Museum

Lawrence Welk Museum

Lawrence Welk Museum

Lawrence Welk Museum

Lawrence Welk Museum

Lawrence Welk Museum

Lawrence Welk Museum

Lawrence Welk Museum

Lawrence Welk Museum

It was an interesting thing to see once, but next time, we'll probably just wait to pee.

22 September 2010 |



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