Take a Nap at the Gamble House

Artists land at the Pasadena landmark for two weeks of merriment.

While your spirit is prone to soaring upon entering Pasadena's The Gamble House, one of the most exquisitely imagined houses to be found anywhere, it can make your heart sink, just a pinch, to realize you'll never participate in any normal, everyday tasks while politely calling upon the grand Arts & Crafts jewel.

The homey stuff is the stuff you kind of miss, is what we're saying. You'll never write letters, enjoy a snack, or take a nap at The Gamble, all of which docents might frown upon (and rightly so). But that's changing, with a wink and a twinkle, during the Machine Project's two-week residency at one of California's finest estates.

The art-minded, science-loving, poetry-spouting innovators -- they built the cavern behind their Echo Park storefront last autumn, remember -- are gently taking over the multi-roomed, lawn-lavish gem, with its blessing, from Friday, Sept. 19 through Sunday, Oct. 5, in conjunction with the AxS Festival 2014, a Pasadena-big science-and-art love-in.

As for what shall go down at the eave-iest wonder in all of Southern California? Group naps on the Gamble House's sleeping porch (for which you'll need a ticket) (yes, this is a ticketed nap). 

Look also for the drawing of ghosts and artificial sunlight demonstrations and embroidery lessons and the building of cat dwellings and poetry readings that take place just between the poet and a single listener, inside a Gamble House closet.

Oh, and a tableaux vivant -- or living painting, if you prefer -- brought to vivid life by cat-women.

For sure, a deep streak of the surreal and scientific whimsy threads through the Machine Project's mirthful but meaningful mission: Open minds, tickle our fancies, recall past pleasures of oration and the handcraft arts, elevate scientific inquiry, and take us a bit out of our screen-focused, now-focused lives.


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The to-dos are plentiful and there's a bunch of 'em, too. Some are ticketed, some are free, and a lot of doings are happening on the vast lawn, like the two-story puppet that will be periodically animated on a few special days during the fest.

Call it a new way to interact with the Gamble House. Especially if you nod off there, something we're almost never invited to do inside the hallowed spaces of our most treasured landmarks.

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