If you've ever visited an arcade, you know the allure of pinball. You pull a coiled plunger, a silver ball zips around plastic curves, the machine chirps and whirs, and the backglass blinks on, revealing come-hither robot women with long, metallic legs. Or green aliens terrorizing Fay Wray-looking damsels in distress.
Starting Friday, dozens of those vibrant, comic-book-like pinball graphics will be mounted in the upstairs gallery of Lauderhill's nerdy mega-haven Tate's Comics. Bear and Bird Boutique and Gallery curator Amanda Magnetta-Ottati says the vintage arcade art will be paired with pinup photography from South Florida-based photographers. The show's title, naturally, is "Pin-ups and Pinballs."
"None of us are pinball wizards, but we appreciate the art and history of them, and they're definitely collectible," Magnetta-Ottati says of the exhibit. "It's very eye-catching and colorful, a little sexy, titillating and weird."
About 50 pieces of pinball backglass — minus the machines — will be on display alongside 30 pinup images from Walter Wordsworth; Ellie Cardoza and Alexa Arguello of Blast 'Em Photography; Kris Starry of Starry Night Photography; and Melanie Benson of Va-Va-Voom Pinup Photos.
Magnetta-Ottati says one of Tate's buyers snatched up the 1970s, '80s and '90s backglass from a local collector. Pieces span the familiar (Arnold Schwarzenegger's face from "Terminator 2: Judgment Day") to the obscure (a game titled "Getaway," depicting a man in sunglasses eluding police while driving a red Porsche).
"It's a really masculine activity, playing pinball," Magnetta-Ottati says. "You can imagine a bunch of tough dudes in a bowling alley, ordering hot chicken wings, trying to get the bonus ball. The pinups' photos are the feminine counterpart to all that. But it's also a tribute."
Every piece of framed pinball backglass will be on sale throughout the show's run, which will conclude April 26, with prices ranging from $30 to $300, she says. Friday's opening reception will include complimentary beer, wine and vegan-friendly snacks.
Bear and Bird Boutique and Gallery, 4566 N. University Drive, in Lauderhill. Admission is free. Call 954-748-0181 or go to BearAndBird.com.
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