If any song could serve as the theme for the vast Pacific Standard Time celebration of the Southern California art boom time, it might be Van Dyke Parks’ “Orange Crate Art,” the title tune of his 1995 collaborative album with Brian Wilson.
Parks performed the song midway through a delights-filled show he and singer Inara George put on Saturday at the Getty Museum’s Harold M. Williams Auditorium, kicking off a series of music events tied to Pacific Standard Time — just hours before we all reset our clocks for the fall seasonal shift.
The song encapsulates everything PST represents: wistful nostalgia, willfully selective memories and, above all, an appreciation of art that is at once ambitious and functional. It filters the image of California through an idealized lens, the image quickly reshaping and remaking reality every bit as much as those put on screen by the Hollywood dream-makers. In this song’s case, it’s accomplished with a very personal memory, an association of the glorious paintings, transformed from from functional fruit crate labels to colorful decor, with a lost love.