Someone at the 15th Harp Guitar Gathering may be going home with a cheap date.

That would be “Hula Lula” – and by cheap, I don’t mean to disparage this hourglass-figured diamond-in-the-rough – I’m talking about the bill.

Dan Pease (of Harp Guitar Gathering regulars “Dan & Bets” fame) has generously donated his beloved for a fundraiser that will take place during the Friday night dinner at HGG15.  There will be no minimum required to win this beauty – you need only be present to participate.  (The Foundation will cover shipping to the winner’s home, so no worries there.)

Some of you may have seen H.L. when Dan brought her to the Texas Gathering.  I’ll never forget my first glimpse when he sent me pics 5 years ago, announcing:

“To wit, a Bruno harp guitar, six and six, but with a bevy of mods of a hugely whimsical nature.  You will doubtless marvel at the cunning use of silver sparkle visible through the sound hole, the byzantine scrolls of dark circles (actually small wooden spikes driven into the top!), the top surround of larger circles and then of course, there’s Lula. . .ah,  yes, the lovely Lula.  While I may never know its detailed, sordid past, nonetheless, it charms and intrigues me, tasks me and heaps me.”

From the front, it is indeed an intriguing example of folk art – someone’s highly individualistic “redecorating” that beggars the imagination.

The back – the side I’d be displaying on the wall – presents the heavily decoupaged Lula (christened by Dan) and entices all with equal parts glamour and kitsch, lovingly hand-painted.

It comes with a copy of the previous owner’s story of “the 3 Rudys” – the original purchaser handing it down through three generations and finally to a cousin (the story’s partly apocryphal, the instrument being produced in the 1910s, not the 1800s).

There are various repairs besides the overall remodel and refinish (over a Brazilian rosewood body).  But everything works.  I donated a half-set of neck tuners so I could string it up with temp strings for photos.  Loosely tuned, I can tell that it still plays quite well and sounds pretty good!  (John Riley, are you getting all this?!)

Attendees at the Gathering are going to get an eyeful of over 40 spectacular harp guitars on exhibit, and at least that many more brought by our performers, builders and attendees.  But I predict the belle of the ball will be Hula Lula.

And someone’s taking her home.