I see dozens of worthless people do nothing downtown on a daily basis, but everyone knows that you don't give them money or they'll keep coming back. In most cities these guys would have to make their clothes out of duct tape and eat beans with boots.
The parameters are way too big. I don't want to have to drive to the parts of town where having teeth is optional and smelling like feces is mandatory to see ArtGarbageTM.
Teachers, I know teaching is a hard, thankless job, but stop clogging up my streets with your brats. What could you possibly be teaching these kids by bringing them to look at wood carvings of Grizzly Bears? Answer: the guy who made them gets to leave the Ren-faire for three weeks.
Jesus winning in GR is like an episode of "eightWest" making me want to puke my boredom away. I like art that is controversial, and you know Jesus in our parts isn't that. We need more crazies eating their afterbirth or Suzanne Geha straddling those things in the UICA that looked like dildos.
He-man f***ing owns! What more can be said?
The World's Largest Bean Bag
World records are rarely achieved; it's like the hardest thing to do ever. I would have liked to have seen at least a little prize money go their way. It would have afforded them the opportunity to smoke the world's largest amount of pot followed by eating the world's largest amount of Cheetoes.
MyFaceShirtPrize +1 A Walking Canvas
I was promised a "Honey Badger Don't Care" t-shirt and it was delivered.
To the Moon
Never before have I seen a piece that depicts how life would be like for cows on the moon. The artist even went as far as to place a box for you to sit on so that you could experience what it would be like to sit on a box, on the moon, while cows were there.
To: Kenneth Wolstenholme
I've had a good innings. It's been a great experience. Now it is time to go. Full Stop. Le fin. The fat lass sings, Elvis has eaten the building, last orders.
I will soon be back in the angry land of my father, swearing at the telly and wearing jumpers in July. I will complain about the English weather and everything else, then remember fondly the sunny days spent building replica Saxon castles on Grand Haven beach or evenings drinking Founders Pale from jam jars and listening to Pavement in Stella's. Playing football on a soggy field in Kentwood and watching people in clogs sweep Holland High Street, despite being sober. I will especially ponder my various encounters with the homeless folk outside Kalamazoo train station.
One day soon, while walking through old London Town, I may even drift off into dreams of gun ownership that were cruelly foiled by virtue of my being foreign.
The yanks have been lovely to me, but I've finally had it. I've suffered the perversion of tea (party), the lack of roundabouts, country music that isn't really country music, religious saturation, the daily destruction of my native tongue, people liking my accent and asking me if I'm Australian. I even showed up for Fourth of July to watch them celebrate the end of an empire. (Do they have to do it every bloody year?) None of that even made my upper lip quiver. Until now.
The final violation.
Turns out all this time, some beardy, weirdy, tabloid sleazebag has been monitoring my e-mails and publishing them in his dirty rag. He spent time working in London, apparently. File me beside Scarlett Johansson and Richard Nixon. It's like a brain invasion. My dirty linen is in public and being aired.
I will return to the Toon, let the distress fade and make a new plan. Beware, West Michigan.
"There's people on the pitch, they think it's all over ... it is now."
—Tyler Durden, Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club
In this case two years has proven long enough for this column. Yup, this is the last M&S. I am shutting down in part because of another opportunity, in part because I feel like I have kinda made my point by now.
When REVUE came asked me to do a column, they said: "Call out the stupid stuff, like Amway's ‘invitation only' downtown fireworks." Yeeeeah, but continually riffing on beaten dogs like Amway, the CRC or Tulip Time just wasn't that appealing.
I had a different thesis: there are many great things about GR, but our insecurity and neediness put those strengths at risk. Like the Beemer-driving douchebag checking his hair while parked on railroad tracks, we worry about impressions first, the reality of our surroundings last - if at all.
Even worse, when we make mistakes and get a bit of egg on our face, we pretend it didn't happen instead of learning from it. From the West Michigan Grand Prix to ArtPrize Jesus, we have had our share of red-faced f**k-ups. Remember the big initiative that was supposed to attract younger people to move and stay downtown? Or the "Keep it a Secret" campaign to ignite downtown retail traffic?
Look, trying crazy s**t is good, no risk no reward (!). But instead of sitting down and saying, "Wow, that sucked, how can we avoid that again?" we quickly hold up the next shiny object: "Um, er ... HEY look! We made Fire Hydrant Quarterly's Top 20!!! WHOOO!" Moreover, we stomp on anyone who DARES utter a questioning word about the sacred cow of the moment, be it ArtPrize, GVSC(cq), Rob Bliss or MSU Med School. So much for the marketplace of ideas.
Grand Rapids has incredible things to offer. We also have many things we need to work on. That work isn't happening because we are afraid to acknowledge problems much less discuss them.
I am not naïve - I know the insecurity of our "leaders" isn't going to change anytime soon. They will always be staring in the rearview mirror, oblivious to the oncoming locomotive. But if enough of us get out of the car and start pushing, maybe we can at least get off the damn tracks before it's too late.
SDP is really quite thankful for the graphic design wizardry, deadline-bending patience and disproportionate general genius of the entire REVUE team.
I like football. I played when I was a kid in scrubby lots and of course the street - often until it was too dark to see the ball. I watch college games, the Lions and am in the occasional office pool. Given these affections, it pains me to admit my emerging concerns about the game as entertainment.
My issue isn't the steroids, the gambling or even the fantasy leagues. While these topics range from disturbing to pathetic, they are still primarily limited to the college ranks and the NFL. Whether it is a player with suspiciously fast muscle growth or a fantasy addict neglecting his kids for the 9 a.m. pre-pre-pre-game show, the decisions of adults (more or less) are their own.
You cannot say that about high school football. The participants are far from adulthood, and how the game has been packaged, marketed and consumed should give us all a bit of indigestion. To be clear, my concern isn't about physical safety of players, which I think actually is pretty well managed. My concern is how disproportionate the hype has become.
GRPS doesn't have a superintendent and cannot afford heat or new roofs new roofs, yet I am much more likely to catch another painful promo for TV8s FOOTBALL FRENZY WALL-TO-WALL IN YOUR FACE coverage than I am an update on the millage. The Sunday Press is skinnier than a Jonas brother's necktie, but they still find plenty of room for in-depth PREPS BONUS coverage ... good luck finding the MEAP scores, but did you see the third quarter rushing yards from that Hesperia game???
As bad as it is here (bad), I know we pale in comparison to states like Texas or Florida. ESPN's Longhorn Network was going to carry high school games until the idea was squashed by a college conference. I watched "King of the Hill" ... I know what goes on.
The cult of high school athlete as celebrity isn't new or inherently evil by any stretch. But there is a huge difference between the validation a 16 year old gets from a varsity jacket and the disillusion he gets from 24/7 media coverage. Going from a star at 17 to a nobody at 18 has always been a bitch, but now the fall can be a lot farther.
Ultimately, there is plenty of blame to go around here, with media simply following the ad dollars and eyeballs and the schools more or less doing the same. My gut is that the issue lies mostly with parents unable or unwilling to stop the runaway hype machine every fall. Don't tell me it's Americana, tradition or community pride. And don't tell me it's "Friday Night Lights" ... I know "Toddlers and Tiaras" when I see it.
SDP has his kidney up for sale on Craig’s List so he can afford a ticket to this year’s ArtPrize winner’s announcement … nothing says public art like gouging the public.