When I ran this picture a few months ago, a Quirky Berkeley adherent looked at it and wrote, “You should do a blog on body parts.”
Bingo indeed. A brilliant idea.
I could have looked at that bathtub of body parts all day and all night and not stepped away to see preparing a compilation. Some people can see that, look at a collection of letters and see a word, look at a pile of jigsaw puzzle pieces and see fitting, look at flowers on a vine and see what needs trimming.
So, to implement this brilliant idea, I had to do a mental data bank search and remember where I had posted photos of body parts. It would have made life a lot simpler if I had tagged the photos but I didn’t.
That’s okay. Here are the ones I can remember:
The hands are at the studio of Susan Brooks in the Sawtooth Building, 2547 Eighth Street, Studio 24a.
While hands are at hand:
I haven’t posted this photo yet. It is from a glorious small world on Parker. Small world + peace + hand.
Body parts galore in Theresa Lipton’s front yard small world on Ada.
And a random leg at the Missouri Lounge.
Boy does he creep me out.
Julie Partos is constantly changing the installation in front of her Webster Street home. To do so requires a supply of body parts and mannequins.
The butt says hakuna matata, the best known Swahili phrase in America. It means “no trouble.” I did not link this photo to the address where I saw it. Bad bad bad. It was early in the process. It was just south of Dwight. No trouble!
These wig heads and mannequins, whole and partial, were found at Urban Ore on a December, 2015 visit.
Arlene Mayerson bought a box of styrofoam wig heads at the Center for Creative Reuse. She reused them, and did so very creatively.
Not your run-of-the-mill mannequin, this acupuncture points mannequin model rocks Very quirky, no?
Will Squier buys, collects, and sells kitsch. And he reuses baby doll body parts in a creepy, kitschy way.
Berkeley artist Tyler Hoare, about whom I have posted, made this piece in the early 1960s. A young graduate student at Cal bought it. His name was Robert Regan. Dr. Regan became my Most Beloved English professor at Penn between 1969 and 1971. We stayed in touch and we stayed friends. In later visits we spoke of his time in Berkeley, of Tyler Hoare, and of what I knew of Hoare. When Dr. Regan died, his widow sent me the sculpture. Body parts!
The Vinograd sisters each offer up an example:
Painter Debbie offers a hand.
And a painting – of her friend M K Chavez holding a mannequin missing body parts. That counts, doesn’t it?
Poet Julia offers a wig head.
On notional holiday field trips, I came across body parts and mannequins, which I will include here, having obtained implicit informed consent from you about infusion of this out-of-Berkeley experience.
Easily creepiest of show. No competition. These doll body parts are in the backyard of Art Moura’s Sebastopol home. He is an outsider artist. CREEPY!
Last Halloween I led a notional holiday field trip all the way to Alcatraz Avenue in Oakland. At 1075 Alcatraz was a tree with a couple dozen decorated wig heads dangling from the branches and impaled on stakes.
In April 2016, I visited genius mosaic artist Laurel Skye in Arcata. She clearly creates beyond mosaics – steampunk bathroom and these mannequins to start with.
We visited the Alameda Point Antiques Faire on Labor Day weekend, 2017. It was hot AF. Really hot. But there were body parts!
What a metaphor! End of a long and hot day, heading home, pulling a body part.
I showed my friend the post.
“Challenge – best body part in popular culture. Gotta be visual, no Frank Zappa ‘What’s the Ugliest Part of Your Body?'” He handed me a slip of paper.
We each wrote our choices down.
He went first.
He had first written down “Nine-fingered man from Thirty-nine Steps.” He had crossed it out.
The one-armed man from The Fugitive. I admired these choices because in each case it was the absence of a body part, not the part. But he had crossed it out and gone with –
From Robert Whitaker’s 1966 photo shoot of the “Butcher” cover for the Beatles’ Yesterday and Today. “GOOD ONE!” I almost shouted.
Now, my turn:
I did not use my personal favorite – too personal, but instead a cultural icon – the leg lamp from Christmas Story.
My friend spoke simply: “State your case.”
I did. “It was based on stories from Jean Shepherd’s In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash and Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories. I claim that along with Mad magazine he was the most disruptive cultural force in America in the 1950s. Nobody has ever touched him on the radio. He was the champion of the night people, the non-conformists. The Beatles were big. Shep was bigger.”
My friend gave me a thumbs up. “We’d pick up WOR on our transistors in Detroit some nights, Earl and I did. We’d listen to Shep all night when we could. He was the truth!”
I accepted his concession and asked what he thought of the post.