It’s Presidents’ Day – a holiday – time for a field trip.
Rather than the exotic locations we usually visit, this field trip is only a few miles, to Emeryville.
Before the Big Development of Emeryville, it was industrial and funky.
Yes, there was quirk, but not much. Mostly the driftwood art in the mudflats.
The driftwood art is long gone. A lot of the industry is gone. A big chunk of the railroad yards is gone. Bay Street and Ikea, the anti-Christ of quirky/old weird are here.
Yet – even in the belly of the monster, in the Home Deport / Target shopping center between 40th and MacArthur just west of San Pablo, there is an inspiring collection of Mark Bulwinkle steel sculpture. He made and installed the sculptures between 1993 and 1995.
At the Home Depot end of the center:
Smoke ’em if you’ve got ’em!
This piece is Scaredy Cat. Scaredy Cat is a recurring character in the Bulwinkle pantheon.
Adjectives that might describe Bulwinkle’s world: mad, insane, deranged, demented, maniacal, manic, lunatic, wild, crazed, hysterical, raving, unhinged, frenzied, feverish, frenetic, hectic, intense.
At the western, Target end of the shopping center, there is a Sidewalk Boulevard of Bulwinkle.
Look! There I am, in the bottom photo. All about me!
As I was coming of age, many – mais pas moi – were drawn to Marxism.
Sure, I read Marx for Beginners by Rius.
I confess, though, that I was probably as drawn to Rius and his graphics and the Mexican slang he used as I was to the ideas of Marx. At the time, I bought and read every Rius comic I could find in the Mission or Mexicali. I wish I’d kept them!
The point being though – the word “contradiction” was bandied about casually. Mao Zedong wrote his major essay on dialectical materialism, On Contradiction, to challenge dogmatist and subjectivist thinking inside the Chinese Communist Party. The essay was de rigeur in certain circles. Again – pas moi!
Leaving aside the purely Marxist sense of the word, Aristotle said it best – “One cannot say of something that it is and that it is not in the same respect and at the same time.”
It would be a contradiction to say that the Home Depot/Target shopping center is quirky and that the Home Depot/Target shopping center is not quirky at the same time. That would be a contradiction.
But it is. And it isn’t. I guess we’ll have to live with this contradiction.
I showed the draft post to my friend.
“Geeking out on Bulwinkle again are you?”
I sensed where he was going. “Are you suggesting that this is too much Bulwinkle?”
He said nothing. “Well, my friend, that would be impossible.” I then succumbed to the temptation of musical lyrics – “I want to be Bob Dylan / Mr. Jones wishes he was someone just a little more funky/ When everybody loves you, son, that’s just about as
funky as you can be.” Bulwinkle is the truest true north of quirky Berkeley. There is NO SUCH THING as too much Bulwinkle.
My friend nodded. “Dude, maybe you should ask Bulwinkle to do a piece for you. Ever thought of that?” I hadn’t but I started to. It would have to be a pretty special idea.
Anyway – what does he think of this modest yet extravagant field trip?