I recently granted myself a plenary indulgence and embraced kitsch fully and without qualification as an acceptable manifestation of Quirky Berkeley. I continue that embrace today with a photographic essay on the front yard of 1106 Colusa Avenue. There’s a lot of kitsch there.
But first – a few months ago I posted about the kitsch in the yard of La Escuelita at 1017 Colusa, a block north of today’s destination. I mentioned that La Escuelita goes kitsch-wild on holidays. We passed it on the way to our kitsch shoot at 1106 Colusa and sure enough – ninja-level kitsch for Halloween.
The blocks of Colusa between Marin Avenue and Monterey Street are defined by Mark Olivier and his beach trash art. I have posted on Mark’s house at 1118 Colusa and the Olivier art in the yards of a number of his neighbors. We peeked at Olivier’s yard and saw three new pieces. At least I think that they are new.
Back at the Residence In Question, a few houses north of Olivier, there are two Olivier pieces in the midst of the über kitsch.
Olivier calls this one Capadillo. Mark Olivier is a clever and amusing namer. I admire that and have told him so.
The two Olivier pieces are a striking contrast to the kitsch, which I now finally present:
This one might be Best in Show. It makes my heart sing.
And then there is this:
Saint Francis of Assisi, San Francesco d’Assisi, Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone, Francesco.
There is an issue here. Do I give religious iconography a pass? I have already answered that question with posts on pre-Christian iconography, Buddha, and Guanyin. So why not Saint Francis? I don’t demean or mock or belittle. I salute.
I showed my friend the post. He flipped me this postcard:
“Did you mention this post to Gabby?”
Yes. I sent Gabby an early draft, including the remark about the bunny with a wheelbarrow possibly being best in show.
“You know what this means?” I knew what it means. Gabby was probably putting together an co-insta-llection (his coining) of bunny-with-wheelbarrow postcards. Have at it Gabby. Nothing says that Jesus Christ, son of God, man, was crucified dead and buried, and on the third day he arose from the quick and the dead like a bunny with a wheelbarrow.
I feel good about including kitsch without guilt. It’s all the same thing – manifestations of our creativity and individuality that function as gifts to the street. Sometimes this all feels like a Rubik’s cube clicking into place, or a jigsaw puzzle. Things fit. People know each other or works show up or and ideas come. It all adds up to the Berkeley I love – vacuum cleaner store or People’s Park or kitsch or Bulwinkle / Donahue / Olivier / Olson / Heine / Huncilman / Seka art or collections or the Lost Block of Telegraph. It all adds up.
My friend was listening to Gill Scott Heron which doesn’t really fit the kitsch theme here but certainly fits Berkeley. He was particularly inspired by a simple line – “the revolution will be no re-run brothers/ The revolution will be live.”
I brought him a cup of tea and asked if he could pull himself away from the music to let me know what he thinks about this post.