August 30, 2005
Garden of Eden, USA
Adam and Eve welcome you to the Garden of Eden, Lucas, Kanas, USA. Where cement snakes arch above you, where cement animals frolic around you, where cement demons tempt you with cement apples. And watching over all is the cement Eye of God. It took 22 years, 113 bags of concrete and immeasurable passion for Civil War veteran Samuel Perry Dinsmoor to build this fantastical garden (and house) – today, the Garden of Eden is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is host to more than 10,000 visitors a year.
If you're lucky enough to ever visit the garden, you'll receive a special suprise treat: a glimspe of its creator! One of the last things Dinsmoor built, before his death in 1932, was his own 40-foot-high limestone mausoleum. Inside he rests, embalmed forevermore in a glass coffin (Snow White style!). There you can see him, face to moldering face.
Additional Garden of Eden Links:
August 08, 2005
Keyser's Horned Tree
Wow! Take a look at the horned tree of Stephenville, Texas – simply too magnificent for words. Mr. H.B. Keyser must have really loved those prize buck horns (afterall, they were 7 1/2 foot spread). So he grafted them into this oak tree when it was younger. What a tree. What a tree.
Update: Welcome Boingboing visitors!
August 03, 2005
The 250 Hats of Moses
Moses had a vision. An infectious, glorious vision. Of hats. Paper hats. Carefully crafted out of paper bags, painstackingly twisted, tied and glued together. Moses is the kind of man who, like the Moses of old, blows with the wind. His home – a Chevy van. His studio – the project room of the local library. And is it any suprise that Moses considers himself, "the luckiest guy in the world?" Lucky, of course, because after ten long years, he has gifted the world with over 250 unparalleled paper hats.
Meanwhile, the rest of us must be satisfied with paper hats of the conventional variety.
(via: Paper Forest)
July 21, 2005
My Perfect Burial With a Fish
I now know how I will be burried. How else... inside a fish! Oh, it's just too wonderful for words!
Evidently, this isn't that unusual in Ghana, where those who can afford it are often interred in human-sized cigarettes, coke cans, chickens, airplanes, bibles, cel phones, onions and basically anything else you can think of (even a human uterus). This is so totally my way of dying!
Extremo the Clown
Greetings from Extremo the Clown (and his extremo car)! My family and I first encountered Extremo a few years back, while stuck next to him in traffic in downtown Portland, Oregon. I rolled down my window to ask him about his exceptional car. That's when he attached his red nose onto his face and began acting like a clown on acid. Or a weird blend of a clown and a liittle nervous, yipey dog. He was not exactly entertaining.... but those 10 minutes (or so) were certainly memorable.
I've since read that, when he first tried on a clown nose, he had a kind of epiphany. I guess it was almost as if a voice spoke and told him, "you are a clown; go out into the world and be thee therefore a clown." From that point on he felt – he knew – he had a vision for what he was meant to do, and he did it. Today, whenever he gets behind the wheel of his car, the Extremo-man in him "just comes alive... he actually takes over."
Of course, the great thing about Portland is that its population tends to value the eccentric; it's difficult to imagine Portland without Extremo.
July 08, 2005
Chandigarh Rock Gardens
"My own effort is the explore the aesthetic dimension. The natural environment, trees, water, soil, birds, rocks, are the major participants in my work."
- Nek Chand
Forty years ago, Nek Chand's words were not being recorded because no one cared what great things a minor transport official from Chandigarh, India might have to say. So instead, he spent his time clearing bits of the Indian jungle to contruct something beautiful and memorable. A Rock Garden. The fact that he was building his creation on restricted land shouldn't have done anyone any harm... as long as no one found out about it. Just to make sure, he did all his work at night, by the dim light of burning tires.
Of course, when someone eventually did find out about Chand's work, there was a lot of general confusion and hubub. Should they demolish Chand's garden? Should Chand be fined? What to do?
But this story has a happy ending... in an unexpected move, the authorities not only decided to allow Chand to continue his work, but they also began paying him a salary and eventually paid for him to hire a staff of fifty. Today, an endless sprawl of Chand's familiar cement beings lie over a twenty-five acre spread. Over 5000 people a day now visit what has come to be known as the The Rock Gardens of Chandigarh, and many acknowledged to be one of the modern wonders of the world.
July 07, 2005
Palace of Depression
Here you are, at George Daynor's copyrighted Palace of Depression. It's no ordinary palace because Daynor was no ordinary guy. He was one of those rare fellows who could actually play music on a wagon wheel. He was a guy who could win a million Cuban pesos one day and have it stolen by the Cuban government the next... without blinking an eye. George Daynor was the kind of uncommon genius who, with no mathematical training, was able to calculate that the closest point through the center of the earth to China was at the center of his own Vineland Palace. And probably most astonishing of all, he was a man who cavorted with angels; in fact it was an angel that led him to settle in New Jersey.
Cavorting with angels? Isn't that like... supernatural brain-powers. I wonder if that's why he eventually offered his brain to the Smithsonian Institute (for research). We can only guess...
Yes, this was a man who held his own against theives and lived through earthquakes. This was a man whose palm prints were preserved by scientific hand analysts. This is a man who wrote, "My place in posterity is assured... my monument, already erected, will stand 100 years or more."
Alas, Daynor's bold statement was only partially true. His monument didn't stand, but his legend and his story has. And today, his Palace of Depression is being rebuilt by Vinelanders who miss the fantastic Dr. Seussian castle.
June 15, 2005
Dining on the Tongue of Hell
You are looking at just one of the many stone monsters from the fantastical Sacred Grove of Bomarzo. Built by an Italian nobleman (around the 16th century), in memory of his wife, the garden is populated by a weird blend of stone creatures and every type of god you can imagine. A practical playground of gods! The highlight? Enter the mouth of a giant orc head – a Danté-esque virtual mouth of hell – and have lunch on the orc's picnic-table-shaped tongue!
June 01, 2005
Cement Creature People
After his death in 1962, the bright colors on his totems began to wear away. Thankfully, in 1989, the Kansas Grassroots Arts Association began restoration back to the totems' original splendor.