In honor of all our dead, especially those that died for much less important things than war and the pursuit of defense. The totally sincere staging of these photographs features 4 of the 7 custom painted Fat Lady resin figures painted by Bert Gatchalian for the 2011 Box of Fate. I hope you enjoy these pics and the slideshow on your day off. Everyday is a holiday for the dead and they don't spend their time thinking about you. Do what I do- think about your dead people while at work.
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Check out Bert Gatchalian's airbrush skills on a variety of kaiju toys, as well as top-rate illustration and painting at his blog. His continued collaboration with the flavor scientists at Apocalypse Popsicle has proven to be beneficial, despite his diabolical designs on our patented secret recipe for "being nasty" but everybody's looking for that jive nowadays.
This cherub sits on the upper ledge of a 1945 Memorial for "Showfolks of America" -in other words, these graves belong to circus people. The surrounding graves are all dedicated or reserved for the deceased belonging to that diminishing, nomadic menagerie of artists, clairvoyants, and craftsmen. Stars of the Road Show and lowly carneys raising tents, selling tickets, all were now united in equality in the grave. It was beyond the pale and bizarre to think that here at this section of the graveyard, the show still goes on. They aren't buried with their families or in the Jewish section (for surely many were part of the diaspora of Euro-Judeo Gypsy tribes. Showfolk are beyond race. They are beyond equal.
Reserved now for future lion tamers' apprentices and trapeze artists who perform one too many times "without a net", the land was originally reserved in 1918 following a train wreck in Indiana where 86 clowns tragically died in one last skit of comically existential slapstick.
And that's no joke-
Great Circus Train Wreck of 1918
All right, full disclosure on the incident with the cherub at the Showfolks of America Memorial. I was going to end this "extra credit" section with the link to the train wreck site. But as I looked again at the pictures, I was struck by the twisted expression of the cherub's face.
I had already been in this particular graveyard for about 45 minutes as I began to take the first few shot with him in the frame. There had been no ill omens, like that time with the ants and the bat. Late in the afternoon and overcast all day, it had finally started to rain just as I arrived. I wouldn't have minded the rain, but then it cleared up and the sun came out, threatening to kill my sweet ambient light that had been the secret gift of the formerly overcast sky. By the time I got to the Showfolks Memorial, it was once again ideal. Overcast yet bright, the sun that eliminates the shadow.
So back to that disgruntled bastard stooping angrily up there- I'm sure you noticed his unique frilly clown collar. At first thinking this was part of the statue, I approached without hesitation and touched it. Soft and wet, a brighter color red on the inside indicating age and wear from the sun. There are two other flickr photos of this memorial- one from 2008 and the other from January 2009. Neither wear this collar. Also, it was a scrunchie.
I laughed. This is what amuses me- I would have done this same thing had I found a scrunchie on the grounds someplace. There were three types of people who could have done this scrunchie vandalism. It could have been a genuinely bereaved individual who thought this simple addition would bring joy to the circus-folk, whose lives were spent in selling mirth to the masses. Or it could have been a drunk person or listless teenager, which are combined into one possible suspect as they have the same motivations for public vandalism. The third person is someone like me. A moral and fair-minded individual, curious about the way humans view death yet blasphemous about it. A person who enjoys making anonymous public pranks that will be seen later by random people they may not even know. Someone who likes a good idea with a dash of devilish. Let me put it another way: this disrespectful act willfully desecrated the graves of clowns. People like me.
Having finished taking my pictures and depositing the toys back into the car, I re-approached the Showfolks Memorial to take some pictures of the shrine from all four sides. I thought to myself, 'Perhaps I should take that nasty old scrunchie off of that cherub and clean him up a bit.' I occassionally spend an hour or two in the afternoon in a nice graveyard just to reflect on life and jot stuff down in my notebook. However, I am not a goth These sojourns occur about once every two years when not forced into a graveyard for other, less desirable reasons.
Reaching out to grab the damp cloth, a chain on the flagpole just behind me rattled in the wind noticeably. I looked back up the pole, chasing the sound. There was no flag yet waving; it was Saturday on Memorial Day weekend and I'm sure they wanted to keep the flags nice for Sunday and the holiday. Thinking little more than that, I again took hold of the red material and gave a quick yank, up and towards me as to clear the chin.
As I pulled, a pincher beetle jumped out from beneath the scrunchie. The hair tie did not want to come easily and I'd have to really grip it. How many more pincher bugs might be nesting? While considering what to do with my hands, my attention was drawn to the statue's face. He was scowling at me. I could feel him glaring angrily at me with disgust. I ceased my effort to remove the scrunchie. He could be a real Showfolk "tiniest man alive" type of performer whose train-mangled corpse was used to make a concrete statue of an angel. I don't know, but I have some other theories as well.
All pictures here and many more are available at the Apocalypse Popsicle Flickr page-