Sign of the Times

I was driving down Mesa and happened to be passing by the Westside Church of Christ’s sign. It has always prominently displays some uplifting message.  Now, if you have lived on the Westside of El Paso, like me you will probably not remember a time when they’ve not done this. They are the original Twitter account for God.

Easter People
Should be #Easter People

I can recall from way back when while riding the bus to Moorhead Junior High, us hooligans often would try and twist the phrases into something funny or gross. Hilarity and disrespect would always ensue.  After a while you tend to dismiss them but its always amazing that as far as I know they never repeated themselves even on the sign itself. Here’s the same day’s flip side:

Easter Says
Easter Says wut?

That takes some kind of skill but I guess with a Bible in hand, you can wrangle phrases all day long and not be duplicative. Personally, I’m more excited about the sign just down the street:


Charcoaler now has bacon! Hallelujah!

Guerrilla Art on Country Club Road

On my way in to work today, I spied something odd sitting at a bus stop at Country Place and Country Club Road.  Driving by it looked like a person covered in cellophane:

The Fat Dunce
The Fat Dunce

I instantly thought of Mark Jenkins and turned around to check it out.  Parking was kind of dicey though, Country Club is a two lane street that is kind of a mess in the morning.  Props to whoever did this, it certainly was collecting a bunch of stares from the morning commuters that passed by.  Upon closer inspection, there was a few things that were a little off…time for an impromptu art critique!

X Marks the Spot

Jekins’ balloon pieces work because their interaction with the surroundings is subtle but integral to the piece as a whole, the piece below is an example:

Mark Jenkins - Washington, DC
Mark Jenkins – Washington, DC

The bent bus stop becomes the perfect prop for the balloon boy to pull down.  The illusion works because the angles and proportions are correct fooling your mind into believing the impossible.  I had initially thought that maybe the anonymous artist might have reconstructed the bus stops signage to be incorporated into the message but that’s not the case. Its a simple advertisement for insurance.  So what is the message here?

Mixed Message
Mixed Message

Scrawled in black sharpie are several words:

Fat, Disproportional, Dunce, Thunder Thighs, Empty, Cow

Note, I would have not known this by simply driving by.  The text isn’t large enough to discern from the street.  The intent may have been to draw the viewer in but without adequate parking most people will go on with their lives.

If you did stop you would notice the figure appears to be female so in that context the words are some sort of play on two possible obvious themes. One, disparaging remarks made unto the sculpture as a reflection of the artist being treated by others or Two, a inward projection out, of how the artist feels about themselves. There is a crumpled bag of Funyuns under its right hand so we might have a clue.

Yum Funyuns!

Now to me that presents a bit of a problem. Are you fat and have thunder thighs because you eat junk food all the time? Do you eat junk food because you feel empty causing you to be fat thus fulfilling your our self hate prophecy? Was the Funyuns bag just trash that happened to be there during the installation.  As the viewer we don’t know. There’s not enough information.  Using big heavy rocks to hold the sculpture in place, breaks up the continuity of the piece as well and distracts from the intended message.  The black X across the heart may have any number of meanings but the X on the right thigh only confuses that.  Is the whole thing some sort of “Anti Bully Message” that’s all the rage in schools these days? Who knows.

Moving on
Moving on

I will say this, I did stop and take a look so in that regard the piece was successful. Despite some presentation and constructions problems it did make me snap a few pictures and write about it so the joke may be on me.  Well there may be a few other people who get duped into taking a look at it.  As I was leaving, I heard sirens in the distance but couldn’t place the direction.  Traveling up Country Club over the Rio Grande bridge, an ambulance passed heading towards the bus stop quickly followed by a fire truck.  I guess somebody else saw it but didn’t have the time top stop and check it out before reporting it to the authorities, funny.  Score one for guerrilla art!

Full Set of photos here: The Fat Dunce

Evergreen Cemetery

Usually about once a year I get a craving for El Paso’s favorite local rolled taco dive:

It's all in the sauce!
It’s all in the sauce!

I called my friend Vince and we headed over to Chico’s and had double orders with fries (no extra cheese, I’m getting to old).  We went to the Alameda location and across the street sits Evergreen Cemetery.  After stuffing ourselves with rolled tacos, we finished up and decided to walk them off by checking the cemetery out.

View Evergreen Cemetery in a larger map

Concordia Cemetery may be the “big thing” in town, due to the John Wesley Hardin tie in but Evergreen has its own uniqueness that makes it worth visiting.  It was established in 1894, about 38 years after Concordia and there’s quite a bit of different between the two.  Most of Concordia is dirt and loosely organized; Evergreen has a lot of grassy areas, trees and tightly laid out plots.

The twin shrubs

The cemetery is still active so there are whole generations of El Pasoians here including many prominent names that you will find on businesses and streets.  It’s a lot larger than it looks and it took us about 45 minutes to cover the main path, skimming the plots as we went.

Headless Jesus
Headless Jesus

Like most cemeteries, vandals have left their mark hacking off the heads and hands of many of the statues.  For the most part though it seems to have survived better than Concordia.  There were some neat features I haven’t noticed before at any of the other cemeteries I’ve visited, namely these old limey portraits affixed the graves:

Happy to see you
Happy to see you

Oxidation was really present on many of the markers and I’m not sure if that was just unique to the stone that were used there or if it was from watering over the years to keep the weeds grass green.

Looking Down

Many of the headstones were really ornate, more than I’ve noticed elsewhere in town.  There’s lots of statue use as well. We also found some cool gothic lettering on one:

Gothic Ramos 1930
Gothic Ramos 1930

There was even this odd juxtaposition of names that was quite amusing:

Miles Davis
Miles Davis

We even found this fellow who was waiting for his hole to be dug:

Waiting in Line
Waiting in Line

We had covered the main path and circled back to the entrance so it was time to pack it in and head back to our days jobs.  You can visit my full flickr set here:

Evergreen Cemetery

I Heart You!