Borat, Slack, Tame. And oh yeah, Emily.

From the last post's footprints in cement, we segue to painted graffiti art. 

A few weeks ago I came across this wall-ful of skillfully painted graffiti.  I have no idea who created it, nor do I expect to. But it would be nice to know the inspiration behind these tags.  These pictures weren't taken in a gang area, so I think we can rule out that as an answer.  Nor is it likely to be the work of typical of juvenile taggers, since it's clearly much better done than that.  I think what we have here is simply some person or persons unknown who decided to take advantage of a recent demolition.  I frequently pass by here myself, and can't remember what used to be here; presumably it was nothing terribly interesting.

As much as anything it was the name BORAT that got my attention. I thought the Sascha Baron Cohen's performance in the film was very funny, rising as it did to heights of surrealistic slapstick lunacy.



 Impressive here are the background color, shadowing, and a great use of yellow and light blue, even though that's hardly my favorite color combination.  He's signed it "BORAT 2013" and it wouldn't be surprising to find other examples of his work around town. 

Next up is "TAME"...

It's all right, I don't think he's dangerous.

And then "SLACK".  I particularly like how the serifs on the S are made to be almost as large as the constituent strokes of the letter itself.

There are a couple more names at the far right.

I haven't been able to decipher the last one--is it QHTM?--  but I have to give a nod to "Emily".  Everything else on this wall has been carefully painted with color, background, and shading effects, but apparently Emily just wanted to say...

Her name is Emily

 "Hi, my name is Emily and I was here, too!"  The plain lettering and the "i" dotted with a heart are endearingly humorous when contrasted with the bold statements made by the other painters.  Furthermore, she's almost certainly the only one who used her real name.  

The other artists, though, have decided to make new names for themselves. 

UPDATE: Emily obscured!

I checked back here a few days ago, and found there was some new work. 

 SLACK has redone his bit with considerably more flourish, and a few newcomers have been here too--"TOENOSE" or something like that; meanwhile the new, orange writing to the right lies just beyond my ability to decipher it.  I suspect otherworldly visitation as a possible provenance.  Almost obscured by these bold expressions of -- ah -- whatever it is they are trying to express, is another name which must have been Thunder Prism.  I didn't expect Emily to last long on this wall, but now she's been obliterated, all except for the tail of her 'y' and the bottom stroke of her 'E'.


Rancho Park Laetoli

In the very living wet concrete, a small party of Homo Sapiens left their tracks. Careful analysis of the available evidence places this event definitively in the Early Middle Elvis Epoch.  That is, it was after he had left Sun Records for RCA, but before he enlisted in the U.S. Army--which pins it down to 1957.

A few particulars are suggested by the evidence.  First of all, we seem to have here a family, comprising the parents and two daughters.

First, the mother:

And little Carol, the youngest:

Older sister Wendy:

and Dad, apparently known to friends and family as Coop:


 They stopped here in 1957 and carefully left the impressions of their right feet.  One of the youngsters left her right hand print too, just above the date: August 1957.  


What does this astonishing discovery tell us about the life of these humans of the remote past, so long ago?  Besides their erect posture and the highly evolved structure of their hands,  it does seem that both parents have slightly  flat feet, possibly due to standing up all day.  Possibly they were teachers, although presumably not at the Catholic girls' academy across the street.  Bea's foot seems almost as big as Coop's, and wider, but that could just be an accident with regard to how she made the impression in the wet concrete.  Or it could have been a later distortion, made before it had set. 

The Early Middle Elvis Epoch was in many respects a stultifying one with respect to the mainstream culture.  Rock music had gotten rolling, but in the eyes of many it was just a trend already on the wane, and in any case of interest only to teenagers. This was a straitlaced era, in which you did not write graffiti or leave footprints in wet pavement. There was no time for such foolishness, because the Communist threat was everywhere. You didn't want to stand out from the crowd, especially by defacing public property, and most especially as a family, all in one place and at the same time.  Just think of the children!  What kind of example does that set? 

Well, I think it sets an excellent one.  There's nothing wrong, in my opinion, with bending the rules a bit in a spirit of innocent fun, especially with one's kids. Bea and Coop could be great-grandparents by this time--or at least grandparents, and it's gratifying to think that today they can bring their grandchildren to this spot and show them that there were some fun loving and free spirited adults--parents, yet--even in the Early Middle Elvis Epoch.  On the other hand, whether it's 1957 or 2013, there are always some self-righteous prigs who consider themselves personally affronted by such innocent pranks.  They should get a life. 

To Bea, Coop, Carol, and Wendy: If you read this, I don't think anyone will come after you for your wet cement graffiti act.  And thank you from the bottom of my heart for brightening my day.

The subject of urban sidewalk archaeology also came up a couple of years back, right about here.