Saturday, February 4, 2012

The return of the return of the West Seattle Grouchos

The West Seattle Grouchos are a phenomenon I've posted about before.

To recap:

For three consecutive Aprils, 2007-2009, a curious sight popped up on my daily drive to and from my home. Soon after you'd hit the eastbound lane of the West Seattle Bridge connecting our neighborhood peninsula to mainland Seattle and downtown, and if you slowed down just enough to take a look into the woodsy area south of the bridge, there amidst the trees and the brush, you could spy — like a National Geographic photographer on a field assignment in wildest Freedonia — a guerrilla public art grouping of cutouts depicting Groucho Marx, each in full crouch as if foraging for wealthy widows among the greenery. (The spot is geo-marked at Wikimapia and wiki.worldflicks.)

But in 2010 they didn't show at all. We were left bereft of this anonymous urban art giggle-bombing. Where had they gone?

A year later, 2011 was shaping up to be another Groucho-less year. But then, as mysteriously as before, they re-appeared late in the summer. Hooray! Within a month or so they were gone again, slinking stealthily back to wherever they came from.

I've wondered when they'll show up again this year — or if they would at all. Today I was rewarded with an answer, and it came months earlier than expected. Plus, they've moved to a nearby spot more out in the open.

Two weeks after the big snow dump we now have blue skies and as far the senses can tell it might as well be April. Apparently the Grouchos think so too, because there they are, now off the westbound lane, integrated into the set of four bronze sculptures called "Walking on Logs."

"Walking on Logs" in its natural state.
I'm a fan of urban art, and "Walking on Logs" is a welcome adornment as you curve into the West Seattle gateway. It's not unusual to see the four bronze children outfitted with T-shirts or other accoutrements, usually promoting one cause or another. Lately they've been plugging the local Campfire Girls candy sale. And today I noticed that the unknown Marxists have struck again to lend a hand ... rather, a head. Five of them, in fact. To wit:

Clambering up the muddy hillside to take these shots, I'd never before been able to get this close to them. Only one was the full crouching figure, and it had blown over. As I set it upright again, I experienced the tingle of temptation to take it home and add it to my Movie Room decor. But the Harpo on my left shoulder yanked my ear something fierce. Besides, if I added one more Groucho Marx image up in our house Elizabeth would give me The Look. And who am I to deprive my fellow Seattleites of Rufus T. Firefly, Capt. Spaulding, Prof. Wagstaff, and Dr. Quackenbush?

"From the moment I opened your blog up until I closed it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it." — Groucho Marx (revised)

Related posts:

"It's a gala day for you!"

Eugene O'Neill with a Groucho chaser; or, Hello, I must be blogging

Happy Father's Day from Groucho Marx