Fenger Pointing

Becky Fenger | January 14, 2009

Becky FengerTogetherness

Performance artists come up with the damnedest ideas. Back in the early 90s, California artist Ron Nicolino wanted to string 10,000 brassieres together across a mile-wide section of the Grand Canyon in a show of "national participation." He managed to collect over 14,000 bras, but the project never came to fruition. So he teamed up with artist Emily Duffy to roll them up into a giant bra ball and take the huge orb on a world tour.

The ballers had a spat, and huffy Duffy constructed her own bra ball. Lawyers were hired to determine who owned the idea, since Duffy claimed she had been using bras as a medium for years. Her bra ball was just her latest monument to the average American woman who "is solid in a very dense way, the way the ball is," Duffy maintained. As to Nicolino, he was last seen towing his ball behind a 1963 pink Cadillac, appropriately dubbed his BraMobile.

Other projects have included folks freezing in place at a synchronized time in a crowded venue and spooking the unsuspecting public or shedding all their clothes and forming a giant display of naked flesh in various locations around the world. Well, Phoenicians wanted to join the fun of the international performance art event taking place last Saturday staged by a volunteer arts group from New York City.

The bright idea was dubbed "The International Don't Wear Your Pants Day," and the local organizer was Jeff Moriarty of Gilbert. Participants across the globe were to board mass transit and, acting as though nothing were unusual, remove their pants and skirts, completing the ride in their underwear. There was no bigger supporter of this gig than Avondale Vice Mayor Ken Weise who excitedly claimed that Phoenix needs more things like this. He rode the light rail with his family. Reportedly, his 11-year-old daughter thought the pantless riders were bizarre to watch.

At least one rider was quite irritated with our foray into world-classedness. KNXV-TV aired footage of a young man who told them that he was standing in the crowded rail car, holding onto the strap when he looked down and noted that his genitals were practically shoved in the face of the woman seated in front of him. He allowed on camera as how this had to be an uncomfortable position for the unsuspecting female to find herself. "Guess what I saw on my way to work today?" she could tell her friends, who may or may not find out later on TV just what a close-up encounter this was. Ah, togetherness.

Speaking of getting together and getting along, who would have guessed that Paradise Valley, Ariz., was the birthplace of the Arizona Department of Peace Campaign six years ago? Their mission is to work towards our nation's creation of a Department of Peace, a cabinet position. PV resident and peace advocate Terri Mansfield is the organization's president and will receive PV's Diversity Champion Award during their Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration Jan. 19 at their Town Hall.

The goal of the Peace Campaign is to install "peace poles" in as many cities as they can in an effort to promote peace. The hollow aluminum poles will be inscribed on the outside with messages of peace. Inside the poles, passers-by can insert their own hand-written notes. They might want to start with convincing Mayor Phil Gordon to plant the peace pole that Phoenix received several years ago and has yet to plunk somewhere.