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June 23, 2007

Magic Kingdom

Like lepers, artists have a penchant for forming colonies.This may be a poor analogy as, historically, lepers have been forcibly herded into separate communities while artists congregate voluntarily. Still, it pertains: like lepers, artists have often been stigmatized as unfit for normal society. Img_0043

One fine day a couple years ago, wandering the neighborhoods on the outskirts of Burlington's downtown, my eye was drawn to colored hanging lights which appeared at the end of a driveway between two buildings. In one of the ways (of many, unfortunately) I retain the mentality of an infant, I found myself drawn towards these lights. (If you jiggle keys in front of me, this will have a similar effect.)Img_0045_2

The driveway leveled out in a communal parking lot serving a number of residential houses, among which were a couple of elaborately decorated - not to say, festooned - courtyards. The houses themselves were ornamented with all manner of large photographs, dolls, sculptures, one-of-a-kind, wacky outdoor furniture - Willy Wonka and Peewee's Playhouse goes to Gingerbread Land. Img_0041 A few large cats roamed the landscape; they seemed to have strange little cat-homes set here and there amid the splendid clutter.

As I slowly rotated around 360-degrees, a la Julie Andrews in the opening credits of A Sound of Music, I was dazzled by this fantasy mini-world cloistered mere yards from the busy streets. Img_0042 Though I didn't know it at the time, during later visits I discovered that a number of local artists lived in this organic development, which included a glass blowing and metal work studio. Img_0044

The various creative types who lived here had collaborated in fashioning this magical communal space.

I often stop by now on my walks, if only to see what's been added, subtracted, transformed. I wish I could live here; alas, my creativity doesn't run nearly so wild and free - I doubt I could make it past the screening and selection committee . . .

June 23, 2007 at 04:05 PM in Just Shoot Me | Permalink


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I've seen this place as well and it is amazing. In fact, during the art walk one year the glass blowing studio was open with demonstrations. I went in and was mesmerized with the whole process.

The glass blower was mesmerized with me. He asked for my phone number but since I was young, and wasn't sure how to tell this artist that my interest was limited to his art (and besides that I was only dating woman at the time), I ended up giving him the card for the business I had just joined... which was a local stripping service.

I was frankly surprised when my "boss" told me that a man had called asking for me by my real name. Now I feel badly that I did such an end run around the guy. But when we're young... You know?

Posted by: Kate | Jun 23, 2007 4:22:04 PM

I tried stripping once, but I didn't have the abs.

Posted by: Jernigan Pontiac | Jun 23, 2007 4:25:53 PM

JP, I believe you've photographed "the compound," as they call it. Seven Days photographer Matt Thorsen is responsible for all the blown up photos on the wall of the brown building. He's among the 7Dazers who live there. Other artists in residence include 7D art director Diane Sullivan and 7D Creative Director Don Eggert. fyi.

Posted by: cresmer | Jun 24, 2007 11:13:27 PM

You say that you didn't have the abs -- can you elaborate on what you did have?

Posted by: curious | Jun 25, 2007 6:47:13 PM

Not much, Curious, not much . . . Maybe, a good sense of humor, and that's debatable.

Posted by: Jernigan Pontiac | Jun 25, 2007 7:47:37 PM

That house is one reason, among many, why I love Burlington. I love finding hidden art, quotes, etc.. I helps me believe that this whole world isn't as evil as it seems sometimes.

P.S- Was anyone else down at the lake tonight for sunset? I was amazing!!!

Posted by: Erin | Jun 26, 2007 9:29:07 PM

Hey! I don't know how I feel about the leper colony comparison there, pally...

Matt Thorsen is responsible for the photos on both of the houses and the CDs covering the lighter brown house. The glass-blowers don't live in The Compound, they just park in it, and the metal shop is gone now... but we've got nice new neighbors there.

I do most of the gardening and pretty much am the "screening and selection committee." There aren't any open spaces at the moment, but I can keep you posted if you like. You're probably just giving your creativity a bad rap. In the meantime, stop by anytime. Bring some peanuts for the squirrels.

Posted by: Diane | Jun 27, 2007 3:42:23 PM

Ahhh, home away from my Arizona home. Those pictures have me longing for a cocktail by the fire with my baby Rev. Sister... Soon.

Posted by: Dave | Jun 27, 2007 5:40:50 PM

Hey, Diane - thanks for the invitation to apply for an application for admittance. You guys got a great thing going there!

Posted by: Jernigan Pontiac | Jun 27, 2007 8:22:32 PM

An evening spent with a cold one by the chiminea.....ahhhhh.

Posted by: Monica | Jun 28, 2007 5:53:14 AM

Hackie, my Dear, you don't need abs to strip. In fact, you don't need an especially societally attractive body at all (for women strippers, maybe it's different for men). It's all in your charisma, your energy... and how well you hustle (and I don't mean the dance step!).

Posted by: Kate | Jun 30, 2007 3:46:52 PM

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