If you know Oakland, you know about the big, free-form sculpture that lives on the shores of Lake Merritt in Oakland. You probably also know that it's been behind a chain-link fence in disrepair for several years. But for a long time, it was not just a piece of art to appreciate but a usable play structure for children to climb in and on. Now, a local group of its fans have ensured the now-iconic "Monster" will live on.
In 1968, for their "Dance to the Music" album, Sly & the Family Stone posed on the "Monster."
The "Mid-Century Monster," as it's now called, was created in 1952. Oakland Parks Superintendent William Penn Mott, Jr., who had founded Children's Fairyland just two years earlier, asked local art professor Bob Winston to create the 40-foot, chartreuse sculpture.
The "Monster" in the 1950s, photo via Martha Ellen Wright
Many years later, however, the "Monster" fell into such disrepair that the city fenced it off and forgot about it. In 2015, an effort was launched by Lake Merritt's Mid-Century Monster Fan Club, led by Kyle Milligan and Susan Casentini, to bring it back to its former glory.
This is what the sculpture looked like just four years ago — blanched, broken, and behind a fence. image via Lake Merritt's Mid-Century Monster Fan Club
Earlier this year, the restoration was complete, and on Sunday, July 28, from 11 to 3 the club will be hosting a free party to celebrate at the site. The public is invited.
In 1975, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge seized power in Cambodia after expelling a US puppet regime, surviving a brutal US bombing campaign despite the massive asymmetry between the Cambodian forces and the US military. Tian Veasna was born three days after the Khmer Rouge took power, and spent his formative years in forced labor camps as his family were beaten, starved, tortured and murdered. Today, Veasna is a comics creator living in France, and in Year of the Rabbit, Veasna creates a coherent story out of his family's narratives, giving us a ground-level view of the horrors of the Pol Pot regime, whose campaign of genocide led to the deaths of more than a million people.
Sweary historian Eleanor Janega writes on her Going Medieval blog (previously) that there was never a time in medieval Europe when bestiality was socially acceptable, and brings the receipts in the form of eyewatering details on the punishments for having sex with animals.
Peruvian police are deporting five tourists from Chile, Brazil, France and Argentina for allegedly sneaking into the Macchu Picchu citadel, defacating among the Incan ruins and breaking the stonework inside the Temple of the Sun.
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