Houston's annual Artcar parade is like the Matrix. You cannot be told what it is, you have to see it for yourself. What started as a small group of committed...well...crazy folk, has turned into a tens of thousands strong event. The essence of the artcar parade is captured in its name. 1) Have a car. 2) make it into art. That ranges drastically from a car covered in those singing fish and lobsters (all timed to sing and move with music) to pimped out lowriders, and about everything in between.
This has grown to include bicycles, trucks, and all manner of motorized or man-powered vehicle. The parade runs along a divided highway near downtown and has gorwn exponentially from its humble beginnings. There's still a good degree of the ultra-wacky performance art aspect to some of it, but it really has become a more mainstreamed event in the last several years. It's nice to have some sort of community art event in Houston that is not dominated by big Oil and restricted to those who can afford the price of admission. This is definitely grass roots art funkiness at its most raw and, amazingly, accessible.
Here are a few shots from this year's parade (click to see larger):
I brought the wrong lens (tele instead of a wide angle) so tried to capture some of the detail instead of whole cars this year. Loved this car/shot
Rollerskating Viking, for the win.
The "Lobster Tabernacle Choir". Timed and choreographed, covered in those tacky singing fish. When this rolls by to "Bohemian Rhapsody" (the head banging part) it boggles the mind.
The gargoyle car is one of my perrenial faves, which I have never gotten a decent shot of. Here's hoping next year is better. But still, fantastic car.
Lowriders were here in force (for the first time?) this year. I don't recall seeing them before, but these were definitely works of art. hydraulics!
This entire car was covered in a crocheted doily. There;s another car covered entirely in patterns made of solid walls of yarn
Giant 30 foot tall metal chicken. That talks. I'm not sure what else I can say about the sheer awesomeness here.
She is the embodiment of Texas...big, spirited, just a little bit crazed...
This rollerskater was just a little disturbing. Ok, a lot disturbing.
The HAri Krishnas had a float. Really? There are still Hari Krishnas? I just liked this shot because of the negative space at top...it looks almost as if she's pulling down the corner of the picture, revealing a void. I guess that's more of a zen buddhism thing, but they didn't have a float.
The inevitable political car/float. Last year, pre-Obama, it was a giant missle with a Cheney/Satan 08 ticket, and ladies with giant strap on missiles. It was so subtle...
Speaking of politics, Kinky Friedman! He's like our Mark Twain.
The median of the highway is left unmowed to let the wildflowers bloom. Took this as we were walking back.
All in all not as good as last year, but still enjoyable.