Morgan's Brain

Jan. 9, 2009 at 2:00am

Tacoma Too Serious?

Recently I had a conversation with The Tacoma Urbanist and the topic of David Boe's Clocks came up. What I like about David is that he has a good sense of levity. He can take a serious subject (urban decay) and have fun with it.

Tacoma used to be one of the rowdies, bawdiest places on the West coast. Why do you think the railroad chose Tacoma over Seattle? Let's just say it wasn't the scenic view of Mt. Rainier, it was something HR departments like to call "fringe bennies" - in the case of Tacoma, it was a thriving red light district.

Things since then have gotten quite serious. So serious, in fact, that I worry for the future of Tacoma's well-being. There is no way a town can go on so seriously without suffering serious repercussions to its health.

While there have been attempts to raise the levity level over the years: the OWL (Out With Logic) Party of the 70s and the Downtown Bed Races of the 80s come to mind. More recently, the formation of The CLAW (The Cartoonist?s League of Absurd Washingtonians) gives me hope in the future of Tacoma. Of course, since there are probably only a half dozen cartoonists in Tacoma.

What we really need is a fan club to rally efforts such as CLAW - what we really need is a Tacoma Whimsical Society. The Society could take part in political efforts like the OWL party did and it could help bring about neighborhood mirth like the Fremont Arts Council did in creating their now world famous Troll Under the Freeway. Tacoma need not be so serious - especially in trying times like these. More than ever we need to lighten up.

What is your act of whimsy for Tacoma?

comments [28]  |  posted under serious, tacoma


by NineInchNachos on 1/8/2009 @ 4:46pm
if your lesser/non-cartoonist society decides to wear fez, we'll sue your pants off!

furthermore david boe has been producing non-union pseudo-cartoons which encroaches dangerously into our territory and our tolerance grows thin.

ha ha ha!

by Dave_L on 1/8/2009 @ 5:27pm
I'm with you, Morgan. I fact, before I got to your part about the Troll I was already thinking Fremont is a good Model. The Troll, the Waiting for the Interurban, the Lenin stature, the rocket... The Owl Party is also a perfect (now) historical reference. But Tacoma does spark of both impromptu and planned whimsy. And whimsical characters. Heck, one of our State Representatives (you know which one) is one of Tacoma's most whimsical assets. Many arts events come to mind. That cardboard whale, Chalk-Off, those Chinese New Year's glass balls, RR Anderson, anything Lynn Di Nino and her freinds do, 133 bocce, Kevin in a zebra constume. Those signs on the palm (palmetto?) trees by the Dome remind me of the directional sign in Fremont. But perhaps you are right - We don't have that critical mass yet to support CLAW or a bed race or a milk-carton boat race. Wait - the build-a-boat-race at the Maritime fest is great. Thanks for the post, Morgan. I think I'll finally work on that blog.

by NineInchNachos on 1/8/2009 @ 5:51pm
the christmas tree in tollefson plaza was a funny one... if not particularly cruel.

also the guys watching TV in tollefson ..

Traveller in the city council meetings...

we really need a lenin satue.

maybe we can get a Sadam Husein statue?

by Mofo from the Hood on 1/8/2009 @ 7:09pm
Bring back the outdoor escalators!

by Ron on 1/8/2009 @ 8:03pm
Bring back Brakeman Bill and Crazy Donkey.

by deeble interactive on 1/8/2009 @ 9:33pm
Di Nino-Thankyou.

What you suggest is more-of-the-same disgusting liberalisim. Where would it stop? Naked bicycle riding? If you want that why don't you just move up north. I like the solitude and isolation. If you want community might I suggest you join a church.

I hear Casey Treat is always looking for suckers.

by fredo on 1/8/2009 @ 10:15pm
Well we probably have the largest collection of whimsical street art ever concieved. Tacoma's dog owners are leaving heaps of it everywhere. Only funny if someone else steps in it.

by KevinFreitas on 1/9/2009 @ 6:59am
Too bad court jesters weren't in style 'cause I think they could really help liven up City Council meetings and such. Neither Lonely UP guy nor Hill seem to quite fit the bill of lovable, laughable oaf.

Perhaps Tacoma Pothole Days? Broken Crap of the Month? Filthy 15 House Party?

by boearc on 1/9/2009 @ 8:17am
So what is the initiation fee and initiation rites to become a 'honorary' member of the CLAW? I already have the fez - actually two - one is a fez from Fez - the other a blinged-out airloom from my grandfather's days in another secret society (c. 1966). As for whimsy - cutting down on the raddishes and fiber ought to take care of the problem.

by Dave_L on 1/9/2009 @ 9:45am
(Just curious, are fezzes worn while Reveling?)
I'm not a hat-guy, but it is becoming more and more evident that there should be a resolution proclaiming the fez the official headgear of the City Tacoma. And City Council members must wear them when city counciling.

by KevinFreitas on 1/9/2009 @ 10:39am

by drizell on 1/9/2009 @ 11:36am
How about putting up a "No Activity" sign in Tollefson Plaza and other general forms of comedic urban mischief? Oh wait, someone out there is already doing that.

by Lance Kagey on 1/9/2009 @ 12:41pm
Levity? I'd watch for the latest beautiful angle. It takes marvelous surprises to a whole new level.

maybe this weekend?

by Erik on 1/9/2009 @ 12:57pm
So what is the initiation fee and initiation rites to become a 'honorary' member of the CLAW?

Yeah. Four dudes hanging around together in fez is inspiring in itself I suppose, but where does the fan club/cult followers of CLAW sign up???/? Right, now the CLAW thing seems very EXCLUSIONARY!

by Erik on 1/9/2009 @ 1:02pm
Levity I'd watch for the latest beautiful angle.

I always thought BA had pretty much perfected artistic angst. But levity?

by morgan on 6/16/2010 @ 7:15am
Time to bring back the OWL Party.

by L.S.Erhardt on 6/16/2010 @ 11:48am
You know, this topic is revived at a coincidental time.
Just yesterday, I was reading about and looking at the pictures of the Meat Holiday in Moscow.

What's a meat holiday, you ask? It's a zombie flash mob! Simply, a few thousand people dress themselves like zombies and have a stumblingly-slow march through town.

They've had these in San Fransisco, Edmonton, Moscow, Sacramento, Toronto, Brisbane, Minneapolis, Vancouver BC, and Sydney.

How much fun would it be to add Tacoma to that list?
And considering CLAW's eternal battle against the Zombie, what more could we ask for?

I would so take vacation time to do this.
So how do we get started?

I propose the flash mob starts at (or near) Tollfeson, meanders through the University District, down Market, up St Helens and ends in Wright Park. Perhaps in July?

by L.S.Erhardt on 6/16/2010 @ 11:49am
hell, I think this may deserve it's own topic...

by The Jinxmedic on 6/16/2010 @ 12:06pm
I propose a Tweed Run. Start/Finish at the Irish Pub on Pacific. Make a day of it. Gin and Tonics for everyone!

by NineInchNachos on 6/16/2010 @ 12:30pm
and hey, how about a CLAW sponsored "Everybody Draw Stan Shaw day?"

by NineInchNachos on 6/16/2010 @ 12:37pm
and btw, the 'out with logic' party stuff isn't funny anymore...

it's getting too real!

by L.S.Erhardt on 6/16/2010 @ 12:47pm
Tweed run? Hilarious! I'd be in.

by The Jinxmedic on 6/16/2010 @ 1:09pm
Seriously, a Tweed Run would be awesome. (and we should get one of the non-snotty bicycle shops to help sponsor it.)

Paddy Coyne's at 815 Pacific really would be a logical Start/Finish spot. And we could invite Stan Shaw as a guest of honor...

by L.S.Erhardt on 6/16/2010 @ 1:21pm
As an added bonus, whoever can draw the best portrait of Stan Shaw while participating in the Tweed Race gets a free yard when they return to the pub.

"The First Annual Tacoma Draw Stan Shaw and Tweed Race"

I like it!

by The Jinxmedic on 2/24/2011 @ 11:03am
I still think that one of our local bicylce shops in conjunction with one of our local Irish pubs should co-sponsor a Tweed Run in Tacoma.

If, in fact, they decide to pursue this, the von Mausheim Society will certainly assist in the promotion and stage marshalling of the event.

by NineInchNachos on 2/24/2011 @ 11:18am

by cisserosmiley on 2/24/2011 @ 11:55am
a lot of this loss of whimsy can be traced to the chamber of commerce. about 30 years ago a choice was made to bring in a mid westerner to re-form tacoma as head of the chamber. since, the biz community has been a little, well, iowaeeeish? the bed races ended as well as other cool stuff.

by NineInchNachos on 2/24/2011 @ 12:33pm
the chamber pot