posted 28 May 2012
I first learned about photography and started photographing with Holgas in 1991.
Making Friends (And Art) For Life
A friend brought me to the parade in 1993, and I watched from the sidelines.
In 1994 I went again, and when I got to the staging area, I was asked if I wanted to be a monitor. I asked what it involved. It required wearing the big yellow hat and walking along the parade route – perfect for photographing!
Later that summer I went to Miracle on 34th Street, an artist-made, local business-sponsored miniature golf course to benefit an AIDS support organization.
At the ARF (Artist’s Republic of Fremont) hole, complete with models of the Fremont Bridge (which had a working drawbridge) and Waiting for the Interurban statue, Maque daVis introduced himself and got my contact info.
Later that year, he invited me to the Winter Solstice Feast (that year at the Fuzzy Wuzzy Rug Co.) I didn’t make it due to travel, but was intrigued.
The next January, in 1995, Maque called me and said the Trolls were going shopping.
I arrived at the Fremont Fine Arts Foundry to meet the trolls, including Dave McKay as Clover, Llyle Morgan as the Professor, George Long as Troll de Bogen, and more…
We went to the grand opening of the original Fremont PCC Natural Market, then located at 716 N. 34th St, and took over the store. I photographed them throughout the store, complete with Annett Mateo as ‘lunch’ in the shopping basket.
In the course of that day, my life was changed by meeting all these wonderful people!
I have photographed the parade almost every year since.
Making Images For Posterity
The photos here were ones taken, in 1995 & 1996, using a ‘toy camera’ called a Holga. Holgas are full-fledged cameras that manage to function with a body made of plastic, a spring for a shutter, and no adjustments. Made in China, the $20 Holga is both a plaything and a serious photographic tool, and it’s a heck of a lot of fun!
For the 1995 Solstice Parade, toys were a theme. Tinker Toys (with the Billy Tipton Saxophone Quartet aboard), the Potato Heads (Mr. and Mrs.,) and a giant pneumatic Jack in the Box with the side panels created by Dave Hartz all appeared that year.
Maug, designed by Wendy Oberlin, was worn by Richard Boerst in all her green and red glory.
A giant head with lolling eyes and tongue, which occasionally expressed green water balloons as snot through its huge nostrils, was created by Brian Koozer.
A huge microscope, created by Peter Weston and friends, had a group of mad scientists who grabbed spectators to put between slides and onto the viewing stage.
I especially loved when they put one of the Potato Heads in the scope!
The 1996 Solstice Parade had several ensembles in the Alice in Wonderland theme.
These included the Queen of Hearts (David Cat Ti), the Playing Cards, a huge mushroom with Denise Hendriksen as the caterpillar, the Cheshire Cat created by Cameron Mason with Annett Mateo and David Deal, Hedgehogs, Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum, the White Rabbit, and an Alice, created by Peter Toms and Laura Baumwall with a pneumatically growing head (repurposed from the Jack-in-the-Box of the year before.)
Also in 1996, a giant game of Rock, Paper, Scissors played out continuously down the route, Bill Smythe photographed the parade dressed as a giant camera, and a school group created an ensemble of giant clock faces with simple paper circles.
Peter Bevis and company made a papier-mâché replica of the Kalakala ferry, as he attempted to return the original to Seattle from its beached site in Alaska.
Larry Dobson gave a class in stilt-walking, in the weeks leading up to the parade, and the students created a rainbow of costumes to wear.
Also that year, one of the stages – and there may have only been one back then – had the UMO Ensemble’s inimitable buffoons as its hosts, performed by David Godsey, Martha Enson and Kevin Joyce.
And the parade had just a few naked cyclists, with a bare minimum of paint, that showed off for the crowd before the parade began.
Michelle Bates has photographed nearly every year of the Solstice Parade since 1993, and this led to her involvement with other arts groups from the Macnas Parade in Ireland to Moisture Festival. Visit the Michelle Bates Photography website for more information.
On Saturday, June 16th at Noon, the Fremont Arts Council will present the 24th Annual Solstice Parade. Plenty of opportunities remain to get involved, and experience the magic, of the parade – check out the volunteer opportunities on the FAC website.
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- When Marti Comes Over To Play
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©2012 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.