Art, Across from the Gum Wall

Pike Place Market's Post AlleyI’ve been scroogey this holiday season. The first Monday I walked downtown after Thanksgiving, I surprised myself by looking up at the glittering lights, the newly installed tinsel, and the freshly opened Santa’s Cottage and thinking:

“Oh. Oh god.”

It wasn’t a strong rejection – instead, worse, it was a flat sigh of observing something I was uninterested in but powerless to stop.

I am not normally Christmas-mad, no, but I am usually up for any excuse for sparkly things, lighted things, and general magical ostentation.

It came late this year. It took a matinee date with a friend to see Dina Martina, a stroll through a Santarchy-filled Pike Place Market, a walk through Post Alley (above; enchanting), and excellent happy hour libations and snacks at Il Bistro to make it happen. All while wearing a profane reindeer sweater and elf socks, you know.

I can’t so much put the heart-growing-three-sizes part into photos (especially as it was really a transformation from “Oh god no” to “Ok, I guess”), but I can show you the part I liked best: the newest iterations of the layers of wheatpaste and art in Post Alley.

So Post Alley comes in several parts, right? I categorize them thusly:

  • The northern bit, where the Pink Door is
  • The middle-northern bit, where I eat chowder and buy milagros
  • The middle-southern bit, where the gum wall, the Alibi Room, and the improv theater are
  • The southern bit, where the Owl & Thistle is

All supposedly parts of a whole. Sure.

These pictures are from the third one. My friend had somehow never seen nor smelled the gum wall. Because I am a good friend (I think), I informed him that it must-no-MUST happen.

The gum wall was the gum wall. (Fun fact: ours is not the only one, nor is it the oldest. That honor goes to Bubblegum Alley in San Luis Obispo.) But the art across from it – well, that inspired that kind of long, slow, sideways stroll that you more often see with murals in an art museum.

I offer these without comment except to say that I wish this kind of beautiful, elaborate wheatpaste art would spread across the city like a most voracious fungus, gradually covering every surface and leaving us all richer.

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