Walter Mencken 4 p.m., May 3
Stabbing Poseidon Ordered Removed From Wall of Winston's in Ocean Beach
Pictured: The angry deity.
Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea, mysteriously appeared in Ocean Beach a few days before the summer solstice, rising up out of the blue and wielding a huge trident.
He arrived seemingly out of thin air — beautifully rendered in a 10-foot-square mural of spraypaint that had been layered onto the brick exterior of Winston's nightclub without anyone noticing.
Poseidon's snarling countenance and menacing weaponry indicated he was no benign deity. His palpable rage seemed likely to inspire him to release the Kraken. Who knew?
"Save the Ocean or Perish by My Fury" was spelled out down the artwork's left side. Locals in this funky San Diego County beach town called him the Stabbing Poseidon. Pilgrims paid tribute, taking photos and leaving calamari and the occasional blood sacrifice.
City officials, though, labeled the work graffiti and began the process of having it removed. The affair was reported on locally and eventually went viral, with MySpace and LiveJournal pages rallying to save the Poseidon.
"I didn't expect the kind of reaction it got," said Randall McGee, an 85-year-old long-time local who came forward earlier this month to claim authorship. "I've always known that Poseidon was an angry god who demanded tribute."
Not for long. This week, McGee and his attorney reached an agreement with the city. McGee was fined $50,000 and will pay for removing the Stabbing Poseidon from the nightclub wall.
He also will reimburse the city $2,125 for the Greek oracle it hired weeks ago to determine the validity of the McGee's claim about the immanent explosion of the sea god's wrath.
"We recognized the prophetic character of the mural," said Deputy City Manager Richard Phillips. But there were issues of protocol and safety; if you tell a whole town that they're about to find themselves underwater - well, after Japan, people have been feeling a mite panicky."
It took nine hours to spray on the intricate puzzle of blue and green and bring the Stabbing Poseidon to life. "It was intended to be a gift to the community," McGee said. "It seemed like the perfect spot to get the message across that the ocean is in crisis and its protector is girding for battle. We're facing mass extinction - the eradication of man from the planet. That's really the point of all this …trying to help people wake up."
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