"If you find the flood of fuchsia at 39th and Monroe an eyesore, don't fret."
On September 19, video footage surfaced online of an impromptu art gallery in Normal Heights. The "mystery artist" hand-painted murals on what appeared to be dead palm tree leaves and strung them along a fence on Circle Drive and 39th Street, a couple of blocks west of the Adams Avenue/I-15 exit. One art piece depicted a side profile of a fish. Two others were renditions of faces with the ends frayed to resemble hair. The others were multi-colored collages.
"I have been an active participant in Burning Man for the last 22 years."
At sunset that Friday, a hint of the "Do You Wanna Funk?" disco tune could be heard at the "not so normal" art installation.
"Our drive-by/walk-by disco event ran from 6-10 pm due to noise ordinances," said DJ Barbarossa who with DJ Dirty Kurty, transformed his front yard on 32nd Street into a discotheque booth adorned with pink and purple lights.
"I was surprised to see almost all the neighbors come out and dance in the streets," he said to me, "I’d say there was like 50 or 60 people."
El Zarape Restaurant duked it out with the disco DJs, by playing mariachi music while some patrons yelled "salud."
Up the street on Adams Avenue, El Zarape Restaurant duked it out with the disco DJs, by playing mariachi music while some patrons yelled "salud" from its transformed parking lot approached from 32nd Street. The Mexican restaurant's staff lined dozens of different colored umbrellas above "classy" looking tables and tents that were partitioned with plexiglass. A red-colored stanchion separated the sidewalk from the artificial grass down below.
"They’ve got some good deals, too, like happy hour margarita flights," said one patron of the restaurant's $6 house margaritas plus chips and salsa.
"People keep bringing by more pink art, more lights, and sculptures."
Normal Heights residents posted about different impromptu art installations throughout their neighborhood over the weekend, which here, seems to be trending upward, especially after John Halcyon metamorphosed his front yard into a bright pink retreat during "Burn Week" on August 30 to September 6.
"I have been an active participant in Burning Man for the last 22 years," Halcyon posted on NextDoor. "But this year, we're setting up our camp in the front yard, and if you find the flood of fuchsia at 39th and Monroe an eyesore, don't fret — it will all be gone when the week ends."
The "mystery artist" hand-painted murals on what appeared to be dead palm tree leaves.
Normally, about this time of the year, the 49 year-old YouTuber, speaker, and coach would be recuperating from the desert festivities that usually transpire about 700 miles north of Normal Heights, within "a city wherein almost everything that happens is created entirely by its citizens, who are active participants in the experience."
"Fuschia has all of the love of red, with none of the aggression," Halcyon explained. "It is the color of hugs."
Over a hundred residents attended or passed by Burn Week south of Adams Avenue, where some sipped on cucumber water on pink couches, while others scarfed on Halcyon's vegan ice cream listening to electronica music.
"Did you get any haters?" I asked.
"No complaints to my face, or online," he responded. "The neighborhood has been amazing, in fact, people keep bringing by more pink art, more lights, and sculptures. People are bringing back goods and examples of their art. It has become the same beacon in Normal Heights, that we have been at Burning Man."