Giant Marilyn Monroe statue leaves Chicago for sunny Palm Springs
Goodbye Norma Jean.
The giant, controversial statue of Marilyn Monroe has been taken down from Pioneer Plaza on Michigan Ave. in Chicago after a successful, one-year run featuring millions of gawking tourists. Workers snuck in around dusk yesterday and took the old girl apart in chunks. Oh, the humanity...
Not everyone liked the statue as it was, let's face it, pretty sexist. Day and night, women and men gathered around and under the 26-foot-high statue of the actress' famous pose from "The Seven-Year Itch" to snap photos. Her dress was billowing up and about and folks would gather by the thousands each day to stare up and see what was under that famous outfit.
Who knows what she wore during filming, but the statue presents a very Midwestern pair of white cotton-looking panties that border on bloomers. Disappointing, no doubt, to young (and old) men around the world, but that's art for you.
The initially controversial "Forever Marilyn" creation by Seward Johnson was unveiled last July directly across Michigan Ave. from the famous Wrigley Building and next to the luscious Tribune Tower. The old gal is headed to Palm Springs, California, where NBC says she was discovered by a Hollywood agent. I always thought she was discovered, if you want to call it that, at a soda fountain at Hollywood and Vine. But maybe that was Chewbacca from Star Wars.
“It’s a perfect fit,” says Tim Ellis, local hotelier, Palm Springs Chamber President and member of the P.S. Resorts Board of Directors. “Marilyn Monroe has legendary ties to Palm Springs. She was ‘discovered’ at Charlie Farrell’s Racquet Club, was rumoured to have frequented the Movie Colony estate with Joe DiMaggio, currently known as the Sand Acre Estate, and owned a 50’s bungalow-style house in Las Palmas,” says Ellis.
"We received many requests as far away as Tokyo and Madrid and cities in Brazil, and we really felt that Palm Springs has a special connection to Marilyn because it is the legendary play land for Hollywood,” Paula Stoeke, the director and curator of the Sculpture Foundation, an organization funded and run by Johnson, told the Los Angeles Times.
The plan was for crews to dismantle the statue into four pieces and drive her across the country, and I bet they argued over who got to hold which piece. I mean, I'm sorry, but they're probably GUYS and you know what we're like. I'd apologize, but I don't really see the point of making excuses for half the planet.
Anyway, it's too bad they couldn't leave the statue intact and strap it to a flatbed. It could've toured all over the country, giving little thrills to schoolboys from Little Rock, Arkansas to Walla Walla, Washington and even in rural Alberta, where they raise up giant statues of everything from dinosaurs to Easter eggs. Alas, Marilyn is Goin' to California with an aching in heart and word is all 34,000 pounds of her will be set down at the corner of Tahquitz Canyon and Palm Canyon Dr.
Word is she'll debut in Palm Springs May 24 and stay for about a year. After that, there's word she'll appear at the next Liberal convention and that her skirt will act as an umbrella for the entire national membership.
Her new So Cal location is not far from the outdoor statue of former Palm Springs mayor Sonny Bono, and not too distant from a sculpture of Lucille Ball. It makes perfect sense in a city where boulevards are named after the likes of Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope, I guess.
I would've liked to see the statue at Hollywood and Vine, personally, with a leg on either side of Hollywood Boulevard. The traffic would've been horrible, but who would've noticed?
According to NBC, one website, VirtualTourist.com, ranked her the worst piece of public art in the world. Guess they were never around Toronto in the 1980s to see "Gumby Goes to Heaven" on University Ave., eh?
VirtualTourist apparently also wondered why the statue was in Chicago, when Monroe was made famous in Hollywood and the movie scene was set in New York.
Virtual Tourist also suggested the towering, blown dress forced many to peer up at Marilyn's panties. Forced? I don't think so. I mean, I did my bit on this past weekend, sure, but I don't recall anyone holding a gun to my head and saying, "You, tourist from Canada, check out those panties right now or I'll fill your guts fulla lead."
It's too bad for Chicago. But they'll probably manage all right with the likes of all that great architecture, a fabulous lakefront, incredible art galleries and top-notch food and drink. Not to mention Wrigley Field, as long as you don't pay attention to this year's version of the Cubs, that is.