Monday, March 26, 2012

Panama City Giraffe sticks out its neck

PANAMA CITY — Sometimes a giraffe in the hand is better than a Patridge in a pear tree. Follow me, here.

It may be that I’ve just had a few too many encounters with prima donnas in recent weeks, the public figures who want to control their images to such an extent that they have handlers for their handlers. It’s one thing to protect yourself from paparazzi, but these folks feel the need to protect themselves from media representatives they invite to cover their public appearance. In two cases recently, I was told not to shoot images of the TV “stars” even though a few hundred spring breakers were doing so.

Does that make sense to you?

As I tried to explain it to one of the handlers: I was there, on private property, at their invitation. I would of course play by their rules — if I played their game. Which meant, in the end, choosing not to play.

Thank goodness all bigwigs don’t operate that way. Take, for instance, the latest local to gain some notoriety and a public following: “PCG” (for “Panama City Giraffe”). Let’s just say it is unafraid to stick out its neck in public, unlike the elusive and now legendary “Cove Pig.”

Created by a local artist who asked not to be named — and who noted she was learning to let go and let whatever happens happen — the translucent (and gender non-specific) PCG is made of 50-percent recycled materials and is not for sale.

It has been spotted all over the area, photographed mingling with the locals and participating in events. It even lists “having my photo taken” among its interests on its Facebook page. It plans to continue visiting local sites and making friends along the way.

“I am Mobile Public Art,” PCG said when reached via a Facebook message this week. “I live in a city that does not actively encourage or support public art, so I am quietly traveling the town and bringing the experience of art directly to the people. I will travel with anyone and only ask that they photograph me and my location.”

You may have seen PCG watching belly dancers at a CityArts Cooperative event or trying to sing karaoke at Boatyard. It has been photographed riding a tandem bicycle, playing basketball and getting kisses and pats on the head.

“My goal is to travel to every well known and obscure location with as many different people as I can,” PCG said. “I also hang out on the street — as Street Art — free to experience whatever happens to me.”

PCG recently visited WKGC 90.7 FM’s “Art Talk” show with Bay Arts Alliance’s Jennifer Jones, but was too nervous to talk on the air: “Although seemingly transparent, the giraffe refuses to comment,” Jones noted.

PCG also attended the opening of “The Nerd” at Kaleidoscope Theatre in Lynn Haven, where it was seen getting goodies at the concession stand (Mentos is its favorite) and visiting the actors in the dressing room. It tried on costume pieces and makeup. It sampled the wine, but needed someone to hold the glass for it (no hands, you see).

“It’s very cool,” said local author Michael Lister, who has taken PCG out for a night on the town. “People can take it on an adventure, take pics, and post on its very own Facebook page.”

Put simply, “Giraffes make people smile,” PCG said. Some people could learn a lot from a plastic giraffe.

Peace.
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