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Kenny Be's Yard Arteology: Amy Winehouse totem pole

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The study of neighbors through their lawn ornaments...

Figure 44, views a & b. Jefferson Park: Sculpture suggests that "Thunderbird" is the guardian "spirit" of the drunken songbird of soul music.

At first glance, the yard art pictured in figure 44 appears to be a South Korean animator's rendition of a South African art director's description of a totem pole carved by an indigenous artist of the Pacific Northwest. And even though it appears that the familiar North Coast design patterns have all been replaced with garishly colored cartoon characters, this is no cheesy knock-off. The topmost golden Thunderbird gripping the bouffant of Amy Winehouse indicates that this is the home of a true totem artist, who is telling the tale of the South London legend in four easy totems.

The creator of the yard art pictured above is a master of the form. The bottom totem of the burnt-sienna-colored cross-eyed owl with a cracked forehead suggests that the root of Amy's problems are the insight and deception she finds in the crack pipe. Reading up from the bottom, the carnival-colored Wise® Potato Chip Owl indicates a snacking pandemonium that Amy suppresses with heavy eye makeup and high hair.

The shining Thunderbird, with the broken nose and wings of toes, looks to be pulling Amy ever upward. However, the side view pictured in 44b showing the glitter bird just sitting on her head, intimates that this yard artist believes that success will always be in control of Amy, instead of vice versa.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


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