Friday, September 11, 2009

Who Shields the Umbrellas?

There's always some kind of gimmick going on downtown, you just have to keep your eyes peeled for it.

Sometimes it's more obvious than others... and sometimes it's not. Mounting all these red umbrellas all over the defunct Swindler's location means different things to different people--it's a semiotic field day. If you're a prostitute, the red umbrella could represent the symbol for international sex-trade workers' rights. It could also look like the Traveler's Insurance logo, and they've certainly used the 3-D advertising model before. But in fact, this is a promotional campaign to alert citizens as to an upcoming performance of Mary Poppins. Not very intuitive, since her umbrella was black.

(UPDATE: Actually, I'm told the umbrellas mounted on and around Shinder's are actually a Traveler's campaign, coincidentally implemented during the Mary Poppins promotion. Tonight I'll post a picture of the theater promotion and you'll see how I could have gotten confused.)

Here, workers are seen affixing the umbrellas all over the store that used to be Shinder's, and way up on top of the building that used to house Teener's. This is kind of a bad-luck corner: it's next to a strip bar that's next to a sleazy lounge that used to be the location of a movie theater where, several years ago, people got shot by gangstas. Next to that is a car park that perpetually reeks of urine: bad enough in the winter, intolerable in our humid summers. The city has a long way to go in cleaning up this strip of business.

The umbrellas, sensing the miserable atmosphere permeating this half-block of buildings, have started to migrate or simply flee.

1 comment:

Cinamingrl said...

Red umbrellas? That's very pretty.