There’s a thin line between cute and creepy. Suri Cruise, Justin Bieber, Andy’s Good Guy doll before it morphed into Chucky — all teeter on that uneasy fence.
Those little ceramic knickknacks your grandmother kept preserved in her dining room cupboard, with their outstretched arms and puppy dog eyes, with the inscription on the base proclaiming their undying “wuv”?
When you stop to think about it, also borderline creep status.
But Scott Wilson doesn’t see it that way. He owns 200 of those little figurines and oddly enough, it was their undesirability that drew him to the collectibles.
“I became infatuated with them through selling stuff on eBay. I noticed they were one of the few hugely mass-produced items that don’t sell for anything,” says Wilson, better known as one of the founders of the Museum of Bad Art. He’s right: a simple eBay search for Wallace Berrie, the creator of these peculiar sculptures, turns up a barren wasteland of items with zero bids. Woe is Wallace.
After amassing his kitschy congregation from yard sales, thrift stores, and trash digging, Wilson reached out to his friend and MoBA co-founder Jerry Reilly. Earlier this year the two founded Pedestrian Magic, a collective of friends united under a thinly defined mission statement: “Something’s Happening.”
Translation? Get a cool idea and have fun making it work.
An official launch party, with Wilson’s statues lined up throughout his backyard and inside his shed (the “Wuv Shack”), was all it really took to get Reilly on board with Wilson’s offbeat passion and the Summer of Wuv was born.
Next to buy into the movement was Ollie Hallowell, who aided the groundswell with stickers: the official Summer of Wuv logo (a play on Robert Indiana’s LOVE park sculpture), “in the name of wuv” (to be placed on the bottom of stop signs), and an image of Jesus splayed out on the cross with the message “I wuv you this much!” over his head.
The culmination of all this wuv? A karaoke takeover September 24 at the Courtside in Cambridge featuring nothing but Wuv songs — “I Just Called To Say I Wuv You,” “Wuv Me Do,” and my personal favorite, “50 Ways To Weave Your Wuver.”
But lest you think the folks at Pedestrian Magic are a bunch of crackpots, they also have a couple other projects in the pipeline. King Pong has been in the test phase on Wellfleet beach this summer with a hopeful launch date sometime before month’s end. And it’s precisely what it sounds like: “The world’s largest Pong game” projected on a giant jumbotron at an undisclosed location somewhere in the Hub.
Disposable Theatre, one of the group’s original and ongoing undertakings, finds them raiding curbside garbage piles and posing for snapshots. A single crutch, outdated skis, a rabbit-eared TV set. All worthy props in their bizarro fashion show.
“We’re just some people that get together and have a few too many beers,” admits Reilly. “These ideas grow from a solid night of conversation.”
And what’s in the works for Pedestrian Magic after all of the above? Let’s just say you can be on the lookout for a giant yellow orb dodging ghosts and chomping dots.