El Guapo up in lights


You can imagine that because el Guapo is not only my official blog photographer but also my husband, my opinion about his work may not be entirely impartial. So it’s nice when other people decide that his artistic creations ought to have a wider audience. That has definitely happened–the audience can now be very wide, as the display of that artwork is 80 feet tall (the largest urban screen in New England), right outside the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

There was a reception last Thursday night for him and the other artists whose work will be displayed on rotation on the Marquee over the next few months, and we were excited to go. As it turned out, there were so many people excited to go to downtown Boston that night that none of us were able to go there at more than a snail’s pace. When we finally arrived (happily in time to take advantage of the ice cream sundae bar), we were told by one of the event organizers that there were two big games in the city, and that the president was in town, so standing-still traffic was a given.

While el Guapo chatted with artists and organizers, Loquita, Ninja and I ate our melting ice cream and stared out at the huge marquee (If the photo above had been taken that night, you’d see us up in the room that’s all yellow and red). I wandered off for a few minutes, during which time el Guapo’s piece ran on the giant screen, but by the time I got back, they’d switched over to “welcome to Boston” kinds of ads. Ninja had a fun time riding the escalators up and down, and traffic going back home was mercifully much easier to manage.

As I sat down to write a bit about our Boston jaunt I wanted to get my facts straight, so I thought I’d look into those games and that presidential visit, curious about the thousands of fans whose vehicles had nearly made us miss the opening. (I doubt they’re home looking up traffic-inducing art openings to satisfy similar curiosity.)


It turns out that the Bruins were playing in Montreal that night–it was Ringling Brothers (as well as both Barnum and Bailey) that were at the Boston Garden. And the Celtics were playing in Philadelphia. So other than the circus-goers, which teams exactly were contributing to all the traffic?


Furthermore, whitehouse.gov tells me that the president had a meeting in the oval office at 5:25 pm. I know that Airforce One is a fast plane, and I assume that the president doesn’t have to take off his shoes, unpack his laptop, or put liquids into a quart-size ziptop plastic bag, all things that tend to make travel more time consuming, but even so, I think it’s unlikely that the president had anything to do with the glacial pace of the inbound Boston traffic Thursday night.

I guess I’m not going to move the art-opening guy with his views on the causes of traffic to the top of my Reliable Source list. But I’m still curious about what might have been going on. This is just the sort of information I might be able to get from an app that a young friend of mine is developing. Matthew Hardy and his co-creators have an app in beta testing right now called Davai. It’s designed to let you take a photo or short video of something that’s going on where you are, and make it available in real time to others in the area. The app hasn’t officially launched yet, so for now, I can only look at what was on the calendar in Boston on October 16th.

I wonder if any of these had something to do with the traffic? Let’s see–at 5 pm there was a lecture, Combating Poverty the Swedish Way at Wheelock College. Jimi_Hendrix_1967At 5:30 at a place called Follain, a “Fall Beauty and Superfoods” event–this from their website: “Proper skincare can be the difference between retaining your dewy glow or dealing with dry, dull skin.” And to think we missed it. At 6:30 there was a workshop in social Haiku at the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum. The tribute to Jimi Hendrix at the Beat Hotel didn’t start until 9 pm, so that’s unlikely to have been the problem.

I really thought I had it when I saw the listing for the Boston Zombie Apocalypse, but that was in Abington, and that’s miles away. (Shouldn’t it then be the Abington Zombie Apocalypse?) I guess it’s going to remain a mystery.

What does not need to remain a mystery is the artwork that lured us into town in the first place. While I don’t have a video of exactly what it looked like on that huge screen, I can show you a simulation (so you can see what appears on both sides at once), and give you a little background. The original video footage was taken during a night drive in Boston (I feel I helped a little, as I was the driver). From that straightforward beginning, things get progressively more abstract (artistic entropy?). The piece is called Evening Traffic.


You tell me–did it capture the essence of Evening Traffic? Or did it conjure thoughts of the Abington Zombie Apocalypse?


9 thoughts on “El Guapo up in lights

  1. Congratulations to John! That’s wonderful! I have forwarded this to my artist daughter and son-in-law. They will also be very impressed. Sorry about the traffic, though….

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