Street Artist Free Humanity Plants Apple Grenades Along Light Rail; Bomb Squad Halts Service, Removes 'Forbidden Fruit' With Robot
If only every art installation would set off a chain of events this awesome [Curbed LA].
Last week, street-art blog Melrose & Fairfax reported that Free Humanity, otherwise known for his dark, political Star Wars stencils -- read the Weekly's exclusive interview here -- left a ripe little surprise on a scraggle of a tree down in Little Tokyo. There it hung, nice and peaceful...
... until Tuesday of this week, when an ex-marine happened to walk by and notice that the non-apple tree, located on First Street near Alameda, was heavy with bright-red apples. Strange. Then he noticed the apples had freaking grenades for stems.
So, with Osama bin Laden's foiled legacy fresh on the air, the marine reportedly remembered the LAPD motto "See something, say something" and immediately called 911.
The City News Service report is priceless:
Bomb squad members used a specialized cannon and shot and broke apart the object, which turned out to be made of Styrofoam and concluded it was not an explosive device.
"After closer examination, it appears the object was a type of ornament, perhaps left over from the holidays,'' Vernon said. "Even though there was no explosive, the former Marine did the right thing in reporting it. Better to be safe in these cases.''
On the downside (or up, depending how you look at it), Free Humanity's stunt interrupted Gold Line service for more than three hours as light-rail riders were ferried around the crime scene in buses.
Now, for the grand finale. Watch a terrorism-bustin' robot inspect the artist's little styrofoam statements like his job depends on it:
"From the top of it, and how it was suspended, it looked like possibly the ignition point of a grenade," says LAPD Lieutenant Paul Vernon in the CBS broadcast. "The way it was suspended from a cotter pin and a string, like it was meant for someone to reach up and pull it down."
Free Humanity could never have known America's most-wanted enemy would be assassinated just days after his war-and-peace commentary was erected in Little Tokyo. But it couldn't have been more perfect if he'd planned it. Seriously: How great does a gallant bomb-squad rescue in response to some arty apples go with Obama in a Star Wars suit and a machine gun?
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