Update, January 2: “Occupy the Rose Parade: 5,000 Protesters, Giant Octopus Fail to Make Live TV.”
Pasadena's annual Rose Parade is on Monday! To pre-party, we were totally planning to write about the Natural History Museum's first-ever dinosaur float, a gorgeous menagerie of T-Rexes and long-necks. Then we got a glimpse of a beast that could swallow those wimp-osauruses whole.
We're talking about Occupy Octopus (yes, that's his name; yes, he'd make an amazing beanie baby), a 70-foot-long crowd puppet made entirely of recycled plastic bags. The giant sea creature will hover over a band of occupiers for their Occupy the Rose Parade march this coming Monday. And though he's just going viral as of this morning, it appears the octopus was born over a month ago…
… for a protest outside L.A. City Hall. Those were better days for Occupy L.A., when their camp was still a thriving (if greasy) mini city, and their free speech wasn't restricted to a tiny little “zone” on the west steps.
But the octopus' big comeback at the Rose Parade can hopefully revive some of that pre-raid vigor (from within) and media attention (from the sidelines, and on New Year's broadcasts all over the world).
Here's the November 20 video of the octopus' rainy debut.
Gotta love how hard occupiers get into character — bobbing up and down so Octupy's tentacles undulate just right. And float organizer Pete Thottam, a central figure in Occupy L.A., says occupiers just held another “dress rehearsal” yesterday.
The animal they chose isn't arbitrary. The uploader of the above video writes: “Fat cats and greedy pigs make great symbols of corporate greed, but multi-armed octopi speak to the ways in which corporations operate.” More on that, from the Los Angeles Times:
The octopus, said activist Mark Lipman of Los Angeles, represents Wall Street's stranglehold on political, cultural and social life, with tentacles “that reach into your pocket to get your money and a tentacle to get your house.”
Octupy's semi-rebellious relationship with the very patriotic, very feel-good event is a delicate one. Thottam tells the Times how important this Rose Parade cameo will be: “We recognize that this is a historic, iconic event geared toward middle America and the family.”
Of course, Occupy the Rose Parade has not been granted an official slot in the parade, and will have to fall in line with the nutters in back. We won't get the police-versus-protester dramatics of the City Hall raid, either — Pasadena cops say they've spoken with occupiers, and they expect everything to go smoothly and peacefully this January 2.
But all politics aside, he's a magnificent creature. Below are the best photos of him we could find.
(Along with his inanimate brethren — a 250-foot by 50-foot blowup of the U.S. Constitution called “We the People,” and a 50-foot by 50-foot “We the Corporations” spinoff. They'll also make a cameo at the parade.)