Wednesday, May 15, 2024


For once, an hour of happy came to me. A carnival fairground sprang up 2 blocks from my house, with genuine diversity in its themes like a German/Austrian Beer Haus, little green folks from outer space, New Orleans Mardi Gras, Chinese dragons, etc. It also was gratifying to see denizens of my neighborhood having fun instead of their usual resentful desperation.

I was impressed with the high caliber of the graphic art of the attractions. Behind the beer maiden are the Katzenjammer Kids, a very popular 1920s comic strip, Arnold Schwarzenegger and some cool draft horses hauling the beer. The analogy of the elephant in Leiderhosen escapes me (perhaps reference to German milita
ria, as in the elephant in the room?)   



Carnival fairs are important entertainment to smaller, rural communities, while they remain an urban rarity. Usually the art is over the top kitsch, which is why this vivid, well-maintained batch surprised me. I no longer can ride the rides because of vertigo, but I liked everything else about these: they succeed in their manufactured fun. There was even a full-sized Ferris Wheel, like in Luna Luna.


Luna Luna, the world's first fine art amusement park once graced a Hamburg, Germany park in 1987 and was supposed to tour, then was lost in litigation of its investors, then genuinely lost until it turned up 35 years later in 44 shipping containers in Texas of all places.  

MAJOR, MAJOR fine artists of the day designed these fairground attractions, half of which have been restored to viewability, and two of which have been restored to proactive participation. You can step inside the Salvador Dali hall of mirrors in a geodesic dome, and you can get genuinely lost in the Roy Lichtenstein hot pink maze. Otherwise one can admire the Jean-Michel Basquiat (full-sized) Ferris Wheel, the Keith Haring merry go round, and the David Hockney spinning ride where the floors drop away as the colors change the artwork walls, plus plenty more.

It was set up for a paying public in April and May 2024 in the "fashion district" of downtown L.A., right next to Skid Row. It needed an airplane hangar-sized space within which to put a full amusement park, hence was found in this commercial warehouse area with no retail, no restaurants, no nothin' per se around it. It should be mentioned that hip hop artist Drake spearheaded the foundation that restored and ultimately displays Luna Luna once again to art and fairground fans.

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