12.1.12

Ideas for Art Shantys that Rhyme


[The Medicine Lake Art Shanties, an almost annual ritual of creative shanty construction.]

Scanty Shanty – The least possible shanty, made from the least possible material. This shanty barely even exists.

Aunty Shanty – All five of my aunts take turns sitting in a shanty.

Panty Shanty – Girls-only shanty. They trade panties with each other or something.

Decanty Shanty – Shanty with fine spirits in crystal containers. Guests drink booze.

Jimmy Durante Shanty – Shanty containing the personal effects of the late Jimmy Durante. Could be shaped like a giant schnozz.

Shanty Shanty – Sing sea shanties in a shanty. This has obviously already been considered and/or done.

[Then, it hit me. An actual good idea…] 

Ranty Shanty – A shanty shaped like a soap box, only with some sort of ladder on the outside (or inside, if preferable). 

Entering the shanty, you find a little display about the great ‘speakers corners’ of history (e.g. Hyde Park, Union Square), and some information about famous public / grassroots orators.

Then, the best part: there is a box of some kind, and a paper you can fill out that says, “Suggest a rant. (Be specific.) What irritates you the most?” Then there is a spot for more details, questions like “What is it about your rant suggestion that is the single worst thing? What else is really horrid? (Please be specific.) How does your rant suggestion lead to the downfall of civilization? (Be specific.)” Etc. etc.

Then, the shanty is staffed with the trained volunteer ranters, and every 15 minutes or so one of the volunteer ranters chooses one of the better suggestions, climbs to the top of the shanty, and delivers a tip-top rant on that topic, with lots of fire and brimstone and gesticulation and oratory. Hamming it up is encouraged. Theatrical individuals are involved. Improvisation occurs. Details are fudged or fabricated. The ranter stands atop the Ranty Shanty and yells like Ahab into the cold winter wind, addressing his or her grievances to the horizon. Onlookers look on. This proves to be immensely popular.

As an added bonus, interested participants can attempt to deliver their own rants, addressing a boisterous crowd as if on the Apollo Theater mainstage. Democracy in action, on a giant soapbox on a lake.

It all proves to be immensely therapeutic.

And cold. Also cold.


[Rough schematic of Ranty Shanty. Note: Not to Scale.]

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