Unclassified Info: The float shows no imagination

Since it looks like we are lumbering down the path toward building our New Year's tribute to — whatever — I have but two more observations on the matter. After this, I vow to put this topic aside for the remainder of 2011, barring any unforeseen dramatic or comedic turns of event.

First, how exactly does an elephant and a cart titled “Stepping out in style” have anything to do with the parade theme “Just Imagine”? I've been in the creative world my entire adult life and for the life of me I can't link the two. Can whoever approved this design step up to the microphone and clear it up for me? Please?

Let’s put the issues of animal cruelty aside for a moment and assume all animals in circuses are treated with nothing but kindness. With that out of the way, can we get to the bottom of how this concept embodies the parade theme?

Are we supposed to join the parade theme with the title of our float so that it becomes, “Just Imagine…Stepping out in style”? If this is the case, I am more lost than ever. I’m not trying to be obtuse. I really don’t get it.

The two halves of the puzzle are not making a whole. We could just have easily said, “Just Imagine…Eating eggs on top of the Eiffel Tower!”

It comes down to this: as parade participants, our city was challenged by the Tournament of Roses to come up with a float that embodied their parade theme, not that the theme itself was an intellectual revelation. All we had to do was find a way to use chicken wire and flowers and visually express the key word, “Imagine.”

And all we could come up with is an elephant?

To me, this is the real problem. I’m sure this makes me a sadly shallow individual, but when I think of our float, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t animal cruelty, it’s lack of imagination. Ironic, all things considered.

Yes, it’s easy to sit back and take shots from the cheap seats, but I do it for a reason. If we are going to continue to put ourselves out there for others to criticize, we should be willing to scrutinize the product we produce before we release it for general consumption. Why? Because more than anything, I’d like for us to be represented by something that makes the rest of the world think Glendale is knocking the concept out of the park instead of just presenting something middle of the road.

I remain an idealist, I suppose.

Which brings me to the second and final observation: the notion that our participation in the parade can be construed as an economic development tool. Seriously? How can anyone stand there with a straight face and say that our float, which will appear on air for approximately 30 seconds, will help generate revenue for our city?

With that short amount of camera time in mind, I wonder why the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is making such a fuss. Parade floats are here and gone in the wink of an eye. They are so utterly forgettable to the vast majority it hardly seems worth protesting. But whatever floats your boat.

Back on point, if we were looking for a non-controversial representation of economic development, we could have gone with a curious mama bear and her cubs, helping a badger, dressed up as a Glendale Water & Power contractor, installing a smart meter outside her cave.

Or perhaps an animated raccoon dressed as a parking enforcement officer handing out citations to a group of loitering turtles standing in front of the Alex Theatre. And how would either of those tie into the parade theme? Glad you asked.

“Just Imagine…More fun ways to have your money vaporize!”

But maybe I’ve got it all wrong. Perhaps on Jan. 2, some chief executive of a widget supply company in Lincoln, Neb. will call an emergency board meeting after having his perception changed by our stupendously inventive pachyderm.

“Ladies and gentlemen of the board, I was nursing a tequila hangover and watching the Rose Parade with my kids yesterday and I noticed the city of Glendale had a float shaped like an elephant. Based solely on that economic development tool and my love of circus animals, I recommend we move our entire base of operations there immediately!”

Yep. Let’s get ready to fill all that vacant commercial real estate around town. We’ve got a flowery elephant as an economic development tool. Yay us!

GARY HUERTA is a Glendale resident and author. He is currently working on his second novel and the second half of his life. Gary may be reached at gh@garyhuerta.com.

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