Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ripley's Bizarre Buying Bazaar

For several days in June a tent was set up in the parking lot at Ripley's Believe it or Not (8201 International Drive, Orlando FL.) Bright banners announced that it was the Ripley's Bizarre Buying Bazaar. Seated at the table were Edward Meyer, the VP of Exhibits and archives for Ripley Entertainment Inc and Angela Johnson the assistant of archives. Well, you can't see Angela in the sketch, a co-worker obscured her from my view as he was checking his cell phone. We all laughed about how she missed he 15 minutes of sketchbook fame afterwards. A call had been put out for people to bring their odd and bizarre items where they would be appraised, and if strange enough, purchased for the collection right on the spot. I sat in a parking spot and started to sketch.

A large metal sculpture of the Bumble Bee Transformer stood at the corner of the tent. This item was created by, "Art from Steel" from Bangkok, Thailand. It stood three feet four inches tall and was made entirely from car parts. Edward explained that this was actually one of the smaller sculptures. It was too heavy for any one person to lift, but it could be disassembled into smaller parts for transport.  I wonder how much fun it would have been to get that luggage through airport security.

Items on display that had been bought already included: Bats mounted on a board with presidents faces painted on their bellies. A painting of John Lennon or Harry Potter was made entirely with CD disks.  A painting of Marilyn Monroe was done entirely with nail polish and Obama towered above Mount Rushmore in another. Another portrait of Bob Marley was created with all the tape from a single cassette tape. The Terminator's arm was made of used batteries and mounted in a futuristic cylinder. On the table there was an actual shrunken head and a plate of Doughnuts that turned out to be a sculpture.

A news anchor and cameraman showed up to interview Edward. This is the first time Ripley's held a Bazaar inviting anyone and everyone to bring in their oddities. Edward held up a rusty knife to show the cameraman. It had been lodged in a man's skull for years. Oddly the man didn't know the blade was there, but he suffered from splitting headaches. Several doctors prescribed drugs and shots but one finally took x-rays which clearly showed the knife in man's skull. When the rusty blade was surgically removed, the man's headaches diminished.

A man pulled up in his family van and pulled out a four foot high image of a heart made entirely with postage stamps. Edward wasn't impressed, but after some negotiating, it joined the items in the parking lot collection.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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