Nutcrackers March Off

First it was, “Oh no, we’re being invaded by Nutcrackers!”  Now it’s “Oh, no, they’re gone!”

This year, once again, Seattle was invaded by the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Nutcracker March.  Sometime in November, giant nutcrackers began appearing all over Seattle, or at least downtown – from Pioneer Square to Key Arena.  I wasn’t that into them last year.  This year they started growing on me, and I started taking pictures, lots of pictures.  I still had a few to go, but alas, when I saw the pirate who had been waylaying people in front of the Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union was gone today, I knew the jig was up.

The first nutcracker I photographed was the Burl Ives snowman from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer when I was walking by on December 10 before our Amnesty International Write-a-thon (see last post).  How could I resist?  I was 5 again.  I wanted to sit down and have him tell me the whole story, sing me all the songs. . .  The security guards were looking at me very suspiciously, though; so I moved along.

There were more, though.  I took pictures of a few more that night, and a few more here and there leading up to Christmas.  Then, the day after Christmas, I got to thinking there were a few more near the office I should get pictures of.  So I brought my camera the next day and got the astronaut and that pirate in front of the credit union (Jimi Hendrix was their doorman last year, little did I know he made off to some finer digs).

I mentioned it to my co-workers, and Phil asked if I had seen the Paul and John Sgt. Pepper nutcrackers.  He couldn’t remember exactly where they were, so I looked up the nutcracker website online, saw all the cool nutcrackers I wanted to photograph, and I was hooked.

I found some in Pioneer Square.  I loved the crow one.  Then I got a whimsical shot of a Native American statue (a lady Sasquatch?) who seems very excited to have new nutcracker to play with.  Our nutcracker soldier is very alarmed.

Rather more in keeping with he real spirit of Pioneer Square than the official website I linked to above.  Wow, when did Pioneer Square become such a gentrified, yuppy neighborhood?  I mean, no doubt that’s what the business association has in mind, as this whole town is being condoed and pretty soon none of the rest of us riff-raff will be able to afford to live here; but this is Pioneer Square, now.  No homeless, no drug dealers, no ex-cons, no bail bonds offices?  I do think the danger is over hyped (and, of course, the homeless can’t help being poor), but I’m not without caution, even in the daytime.  There are occasional reminders that there are a few people around there I wouldn’t really want to meet.  Not that I think yuppies and condos will be an improvement. 

But I digress, on to those zany nutcrackers!

So, I set out to find some more nutcrackers that night (New Year’s Eve).  The Paul Sgt Pepper was easy – right across from the library.  I found more, including Picasso, a ninja, the American Gothic Man (alas, I never got to the American Gothic Woman, who was one of the ones on a pier off of Belltown), a very wintery looking old man (with a polar bear scene on his pant legs), and, I was happy to see, a peace nutcracker. 

Alas, I did not find John that night, but I did find the gold mine of nutcrackers, Pacific Place.  Admittedly, and as another Flickr photographer said, “So wrong.” (Pacific Place really is yuppy central), there was a statue of Jimi Hendrix.  Wait a second!  I took a closer look.  Isn’t this the same one that was in front of the credit union last year? Look, there at the base.  The quote: Butterflies, Zebras & Moonbeams (which isn’t the exact lyric).  I remember that.  There it is: Presented by Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union.  Of course, I didn’t get a picture of it last year, so I was happy to see it.  I’m not sure how many of the others were also last year’s!

The artwork on some of them was quite impressive.  Here’s a beautiful one.  Check out the birds on his base, and a close up of his smile.  Personally, I think they all party when we go home for the night.  How else do you explain this one?  Check out the one with the Seattle base (sides 1, 2 & 3).

I headed home after Pacific Place, but was determined to go back to the website and get more specific directions to find John and some of the others I missed. 

So, fortunately I decided to head out on my lunch break when I got back on Wednesday (yesterday. . ., hey I remember that song!).  I read online they were supposed to stick around until Friday (tomorrow), but off they marched by today.  So, my lunch break was a gift, and fortunately, I took a good long walk.  I found Frankie Valli in front of the 5th Avenue Theater, where, not coincidentally, Jersey Boys is playing.  Frankie is on his way (I wonder if he has any idea he’s been turned into a nutcracker?).

I found Prince Gordon, who seems a bit spacey.  Then I found the John Sgt. Pepper, he wasn’t inside City Centre like I suspected as why I missed him, but a block further up than I expected, across the street from Audrey Hepburn (who is in front of a jewelry store, of course).  I’m not sure about the Frankie Valli one, either, but this one definitely doesn’t do Audrey justice. George and Ringo are reflected in John’s eye (maybe they’ll get their own nutcrackers next year?). 

I also found a couple more, including the Tin Man.  Wait a second, take a closer look.  Well, your barista probably has one, maybe your lawyer too!  This is Seattle!  Why not?  Yes, the Tin Man is now sporting a nose ring!

Photos on my Flickr page in their own photo album.  I’ll be keeping my eye out next year!


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