Celebrating Lincoln, 7/4/09

Perhaps they were waiting for better weather, but a surprising number of venues postponed their Bicentennial observances from February to July 4. The weather was fine in some places, worse in others:
Rain didn’t prevent Abraham Lincoln from making a Fourth of July visit to downtown Springfield. Lincoln impersonator Michael Krebs was one of a large group of entertainers who performed Saturday as part of the Capital City Bicentennial Celebration ... Because of the wet weather, many entertainers had their performances moved ...
Notice how the writer conflates the performance of a vaudeville bit with an actual visit by the historic Abraham Lincoln. I guess history is the big winner when (similarly) an eight-year-old in Philly mistakes a re-enactor for an historical person:
"Awesome," Joey said, nodding. "I thought that Abe Lincoln was just a spirit, but he's right here."
There was not enough bad vaudeville availble to Sparta, Indiana, so Kiwanis there decided that "Children who dress-up like Abe or his wife, Mary Todd will be admitted to the park for free." This will help them get past the image of the man to penetrate his historical meaning, perhaps.

In Philadelphia, the art club Dumpster Divers strewed trash across damaged plywood on Independence Mall to "honor Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday." Sensing the kitsch imperative behind every Lincoln project, a spokesman said "Originally I wanted to make it look like Abe Lincoln's hat" but gave up for technical reasons. He was careful to use the word "whimsical" instead of "kitschy" but of course the "trash" content of the exhibit is immutable.

Another artist, Wisconsin cheese artist Troy Landwehr (top photo), sculpted a Lincoln form out of a 1,000-lb block of cheddar with the full weight of the task in mind: "I think it's a big honor to carve Lincoln." He did not take this honor lightly: "It's a lot of research."

When the figure was moved to Washington, hot weather and jostling caused the cheese head to roll off:
Landwehr couldn't salvage the stovepipe hat. "But we saved his face," the sculptor said. "He's OK. He's back to standing tall."
He, not "it." For you see, Joey, Lincoln has become a spirit that inhabits trash, kitsch, bad lectures, and vaudeville schtick.