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Clasic Airstreams as Art??

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  • Richard Van Baalen
    http://www.theledger.com/article/20080307/NEWS/803070336/1021/LIFE . just a tad off topic
    Message 1 of 5 , Mar 7, 2008
      <http://www.theledger.com/article/20080307/NEWS/803070336/1021/LIFE>
      http://www.theledger.com/article/20080307/NEWS/803070336/1021/LIFE



      . just a tad off topic but cute



      If you've driven on Interstate 4 between Plant City and Tampa recently,
      you've probably noticed them. Eight silver travel trailers tilt eastward at
      a roughly 20-degree angle, wheel sides forward, looking a bit like dominoes
      caught in freeze-frame just as they begin to topple. Their wrinkled
      aluminum skins reflect the sunlight, even on a recent overcast afternoon,
      creating a diversion that is almost impossible to ignore among billboards
      and traffic signs along a typically charmless stretch of highway 11 miles
      west of the Polk County line.

      Its creator has dubbed it Airstream Ranch, an homage to both Texas' Cadillac
      Ranch and a popular brand of trailers he happens to sell at his nearby
      recreational vehicle dealership.

      "People get a big kick out of it," said Frank Bates, owner of Bates RV and
      the designer of Airstream Ranch, which occupies a grassy plot a quarter-mile
      west of his dealership fronting I-4's eastbound lanes. "They drive by and
      see it and enjoy it. It's something to look at."

      While Bates calls it art, Hillsborough County officials offer a less
      romantic description - code violation - and they want it removed. The county
      has scheduled a hearing on the matter next Friday, and signs at the Bates RV
      dealership reading "Save Airstream Ranch" direct customers to petitions
      supporting the assemblage as "a historic Florida roadside attraction." Bates
      said about 3,000 people have signed the petitions.

      Bates envisioned Airstream Ranch last year, as Airstream Inc. was
      celebrating its 75th year. A Texas native, Bates had long admired Cadillac
      Ranch, an outdoor display of 10 partially buried Cadillacs in Amarillo,
      Texas, devised by businessman Stanley Marsh III and erected by the art
      collective The Ant Farm in 1974.

      Though Bates originally wanted to install shiny, pristine Airstreams, as
      2007 wound down he bought six trailers from a junkyard to go with two he
      already owned. In early January, workers using a backhoe and a large crane
      spent two days burying the trailers nose first, 6 to 8 feet deep. By the
      time the third Airstream was planted, three news helicopters had arrived to
      get aerial footage.

      Bates, 52, had hoped to include an Airstream from each decade of the
      company's existence. He settled for trailers dating from 1957 through 1994
      and ranging from 16 feet to 34 feet.

      Photographers from across the country have swooped in to capture Airstream
      Ranch on film or pixels. Bates invites visitors to stop at his dealership,
      where employees can shuttle them by golf cart to the site, rather than
      stopping along I-4 to take pictures.

      "My one mistake is I made sure all the good sides were facing the road
      (I-4)," Bates said. "The problem is the sun shines from the south, so the
      photographers always want to take pictures from the south side and always
      take pictures of the bad side, which I feel terrible about."

      As Bates recently gave a reporter a tour, a car arrived from the south,
      taking advantage of an open gate, and a couple approached the trailers on
      foot, bearing cameras.

      Gene Toole, an Ohioan spending the winter at a nearby mobile home park, said
      he wanted a photo for a friend who has an Airstream.

      "I think it's unique," Toole said of Airstream Ranch. "I know there's an
      issue with some neighbors. Most people I've talked to are kind of positive
      about it."

      Word of Airstream Ranch recently reached Marsh through a reporter from the
      Amarillo Globe-News.

      "I said, 'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,'" Marsh told The
      Ledger by phone. "I don't own the idea of 10 tilted poles. I hope your area
      and your artists have as much fun with it as I have had with mine. If I were
      in your neighborhood, I'd go look at it."

      If Airstream Ranch is allowed to remain, Bates said he'd like to replace
      some of the dented trailers with better preserved models. He said students
      from Tampa Bay Technical High School have offered to landscape the site and
      install lights so that the trailers can be seen at night. Bates envisions
      creating a park and playing host to art shows and even weddings.

      But the future of Airstream Ranch is in serious doubt. Ed Brill,
      Hillsborough County's manager of code enforcement, said Bates' violations
      include improper off-site advertising and misuse of agricultural land. Bates
      denied the advertising charge, noting the display contains no signs.

      Brill said the citations followed complaints from people living in a
      neighborhood just to the south.

      Hillsborough's code-enforcement board, a group of seven citizens, will
      consider the case at next Friday's hearing in Tampa. Brill's department will
      present its side, Bates will be invited to respond and citizens also will be
      allowed to speak. If the board sides with the code-enforcement department,
      Brill said Bates will be given some time to remove the trailers before he
      starts incurring fines.

      Bates argues that Airstream Ranch is a work of art, and in the lobby of his
      dealership he displays a letter from Alan Moore, an art professor at the
      University of South Florida, supporting that assertion. Bates notes that a
      1963 Airstream Bambi resides in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

      Marsh, told of the controversy, instantly sided with Bates, whom he doesn't
      know.

      "I think the First Amendment gives us complete freedom of expression and is
      more important than any zoning or local officials," Marsh said. "I think
      whoever attempts to remove it is a philistine."

      Bates doesn't make such high-flown arguments; he just wants to keep his
      vertical trailer park.

      "Everyone in Texas knows Stanley Marsh III because he did Cadillac Ranch,"
      Bates said. "Well, it would be kind of neat in 30 or 40 years if everyone
      knew Frank Bates because he did Airstream Ranch."



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • George T. Geissinger
      ... sure it will be like other sites I belonged to, totally ignored by members because it becomes mostly junk and porn or sorts. This is a good sit, lets not
      Message 2 of 5 , Mar 8, 2008
        --- In classicrv@yahoogroups.com, "Wesley Furr" <wesley@...> wrote:
        >I see THEY got our number. More junk today. If that isn't stopped I am
        sure it will be like other sites I belonged to, totally ignored by
        members because it becomes mostly junk and porn or sorts.
        This is a good sit, lets not loose it to SPAMERS and such.
        GEORGE!!
        > Because new members to this group are allowed immediate and un-
        moderated
        > access...
        >
        > Wesley
        >
        >
        > -----Original Message-----
        >
        > OK how did the last two slip in??
        >
      • badwillybiker
        What in the hxxl kind of info is that Deborah posting... ? Pimping some slanteyes! Nuttin but gold diggers there looking for a free ride... I think their
        Message 3 of 5 , Mar 8, 2008
          What in the hxxl kind of info is that Deborah posting... ?
          Pimping some slanteyes! Nuttin' but gold diggers there looking for
          a free ride... I think their 50,000 bhat is worth about $.25 which
          might be a months wages there... and remember what the mothers end
          up looking like...and selling unwanted junk etc. I think that crap
          belongs someplace or somewhere else...
          Where is the "muderatore"????
          If she can.. so can I?.
          Hey... try www.redlightcenter.com
          Wake up some one or body......
          Can't believe I am becoming one of THOSE...

          --- In classicrv@yahoogroups.com, "Wesley Furr" <wesley@...> wrote:
          >
          > Because new members to this group are allowed immediate and un-
          moderated
          > access...
          >
          > Wesley
          >
          >
          > -----Original Message-----
          >
          > OK how did the last two slip in??
          >
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