News of the Weird

Lead Stories
*People getting too much sleep: Michele and Tony Phebus were arrested in Lafayette, Indiana, in August after they fell asleep in their car between the microphone and the pick-up window at a White Castle drive-thru; police found numerous marijuana butts in the car and a brick of the stuff in the trunk. And Brian K. Costa was found asleep in his car in the middle of a bridge's on ramp in East Providence, Rhode Island, in September, with five bags of cocaine in his lap.

*Nude gardeners: In August Robert Norton, age 73, was arrested, while working in his yard, for at least the thirteenth time since 1981 on public nudity charges in Pekin, Illinois. And in Brooksville, Florida, in August, Carolyn Sparks, age 48, received a citation for raking topless in her front yard. (In November a jury said her behavior did not amount to disorderly conduct.)

Great Art
*Fred Sandback's works at the Forum for Contemporary Art in St. Louis in April consisted only of string and wire stretching to the walls and floors of the gallery. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch critic, Sandback's string tied in a triangle shape "brings with it the illusion of weight" and is the "most dramatic" of four new pieces done especially for the show. Finishing a close second in the critic's mind were two parallel lengths of string tied from the floor to the ceiling, a "work that can be experienced as columns or as a restatement, in the air, of notions [of canvas-based artists]" that provide "succor."

*A show by the feminist sculptor Louise Bourgeois in Toronto in May included a retrospective of her works, featuring bizarre, severed penises and huge testicles, including No Exit (a stairway with two gigantic ones restricting egress at the bottom) and Untitled (With Foot), in which a baby is crushed by a large pink testicle.

*Among the works displayed at the premiere of the Hugo Boss Gallery at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City in November was Janine Antoni's Slumber, consisting of a bed, a loom, and an electroencephalograph (EEG) unit. Antoni sleeps in the bed at night, hooked up to the EEG, and during the day weaves a blanket with patterns in the shapes of her EEG readings. A New York Times critic called it a "deft mix of public and private, dream and reality" with a "fine poetic spin." (Antoni is the sister of local novelists Robert and Brian Antoni.)

People with Too Much Time on Their Hands
* In August Texas A&M graduate Michael Kelly filed a request under the state's public information act for a copy of the 1996 confidential football playbook of the Aggies' archrival University of Texas. (The request was denied; A&M lost to UT in November.)

*Two New York dermatologists told the Wall Street Journal in September that five to ten of their face-lift patients every month also opt to tighten what they perceive to be their droopy earlobes, at about $750 a pair. Dr. Bruce Katz said some patients tell him they want lobes similar to those of Demi Moore, Kathie Lee Gifford, and Sting. Said one extremely satisfied 52-year-old patient: "I have the earlobes of a teenager."

*According to a New York Times article, the student handbook at the Citadel requires first-year cadets to memorize standard, quirky responses to traditional questions posed during razzing by upperclassmen. For instance, the question "How much milk is left in the carton?" (which is expressed by the upperclassmen as "How is the cow?") must be answered: "Sir, she walks, she talks, she's full of chalk. The lacteal fluid extracted from the female of the bovine species is highly prolific to the X degree, sir!"

-- By Chuck Shepherd