Saturday, August 16, 2014

Royal Rosarian

Here's a slideshow of the Royal Rosarian statue at the Rose Garden. The RACC description:

The “Royal Rosarian” installed in the International Rose Test Garden is a remarkably lifelike sculpture created by Oregon artist Bill Bane, and was commissioned by the Royal Rosarians and the Royal Rosarian Foundation to mark the organization’s 100th year. Dedicated to community service, the Royal Rosarians are a nonprofit civic group that also serves, by mayoral proclamation, as official Ambassadors of Goodwill for the City of Portland and the Portland Rose Festival.

Essentially the Royal Rosarians are local civic boosters in funny hats. It was an all-male organization until quite recently, because letting women wear silly hats ruins everything, somehow. I'm not entirely clear on why that is. It could be worse, though. The civic boosters in Grants Pass, OR are "Cavemen", and they're responsible for a giant statue of a Neanderthal at the entrance to town, and they have to march in parades wearing pelts or loincloths or something. The Rosarians are afforded a little more dignity than that, at least.

The statue only dates to 2011, and was donated by the aforementioned Rosarians in honor of their upcoming centennial in 2012. The artist also created the Vera Katz statue on the Eastbank Esplanade, and the Vic Atiyeh statue at the Portland airport's international concourse. I haven't seen any mention of exactly who is depicted here, which old white dude was selected as the living embodiment of pure Rosarian-ness. I'm not sure it matters, but it would be an interesting bit of trivia, I suppose.

It would be a better story if the Rosarians were not what they seem. Maybe a crack paramilitary organization, cleverly disguised by archaic silly outfits, like the Swiss Guards at the Vatican. (You do know the Swiss Guards have machine guns concealed in those baggy medieval outfits, right?) Or maybe they're some sort of mystical order, with secret rituals and handshakes and so forth. And they control the weather and make it rain all the time on behalf of their precious roses. Maybe there's a dimensional portal somewhere in the garden and they serve some 11-dimensional tentacled horror-beast. Maybe they themselves are 11-dimensional tentacled horror-beasts, cleverly concealed as goofy civic boosters. I'm not saying they are, just that you can't prove they aren't.

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