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Art Car Show and Art Car CARavan/Parade

Update, March 29, 2016: Although I haven't been to the Art Car CARavan/Parade in several years, it's still going on. Check the Artscape website for details.

The American Visionary Art Museum is the place where art cars gather in order to parade through Baltimore's Artscape event every July. If you get to AVAM before the parade begins, you can preview all the cars, and perhaps actually talk to the people who have created these vehicular marvels.

It was at the Art Car Preview at AVAM in 2004 that I first encountered the most incredible art car I have ever experienced: the Sashimi Tabernacle Choir, an old Volvo with dozens of animatronic fish and lobsters attached to its exterior. Through complex circuitry, the car's creators have managed to make seafood lip synch and dance to various iconic musical works, from the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's Messiah, to the theme song from the TV show "Rawhide." The amazing thing is that the choreography is unique to each song. There is even a lobster conductor, and soloists on the roof of the car who rise up at the appropriate time, and occasionally a banner goes up from the back of the car's roof that enjoins people to "Sing Along!" When the fish and lobsters began to sing "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen, I was practically moved to tears.

As much as I enjoyed seeing and hearing the Sashimi Tabernacle Choir in action, I also enjoyed watching people's reactions to it even more. The pictures below fail to live up to the emotion of the moment, but they are all I have to remember these precious moments by.

Art Car Preview and Parade, American Visionary Art Museum, July 17, 2004

The Sashimi Tabernacle Choir

There were other cars there, too, but none that won my heart like the Sashimi Tabernacle Choir.

Art Car Preview and Parade, American Visionary Art Museum, July 23, 2005

Signs?! We don't need no stinkin' traffic signs!
Sometimes it's the details that are the best part.

Art Car Preview and Parade, American Visionary Art Museum, July 26, 2003

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