Saturday, January 29, 2011


Matica Arts asked me to provide some living statue entertainment for Hartford First Night. I'd never done a living statue, but I said yes, thinking it would be an opportunity to make some headway on a mermaid vending machine I'd been desiring to build. Of course I found time shorter then expected, and the week before looked at this pile of things from around my house and wondered: can I make myself into a mermaid with this? Well yes, yes I can!

The Zoltar fortune machine from Big has been kicking around in my subconscious for a long time. When I saw this movie I wanted to be the mechanical puppet in the box:

And I've been fascinated by this picture in my costume reference book at work. Why aren't there actual dresses like this around?

So with the idea of a hoop skirt, I started building my tail and rock out of foam and hardware cloth.

In 2 days of frantic non-stop, possessed, furious, bloody, and somewhat divinely fortuitous building, this mermaid came out, and the 4 hours I spent in front of the Old State House in Hartford on New Year's Eve was one of the best performance experiences I've ever had. Hundreds and hundreds of people, all with completely positive reactions and some wonderfully startled encounters. It was heaven, even if it was pretty cold to be standing statue-still all afternoon.

I got on the local news. They captioned me "Polly Sonic, MERMAID".

I made the top front page of the local paper.

And these were some other photos taken by Andrew Hart from the Hartford News.

So she's not a fortune telling vending machine yet, I still have to figure that part out. But she's already booking appearances, next at the Yale Center for British Art in February. I can't wait to take her out again.