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Jackie Hope: Park your butts in downtown Dickinson

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Jackie Hope: Park your butts in downtown Dickinson
Dickinson North Dakota 1815 1st Street West 58602

Look out, Steve Buscemi, because Dickinson is getting its own “Park Bench!”

Last April, Steve Buscemi ... stop the blank stares; you know him. He was Nucky in “Boardwalk Empire” and the crook who got fed to the wood chipper in “Fargo.” He rolls out wack characters for his roles as a character actor.

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Anyway, last April, Buscemi launched an AOL series, “Park Bench,” which is kinda sorta like Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” where the host sits on a park bench chatting up celeb friends, or sits in a Starbucks drive-thru chatting up people jonesing for caffeine. Except Buscemi already has an Emmy nod for his up-chatting.

Well, downtown Dickinson is now acquiring character, because we are getting our own passel of park benches. OK, we may not attract the likes of Steve Buscemi, but we know for absolute true “The Cat in the Hat” is gonna be there on Aug. 3, for the bolting-down of our first park bench. And he may have a few Things with him, too.

See, on Aug. 3, the Dickinson Downtown Association is sponsoring a family fun day called “Bolt the Benches, Paint the Town.” All the cool cities have downtown park benches, and our Downtown Association wants us to keep up with the Joneses. And with the Buscemis and with the Fargos. Fargo has benches along Broadway, and now we are getting our own bunch of benches.

On Aug. 3, the first bench will be unveiled, bolted and sat upon.

Local artisan Tom Krebs, of Krebs Creations, is building the benches, and Scull Construction will be anchoring them. And that first bench will be parked at about 11:30 on Aug. 3. The first bottom will be parked on the bench at about 11:31 a.m. Oh man, I’d love to be the first sitter on that bench. But, alas, some of us are destined to be bench sitters, and others of us are destined to be Thing One in a “Cat in the Hat” presentation. Yup, if it isn’t one Thing, it’s another for me.

And — this is so cool! — that same day a local artist will begin painting a mural on the wall of one of our downtown alleys. Which one? Neener, neener, that is a big secret! The sly guys of the Downtown Association haven’t even left any hints. Oh! Oh! I hope it is the Odd Fellows’ alley. That one is my fave. But we can have a hand — or a voice — in naming the alley, by giving suggestions to the folks at Celebrations ‘n’ Crafts on Villard. We gotta call it Diagon Alley. And then we can paint a Hogwarts mural, and a mural of Hagrid’s cottage, and a couple of dragons, and ...

Here is the beauty part: we all get to vote for our favorite mural design spec. Local artists have submitted designs for the first mural, and the best of the best will be on display on Aug. 3 when a winner will be chosen. We cast votes by making donations toward our favorite designs. All the money collected will be used for painting supplies, because the murals are an ongoing project. As soon as one mural is completed, plans will begin for a second and third, until the whole alley is a gorgeous gallery of color. And dragons.

Laurie Willett, of the Downtown Association, said the murals will be “living art.” Maybe she is referring to all the daddy-long-legs spiders that live on the alley bricks. Or maybe she is talking about how all of us will get a chance to help decorate the alley walls. Oh yeah, you heard right, we all can get in on the drawing fun.

See, the murals will be painted high up on the alley walls. So high, the artists have to use scaffolding. Just like Michelangelo. No, not the Ninja Turtle. The other one. No, not Michelangelo Antonioni, the filmmaker. OK, just forget it. The alley artists have to use scaffolding, just like the guys who painted your granny’s Queen Anne Victorian multi-story house. I’m guessing the murals will be way high up on the walls, so that when we get, like, 10 feet of snow this winter, we will still be able to see them and remember summer. And remember daytime high temperatures that are in double digits.

The lower bits of the walls will be left open for all us wannabe artists to decorate. Got an itch to draw Hello Kitty? Just hotfoot it over to Celebrations ‘n’ Crafts and barter a toy, a food item, or a donation to Oreo’s Animal Rescue in exchange for a piece of chalk. And then you can Hello Kitty your alley cat artwork onto the lower brickwork.

You’re a Hello Kitty fan, aren’t you? C’mon everybody loves kitties. Know who is even better than Hello Kitty? The Cat in the Hat, that’s who. We have it on reliable authority that a local video game columnist will become The Cat in the Hat and participate in a bit of Seussian improv at “Bolt and Paint,” along with some other members of Sneak Pique Productions. And a couple of Things.

Looking for fun on Aug. 3? Here’s the thing, direct from Thing One: come on down to the downtown, where Scull Construction will be barbecuing, musicians will be making music, artists will be getting ready to make art, and where our “hometown heroes” will be on hand to meet and greet.

Be sure to tell them, “Thank you!” And if you happen to see The Cat in the Hat, followed by several Things, ask him to read you a story. He will read a book or two. He will read one just for you. He will read it through and through. That’s what cats in hats will do.

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