Apr
28

Just being rosy

By

 

Find the long-stemmed rose in this picture -- I mean, piazza. (Foto: The Organizing Committee).

Find the long-stemmed rose in this picture — I mean, piazza. (Foto: The Organizing Committee).

And this is how it was intended to look when it was full of appropriately colored participants.  (Foto: The Organizing Committee.)

And this is how it was intended to look when it was full of appropriately colored participants. (Foto: The Organizing Committee.)

April 25, as all the world knows, is a double holiday here.  Not only is the day a national holiday (National Liberation Day), but it is the feast day of Marco, one of the four evangelists and the city’s (once republic’s) patron saint.

There are several ways to observe either or both of these memorable events, but this year another element was added: The Living Rose, or The Human Rose, or The Rose by Any Other Name, or however one wants to put it.

Alberto Toso Fei, a Venetian writer, and Elena Tagliapietra, an artist, came up with a new way to celebrate the traditional “bocolo,” or long-stemmed red rose, which is the customary Venetian homage from a gentleman to his ladylove, or wife, or girlfriend (perhaps both?), sister, aunt, or other deserving feminine personage in his life or family.  But why give a rose when you can be one?

Some time earlier, the Gazzettino offered its readers the possibility of applying to participate as one of some 1,000 people who would form the design of the bocolo in the Piazza San Marco on April 25.  This would be a sort of flash mob/performance art creation, to last only long enough to be photographed and filmed from the campanile of San Marco.

So we applied.  And we were accepted, notified via e-mail, and asked to appear between 1:30 and 2:00 dressed in as much red garb as we could muster.  We would embody part of Petal #12.

The day was hot and sunny, but there was a breeze, and although normally I wouldn’t have gone near the Piazza San Marco on a national holiday, the chaos was tolerable and the other rose-components all contributed to a surprisingly sprightly atmosphere.

Almost the best part of the entire event, which went off without so much as a drooping leaf, was to glimpse the by-now famous Tiziana Agostini, she of the mangled-nizioleti fame.  She came to join in, dressed in red, which I think is somewhere beyond amazing, considering that the event had the additional purpose of raising funds to pay for the repair of the nizioleti in the area of the piazza.  A lesser person might have avoided the piazza, saying “Nizioleti?  What nizioleti?”  But she was there, and I give her a fistful of gold stars.

I read that there were a number of other meanings, purposes, significances, and so on which had been layered onto the event.  One headline referred to it as a “cry to the world from Venice,” to show that Venice is still a living city and not just a touristic snakepit.  I merely pass that along.

Down at Piazza-level, though, the only thing that seemed to matter was enjoying a few minutes of doing something unusual that made you smile.  Not that I’m against Deep Meaning, but for me, the smiling was reason enough to do it.  Here’s the YouTube link: http://youtu.be/ZRL4Xh8VDkE

Dimensions: The Gazzettino says that the bloom covered some 850 square meters (9,149 square feet), and the stem and leaves some 150 meters (1,614 square feet).  I cannot understand, sitting here, how that might be.  It sounds like the size of an average Adirondack Great Camp, the kind that were built by the robber barons of the late 19th-century. But let that go.  It didn’t last long enough for its size to really matter.

It was fun.  Indubitably there are things that are more important, but God knows there’s a dangerous shortage of frivolity around here, so I’d be happy to leave it at that.

If we saved Venice in the meantime, that’s nice too.

Section 12 looked like this, in the early stages of reporting for duty.  It was the upper outer right-hand petal, as you look down at the bocolo from the campanile.

Section 12 looked like this, in the early stages of reporting for duty. It was the upper outer right-hand petal, as you look down at the bocolo from the campanile.

Each section was easily identified by the number on official backs (and on balloons). Here we checked in with the individual managing the list of names.  We signed a release form, and moved on to the face-painting stage.

Each section was easily identified by the number on official backs (and on balloons). Here participants checked in with the individual managing the list of names, signed a release form, and moved on to the face-painting stage.

The face-painter also painted on arms and foreheads, but many went with the simple stencil-on-cheek.

The face-painter also painted on arms and foreheads, but many went with the simple stencil-on-cheek.

Lino, post-painting.  He is still holding the container of gummy watercolor-based red ink.

Lino, post-painting. He is still holding the container of gummy watercolor-based red ink.  Yes, that’s a toothpick in his mouth.  It wouldn’t be him without his toothpick.

Your correspondent.  I could have had roses all over me, but I like the subtle approach.

Your correspondent. I could have had roses all over me, but I like the subtle approach.

Red people were everywhere, but that's only because I didn't think to roam all the way down to the green section.

Red people were everywhere, but that’s only because I didn’t think to roam all the way down to the green section.

Many ladies were already armed with their bocolo.

Many ladies were already armed with their bocolo.

IMG_9222   rose

The definition of "red" ran a generous gamut.

The definition of “red” ran a generous gamut.

One dauntless lad brought out his red terrycloth bathrobe.

One dauntless lad brought out his red terrycloth bathrobe.

This gentleman wasn't part of the rose -- these two bocolos (bocoli?) were clearly destined for important ladies, but I missed my chance to see them arrive.  He was extremely patient, so I hope all went as planned.

This gentleman wasn’t part of the event — he had bigger things on his mind.  The two bocolos (bocoli?) in his hand were clearly destined for important ladies, who seemed to be running slightly late. I missed my chance to see them arrive. He was extremely patient, so I hope all went as planned.

The Piazza is usually besieged with illegal rose-sellers, but on April 25 the only visible vendors were from the Red Cross.

The Piazza is usually besieged with illegal rose-sellers, but on April 25 the only visible vendors were for the Red Cross.

Lino's son, Marco, is the only gondolier I noticed who installed a bocolo in the place of honor on his gondola.

Lino’s son, Marco, is the only gondolier I noticed who installed a bocolo in the place of honor on his gondola.

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Categories : Venetian Events

Comments

  1. […] all remember what fun it was to make a “bocolo” on the feast of San Marco, 2014, and this time the organizers/artists/fantasizers had designed something bigger, more complicated, […]

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