Best Exhibition of Trash Turned to Treasure

Some people call it a tourist attraction, a window into the real nature of Seattle. And some people call it gross. But everybody wants to see it. The Gum Wall outside the Market Theater is perhaps one of the first testaments to Seattle's love of the outdoors, its participatory art, or maybe just its unwillingness to litter—calling to mind the fact that the theater lacked an outdoor trash receptacle. Rumor has it the wall began to take shape around 1990, when patrons would stick their gum to the wall while standing in line for a show. The heads at Pike Place Market apparently started to notice the Bazooka build-up and sent the theater numerous letters demanding that they clean it off. After a labor-intensive group scraping effort that only resulted in more premasticated mess, the theater management finally convinced the Market to let it be. Today, Pike Place claims it as one of its own, even including it in the Market's formal tour.—Maggie Mertens 1428 Post Alley, 587-2414, www.unexpectedproductions.org.

 
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