CowParade vandalizes Kansas City's real public art project.

Kansas City Strip 

CowParade vandalizes Kansas City's real public art project.

Totally cowed: For a front-page story in July 1's Metro section, reporter Jeffrey Spivak walked out into The Star's courtyard. There he spent twenty minutes eavesdropping on tourists fawning over CowParade statues. His investigation also took him seven blocks south to Crown Center and all the way to the Plaza. His conclusion? People love the cows. Also that day, Star Magazine included a "guide to cow etiquette," admonishing readers not to vandalize the cows.

CowParade organizers have been orchestrating that kind of happy publicity, spinning news about anticow violence into cute features about "wounded" cows going to be "healed" at the "cow hospital."

Casualties, however, are mounting. Everyone knows what happened to the kidnapped monstrosity known as Belle, later recovered in KCK. Hide, Hide the Cow's Inside suffered unspecified carnage; on Monday, KC Cow Grazing in Flint Hills was discovered in the middle of a Plaza street. Thieves made off with Mixed Plate Blues' sunglasses; rebels have torn the horns off of Bow-Vine and Totally Cownnected, ripped off Super Cow's cape and damaged its skates, taken a pick to Old Bluesy's ears and horns, shot fireworks off of Cowbell's back and torn the fringe off Live to Ride's leather jacket. Someone knocked Phases of the Moo over and kicked in the side of june ann reta. In front of The Star, the Cowardly Cow's badge of courage was ripped off and Scarecrow has been kicked in the side.

Here's the real vandalism: Cows invaded Martin Cail's "The Gleaners," a scattering of little pastel houses on the steps of Barney Allis Plaza that is part of the Avenue of the Arts -- a real public art project.

"Oh yeah," Cail says. "They planted five cows smack in the middle of it. The ignorance with which those cows were placed typifies the difference between Kansas City's dedicated art professionals and the hacks that have been associated with the CowParade." Cail made a few calls, and four of the cows are now gone; one remains standing off to the side. "It's still too close," Cail says, "but it's the least offensive of the group, so I let it go."

His friends were less charitable. "I was getting phone calls from them all, wanting to go down there and burn them, pitch them in the river, any number of nasty things. I tried to take the appropriate line of action."

Because, after all, everyone loves the cows.

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