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Studs Terkel comments and presents Picasso unveiling ceremony

BROADCAST: Aug. 15, 1967 | DURATION: 00:24:30

Synopsis

Presenting at the Picasso unveiling: dedication ceremony and comments.

Transcript

Tap within the transcript to jump to that part of the audio.

OK

William Hartmann Ladies and gentlemen, the Chicago Picasso is more than Chicago's monument. As James Johnson Sweeney, director of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts has said, it is something in which the whole nation can take pride.

Studs Terkel Have you seen the statue?

Man 1 I've seen the statue.

Studs Terkel What do you think?

Man 1 I think the statue, one has to be a little bit educated in the art of knowing what art is about, just like music, to be able to fully appreciate it. At first glance, it looks rather grotesque. I think after you get used to it a little bit, just like a nice painting, you begin to understand the lines, so that I think Chicago is, will become a little bit more mature, and

Studs Terkel Sir? Why are you, why are you here, sir? Why

Man 2 I'm running a

Studs Terkel baton Huh?

Man 2 I'm running a baton contest. Baton?

Studs Terkel Oh, baton contest, I beg your pardon.

Man 3 Well, believe I'd rather have something that, a statue that did something for humanity. Like Madam Curie, she did something for cancer, you get something like this, 99% of the people don't know what that resembles, and it cost quite a bit of money. And

Studs Terkel Have you seen what it is? Have you seen it yet?

Man 3 No, I haven't seen it. But everybody called it a bird. What kind of bird? I don't know what it's all about, so I'm just sticking to see. I'd like to see what it looks like anyway.

William Hartmann Picasso is no stranger to poets.

Studs Terkel There's William Hartmann talking now I think.

William Hartmann Jean Cocteau, Paul Valery, Guillaume Apollinaire, Max Jacob, were all his intimate friends. Gertrude Stein in a way was one, was almost the first to appreciate his genius. I believe that poets understand Picasso better than anyone else.

Man 4 Looks like what it's supposed to look like, a woman.

Studs Terkel A woman? What do you think it looks like?

Man 5 You could say it looks like a profile of a woman. However, it does look like, uh, rust. I hope it'll work out.

Woman 1 I think it looks like a woman of justice perhaps, maybe a, has something to do with the building that

Studs Terkel A woman of justice, you say?

Woman 1 Yes. It could be. A woman who represents justice for all.

Studs Terkel What do you think it looks like?

Man 6 I can't tell you what I [unintelligible].

Studs Terkel No, what, tell me

Man 6 Uh?

Studs Terkel Tell

Man 6 I think it looks like the pelvic structure of some prehistoric monster or a [horrors-drink?] nightmare.

William Hartmann Early in this story, in this Picasso story I asked Mayor Daley for a picture of himself suitably inscribed to take to Boujean. I presented it to Picasso, who much appreciated this personal contact with Chicago's mayor. In fact, at nearly every visit, I am asked a question, "Is Mayor Daley still mayor?" Happily, that question always has had an easy answer. I can't imagine a time when it would not be answered affirmatively. A telegram has been received just as we were coming to the platform I'd like to read to you. It is from Lyondon Baines Johnson in the White House: "To the Honorable Richard J. Daley, Mayor of Chicago: Please accept my warm congratulations on another historic first for the City Beautiful. Your new Civic Center Plaza, with its unique and monumental sculpture by one of the acknowledged geniuses of modern art, is a fitting addition to a city famous for its creative vitality. Chicago, which gave the world its first skyscraper in America, some of our greatest artists and poets, has long recognized that art, beauty and open space are essential and proper elements in urban living. You have demonstrated once again that Chicago is a city second to none."

Man 7 Yeah, a woman. A woman, yes. Uh, definitely now it makes some sense. When at first you know, when they had no idea what it was, I didn't think too much of it. But now I like the idea of a woman being placed at the Civic Center. It seems like the woman has to do with everything in life, and this has to do with the good things in life. This is a civic center, and the goodness is a woman. That's my idea.

Studs Terkel What do you think it looks like?

Man 8 Uh, something that I was eating pickles and ice cream and things for dinner and I dreamed it. It looks like a breakup of a hard winter.

Woman 2 I have no idea. It'll be a conversation piece. So in about 10 years, don't you think so?

Child 1 Kind of weird, though. I don't know. I really don't know.

Man 9 Ah, it seems to me like a sort of art, but it's very hard to understand it and to what, what, what it means, what this represents. Uh, I can say modern art. It is something what supposed to be, um, reveal in front of public opinion. Uh, uh, I would like to hear from Mr. Picasso what he means about this art, and maybe he can explain us the best what it represents.

Woman 3 Well, from this angle, it looks like a lady. Look from this way. See? Look, look over that way. See the profile? It looks like a lady, like the profile of a lady from this. In other words, Cleopatric in a sense. Looks like it. Right?

William Hartmann The Mayor is going to speak. We'll have an unveiling. And I would like everyone to remain after the unveiling for the benediction. We don't want to forget the benediction. Mr. Mayor, it is now my pleasant duty now to turn over to you the Chicago Picasso, for its dedication and unveiling. Our sculpture is impatiently awaiting the removal of its wraps so that it they finally join the Chicago scene. Ladies and gentlemen, Mayor Daley.

Richard J. Daley Thank you very much, Mr. Bill Hartmann, Lieutenant Governor Shapiro, Mrs. Shapiro, distinguished clergy, Chief Judge John Boyle, Mr. Stevens, Miss Brooks, fellow Chicagoans. I am very happy that you have come today to participate in dedicating the Chicago Picasso. It's an occasion we've all been anticipating, the dedication of this great gift to our city by the world-renowned artist Pablo Picasso.

Woman 4 What do you want

Studs Terkel to What

Woman 4 He wants to know my opinion?

Studs Terkel Yes.

Woman 4 Oh, I don't think my opinion is not too, so important.

Woman 5 Looks like a woman's head.

Studs Terkel A woman's head?

Woman 5 Like Picasso's woman's head.

Studs Terkel What do you mean by that?

Woman 5 It looks like a Picasso.

Woman 6 Is this the front of the statue?

Studs Terkel I don't know. I guess so. What do you think it -- what does it look like to you?

Woman 6 Say, you look familiar to me.

Woman 7 I don't understand abstract art.

Studs Terkel What does that look like to you? First, right off the bat.

Woman 7 A heart!

Studs Terkel A heart. What do you think?

Man 10 I'd say a heart, yeah. I'd say a heart, yeah. It does.

Woman 6 But it's supposed to be a woman's face, I understand. It's supposed to be a woman's face, isn't it? Say, you're better looking in person than

Woman 8 Well, from an art student's point of view, I think it's very feminine.

Man 11 I think it is a big mass of iron is all. What, what does it represent? It's a terrible-looking thing as far as I'm concerned.

Man 12 I just feel that a lot of people find it hard to appreciate something like that for a lack of association with that type of art.

Studs Terkel Does it look like a

Woman 9 I say it look like a big butterfly or something with wings. I don't know what it look like.

Woman 10 It's a mystery, whatever the look is. I haven't saw the front of it.

Studs Terkel What do you think

Young Person 1 If everyone would stand about 10 feet that way, they'd see that it was the head of a woman and all their theories would be shot. Really.

Woman 11 Say what?

Young Person 1 Stand about 20 feet this way.

Studs Terkel Come here.

Woman 11 Well, I think I'm too -- I'll try to see from upstairs, but I'm gonna go out and give it a good look, then I could tell you more about it.

Man 13 Well, let's say that I think it's a very welcome addition to Chicago. I recognize Mr. Picasso as the outstanding artist in the world. I want to accept him as good faith. There are people who say that we are being spoofed. As a lawyer, though, I would venture another remark. But we have a doctrine called the "attractive nuisance doctrine," which excuses what would otherwise be contributory negligence on the part of the person that's hurt. You know? Now, if you look at that thing and you realize the height of the slope on top, and the propensity of children who will play on it, and it will not be guarded, I have, and I hope not, that some child may fall, you see and be hurt and the county may be sued and under the present trend there's no longer governmental immunity. Then we'll have a new doctrine, the doctrine of unattractive nuisance.

Man 14 But I think it is, I think it's a politician, it's got so many faces, don't you?

Richard J. Daley We who are here, and the untold millions who will come to see it from the Middle West, the nation and the world, will behold it in the light of individual understanding and appreciation, the opportunity to be selected, the unlimited freedom of choice in every aspect of living. This is the great advantage of urban life.

Studs Terkel What are you thinking about

Man 15 She don't like it.

Woman 12 I don't like it. I tell you

Man 15 She don't like the color even.

Woman 12 Not even the color. Why don't they put up something that people, when they look at it, that they

Man 15 They all laughed at the Eiffel Tower. Look

Woman 12 The Eiffel Tower, I saw it, I was there in Paris. I was in Paris, I saw the Eif-- the Eiffel Tower looks like a tower. I don't -- like my [unintelligible] -- what is this?

Studs Terkel What do you think?

Woman 12 I don't know what to think. I don't know what to think. I am disappointed. Very much disappointed.

Studs Terkel What do you think it is?

Man 15 What do I think it is? It's a steel monstrosity. One thing in its favor, it won't burn.

Woman 12 See, it don't burn. That's the truth. It's I'll think about, it won't burn. So really, between you and I, what is this? What I -- what can I think of these learned people? One time I had such a fine [diction?] you know, and they speak. I tell you, the [metal?], the [metal?], you know, he talks to the [metal?]. I don't know, you're here for opinion about the paper, but we can't go by the paper either. Everybody here, everybody talks. I talk, too, but I tell you the truth. I give you my honest opinion. I have been in Paris in the Louvre, and I saw the picture of those beautiful paintings. When you walk, the painting walks right with you, you know. The men looking this way, and when you walk here, it's always looking again. That's art. It's beauty. What is this?

Man 15 This don't do nothing, does it?

Woman 12 I'm asking you! Don't you want to commit yourself?

Woman 13 I think it's representative of our time, in which we are in a state of emerging into a new kind of era and, uh, evolving from an old era. And I can see the transition in this monumental piece of sculpture.

Man 16 I think it's a freak.

Studs Terkel What kind of freak, huh? What does it look like to you?

Man 16 I don't know. He doesn't know himself. He said he doesn't, he didn't know, he was just making something up, that's all. With scrap metal. I think it's a piece of scrap metal that sells for $12 a ton.

Man 17 I object to it, but not violently enoughto start a riot over it or have it removed. But they put it to a vote. I'd vote to have it removed.

Man 18 Couldn't tell. Ugly-looking. Ought to be taken down. A disgrace that the city even accepted it.

Man 19 I think it's pretty nice, and Mayor Daley did a good job here, and I think he's the best mayor we had in the city of Chicago.

Studs Terkel What's that look like to you?

Man 20 What's it look like?

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Man 20 Well, if Daley says it's good, it's good enough for me, because I think he's great.

Young Person 2 Well, I don't know. I think it's a piece of junk, really. No reason for

Man 20 I think it's wonderful. If Mayor Daley says it's okay, it's okay with me.

Studs Terkel A girl twirling a baton. What do you think? What is that?

Girl I thought, I thought, it looks like a pilgrim to me with the big hat, and the um, and the face. The nose. With a big white collar it looks like to me.

Man 21 Well, it's all right if we can get a name for it. I think if they put a name on it, everybody would understand a little more what it's about. They picked the name around so much, thing isn't proper. I think it's kind of pretty. I don't know, it's great expense, but we should have something. Maybe the people from around, surrounding areas will come to visit Chicago, maybe it'll give them something better to think about when they leave the town. We're not so hard all the time.

22nd Man I'd like to tell you about some of the comments I've heard as I walked around through the crowd. All the way from "A communist made it" to "Hoagie Carmichael and Martin Luther King I can't take, but I can take this."

14th Woman I think it's a handsome piece of sculpture. Fits beautifully with the building. And, uh, it

15th Woman I think they could have wasted the money a lot better off than this way.

Studs Terkel They could have wasted the money a lot better?

15th Woman Sure.

14th Woman I disagree. I think it's a wonderful thing, it's a wonderful

Studs Terkel What do you think it is?

23rd Man Well, it's hard to say what I think it is. But regardless of how people might feel about it, I think it's great for the city of Chicago.

Studs Terkel What do you think, Father?

Priest It seems to me that it is symbolic of the confusion of the present times society.

Studs Terkel Ma'am, what do you, what do you think it is?

15th Woman I have no idea. It's amusing, at least.

16th Woman Boy, it is sure amusing, that's for sure.

Studs Terkel What do you think?

16th Woman I don't know what to

15th Woman Recognizable.

16th Woman I'm just petrified. Wondering what, what are we coming to? The old lady, I don't know. I'm 79 years old and I never seen, I said I got a lot of years yet to live, huh? To see something. Oh, I know.

Studs Terkel What do you think it looks like?

16th Woman You couldn't prove it by me. It just -- it petrifies me. It makes me feel like we've -- I don't know. What, we've got everything in the big windy city, that's for sure. I don't.

24th Man Frankly, to me, but, uh, it serves a purpose.

Studs Terkel What's that? That sculpture.

24th Man An anteater.

Studs Terkel An anteater?

24th Man That's right.

Child 2 That's a bird.

Studs Terkel You think it's a bird?

Child 2 Yeah.

Studs Terkel What do you think that looks like?

Child 2 I think it looks like a bird. Angel.

Studs Terkel What do you think?

Child 3 I think it looks like a plane or something.

Child 4

Studs Terkel

Child 4 Ladies and gentlemen, the Chicago Picasso is more than Chicago's monument. As James Johnson Sweeney, director of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts has said, it is something in which the whole nation can take pride. Have you seen the statue? I've seen the statue. What do you think? I think the statue, one has to be a little bit educated in the art of knowing what art is about, just like music, to be able to fully appreciate it. At first glance, it looks rather grotesque. I think after you get used to it a little bit, just like a nice painting, you begin to understand the lines, so that I think Chicago is, will become a little bit more mature, and -- Sir? Why are you, why are you here, sir? Why are I'm running a baton Huh? I'm running a baton contest. Baton? Oh, baton contest, I beg your pardon. Well, believe I'd rather have something that, a statue that did something for humanity. Like Madam Curie, she did something for cancer, you get something like this, 99% of the people don't know what that resembles, and it cost quite a bit of money. And -- Have you seen what it is? Have you seen it yet? No, I haven't seen it. But everybody called it a bird. What kind of bird? I don't know what it's all about, so I'm just sticking to see. I'd like to see what it looks like anyway. Picasso is no stranger to poets. There's William Hartmann talking now I think. Jean Cocteau, Paul Valery, Guillaume Apollinaire, Max Jacob, were all his intimate friends. Gertrude Stein in a way was one, was almost the first to appreciate his genius. I believe that poets understand Picasso better than anyone else. Looks like what it's supposed to look like, a woman. A woman? What do you think it looks like? You could say it looks like a profile of a woman. However, it does look like, uh, rust. I hope it'll work out. I think it looks like a woman of justice perhaps, maybe a, has something to do with the building that -- A woman of justice, you say? Yes. It could be. A woman who represents justice for all. What do you think it looks like? I can't tell you what I [unintelligible]. No, what, tell me what Uh? Tell I think it looks like the pelvic structure of some prehistoric monster or a [horrors-drink?] nightmare. Early in this story, in this Picasso story I asked Mayor Daley for a picture of himself suitably inscribed to take to Boujean. I presented it to Picasso, who much appreciated this personal contact with Chicago's mayor. In fact, at nearly every visit, I am asked a question, "Is Mayor Daley still mayor?" Happily, that question always has had an easy answer. I can't imagine a time when it would not be answered affirmatively. A telegram has been received just as we were coming to the platform I'd like to read to you. It is from Lyondon Baines Johnson in the White House: "To the Honorable Richard J. Daley, Mayor of Chicago: Please accept my warm congratulations on another historic first for the City Beautiful. Your new Civic Center Plaza, with its unique and monumental sculpture by one of the acknowledged geniuses of modern art, is a fitting addition to a city famous for its creative vitality. Chicago, which gave the world its first skyscraper in America, some of our greatest artists and poets, has long recognized that art, beauty and open space are essential and proper elements in urban living. You have demonstrated once again that Chicago is a city second to none." Yeah, a woman. A woman, yes. Uh, definitely now it makes some sense. When at first you know, when they had no idea what it was, I didn't think too much of it. But now I like the idea of a woman being placed at the Civic Center. It seems like the woman has to do with everything in life, and this has to do with the good things in life. This is a civic center, and the goodness is a woman. That's my idea. What do you think it looks like? Uh, something that I was eating pickles and ice cream and things for dinner and I dreamed it. It looks like a breakup of a hard winter. I have no idea. It'll be a conversation piece. So in about 10 years, don't you think so? Kind of weird, though. I don't know. I really don't know. Ah, it seems to me like a sort of art, but it's very hard to understand it and to what, what, what it means, what this represents. Uh, I can say modern art. It is something what supposed to be, um, reveal in front of public opinion. Uh, uh, I would like to hear from Mr. Picasso what he means about this art, and maybe he can explain us the best what it represents. Well, from this angle, it looks like a lady. Look from this way. See? Look, look over that way. See the profile? It looks like a lady, like the profile of a lady from this. In other words, Cleopatric in a sense. Looks like it. Right? The Mayor is going to speak. We'll have an unveiling. And I would like everyone to remain after the unveiling for the benediction. We don't want to forget the benediction. Mr. Mayor, it is now my pleasant duty now to turn over to you the Chicago Picasso, for its dedication and unveiling. Our sculpture is impatiently awaiting the removal of its wraps so that it they finally join the Chicago scene. Ladies and gentlemen, Mayor Daley. Thank you very much, Mr. Bill Hartmann, Lieutenant Governor Shapiro, Mrs. Shapiro, distinguished clergy, Chief Judge John Boyle, Mr. Stevens, Miss Brooks, fellow Chicagoans. I am very happy that you have come today to participate in dedicating the Chicago Picasso. It's an occasion we've all been anticipating, the dedication of this great gift to our city by the world-renowned artist Pablo Picasso. What do you want to What He wants to know my opinion? Yes. Oh, I don't think my opinion is not too, so important. Looks like a woman's head. A woman's head? Like Picasso's woman's head. What do you mean by that? It looks like a Picasso. Is this the front of the statue? Is I don't know. I guess so. What do you think it -- what does it look like to you? Say, you look familiar to me. I don't understand abstract art. What does that look like to you? First, right off the bat. A heart! A heart. What do you think? I'd say a heart, yeah. I'd say a heart, yeah. It does. But it's supposed to be a woman's face, I understand. It's supposed to be a woman's face, isn't it? Say, you're better looking in person than -- Well, from an art student's point of view, I think it's very feminine. I think it is a big mass of iron is all. What, what does it represent? It's a terrible-looking thing as far as I'm concerned. I just feel that a lot of people find it hard to appreciate something like that for a lack of association with that type of art. Does it look like a -- I say it look like a big butterfly or something with wings. I don't know what it look like. It's a mystery, whatever the look is. I haven't saw the front of it. What do you think it If everyone would stand about 10 feet that way, they'd see that it was the head of a woman and all their theories would be shot. Really. Say what? Stand about 20 feet this way. Come here. Well, I think I'm too -- I'll try to see from upstairs, but I'm gonna go out and give it a good look, then I could tell you more about it. Well, let's say that I think it's a very welcome addition to Chicago. I recognize Mr. Picasso as the outstanding artist in the world. I want to accept him as good faith. There are people who say that we are being spoofed. As a lawyer, though, I would venture another remark. But we have a doctrine called the "attractive nuisance doctrine," which excuses what would otherwise be contributory negligence on the part of the person that's hurt. You know? Now, if you look at that thing and you realize the height of the slope on top, and the propensity of children who will play on it, and it will not be guarded, I have, and I hope not, that some child may fall, you see and be hurt and the county may be sued and under the present trend there's no longer governmental immunity. Then we'll have a new doctrine, the doctrine of unattractive nuisance. But I think it is, I think it's a politician, it's got so many faces, don't you? We who are here, and the untold millions who will come to see it from the Middle West, the nation and the world, will behold it in the light of individual understanding and appreciation, the opportunity to be selected, the unlimited freedom of choice in every aspect of living. This is the great advantage of urban life. What are you thinking about it? She don't like it. I don't like it. I tell you -- She don't like the color even. Not even the color. Why don't they put up something that people, when they look at it, that they like They all laughed at the Eiffel Tower. Look at The Eiffel Tower, I saw it, I was there in Paris. I was in Paris, I saw the Eif-- the Eiffel Tower looks like a tower. I don't -- like my [unintelligible] -- what is this? What do you think? I don't know what to think. I don't know what to think. I am disappointed. Very much disappointed. What do you think it is? What do I think it is? It's a steel monstrosity. One thing in its favor, it won't burn. See, it don't burn. That's the truth. It's I'll think about, it won't burn. So really, between you and I, what is this? What I -- what can I think of these learned people? One time I had such a fine [diction?] you know, and they speak. I tell you, the [metal?], the [metal?], you know, he talks to the [metal?]. I don't know, you're here for opinion about the paper, but we can't go by the paper either. Everybody here, everybody talks. I talk, too, but I tell you the truth. I give you my honest opinion. I have been in Paris in the Louvre, and I saw the picture of those beautiful paintings. When you walk, the painting walks right with you, you know. The men looking this way, and when you walk here, it's always looking again. That's art. It's beauty. What is this? This don't do nothing, does it? I'm asking you! Don't you want to commit yourself? I think it's representative of our time, in which we are in a state of emerging into a new kind of era and, uh, evolving from an old era. And I can see the transition in this monumental piece of sculpture. I think it's a freak. What kind of freak, huh? What does it look like to you? I don't know. He doesn't know himself. He said he doesn't, he didn't know, he was just making something up, that's all. With scrap metal. I think it's a piece of scrap metal that sells for $12 a ton. I object to it, but not violently enoughto start a riot over it or have it removed. But they put it to a vote. I'd vote to have it removed. Couldn't tell. Ugly-looking. Ought to be taken down. A disgrace that the city even accepted it. I think it's pretty nice, and Mayor Daley did a good job here, and I think he's the best mayor we had in the city of Chicago. What's that look like to you? What's it look like? Yeah. Well, if Daley says it's good, it's good enough for me, because I think he's great. Well, I don't know. I think it's a piece of junk, really. No reason for it. I think it's wonderful. If Mayor Daley says it's okay, it's okay with me. A girl twirling a baton. What do you think? What is that? I thought, I thought, it looks like a pilgrim to me with the big hat, and the um, and the face. The nose. With a big white collar it looks like to me. Well, it's all right if we can get a name for it. I think if they put a name on it, everybody would understand a little more what it's about. They picked the name around so much, thing isn't proper. I think it's kind of pretty. I don't know, it's great expense, but we should have something. Maybe the people from around, surrounding areas will come to visit Chicago, maybe it'll give them something better to think about when they leave the town. We're not so hard all the time. I'd like to tell you about some of the comments I've heard as I walked around through the crowd. All the way from "A communist made it" to "Hoagie Carmichael and Martin Luther King I can't take, but I can take this." I think it's a handsome piece of sculpture. Fits beautifully with the building. And, uh, it -- I think they could have wasted the money a lot better off than this way. They could have wasted the money a lot better? Sure. I disagree. I think it's a wonderful thing, it's a wonderful -- What do you think it is? Well, it's hard to say what I think it is. But regardless of how people might feel about it, I think it's great for the city of Chicago. What do you think, Father? It seems to me that it is symbolic of the confusion of the present times society. Ma'am, what do you, what do you think it is? I have no idea. It's amusing, at least. Boy, it is sure amusing, that's for sure. What do you think? I don't know what to think. Recognizable. I'm just petrified. Wondering what, what are we coming to? The old lady, I don't know. I'm 79 years old and I never seen, I said I got a lot of years yet to live, huh? To see something. Oh, I know. What do you think it looks like? You couldn't prove it by me. It just -- it petrifies me. It makes me feel like we've -- I don't know. What, we've got everything in the big windy city, that's for sure. I don't. Frankly, to me, but, uh, it serves a purpose. What's that? That sculpture. An anteater. An anteater? That's right. That's a bird. You think it's a bird? Yeah. What do you think that looks like? I think it looks like a bird. Angel. What do you think? I think it looks like a plane or something. I A A

25th Man Ah, well, I don't know what it looks like, but I think that it's a very interesting statue.

Old Man I can't figure it out at all. I don't know what it looks like. Wonder if it's a boat or it's something else. Crazy thing, ain't it? I'm probably the oldest Chicagoan that was here at the dedication. I was born here in Chicago over on Temple Street in 1876.

Studs Terkel That would make you 90

Old Man Ninety-one years old November 11th of this year. And I don't believe there's anybody else here as old as

Studs Terkel I No, I guess you were the oldest man here.

Old Man Yeah, I think so.

Studs Terkel After you, this statue is

Old Man I used to run around here when I was eight years old working for the American District Telegraph. I was born over here on Temple Street. Little bit west of the river. Yeah.

26th Man Well, I think it's, uh, I think I like it because it's something different. I think the city should be applauded for having the nerve to put it up and, you know, someday we might really think it's pretty. I don't know.

17th Woman I think that's marvelous. I love it. I think that's one of the nicest things they could ever put up. And there's a good reason for this sculpture. I'll bet you never guess

Studs Terkel No,

17th Woman I don't want to say it, though. I don't want to say it.

Studs Terkel No?

17th Woman Oh, I don't know. This is, this is such a touchy thing, you know? And, um, I think I don't know if I should say this or not.

Studs Terkel Aw, say

17th Woman Well, I was gonna say this, You know, this place always needed something, you know, something to decorate it a little bit, you know? And I [think?] if they didn't have this, they would have something of a religious nature. Right? You know, I never told that to anyone before because I'm afraid, you know, I don't want them to think that -- get it?

Studs Terkel Sure.

17th Woman And this is the best thing they ever did. [Tape whirs] Think that's beautiful. I don't know, you know, I'm very artistic-minded. I love art. I love oil paintings and everything like that. Of course, I can't afford to buy 20, $30,000 oil painting, but I love, I love art. You know, I go to Art Institute very often.

Studs Terkel What do you think that is?

17th Woman Well, I know one thing. That thing represents a bird. A bird, nothing else, a bird. No, like they say woman's head, this is, that's all bunk. No woman'd head at all. This is a replica of some kind of a bird, but I don't know what kind of bird. You know, I couldn't name it to you. I'm not that intellectual.

Studs Terkel That's all right.

17th Woman You know what I mean. You understand?

Studs Terkel Sure.

17th Woman Yeah, but it is a bird. Nothing else. It is a bird. And then, and then the, you know that front part over here, you know, this, that long nose, it could represent part of a animal, animal, you know, like a Afghan dog. You know? They got them long beaks, you know, and the shoulders, you know, sort of a little like that. And that's the only thing, but I know it represents a bird, and now they better find a good name for the bird. You know what

27th Man That's a good guess. I don't really know what it represents. It's a mystery.

Showgirl Well, listen, honey, can I talk today?

Studs Terkel Sure!

Showgirl Listen, honey, this is the most beautiful thing. You know what it is to me? A lady. A lady. Nobody, nobody ever told me that, darling. This'll take, take care of it. And I'm gonna tell you, whatever you gonna ask me, tell me.

Studs Terkel Well, I'll ask you what you

Showgirl Lot of the time, [people?] ask me. I think it's the most beautiful thing that I ever seen. After all, I'm a show girl. I'm a show woman. The show's gotta go on.

Studs Terkel That's true.

Showgirl You know what I mean. But a lot of people, you know, maybe they got different ideas. But, you know, darling, but I'm an artist, not a shoemaker. You know what I mean? So, art! This is art! You can go all over the world and you won't see something like that, and a lot of people here, they cannot make it out for the day. But I'm, I'm the lady who made that out. Nobody told me anything. It just come natural

Studs Terkel You said you looked at it and you said

Showgirl A lady, a lady. I just, I says to myself. I didn't tell anybody that, no. Because that's a secret. You know what I mean, a secret, if you go beyond it, you know, and if you give out the secret, that wouldn't do. You know what I mean. So, I had this mind all the time, I come over here all the time here, and I think to myself, "That's a lady's head." I didn't see nothing. Just you, you you you take a handkerchief and you put it on my, you know, like blindfolded. Yeah.

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Showgirl And then later on the man, the man was saying, "Well, that's a lady." But nobody told me that, honey, but this was my own -- and I gotta tell you something else, you know, because you're a publicity man, you know. Now, when I came here, I came here early, early, but what I wanted to see, honey, I come here most of the time. I talk to beautiful people. I didn't see that flag. You know what I mean?

Studs Terkel No.

Showgirl The American flag. You see that flag up there? Well, it kind of hurt me because I didn't see the American flag, and I says, "Why is not there, the American flag should [become first?]." What, you've got a suitcase for your lunch? You got lunch back there? So you see, dear, what I mean, and I was happy when I see the American flag, I says to the audience, "Ladies and gentlemen, I want you to applaud, you know, salute the flag." And that was my wish. And it came out, when I saw the flag, I was the happiest girl in town! To me it represents that Chicago will always be progressive and keep rising to -- keep rising.

Richard J. Daley As Mayor, I dedicate this gift in the name of the people of Chicago, with the confidence that it will have an abiding and happy place in the city's heart.