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Pencil, acrylic washes, 18 x 24", 2000, by Chris Wayan

I dreamed that big rich white newcomers invaded San Francisco, evicting us locals right and left. Really big, really rich, and really REALLY white: half-ton, nouveau-riche polar bears. As the Arctic warmed up they had to adapt; and they turned out to have a flair for cutthroat capitalism.

Our mayor's an adaptable guy: he redecorates City Hall, stocks the fountain with baby seals for snacks...

The San Francisco Hyatt-Regency Hotel redecorated as City Hall... for polar bears
But once the big boys started fighting each other, all you could do was, try not to be under them when they fell...
The San Francisco Hyatt-Regency Hotel redecorated as City Hall... for polar bears
In my dream, the San Francisco Hyatt-Regency Hotel had been taken over as a new City Hall. Aside from the icicles, this is pretty much how its gigantic atrium really looks.

One of the eeriest aspects of the dream is that after the bears fell, and the cops came and stretched yellow caution tape all around the bodies, I talked to a detective I knew about the case. He said that from the damage, they estimated the impact at 72 miles per hour. I was startled it was so precise, but he explained that due to the cube-square law, heavy animals like bears are much more vulnerable to low-speed impacts that we might survive. Anyway, from the velocity, they could calculate the height of the balcony the victim was thrown from... and maybe, just maybe, track down the killer.

Dream: a polar bear with a maroon cloak and a spear in the lobby of the San Francisco Hyatt-Regency Hotel
When I woke, the number stuck in my head. I did some back-calculation myself, and found that a 72 mph impact meant a fall of about 175 feet--just right for a fall from one of the upper balconies of the SF Hyatt-Regency's famous atrium.

So don't tell me dreams can't add.


Fans of Philip Pullman's novel THE GOLDEN COMPASS will readily recognize the echoes, in my dream, of the shattering bear-duel in the ice-castle on Svalbard...

LISTS AND LINKS: bears - power - architecture - politics - violence - Only in San Francisco - Jenny Badger Sultan dreams My Design for the City Hall Dome, Wayan designs an obscene dome as a De-Yuppifier, and Nicole Kidman peels off City Hall's Dome - landscapes - pencil work - falling dreams - Willie Brown again, in The Rosa Parks Effect - Wayan attacks the bear-cult again, in Bonobo and Bear - Philip Pullman

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