Someone Released 1.5 Million Balloons Into The Sky And Ruined Everything

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If you’ve ever loosed a balloon into the sky, by accident or on purpose, you have probably had that uncanny feeling that you’ve done something simple but irreversible; no matter how high you jump, the balloon will forever be out of your grasp. Now multiply that sensation by 1.5 million; twenty-eight years ago, in a misguided attempt to break the record for most launched balloons in history, the United Way of Cleveland released one and a half million balloons into the sky for a fundraiser known as Balloonfest ’86. As the weather grew grim, the hasty event administrators freed the eager helium-filled balls of color into the sky, and it was all caught on film by the photographer Thom Sheridan.

The images are pretty remarkable; when shot at close range, the balloons look to be raining from above, coloring the skyline and bridges like jimmies over an ice cream sundae. Pink, red, blue, and yellow litter the frame like large-scale confetti. But viewed from further away, the balloons form something resembling an angry plague of locusts that ominously mushroom above the city. They puff up and away, and their colors blur, forming a bloody wound across the sky.

Given the historical context, these photographs are even more theatrical, grim and tragic. Two people died as a result of the event, and a horse was badly spooked and injured. The winds that day caused the balloons to flood together, forming a substantial cloud that obscured the view of aircrafts; helicopters were unable to rescue the victims of a boating accident. In one terrible anecdote, a coast guard member explained searching for the heads of the drowning people and being totally unable to differentiate them from balloons. The entire city remained littered for weeks.

This strange, tragic story reads like a bizarre little fable where excess, pride and even the most well-intentioned aspirations breed disaster and ruin. These photographs, these astounding relics of a city’s hopes and traumas, say it all.  (via Gizmodo and Viral Forest)
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Vintage Photographs Of The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloons

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

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Thanksgiving Floats

In lieu of kitschy turkey paintings I decided it would be fun to collect a few vintage images of the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The earliest of these was taken in 1931, and the newest in 1975.

The tradition started in 1924, tying in for the second-oldest Thanksgiving parade in the United States along with America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been a staple of New York life since the late 20′s; the popularity grew as the parade started to get televised in the 1950′s. Till’ this day, there’s nothing more iconic than the giant balloons that stroll across the city during this time of the year.

Until 1980-90′s the balloons in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade came in two varieties. The first and oldest is the novelty balloon class, which fit on the heads of the performers. The second, and most famous, is the full-size balloon class, primarily consisting of licensed pop-culture characters.

On behalf of the B/D team, we want to wish you all a very happy thanksgiving. May you spend this day with your loved ones, and yummy food!

(Images via Daily News & Huff Post)

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Honoring The 1980s With Sacred Geometry

West-Space_01Amy Joy Watson - Sculpture Amy Joy Watson - Sculpture

There is something fantastically unworldly yet alluringly familiar about Amy Joy Watson’s bright sculptures. Whether it’s a drooping bow or a glitter-filled orb, this Australian’s artful structures feel like a 1986 birthday party, translated or abstracted by a video game of that same era: there are no soft edges, only the disjointed illusion of it.

To make each piece, Watson stitches or glues together watercolor-stained balsa wood, occasionally adding a tasteful Gobstopper here, or helium balloon there, to garnish her own primal sense of whimsy and sacred geometry, resulting in a somewhat spiritual monument to another imaginative age and time.

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Hans Hemmert

German artist Hans Hemmert takes the squeaky goodness of balloons and covers everyday scenes in latex wonder. I can’t imagine many things more fun than romping around in a big yellow balloon.

I especially enjoyed his balloon-people, which you can see after the jump along with a video showing the works in motion.

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