Twenty years ago, a wave of decidedly funky urban pioneers helped bring The Plaza Road off of Central Avenue back to life, putting radical paint colors on their charge cards and hanging hip wind chimes in their yard.
James McGuire, who bought his house in 1986 for $58,000, was one of those broke pioneers who helped make the neighborhood cool again. Now the windchimes are gone, and yuppies have replaced the cool paint with staid neutrals on houses that sell for 10 times what McGuire paid.
McGuire felt the neighborhood and his yard needed "something," so he got "The Head" -- a 6-foot monstrosity that captures in excruciating detail the kind of face one might make if they were being impaled.
"It's your typical white picket fence house," says McGuire. "I thought that it would be great, kind of Edward Scissorhands."
The Head, which was formerly used by the theater group Moving Poets, had largely been abandoned when it wound up at Hart Witzen Gallery, where McGuire first saw it.
"I immediately had this vision of this thing in my front yard and thought it would be great," McGuire says. Gallery owner Cindy Hart was more than willing to part with the, er, monstrosity.
In October 2005, McGuire and his brother dragged the head home, which was no easy project.
"It felt like it weighed 1,000 pounds," says McGuire.
Since then, McGuire has heard through the grapevine that his neighbors don't like it because it's so weird -- a prospect that fills him with glee.
Urban Explorer's Handbook