June 2, 2010

Peep Show.

At Last, a Little Levity in the News.

Right now making news in Boulder:

one of our young female residents has vanished in Nepal; a CU student who was raising money for breast cancer by cycling across the country was run over and killed; climbers are falling off rocks to their death causing more debate about paying for rescue/retrieval than mourning; and in court, a fierce legal battle is being waged over a woman’s right to staple Peeps, (those yellow foamy sugar clusters in the shape of bunnies) to her door.

One of these stories is not like the others.

Boulder is like the rest of the country in that it shares a national need for frivolity. The gulf is slowly turning from blue to black, the war odometer just clicked past ten years, the stock market has more flashes and crashes than a menopausal woman, and yet the front page of the New York Times’ website has a link to an interview with teen heartthrob, Twilight star, Taylor Lautner.  This is called “News Candy,” the kernel of salt on the journalistic pretzel that keeps us hungry for more.  I am guilty for having such an appetite, so, the first article I read this morning was about the Peep trial in Boulder.  The mouth-watering headline read; a “Peep Expert” was Called to Testify, and soon I was blissfully gorging myself on the story of Andrew Novick, Denver’s 40 year old self-proclaimed Peep Maven.

The Peeps Trial is frivolous in and of itself, because the battle is over the woman’s refusal to pay her rent, after her landlord asked her to take down her Easter decoration made from Peeps, which she had hung on her door several weeks past the holiday.  One would think the judge would simply say, “Pay your rent,” smack his gavel, and move on to the next case,  which, knowing Boulder, would probably be about a group of eco nudist cyclists, fighting for their right to ride naked in an effort to save the planet by cutting down on gas, water, and electricity.  Nonetheless, Boulder has as big a sweet tooth for idiocy as anyone else, and so, the trial must go on.  There were two expert witnesses the judge did not allow: A former art teacher with a Master’s degree from the highly esteemed Rhode Island School of Design, who was prepared to state the legitimacy of Peeps as an artistic medium.  The other expert was a man who once came in third place in an annual Peeps diorama contest. The lawyer who found these witnesses, John Pineau, either has a great sense of humor or a “peepload” of moxie.

The same can be said for Andrew Novick, Professional Peep Pundit.  Mr. Novick used to be the lead singer in a punk band called The Warlock Pinchers, his website www.peepbq.com, is filled with pictures of flaming Peeps, Peeps set up as a firing squad, and Peeps in the shape of The Cross (blasphemous!) He also owns a white Chihuahua named Tiny Coconut as well as a cat named Chairman Meow.  This is a man who obviously doesn’t take life too seriously, except when discussing Peeps during a cross-examination.

I remember seeing Andrew Novick on TV recently promoting his art show called “The Astounding Problem of Andrew Novick,” which was basically a bunch of stuff he had saved throughout his life and laid out in a warehouse.  Some of the art consisted of hair, cereal dust, ticket stubs, old toys, pretty much anything Mr. Novick could compulsive obsessively pick up and fit in his pocket.  There is a word for describing these actions other than art, its called hoarding.  However, Mr. Novick deserves a pat on the back and a free box of Peeps for putting an artistic and creative spin on such destructive behavior.  When a mental illness becomes a masterpiece, genius has been achieved.

I do not know if Mr. Novick is a hoarder, all I know is he accumulated a warehouse full of stuff and was creative enough to make it an art show. I also know he’s a character and I want to thank him for adding frivolity to my morning by sharing his Peepology in what was already a frivolous story.  The world needs people like this because there are just not enough antidepressants seeping into our water supply yet, so until that day, bring on the Peep shows.

Jimmy Gleacher is the author of It’s How You Play the Game (Scribner 2002) Silly Little Rich Girl (Casperian Books 2009) and Paradise Rules (Gallery Books 2011) and the screenwriter of He’s Such A Girl (Lionsgate 2010). He lives in Boulder, Colorado. For more information please visit his website.

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