Seattle Confidential – Scat Protest, 23rd Ave. and E. John Street, ca. 1982

SCAT PROTEST & STOP REAGAN

(CLICK TWICE to ENLARGE)

I snapped this home subject while waiting for the traffic light at 23rd Ave. e. and E. John Street on Capitol Hill.   I was heading south on 23rd.  I have done a poor job of dating the photograph “protest 80s.”  Reagan’s terms ran from 1980 to 1988 and Royer’s further, from 1978 to 1990.  But John Spellman’s time, as the state’s governor, was limited to one term, from 1980 to 1984. This scene, then, was recorded in the early 1980s.  I recall that the signs, toilets and dummies held the corner for a fairly long term, although I don’t think for four years.  It seems like someone lives upstairs.  Both windows have curtains and the one on the left also shows, it seems, a candle-holder or a bottle with a long neck – wine perhaps.

Can you (or please try to) make something of this protest by reading the signs – the ones that are more or less legible?  Here is what I have deciphered.

Far left beneath the windows with bars and above a hanging toilet seat draped (With what?) the sign reads, in part, “Hang in There.”

Above and between the doors:  “Toilet Bowl Strut” (I’m not sure of the “strut”) above musical notation with lyrics, we assume, below the notes, “Rock & Roll in Old Toilet Bowl.”

On the same sign “Section 8 / Reagan? /Spellman? / Royer? / Come Look.”

[I cannot make out the sign above the toilet sitting on the porch between the two doors.]

The signs above and below the toilet seat hanging on the post to the right of the doors are deciphered with some doubts.  The top one uses letters with odd serifs and what seem to be chopped words. And the sign is bent. Still, it reads, I think, “Toilet bowl Str(?) Reagan” again. The sign below the open toilet seat reads, in part, “Free apartment . . .” but then concludes with “You” including a strange concluding “U” and a last word that seems to read “haul.” So “Free Apartment You Haul.” What can it mean?  And is that a minstrel face painted in the frame of the toilet seat above it?

The large sign, top right, reads “Stop Reagan Now???  / Regan condemns / 8 Units.  Cheap Rent 25 cents & 50 cents per hour / Let the public look welcome / Can Gov. Spellman / Can Mayor Royer STOP REAGAN”

Of the three signs resting on the window sill, the one on the left may read “Make (or take) free toilet bowl strut [?] lawyers.” The middle sign cannot be read, but the small commercial sign on the right can be.  It reads “House for Sale.” It may be an important point.

The big sign below and right of the window reads “Three bedroom apt. / 50 cents per hour / Reagan says no / more welfare / no subsidized”

The next and smaller sign below seems to read “Captain of the heads.” If so it is a pun on both the toilet seats and the politicians.

Finally, the small sign above the toiled seat, upper-right, seems to stutter, “Let it all all hang out”

What can it mean?  So scatological with condemned rooms for rent and by the hour.

 

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