The countdown to my John Doyle Bishop event has begun. Less than one week! Get your tickets now!!!
Every year the Irish Heritage Club of Seattle paints a green stripe along the parade route the night before the St. Patrick's Day celebration. Before there was an official parade in Seattle, John Doyle Bishop would try to paint a stripe down the street in front of his store--a stunt which he was arrested for more than once. When there finally was an official parade he was the first Grand Marshal, and the green stripe is still painted every year in his honor. Since this year is Bishop's 100th birthday and I'm doing the program at MOHAI, the Irish Heritage Club encouraged me to come participate.
It started out at an Irish bar downtown by the stadiums. Of solid Russian-German heritage, I fraudulently wore green and tried to mix casually with the crowd. At the appointed hour we loaded into a flatbed truck decorated with green streamers and party store shamrocks. We rode the truck for a few blocks to the beginning of the parade route, at which about half of us got out to walk. They fired up the green paint thing and we all strolled behind the bagpipers and the people holding the sign (officially it was the John Doyle Bishop Laying O' The Green Stripe because it isn't Irish without the liberal use of O')(also- aren't bagpipes Scottish? Someone please explain). We walked right down the middle of the street for about a mile, woo-hoo-ing at confused drivers and pedestrians. At Westlake we stopped, painted a shamrock, and then some people did a jig. It was pretty much the most Irish thing that has ever happened to me. I invited a couple of my friends to come with and they were basically like "Do we actually get to ride on the flatbed truck? Then yes, I am coming."
Obviously the fashion side of Mr. Bishop is what has interested me the most, but his Irish heritage was really really important to him. I've held dresses from his store and suits he owned, but somehow he seemed more present for me at this event than among the rolling racks. It was just so pleasantly nutty.
Much to my delight, the Laying O' The Green Stripe got a little write-up in Seattle P-I and I was quoted.
Me and the Irish. Working together to keep Bishop's memory alive.