If you have driven on 35th Avenue NE in Meadowbrook in the last six months then chances are you’ve seen this extremely strange monument built from two diverging stumps. It’s ostensibly dedicated to saving the Showbox, a historic nightclub currently under threat of demolition, although looking at it always seems to raise more questions than answers. Is it supposed to be a reference to a labia/vagina? Why did the owner deface their yard in such a way? Are they the biggest live music fans in the city or something?
It turns out this monument has more to do with a feud between two neighbors over a snubbed handshake than devotion to saving our 79-year-old Showbox from destruction.
Let’s start from the beginning. I worked from home on Monday, on account of those icy roads, and decided in the late afternoon that I should finally kill the mystery and investigate this vaginal tree statue, which is about three blocks away from the house I rent. As I walked up, struggling to stay on two feet on the icy sidewalk, I saw a man dressed in all black get out of a red Chevy truck and walk towards the tree statue in question. He had a beanie with two eye slits cut into it and a look on his face that said “I am absolutely dying to talk to my neighbors.” Before I could introduce myself he told me his name was “Buda like Cuda, the car,” and a moment later we were getting into the backstory of this odd monument in Meadowbrook.
“You see, it started with a police chase,” Buda said.
Of course it started with a police chase.
“I saw them go by and crash so I’m like, oh shit, I better see what’s going on.”
So Buda walked down the street and checked out the scene of the crash and then decided to walk back home, saying hello to his neighbors along the way.
“I’m walking back and the neighbors start to come back and I’m introducing myself and shaking hands. And then this one neighbor… he comes out and says where are you from? I go ‘I’m the only house that doesn’t have a fence in front of it’ and I was going to shake his hand. And he says, ‘Oh you’re the one with the two stumps,’ and then totally snubs me!”
This is where Buda decides to turn the stumps into a monument to the Showbox.
“I went, that’s it! Go get the paint, the chicken wire, and the moss—it’s on! So now he’s got two lips to look at instead of just two stumps.”
And there’s the answer to one of our questions: Yes this shrine is supposed to resemble a part of the female anatomy.
This entire police chase turned car crash turned snubbed handshake happened right around when news was breaking that a developer wanted to bulldoze the Showbox and replace it with a luxury apartment tower. Buda was born and raised in Seattle and he said he's testified in front of the City Council in support of preserving the Showbox. He said he remembered seeing a comedian at the venue back when 1st Avenue was “the porn district” and the comedian repeatedly made a joke about the Showbox and how box was a term for vagina, which is what inspired him to make the shrine resemble a piece of female anatomy.
This is what it looks like at night:
If Buda's neighbor thought the plain stumps were an eyesore they must really hate the decorated version. Although it doesn't seem like they'll be around for long; the neighbor apparently put their house up for sale last week.