Collier’s Weekly: 12 Giant Floating Heads We’d Like to See in 2022
If Van Gogh’s gigantic cranium can drift through town, why not make it a monthly happening?
Sure, it was a publicity stunt. But in bringing a giant, floating Van Gogh head to Oakland last week, the folks at Immersive Van Gogh correctly recognized an essential truth about Pittsburghers: We’re happy to go stare at a big, unusual thing.
Inflated duck, inflated pickle, collapsing stadium — around here, we turn out for spectacle. In that spirit, I’d like to humbly propose a monthly calendar of giant, floating heads. I’m open to sponsorship offers. Let’s make this happen.
January — Iceburgh
I think the Penguins mascot would provide a nice, midwinter boost. In fact, let’s make it like the Pitt victory light: Anytime the Pens win a game, we release one from the roof of the arena. Help clean up the floating heads when they land, and you get free tickets to the next game!
February — Fred Rogers
This one’s a given. In fact, we should probably make it permanent. They knocked down the Wholey’s building this weekend, right? Just replace it with a permanent Mister Rogers balloon.
March — An Eat’n Park Smiley Cookie
On the one hand, yes, we’ll all suddenly have a lot of cookie cravings. (Good news for the restaurants.) But March can tend to be a bit gloomy around here, and this would perk things right up. What, you’re gonna be sad with a giant smiley cookie looking down at you? Cheer up! Look at his frosted grin!
April — Willie Stargell
Unlike every other Pirates promotion, this one will involve a player who isn’t getting traded anytime soon.
May — Kenny Kangaroo
We disrespected the Kennywood mascot with the (temporary!) removal of his signature ride. Make it up to him with an oversized, looming likeness. We can anchor it to the lagoon stage! You’ll be able to stare straight into his eyes at the peak of the Phantom’s Revenge! Plus, it’ll really confuse any visiting Australians.
June — August Wilson
I want this to be the biggest of all, looming over the Hill District. I feel like we would all be on our best behavior if a moon-sized head of August Wilson were keeping an eye on us at all times. Plus, an extra-large balloon would provide added shade in the warmer months.
July — Andy Warhol
We’re far enough into the calendar that we can tweak it. You know the floating cloud room at the Warhol, with the reflective, silver balloons? Let’s pick … oh, say 100 buildings around the Downtown area and fill their lobbies with reflective, silver Warhols. Every Pittsburgher gets 15 minutes of confusion and whimsy!
Embed from Getty Images
August — Art Rooney, Sr.
Kick off the Steelers season by inflating a likeness of the patriarch and anchoring it above the open end of the stadium. If anything could distract the opposing kicker, it’s a century-old, gargantuan, Irish tough guy staring from between the uprights.
September — Pittsburgh Dad
“Yinz kids get back in school. I’ve had enough of summer. I’m watching yinz! I’m watching the whole city!”
October — Zombie George A. Romero
I know that it’s tough for giant floating heads to be sneaky, but if we could make it so that this one is suddenly appearing over hillsides, that’d be great. Inflate it on the back end of Mount Washington, then have him descend over the incline as the sun sets. Sure, it’ll traumatize some children, but think of the Instagram potential!
November — Mayor Sophie Masloff
We need something political for election season, but there are plenty of pitfalls in picking a politician. Let’s go with one that no one will be sad to remember: The beloved, late councilwoman and mayor Sophie Masloff. If we can rig up speakers to recreate her impassioned cries of “Let’s Go ’Guins!” during the early-’90s cup runs, that’d be even better.
December — Jeff Goldblum, in Repose
Now here’s a holiday present we can all get behind: Jeff Goldblum, in his disheveled, post-Tyrannosaurus state, reclining (in balloon form) along the crest of Troy Hill. (Do some people have houses up there? Perhaps. I don’t care.) Here, I am suggesting not only a mere head, but the whole body in balloon form. Something similar has been attempted in the past, and it was magical. We need this.