Downtown Phoenix is rattling with excitement; Major League Baseball's biggest names are in town for the 2011 All-Star game, and there's a giant rattle snake chasing folks 'round the city.
Don't freak out, it's not the venomous kind responsible for more deaths each year in the United States and Mexico than any other snake. It's Michael Levine's latest pet project.
For the past three weeks, Levine's lead a three-man team working 19-hour days with 1600 sq feet of stainless steel, 5,000 linear feet of quarter-inch rod, and about 1,000 linear feet of three-eighths-inch rod to create a giant diamondback head.
Best of all, he's welded it onto a golf cart just in time for baseball's Midsummer Classic.
I think sports are a great rallying point for the community," Levine says. "You have the eyes of the world on Downtown Phoenix, it's going to be 115 degrees, what better irony than a giant, mirrored diamondback to stir things up?"
When he's not saving old buildings from destruction, the Brooklyn-born, Phoenix-based artist, preservationist, and business owner can be found inside his Grant Street warehouse conceptualizing and executing large-scale projects like the diamondback head.
And it might be mid-July, but Levine's already thinking about October. "We've got enough parts to make two snake bodies and a rattle," Levine says. "During the World Series, you'll hear us coming."
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The diamondback isn't the first sports-themed project for Levine. When Phoenix hosted the Super Bowl in 2008, Levine created a giant New York Giants piece, attached it to a blue pick-up truck, and paraded it around the city. But Levine admits it's not all about the sports.
"The city and the state are really hurting with SB1070, and all the other controversies and numbnuts that are in state government," he says. "This is a way of keeping in tune with the authenticity of our buildings, and the authenticity of how I feel about our home teams. It's a big, giant thank you for the Diamondbacks."
Levine will be driving the snake head through downtown Phoenix today and tomorrow. For more on his work, check out his website.