As you thank Abraham Lincoln and Sarah Joseph Hale for bringing you the national holiday you are about to enjoy, save an empty space on your plate for Millard Fillmore and James Buchanan, two U.S. Presidents who (along with Zachary Taylor and Franklin Pierce) ignored Hale’s entreaties and passed on the chance to institutionalize Thanksgiving.
And as you remember Fillmore and Buchanan, take a gander — if you haven’t already taken the goose — at some recently digitized pieces by 8 great contemporary American artists that we are featuring in the new archival section of the viper.org site.
For an August 9, 2009 afternoon show that was to be billed as kid-friendly — and for a Wisconsin native like the Viper, kid-friendly means held in the outdoor beer garden of Mike ‘N Molly’s in Champaign, Illinois — The Viper and His Famous Orchestra sponsored a coloring contest. To accompany our performance of the “Fillmore & Buchanan March” we asked members of our audience to do what they would with two public domain portraits (courtesy of whitehouse.gov) of the eponymous Millard Fillmore and James Buchanan: two of our least remembered, least loved, and best forgotten U.S. Presidents.
Contestants who submitted entries ranged in age from 2 to 46. The entries were judged by Irene Jerving, Sophie Rainey, and Anna E. Staley. Below we present a sampling of the best of the best. Click on the thumbnail for a full-size version of the image.
If you missed out on the contest, it’s not too late: you can still download and print out the PDF of the coloring sheet, complete it (as you complete me) and mail it to Ryan Jerving / 2171 N. Hi-Mount Blvd. / Milwaukee, WI 53208. When I get a chance, I’ll upload any entries I receive to this space and to our Facebook fan page.