Wrestlers, Art, A Library & Bill White: The Madness Arrives
Cameras flashed, the crowd oohed and ahhed, and WWE superstar Jeff Hardy carefully painted a nose onto an oversized white canvas.
The WWE onslaught that culminates with Sunday's Wrestlemania XXV eased its way into Houston this evening in an unusually genteel (and slightly unsettling) fashion -- a charity auction called WrestlemaniArt.
Waiters in bow ties carried around trays of hors' doeuvres, and some of professional wrestling's more outrageous characters -- Jerry "The King" Lawler, Santino, Vicki Guerrero -- traded tights for red-carpet attire (or, in Hardy's case, acid jeans and a t-shirt) for the occasion. It took place in the Spanish Revival-styled Julia Ideson Building across from City Hall and was co-hosted by Mayor Bill White and Linda McMahon.
Hardy's creation, like the framed drawings hanging on the wall beside his brother (and tag-team partner) Matt's abstract paintings, ended up looking a lot like Strong Bad. The rest of the celebrity artwork covered quite a spectrum from there. Hair Balls would like to emphasize that the proceeds went to charity.
The Bella twins, for example, provided self-portraits.
J.T.G., whose WWE bio touts him as "street tough Brooklyn brawler in and out of the ring", came up with a rectangular slab of jeans with the word "Yo" pasted here and there and work boot soles glued onto each corner.
Mr. Kennedy had a drawing called "The Comedy of Tragedy".
Vicki Guerrero, wife of the late wrestler Eddie, did some scrapbook-style compilations -- HHH breaking through glass, a composite of her fictional (we think) marriage to Edge.
"I try to tell a story with each box," she told Hair Balls.
Vicki started scrapbooking 12 years ago, with pictures of her kids. At ringside she's a hated manager who hooks up with the Big Show behind Edge's back.
"I manipulate all the guys around to do what I want. It's the best job ever," she said.
One of the more interesting pieces was a water-color flower titled "The Softer Side of Santino". Santino plays a bombastic Italian who often loses to women. He spoke with Hair Balls wearing the same metallic pink-ish shirt he's sporting here.
"I've always admired flowers. The fact that a flower can actually bloom is what makes it stand out," he said.
Santino then claimed to be an equal rights pioneer, and said he's hoping to score a match this weekend: "I'd like to challenge all the Divas to a Battle Royal, to show that I am the superior athlete."
That was as close to typical wrestling as things got.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.