Bootyquake

You want fries with that shake?

Zuma PressScott McKiernan has been to four continents looking for booty—and booty he has found.

Now his large glossy pieces of ass cover the high, loft-like walls at the Ocean Brewing Co. in Laguna Beach, evoking a bizarre mélange of feelings that should be mutually exclusive but apparently aren't.

"Bundas" is oppressive and confidence-building, giddy and dispiriting. It's beneficent and tolerant and ridiculous and cruel. "Bundas" is your butt—and hers and hers and hers over there. Mostly bony, always walking away, these are white girls living in a white world where wedgies and panty lines happen to the best of us, so there's no need to fret. The wedgies have a charm all their own. Looking at all the imperfect asses, you're warmed: surely there's room (even in Southern California!) for people with unbleached teeth and human-shaped bottoms? Until you hit the restroom, that is, with its big, well-lit mirror just waiting for you to turn around and awkwardly crane your neck. Did you know your jeans were that far up your butt? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? That view: Is it lush or tubby? And if it is tubby, is that so wrong? I think longingly of Sir Mix-A-Lot; he likes his women like Flo Jo, you know.

McKiernan seems to be one of those guerrilla photographers, snapping butts mostly on the sly and on the street; it's self-consciously lo-art in lo-jeans, complete (or incomplete) with the funky lo-fi production values you might see in Vice Magazine's "do's and don'ts." These are defiantly not supermodels airbrushed into the pages of Glamour; they're real rears in real time. Butts are flat or fulsome (mostly flat), legs under short-shorts are strong and sturdy, and it's heartening to know that even the most food-challenged misses have that squinty thing that goes on near the hip when they walk.

These are photos that are happy in their humanity: some butts are kept company by other people's hands, cupping and molding, lifting and separating. A pretty, tan blonde in Laguna Beach has hungry-butt. A person in London has ridiculous pants, the pedestrian next to her 10 pounds of shit in a five pound (and electric-orange) bag. I like that about her! In one of the most relaxed photos, a rear end spreads comfortably over a bar stool while the faceless model, caught for posterity—get it?—reaches lazily around to adjust the tag on her lo-jeans.

"Bundas" is an especially good fit for Ocean Brewing Co., which teeters between cosmopolitan and yuppie; it's edgy but with a $9 caprese. There the filet mignon is a piece of art all its own, sprinkled as it is with bitter greens and sprigs of cilantro and spiced up with leeks that are shaved into roses. "Bundas," too, is bourgeois bohemian—it's of a piece with a fashion mag, but it's adamantly cooler than one. It could break out the wind machines and the pouting models—or it could keep its street cred alive and still have time for the filet mignon. Medium-rare, garçon.

"Bundas: The World From a Rear Look" at Ocean Brewing Co., 237 Ocean Ave., Laguna Beach, (949) 497-3381. Through Feb. 2. Call for hours.
 
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