Mrs. Ballard's Parrots

Mrs. Ballard's Parrots

Book - 2005
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In the late 1960s, Alba Ballard, a Long Island housewife, decided it would be a cute idea to dress up one of her many pet parrots in a little costume. She sewed a tiny outfit, attached snaps to the back, and slipped it onto one of the birds. Delighted with the results, Alba began creating increasingly detailed costumes for her always available and willing subjects. Soon she began staging elaborate theatrical productions, casting her costumed parrots in scene reenactments from popular movies, TV shows, historical events, and 1970s popular culture. Her husband, Marvin, would assist in creating sets and props and would photograph the productions at Alba's direction. The resulting imagery from this collaboration among wife, husband, and parrots is a look into the highly creative mind of Alba Ballard. Untrained as an artist, she nevertheless was able to create works that embodied her fantasies, her humor, and her passions. And what fantasies she had! In her world, parrots became tiny, winged, overdressed incarnations of such luminaries as Sonny and Cher, Liberace, and General George Patton. Yellow and green macaws rode around on little motorcycles dressed in leather jackets reenacting scenes from Easy Rider and, changing costumes, could then effortlessly slip into roles from TV's Batman and Robin, The Dean Martin Show, and a commercial for Soft and Dry deodorant. Eventually, Alba and her feathered cast appeared on the David Letterman Show, Saturday Night Live, and even in Woody Allen's feature film Broadway Danny Rose. Very few of the photographs that Alba and Marvin created are still in existence, and sadly, Alba passed away in 1994. However, in 1992, a small collection of these photographs was discovered in the Swiss home of Elizabeth Taylor. Just after their discovery, the photographs reached the hands of photographer and author Arne Svenson, who has now gathered them together in this book. Book jacket.
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : H. Abrams, c2005.
ISBN: 9780810958869
Branch Call Number: 779.092 SVENSON
Characteristics: 94 p. : col. ill. ; 21 cm.


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