A mural appeared last week behind the Delavan Fitness Center, a piece of street art that would be more at home in New York City.
It has become a bit of a curiosity for what it means and who created it.
Titled, "Small Town to-do list," it includes advice to see what else is out there, including such things as, "varied skin colors, good/bad art, credit card debt and big city lights ..."
At the bottom, it is signed, "Hanksy."
We posted a photo of the piece on our Facebook page, and a few who commented seemed to know right away that it was a variation of the work of British street artist Banksy.
But who is Hanksy, and why was he in Delavan?
A tipster sent me a link to a February article by John Leland in the New York Times on the artist, which included this paragraph:
"Over strong coffee and loud indie rock, Hanksy, 30, spoke on the condition that he be identified by his artist name. (New York magazine wrote that he was "rumored" to be Adam Himebauch.) The son of a retired FBI agent, he wore a baseball cap over his longish blonde hair and spoke in a self-deprecating voice full of Delavan, Wis."
Anonymity has been part of Hanksy's allure in New York, but in Delavan, it's pretty easy to connect the dots.
Not that we'd want to blow Hanksy's cover, but the only former FBI agent in Delavan who is a Himebauch would be LeRoy, a one-time Delavan municipal judge. An Adam Himebauch graduated in 2001 from Delavan-Darien High School.
So I tweeted @HanksyNYC, who replied,
@DanPlutchak I was just passing through last week…!— Hanksy (@HanksyNYC) July 21, 2014
Hanksy also posted a photo of the mural to his Instagram account, Hanksynyc, with this explanation:
"I grew up in a tiny Midwestern town. I had a very comfortable and traditional upbringing. I didn't grow up writing graffiti nor go through any terrible hardships.
"Then my younger brother was killed at age 16.
"I decided to both drop out of school as well as my expected life plan. For years I played music, wrote stories, traveled the world, and painted dumb pictures.
"Then I found myself in NYC and everything started to click. I'm not hating on people who live in small towns, I just get bummed by those who never took the chance to see what else life has to offer.
"I pasted this up in my aforementioned small home town yesterday.
"I shouted out a bunch of my favorite people/places that I've met and visited since moving away all those years ago. It'll be gone by tomorrow for sure.
"LOL HANKSY SUPER SERIOUS BUT FOR REAL."
The mural still is there, last I checked. That's most probably because it's Delavan, not New York.
From Leland's article, here is a brief Hanksy history:
"In April 2011, a law school dropout in Bushwick, Brooklyn, newly arrived from the Midwest, had an idea that he thought might make a splash. He admired the street artist Banksy; he grew up on the movies of Tom Hanks. Why not mash up the two? Using simple computer software, he downloaded a Banksy painting of a rat holding a paint roller, then added an image of Mr. Hanks's face. The whole thing took 10 or 15 minutes to create. He printed a cutout and pasted it on a wall at Mulberry and Kenmare Streets in Little Italy, signing it Hanksy. It was a stupid pun, he knew, but he was a sucker for stupid puns. Isn't everybody?"
He posted a photo of his creation online, and before he knew it, he was a viral Internet sensation.
Since then, he's had a variety if solo art shows, from L.A. to New York, with is pieces fetching anywhere from $50 to $4,000.
Hanksy also has organized several projects in New York where he collaborates with other street artists.
Each event has created new buzz in the city's art world.
According to Leland, Hanksy plans to visit nine cities in the next year to collaborate with local street artists and bring in others from out of town, documenting the whole enterprise as an Internet video series.
And maybe he'll be back in Delavan?
JANESVILLE— Jake Wisniewski held off Andrew Cobb to win the 48th Annual Ray Fischer Public Links Amateur Championship in a playoff June 29 at Janesville’s Riverside Park.
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WALWORTH COUNTY SUNDAY -- Steven Zelich, the former West Allis police officer accused of hiding bodies in suitcases and dumping them along a North Como Road in Geneva Township, was bound over for trial July 3, 2014 by Walworth County Circuit Court judge Phillip Koss.
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WALWORTH COUNTY SUNDAY -- The 2014 Tour of America’s Dairyland cycling series, featuring 6,200 competitors from 13 countries and 43 states, took over the streets of downtown East Troy June 20, 2014 for the second leg of the racing series for the East Troy Cycling Classic. The Beloit Bike Classic takes its maiden voyage, this year as the fifth day on the tour Monday, June 23, 2014.
STATELINE NEWS -- The 2014 Tour of America’s Dairyland cycling series enjoyed a record-breaking fifth year in 2013, featuring 6,200 competitors from 13 countries and 43 states racing in front of 150,000 spectators.
The 11-stop series includes two days of cycling in the area.
The East Troy Cycling Classic, which is the second leg on Friday, takes June 20, 2014.
The Beloit Bike Classic takes its maiden voyage, this year as the fifth day on the tour Monday, June 23, 2014.
East Troy offers a festive family atmosphere around the six-turn, 0.62-mile racing layout that showcases the village’s downtown and historical town square.
The classic begins at 11 a.m. with eight-plus hours of high-energy racing. It starts and finishes outside the East Troy Area Chamber of Commerce office, 2096 Church St. Businesses will be open, and local vendors will offer food and drinks.
The Milwaukee Brewers’ Famous Racing Sausages are scheduled to make an appearance from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. And a raffle for a Trek bike is planned.
Action in downtown Beloit features eight races from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. along a 0.76-mile, six-corner course that crosses the Rock River twice.
More than 600 riders, from children to Olympic-level competitors who take center stage in the day’s final event, are expected to participate.
"Visit Beloit is excited to bring the Tour of America’s Dairyland event to our beautiful downtown and riverfront," Monica Krysztopa, the organization’s executive director, said in a press release.
"Officials … were so impressed with our downtown and loved that the race will cross over two bridges, showcasing the riverfront. Securing this race has been a collaborative effort, and we appreciate the support from our sponsors …"
Matt Bosen is a former Beloit Snappers general manager and currently is director of sales and servicing at Visit Beloit. He told CSI Media recently that the event should be a boon for the community this year and beyond.
"It has the potential to be a crown jewel and annual showcase that puts the city in a positive light and allows for a lot of national marketing," Bosen said.
Activities also will include a kids’ zone with games and face painting and a street fair featuring local businesses and farmers’ market vendors.
The series is sanctioned by USA Cycling and is expected to be the largest road event in the country for the third year in a row.
The series kicks off June 19, 2014 in Shorewood and ends with the Downer Classic in Wauwatosa on June 29, 2014. It includes two National Criterium Calendar events.
For more information, visit TourOfAmericasDairyland.com.
ROCKTON -- The Rockton Lions Club has a history of presenting a great country music lineup for Old Settlers Days, their four-day music festival, and this year is no exception. The festival, which is held June 19 through June 22, 2014 in Rockton will feature some top names in country music including Wayland, Bret Michaels, Dylan Scott, Lee Brice, Drew Baldridge, Chris Young, Cole Swindell and Colt Ford.
TOWN OF GENEVA -- Nearly everyone in the town of Geneva has a theory on how two bodies ended up in two suitcases along a quiet rural road north of Lake Geneva.
Theories become rumors, but none of them have become solid tips, at least not publicly.
Wherever the investigation is heading, law enforcement is keeping its cards close to the vest.
JANESVILLE -- Jennifer Wagner and Amanda Suckow forgot their wedding rings at home, but it didn't dampen the spirit of the brief ceremony Monday for Rock County's first marriage between two women.
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Rock County Clerk Lori Stottler began issuing same-sex marriage licenses this morning following a ruling Friday by U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb that Wisconsin's prohibition on same-sex vows in the state violated the rights of gay and lesbian couples to equal protection under the federal constitution and fair treatment under the law.
Rock County is the third county in Wisconsin to begin issuing licenses, following Dane and Milwaukee counties.
"I'm more worried about not giving a license than I am about denying one," Stottler said.
Wagner and Suckow received their wedding vows outside the courthouse by The Rev. Matthew Mills of the Universal Life Church. It was his first wedding, he told Stottler, who walked him through the legal requirements of the marriage.
Ed Timmer and Barbara Fett of the Unitarian Church in Janesville were on hand to present couples with roses. They served as witnesses for the ceremony. The Rev. Jim Jaeger of the Unitarian Church in Madison also was on hand to serve as an officiant if needed.
Stottler said of the clerks she talked to, most were waiting to see if any same-sex couples would show up to apply for a license this morning. "It tends to split along party lines," she said.
Wagner and Suckow, who met at work, will hold a ceremony for family and friends later at Traxler Park, the couple said.
Walworth County Clerk Kim Bushey decided to not issue same-sex marriage licenses until she received notification from the county lawyer on what is the "correct legal action," additional information from the state and a decision from a federal court hearing today.
Two people, one via email and the other via phone, spoke with Bushey about marriage licenses Monday. Another couple stopped by in-person, Bushey told the Gazette.
"It puts all of the county clerks in a very difficult situation," Bushey said. "I think its sort of a moving target right now, and we need some additional information."
JANESVILLE -- Following an autopsy Saturday, May 10, 2014, police confirmed that the body recovered from the Rock River Friday was that of Mary Coulthard, who had been the subject of an intense search for nearly a week.
The cause of death was drowning, according to police. There was no sign of trauma to the body, according to police.
In the University of Texas affirmative action case, the U.S. Supreme Court declared, in effect, that racism has been eradicated in the United States.
Not so fast.