Tag Archives: tacky tourist photos

Tourist Dress-Up Debate: Is it “racist” to try on a Japanese kimono?

HANDS OFF THE SILK - In a recently canceled Boston Museum of Fine Arts promotion, visitors were encouraged to try on a Japanese kimono and pose with the famous painting, (Source: MFA)

HANDS OFF THE SILK – In a recently canceled Boston Museum of Fine Arts promotion, visitors were encouraged to try on a Japanese kimono and pose with the famous Claude Monet painting, “La Japonaise.” (Source: Museum of Fine Arts)

The Boston Museum of Fine Arts just stopped letting visitors be photographed in kimonos on “Kimono Wednesdays” because of a few protestors charging that the dress-up event is culturally insensitive.

As a lover of kitschy photo-ops at museums and tourist attractions, I’m horrified.

My street cred? I’m the curator and co-founder of “Tacky Tourist Photos,” a travel website celebrating this practice around the world.

I thought the MFA’s promotion was clever and respectful of Japanese culture and would have exposed many outsiders to history and art they might not have bothered paying attention to otherwise. In Kyoto, Japan, there are lots of studios that invite tourists to go through the lengthy process of dressing in traditional Geisha and Samurai garb.

I’ve also met tourists who have had fun channeling Pharaohs in Egypt, Vikings in Sweden and Sumo wrestlers in Japan. I’ve personally had the honor of dressing like a Canadian! While on Prince Edward Island, I met Japanese and Chinese women who posed in red braids and straw hats and said they dreamed of visiting the land of Anne of Green Gables.

Anne of Green Gables costume booth at the Confederate Bridge on Prince Edward Island.

Anne of Green Gables costume booth at the Confederate Bridge on Prince Edward Island.

I share my disappointment in the MFA for not standing up to a few protestors – as well as challenge the idea of “cultural appropriation” in general – in this opinion column for The Globe and Mail (Canada’s national newspaper).

A snippet:

“Only a few generations after the Second World War, when Japan and the West viewed each other through the lens of brutal racial stereotypes, our first impressions are no longer Pearl Harbor and P.O.W. camps. My immediate associations with Japan are anime, baseball, comic books and video games. Go to any comic book convention and you’ll find that Japanese culture is worshipped.

I’d like to think that part of that cultural transformation is due to trying on each other’s clothes.”

I know it’s the journalistic equivalent of smacking a hornet’s nest with a baseball bat, but I also humbly propose 5 objective criteria to determine whether a costumed photo-op is offensive or not offensive.

If you appreciate fun travel photo-ops, whether they celebrate cultural or historical themes or not, please consider immortalizing your snapshots in my “museum.”

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Filed under Excuses to Dress in a Kimono, Journalism Assignments, tacky tourist photos

A modeling career is born…

This goofy Anne of Green Gables costume has certainly been a PR bonanza for my pet travel humor project, earning prime real estate in The Boston Globe, on NPR and the CBC (we’ll have to impress the Canadian media with a Dudley Do-Right tribute next).

But you, Manchester Union-Leader, have won my heart.

It’s my first ever magazine cover!

Thank you, NH Weekend magazine for previewing my “Exploring America’s Tackiest Tourist Photos” exhibit and presentation at the Amherst Public Library. We’re expecting a SRO crowd. 🙂

Here’s what I love about the cover:

1. The Academy Awards are briefly teased, but hey, they aren’t really that special compared to the guy in the green dress.

2. The graphic artist took the time to layer the photograph with the magazine logo. This might seem like a no-brainer with print design, but newspapers are SO understaffed and overworked these days that I’m impressed that someone still cares about the nuances.

3. The photo editor chose not to crop out my favorite KEEN sandals, the most comfortable footwear ever. Though I am wondering if fashionwise, I may have been better off wearing a pair of Vibram FiveFingers?

4. I appreciate that FINALLY the mainstream media is realizing that Tacky Tourist Photos is not just about the chuckles and guffaws. There is a significant educational component, too.

BTW, if you, too, want to look like Anne of Green Gables (there’s no shame in admitting it), the best place to fulfill your dream is the Cavendish Figurines costume booth at the Confederation Bridge connecting New Brunswick with Prince Edward Island.

Be sure to tell Jeannette that Darren sent you!

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Summer Genius

Nothing impresses the ladies more than a monogrammed tote bag! (Click the pic for more details)

Our friends over at Tacky Tourist Photos have come up with a novel way to celebrate the waning days of summer.

Unfortunately, because of my connections to the Executive Board, I am not eligible to win this handsome customized tote bag.

But you are.

Curious what all the fuss is about?  Get the scoop at the Budget Travel magazine blog.

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NPR explores Tacky Tourist Photos

Click here to hear Tacky Tourist secrets revealed only to WBUR's Monica Brady-Myerov.

Thanks to NPR’s Here and Now program for lending some intellectual street cred to Tacky Tourist Photos, my pet project that documents the goofiest vacation photos in the universe — and the fun people behind them!

Among the FASCINATING tidbits you’ll learn from listening to the interview are:

* Strategies for invading South American countries with pretty college co-eds.

* How French pedestrians reacted to our offbeat Eiffel Tower photo shoot.

* The real motivation behind tourists (like me) dressing as Anne of Green Gables.

* How to take the most creative vacation photos regardless of whether you are visiting an exotic tourist trap or your friendly neighborhood tourist trap.

* Why Turkish toilet seats are especially funny; and

* Why Tacky Tourist Photos refuses to make fun of our “guests” like many other picture-of-the-day humor Websites.

Click on the screenshot above to listen to the NPR segment. You’ll be thrilled that you did!

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Going ga-ga over fake celebrities

Every day, dozens of brides line up to marry George Clooney — having no fashion qualms whatsoever with a one-size-fits-all wedding dress.

Our culture is so starstruck and celebrity-obsessed that we even get a thrill meeting wax figures of famous people. Take a look at my friend Ilya, co-founder of Tacky Tourist Photos, who seems a little too excited about meeting the fake Jessica Simpson.

Or Heather, who likes to flirt with both the fake Clooney and the fake Tiger Woods.

Hey, I’m not suggesting that I’m above the peasantry. I’m included in the above slideshow and I also relished the opportunity to pose with the fake Elvis and the fake Evel Knievel.

I could be the most Wax-Museum-Obsessed Writer in America.

I’ve defended the right of Yasser Arafat to be in New York’s Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum — because evicting wax terrorists is a slippery museum slope — and I have endorsed the beheading of Hitler at the Berlin branch.  Much heavier stuff than flirting with George Clooney or Jessica Simpson, I know.

How about you?  Anyone have any funny wax museum stories or photos to share?

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Filed under Fashion, Wax Museum Weddings

What would the Mona Lisa look like with glasses and bangs?

To benefit the Nashua (NH) Soup Kitchen, the curators of Tacky Tourist Photos will be offering Mona Lisa photo-ops at the Floating Art Gallery.

To benefit the Nashua (NH) Soup Kitchen & Shelter, the curators of Tacky Tourist Photos will be offering Mona Lisa photo-ops at the Floating Art Gallery.

NASHUA, NH — If you can’t afford to SEE the Mona Lisa, then just BE the Mona Lisa instead.

To raise money for the Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter, the curators of TackyTouristPhotos.com will stage a daring and ambitious piece of performance art called “Be the Mona Lisa” at the Floating Art Gallery on Sunday, Dec. 6.

Visitors will substitute their heads for the famous smiling lady immortalized by Leonardo da Vinci. Yes, this is the same Mona Lisa who survived a brutal coffee mug attack at the Louvre. Why wait in those long lines in Paris, when you can zip up Route 3 North and scoot over to the Courtyard Marriott?

The excitement lasts from 6-9 p.m. and includes live music and a cash bar.

Tacky Tourist Photos will join more than a dozen artists, painters, photographers and sculptors at the charity benefit, at which a portion of sales will help one of the following causes: The Healthy NH Foundation; Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Greater Manchester; the Nashua Humane Society; St. Jude Children’s Hospital; Children’s International; Nashua Area Artist’s Association; Nashua Soup Kitchen; New England Aquarium; Animal Rescue League of NH; and the ASPCA.

Equally significant will be the culinary experience of enjoying complimentary Tacky Appetizers, which are rumored to involve delicately sliced Hostess and Little Debbie treats.

For more information, visit the Floating Gallery.

And doesn’t fellow TTP curator Pete also look FAN-tastic as Mona Lisa?

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Filed under Tacky Souvenirs, tacky tourist photos

Tanks for the Memories: Mike Dukakis and the Perils of Playing Dress-Up

The personalized sticky label on Mike's helmet was a nice touch

The personalized sticky label on Mike's helmet was a nice touch

Can posing for just one Tacky Tourist Photo forever alter the course of American history?

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Filed under Mike Dukakis Eyebrows, politics, tacky tourist photos