The chimera of Faneuil Hall

Yesterday’s Zippy takes us to the Boston waterfront and a piece of remarkable antic public art:


A chimera — a composite of parts of a Boston lobster (those claws!) and parts of Mickey Mouse (all the rest, but especially the ears), let’s portmanteau him Lobstickey Mouse — who stood for a couple of years by Faneuil Hall on the Boston waterfront.

Lexical matters. Two metaphorical extensions (entries from NOAD):

noun chimera: 1 [a] (Chimera) (in Greek mythology) a fire-breathing female monster with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail. [b] any mythical animal with parts taken from various animals.

The Faneuil Hall chimera had only two contributing species, so it could also have been described as a hybrid

noun hybrid: 1 Biology the offspring of two plants or animals of different species or varieties, such as a mule (a hybrid of a donkey and a horse): a hybrid of wheat and rye. 2 a thing made by combining two different elements; a mixture: the final text is a hybrid of the stage play and the film. …

(Hybrid things are frequently named by hybrid words — that is, by portmanteaus — as when a combination of a spoon and fork is known as a spork. Or Lobstickey Mouse.)

The statue. From the Atlas Obscura site, not dated, in “Lobster Mickey: This “life-size” depiction of Mickey Mouse as a half-lobster is both whimsical and a bit creepy, standing guard over the Boston waterfront”:


For Mickey Mouse’s 75th birthday [in 2003], Disney commissioned artists across the country to decorate 700 pound Mickey statues for their local region.

The Boston area really took that “local” part seriously.

Artist Breanna Rowlette created “Lobsta’ Mickey,” a tribute to Boston’s close ties to seafood and linguistic accent. The six foot tall mouse is charming and strange at the same time… there’s something about a rodent with giant claws that can’t help but be a tad unsettling. He can be found at Faneuil Hall marketplace.

Update 2015: Sadly Lobster Mickey is no longer present. He got auctioned off in 2005 …

According to a Business Wire story, all 75 InspEARations Mickey Mouse statues were auctioned off in September 2005 at Sotheby’s to benefit various charities; lot 59, Rowlette’s “Lobsta Mickey” went to the Boston Arts Academy (Boston’s only public high school for the visual and performing arts) for $7,500. The sale netted $614,500 for the charities.

(“Lobsta Mickey” is cited on several sites recognizing really bad statuary.)

About the artist, Breanna Rowlette, I could find no information beyond her involvement with the statue — though there is a Breanna Rowlette listed as associated with the Criminal Justice and Criminology program at UMass Lowell.


3 Responses to “The chimera of Faneuil Hall”

  1. BARRY SHEIN Says:

    Even more disturbing: A lobster only turns red like that after it’s been boiled. So it’s boiled Lobster Mickey.

Leave a Reply