A week ago, I would have laid good money that I’d never have a blog titled “horse-dragon.” I mean, what the heck is that, anyway?
It turns out it was one-half of a street spectacle put on in Ottawa as part of Canada’s 150th: La Machine.
The other half was a less appealing subject: a giant spider named Kumo that we first encountered perched on the roof of Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica.
The story was that Kumo had stolen Long-Ma’s wings, and Long-Ma (not unreasonably) wanted them back. At different downtown venues through the weekend, Kumo and Long-Ma interacted, presumably to further their respective missions: keep/recover said wings. Kumo sprayed water; Long-Ma exhaled fire, snorted spray, rumbled and groaned, and batted its eyelashes, which were prodigious.
Tens of thousands of residents of the National Capital Region filled the streets, joining these two mechanical beasts, their more than two dozen handlers and choreographers, about as many crowd-control volunteers, too many police officers to count, and the ten-or-so live musicians accompanying them – in both senses – on three scissor-lifts.
At least in the small doses in which we partook, it was a fun event, although I can’t quite articulate its appeal. It was the North American premiere, which counts for something. It was unique, which also helps: I don’t expect to see giant robots in the streets ever again. But maybe the best part was that people – all kinds of people – were simply there to be delighted.
See Long-Ma in action here: