"Far out," said a friend of the artist.
"Real outrageous," said a friend of a friend of the artist.
"You don't live in a place like Marfa, Tex., and not wear cowboy boots," said the artist, Bob Wade, creator of two 40-foot white cowboy boots that soon will rise from the weedy lot at 12th and G streets NW. Last night he had a get-together there to celebrate.
The comments were reactions to yet another monument in a city full of them at yet another party in a city known for them.
But this monument is different. Instead of marble and meaningful inscriptions, there will be white urethane foam encircling a metal frame to create what Wade insists will be the biggest pair of cowboy boots in the world.
The party crowd was different, too, instead of senators and socialites, there were welders, architects and engineers -- about 50 people who had helped design or fund the project. Everybody wore blue jeans, drank Pearl beer, ate taco chips and listened to country music that one guest branded as "Texas art music."
The boots, which at $4,000 will cost considerably more than a real size 10, are funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Washington Project for the Arts. They are set for completion in September as the first work in the WPA's public art installation program, which will put huge art structures on Washington street corners.
Last night, boot party conversation was a lot like basic art party conversation. In other words, everybody spent the evening interpreting the meaning of boots.
From the artist, who admitted his first shoe was not a boot but a knitted baby bootie: "the shoe thing is very heavy. The footwear thing is very important and gives off a lot of implications. The implications are cross-cultural, but everybody can relate to it because every culture has some kind of a boot connection."
From Michael McCall, a painter whose party name-tag said, "call me anytime": "Some days I go home and think about how big the project is -- and how small I really am. You know what I mean?"
But not everyone was interpreting.
"i'm not a philosopher," said Dickson Carroll, an architect and sculptor whose job is to make sure the boots won't fall down. They won't, be assured.
And the artist, whose previous works include a giant iguana sitting atop the Lone Star Cafe in New York City, contended that the boots will be as much of a sensation from tourists as the White House -- in their own manager, of course.
"it's a different category," he explained, "but I think people will gape at them in the same way." CAPTION: Picture Bob Wade with frame of 40-foot Boot; by Lucian Perkins -- The Washington Post