The baby-blue 1976 Cadillac Eldorado convertible with the vanity tags "TOFU" crawled down M Street NW yesterday under police escort. From it, a woman with long brown hair waved to the Georgetown crowd with a studied, from-the-elbow wave. She wore a fur coat with red paint applied to look like blood.
From the back seat a man with a loudspeaker who was with "Trans-Species Unlimited" kept up a fashion-show-like patter promoting animal rights and opposing fur coats.
It was a good day for a parade, as temperatures rose into the 40s in bright sun. A little more than a block's worth of activists took advantage of fair weather to walk through Georgetown with messages such as "Fur: Warm Body; Cold Heart" on their placards to protest cruelty to animals.
The approximately 80 demonstrators -- who used the entrance to Georgetown Park as their staging area despite the mall having no fur stores -- were nothing if not imaginative.
Chas Chiodo wore a beaver coat on his back, a white rabbit fur on his head and a red fox pelt off his right hand. Steel-jaw traps dangled from each, and paint was splashed on all. The fashions, Chiodo said, came courtesy of former fur owners who had seen the light and donated them to the antifur cause. He wore a button reading "Question Authority" and decried "the blatant waste of life" he felt furs represent.
Kathleen Kinsolving, an activist who reported she performed animal rights street theater, had written what she described as "An Animal Rights Rap," which she recited. In part, it goes: "When you see how they're trapped/ It's a pitiful sin;/ To think that so many people/ Want to be wrapped in."
A takeoff of a fashion show was performed by two women perched on a plywood stage built over the gunwales of an old, somewhat yellow Dodge 100 pickup. "What do you say ladies, is this sexy?" asked one of the models, who flung about a paint-splattered fur in a manner halfway between a bump-and-grind and a toreador's challenge.
"They are communists, in my opinion," said Eric W. Graetz of the demonstrators. Graetz, a passer-by, was wearing a full-length timber-wolf coat with tails hanging from the sleeves and back collar.
Graetz exhibited no remorse about his wolf coat. "Wolves are aggressive. In Alaska, they kill moose and cows," he explained.
An architect with the D.C. Department of Corrections, Graetz happened to have with him a three-fold illustration of his custom-made coat, which he had designed. He displayed it readily.
Outside, perhaps the most unkind cut of the day was leveled by Michael Gurwitz, a pre-law student who was manning the obligatory bullhorn. The marchers entered into a sing-song with him, their portion of which was the refrain, "Don't Buy Fur!"
Gurwitz, however, was striving for originality. He'd been through the shout "Fur Is Sick," "Fur Is Torture" and a dozen others. So as the march came back up M Street and turned around in front of Clyde's, he launched his most devastating blow.
"Fur Is Yuppie!" echoed the tinny, amplified charge off the storefronts.
"Don't Buy Fur!" several dozen voices replied.