If you decided to dine at Bern's Steakhouse in Tampa last night, you probably noticed that something was off about the restaurant's exterior. That's because the walls of the Republican National Convention hotspot were momentarily covered in video projections of white men laughing, courtesy of the political humor site "Wake the Beast" and photographer Jill Greenberg.
The installation, playfully titled "Entitled," was unveiled just in time for Mitt Romney's RNC speech at the local steakhouse often patronized by right-wing elites. Consisting of a multichannel video depicting the slow-motion chuckles of hefty, pale men wearing power ties, the large-scale project was a guerrilla endeavor that we imagine startled both unsuspecting Republican diners and anyone who happened to pass by the steakhouse that night.
According to an e-mail sent to the Huffington Post by a project representative, the group was met by security at the restaurant fairly quickly, though no one was arrested. In order to keep to visuals going, the wall-sized images were projected from a car as the group drove around the building, briefly stopping at the back wall of Bern's for a stationary projection that lasted several minutes.
The installation, which was accompanied by an audio track of the sounds of laughter, was a direct critique of the Republican Party and what Wake the Beast views as the merciless role of money within partisan politics. “The goal of this piece is to remind the viewer, to remind us all, of our own complicity in standing passively aside while others laugh at us,” states Greenberg, in a press release provided by Wake the Beast. “It’s a critique of the state of politics in this country. It’s a commentary on the male-dominated, wealth-dominated GOP in particular.”
Greenberg is an American photographer known for series such as “End Times,” portraits of disgruntled toddlers that were meant to demonstrate the anxiety felt by the voting populace during George W. Bush's presidency. This was followed by a manipulated photo series in 2008, created after photographing a sinister version of then-presidential candidate John McCain with a sharp tongue licking up blood around his mouth. (In other words, the Bern's Steakhouse project is not the first time the photographer has voiced her criticism of the GOP.)
Wake the Beast's MO is to combine "smart politics" with relatively unknown funny men in the entertainment industry, culminating in witty videos touting a particularly potent progressive message. The site plans to release more video content throughout the next several months, with target number one being GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The upcoming hilarity will join the ranks of videos like actor and comedian Matt Braunger's recent clip, "Should You Vote For Romney," which advises anyone who's not a "very, very, very, very, very wealthy, white, heterosexual male" to vote against Romney.
Check out a slideshow of raw footage from "Entitled" below. Let us know what you think of the RNC surprise in the comments section.
Correction: In an earlier version of this article, we wrote that Greenberg's photo of John McCain displayed him with a forked tongue. It was merely pointy.