Submitted by Jeff Buster on Mon, 01/23/2006 - 21:50.


(let your cursor run over the following copy - there are lots of active links that don't readily show up) 

ADVERTIZING PHYCOLOGY 101 How to turn a well known but negative brand into a even better known positive brand.     Public Catharsis!


BACKGROUND Cleveland has a burning river  legacy  and the Cuyahoga’s WATER FIRE has been talked and even  sung about internationally as an embarrassment to Cleveland.   However, the flammable Cuyahoga also inspires  environmental regulations   which have helped across the nation   .   


Nevertheless – you still constantly hear Cleveland as the butt of burning river jokes.  The nation’s negative awareness of Cleveland is an asset if we use the familiar joke to drive interest and attention towards a new version of the WATER FIRE story and Cleveland.  


In March of 2004, inspired by Craig and Sue James at REI to think out of the box,  Martha Eakin and I came up with the idea of setting an intentional fire on the water, an  in-your-face  lighting of the breakwater on fire as a global publicity stunt for Cleveland.  MESSAGE – CLEVELAND IS HOT! CLEVELAND IS ON FIRE! This would be a public installation event ala  Christo   I went out and obtained the domain –  jeffbuster [at] clevelandonfire [dot] com


Now we are convinced that this is a great idea – doesn’t everyone like their own ideas? – and we should be hired to put the installation in place so it could be opened for the June 22nd anniversary of the 1969 fire – and then run at night all summer. 


But there's something else we would like to try, inspired by Ed Morrison, Betsy Merkel, Susan Altshuler , Valdis Krebs, Jack Ricciuto, Norm Roulet (and others) and that is putting this idea out in the public arena now, in order to improve the idea and see where it goes and how it is treated in the civic space.  Look at the  I-Open  model.  Will the idea inspire others?   Will the idea be facilitated by others?  Is the idea a dog?  Or a winner? 


HERE’S THE PRESENT GAME PLAN :  First we thought about actual (hot) flames on the river.   This would be difficult because of currents, boat traffic, and ignition hazards.  What if it were moved out to the breakwater – using propane, alcohol,  or another accelerant. -- but too expensive, too dangerous, complicated logistics, poor repeatability, pollution issues, etc.  No good.  And the Cleveland Harbor is too busy, too big and usually too rough for the type of fire displays used in  Rhode Island


Then we came up with the idea of creating a water mist or fog or spray which would be injected into the air along the breakwater by pumps, piping, and nozzles.  The droplets of water in the air would be in turn illuminated by upward lighting mounted on the breakwater.  We could try orchard misting spray rigs or snow making equipment with its nozzles and compressors and pumps or use new design-specific technology .  Gen sets would be on barges tethered against the breakwater to provide power for pumps and lighting.


At the mouth of the Cuyahoga where the stone breakwater has triangular branches,  lasers would be mounted on one branch of the stone break wall while the mist curtain would be sent upwards from the other branch. Or lasers might be projected from shore, the projection room could be in the coast guard station (Burke airport issues?).  The lasers would project onto the mist curtain and could project a huge still image (eg  a flag) or, with the right lasers and controllers,  a moving picture could be projected.  With a flat mist curtain, an articulate image could be produced that would be visible for miles.  This would create the biggest “drive/boat in theater” ever, and the projection screen could be used by any artist ( or ads from a commercial venture to help fund it) to project whatever they wanted.  CLEVELAND WOULD PROVIDE THE WORLDS LARGEST SCREENING ROOM for after dark summer flicks. You can see present laser mist screen tech here: water screen and mirage water works and waterscrim and water screen and scott ritt and roy zartman and matt hurwitz ,Laser Visuals Ltd - laser waterscreen effects ,water screen and mirage water works and waterscrim and water screen and scott ritt and roy zartman and matt hurwitz ,Waterscreen Shows / Laser Shows Production / Theme Park Attractions



Projected (EST) budget and one month’s operation of mist wall:  $250,000 w/o laser projection. Laser equipment would be provided by mist operator with international call/commissions for laser artists to create and operate shows – The Sundance Film festival has new competition!


Projected benefit:  priceless global invigoration of Cleveland’s innovation  image – and lots of downtown pedestrian traffic.


How ‘bout it?



Port Authority
Cuyahoga County
City of Cleveland

Burke Airport
Army Corps of Engineers

and others 




Cleveland Breakwater.jpg41.4 KB
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