Like any great work of art or architecture, Bishop Castle is a pleasure to visit on many (any) levels. Jim Bishop, its architect and namesake, and his caricaturistic anti-heroism has enough negative capability for all the Romantics put together, and his screeds are usually part of the sauce. But on a recent visit, absent Bishop himself, I found myself taken with the lovely and hilarious contradictions that Bishop and his castle embody, namely: Bishop’s Constitutional fanaticism and all-American rugged individualism combined with what is probably the most potent symbol of monarchical/dictatorial power known to humanity: the castle. And yet, by way of his total openness to the public, Bishop somehow manages to make his castle a beacon of messy, precarious, and thrilling democratic freedoms. With all its porta-potties, graffiti, ad hoc fixes, globs of chewing gum, rotten apple cores, vertiginous stair-cases, and its total at-your-own-risk attitude, Bishop Castle truly belongs to its visitors in a way that it only could in America.

Here’s to Jim Bishop and his freedom!

 

5 Responses to The People’s Castle: Bishop Revisited

  1. Mary H says:

    Never ceases to amaze me. So much work. So much creativity.

  2. Sarah says:

    I didn’t think that structure seemed entirely sound.

  3. Mike M says:

    Great treatment. Reveals Bishop Castle to be more than a castle – but also a cathedral and art gallery . . . perhaps even a shrine to art and humanity.

  4. Dianne says:

    Nifty pix. Thanks for these perspectives, especially from heights I never plan to ascend. What was the music? Lovely.

  5. Nico says:

    Jim Bishop is a crank and a nut and a treasure. Thanks to Noel Black for reminding us that J.B.’s still out there, doing his kooky thing, and thanks too for going, as Dianne says, to heights I plan never to ascend.

News

AP
December 20, 2014 | NPR · An analyst from GasBuddy.com says 24 states have at least one station with the price per gallon at $1.99 or less.
 

AP
December 20, 2014 | NPR · He flew nearly 150 missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, but after the war, Steward returned home and was denied a mortgage because of his skin color.
 

Reuters/Landov
December 20, 2014 | NPR · The World Health Organization has added nearly 400 more deaths from the current outbreak since its last report earlier this week.
 

Arts & Life

iStockphoto
December 20, 2014 | NPR · Mark Bailey, who detailed old Hollywood’s legendary love affair with liquor in his book Of All the Gin Joints, shares stories from a bygone era over cocktails at a legendary Hollywood bar.
 

AP
December 20, 2014 | NPR · Some in the entertainment industry are wondering if they’ll have to be careful now about the stories they tell or the jokes they make in the wake of Sony’s withdrawal of The Interview.
 

AP
December 20, 2014 | NPR · Slate has rocketed to fame with her online film series Marcel the Shell with Shoes On and the movie Obvious Child — but there are some other famous Jennifers out there …
 

Music

Whitney Curtis for NPR
December 20, 2014 | NPR · Michel Martin has spent much of the last few months on the road, and she has been moved by the people she’s met and the stories they’ve shared with her. She remembers her ‘Top 5′ moments of 2014.
 

NPR
December 20, 2014 | NPR · She came to the desk a little unsure, and left singing “West Memphis” with intensity and passion. Williams has a voice like no other, and it shines in these intimate moments.
 

Courtesy of the artist
December 20, 2014 | NPR · From Aphex Twin’s unmistakable return to Leon Vynehall’s emotional faculty with samples, distinctive voices dominate the list of electronic albums that made an impression this year.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab