best dead-for-100-years elephant (2008)


In 1903, one of the stars of Coney Island's Luna Park was publicly electrocuted (and her execution filmed) by a crew hired by Thomas Edison: TOPSY, a three-ton pachyderm. (She'd killed a trainer who fed her a lit cigarette.) The artist Gavin Heck is obsessed with Topsy and her fate; this summer, thanks largely to his activism, the Coney Island Museum installed a Topsy memorial designed by Lee Deigaard. Other recent signs of the Topsy revival: a funeral party, a Topsy-themed float in the Mermaid Parade, and a song about her by Piñataland.


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