LYNNWOOD — In his trombone heyday, Dan Marcus was on the road with Ray Charles for five years.
That sliver of fame in his 20s has been immortalized as public art on a utility signal box.
What’s up with that?
Marcus, 62, is on the new “Big Hair and Blue Eye Shadow” theme box spread near Alderwood mall.
He has a mop of curls, shades and a red shirt unzipped nearly to his navel.
“That was Ray’s band jacket,” he said. “If you look closely you can see his outline. That was the thing.”
Marcus and a bandmate are the only two dudes on the box with pictures of about 30 poofy dames, including Lynnwood Mayor Nicola Smith, City Councilwoman Shannon Sessions, three Debbies, two Nancys, a Cheri, Linda, Pam, RuthAnn, Barbara and other blue-eye-shadow-era girl names.
“This is such a fun box, to poke fun at ourself,” said Sessions, 51. “And the community outreach we received because of this silly box is a lot.”
The photo is her Meadowdale High School senior picture, class of 1988.
“My mom is on there, too. Her glamour shot, back in the day,” she said.
The box, at 188th Street SW and 33rd Avenue W, is one of three new wraps in Lynnwood. Other themes are “Thank you to Essential Workers” and “Chilpancingo Friendship City.”
Lynnwood community programs coordinator Fred Wong is the mastermind of giving motorists something cool to look at while sitting at stoplights. Thanks to him, wraps now cover 10 boxes. The first was of butterflies and flowers on a box by Cedar Valley Community School in 2016.
“Big Hair” celebrates a slice of the 1980s to ’90s Lynnwood that was lampooned on “Almost Live,” a popular locally grown sketch comedy show that aired on KING-TV for 15 years. Wong said the idea came up during a brainstorming session about the lighter side of Lynnwood, called “a nondescript suburb” on the show.
The “Lynnwood Beauty Academy” skits depicted three styles: poofed hair, big scary hair and the Lynnwood-patented “Wall-A-Bangs.” All went perfectly with beer can earrings.
Eye shadow came in “easy to use buckets that will last a week” in three colors: “Lynnwood blue.” “Really really really blue.” “Not found in nature blue, only found in Lynnwood blue.”
Perfume was sprayed on using a Super Soaker water gun pump. Scents included enticing aromas that have driven Lynnwood men crazy for years, like “slightly damp sheepskin seat cover.”
In 2019, Wong asked Lynnwoodians to submit photos for the “Big Hair” box. The project’s debut was delayed due to the pandemic.
Lisa Marone, 47, is shown on the box in her dance unitards from the Barclay Shelton Dance Centre in 1991, where her 7-year-old daughter now dances.
“My daughter thinks it’s funny,” Marone said.
As for Marcus, 40 years later he still has hair, though less than in the photo, and plays the trombone as a sideline. A recent gig was for “Mean Girls” at the Paramount in Seattle.
Check out the other new signal boxes:
“Thank you to Essential Workers,” at 188th Street SW and 44th Avenue W., pays tribute to the thousands of essential workers in Lynnwood during the pandemic in health care, warehouse jobs, construction, delivery and trades. “Chilpancingo Friendship City,” at Alderwood Mall Boulevard and Alderwood Mall Parkway, celebrates Lynnwood’s friendship city in Mexico.
And to think “Almost Live!” deemed Lynnwood nondescript.
Cat TV update
Last week’s column about TVs needed for the cats at PAWS in Lynnwood led to more than enough TV donations. The cats are binging on Birding King TV for hours of daily enrichment and stimulation.
“Volunteers quickly began installing wall brackets that same day,” said Lynn Jefferson of PAWS. “Our many thanks to those who donated televisions. We’re hoping that our feline guests enjoy the entertainment and don’t complain too often about having to watch the occasional repeat episode. We all know how felines can be a little purr-snickety sometimes.”
Who knows, maybe it will end up on a signal box someday.