UMF senior as Marie Antoinette in benefit marathon

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FARMINGTON – In what is probably a first for benefit marathons, a University of Maine at Farmington senior art major intends to become Marie Antoinette and ride a teeter totter for 24 hours beginning Wednesday at 1 p.m. to raise funds and food for the needy.

Tim Berry’s senior seminar art class assignment prompted this spectacle of art in which he will wear a three-foot tall wig and be in full court dress, with extremely wide panniers to boot, in an effort to raise funds for Operation Keep ME Warm and a food drive to benefit the Care and Share Food Pantry in Fairbanks.

Now just imagine her in hunter orange and riding a teeter totter…

Berry’s project goals are to create public art while making a difference to the community. The dress-in-drag-for-24-hours-athon will be held on the green in front of UMF’s Mantor Library from 1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 19, to 1 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 20.

Marie Antoinette on a teeter totter?

“I wanted something over the top,” Berry said. “An attention getter.” The lavish-loving Queen of France who may or may not have said, “Let them eat cake” and lost her head by guillotine at the height of the French Revolution in 1793, might just do the trick. The mention of cake was a nice tie-in to Berry’s food collection effort to help out and the outfit, well, that’s where the attention-getting part comes in.

“The dress is humongous,” Berry said. And quite orange.

Added to the size of the dress will be its fluorescent orange hue that is an ode to November’s hunting season. The teeter totter is to be weighted by sandbags at one end and Berry on the other, in an impromptu replacement for his original vision of having Marie ala trampoline marathon. That idea was reportedly nixed by UMF’s powers that be who were worried about insurance liabilities, he said.

No matter. Berry’s “performance/endurance event geared towards raising arts awareness,” like any show, must go on.

For those wanting to donate to Berry’s good causes while catching a darn good show can bring non-perishable food items to the large box at Berry’s teeter totter. He hopes to have the box filled by the end of his 24-hour stint. He will then donate it all to the Care and Share Food Pantry which serves several area towns.

Audience members can also give by signing up to pledge any amount of money per hour Berry teeter totters. When it’s over, the money collected will be donated to Operation Keep ME Warm. A pledge sheet and a collection jar will be on hand for easy giving. Or, you can email him your pledge at timothy.berry@maine.edu For more information on this charity, please visit http://www.unitedwaygp.org/ourwork/KeepMEWarm.asp

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