Chasing the Dragon!

A few years back, we did a profile of Ryan Doyle, the creator of “Gon-KiRin,” a giant dragon. The beast is 22-1/2 feet tall and about 80 feet long, weighing in at 8 tons. It’s an “art car,” built onto the frame of an old Dodge W-300 Power Wagon with a 318 engine. There’s a 1,500-pound second-story DJ booth encased in steel wicker, mounted on a Marine Zodiac attack boat under the monster’s spine. The whole contraption can carry more than a dozen riders, with seats in the mouth and in a party couch on the back, where riders can make the tail sway back and forth. Hydraulic systems bring the front of it to life, and the driver can use a fire system to shoot flames from the fearsome creature’s mouth.

Two years ago, he and a group of artists who’ve come to Detroit from around the country held a party to celebrate the end of the world as predicted by Christian broadcaster Harold Camping. That party was a blast, at least what we can remember of it.

The reason we bring it up? They’re doing it again. This time, it’s loosely keyed to another momentous event: plans to colonize Mars. Of course, really, it’s just a raucous fundraiser aimed at getting the dragon out to Grand Rapids for the ArtPrize competition. (It can cost a great deal of money to disassemble the big guy for shipping, re-assembly, and final breakdown and re-shipping.) Partygoers can expect to see the dragon (naturally), a jet-powered whirligig called the Regurgitator that spins in circles fast enough to give riders 5 G’s. The revelry will also feature DJs, live music and other fun. For a $10 suggested donation, it will be the livest party in town. It starts at 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 20, in a large, outdoor lot on the corner of Lincoln Street (Trumbull Street) and Marquette Avenue, in Detroit’s New Center area.

About The Author

Michael Jackman

Born in 1969 at Mount Carmel hospital in Detroit, Jackman grew up just 100 yards from the Detroit city line in east Dearborn. Jackman has attended New York University, the School of Visual Arts, Northwestern University and Wayne State University, though he never got a degree. He has worked as a bar back, busboy,...
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