Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A "Model" Prisoner

Meet Robert Himburg.

He is serving time in the Rayburn Correctional facility in Louisiana for burglary. You see, Robert use to use his hands to crack safes. Now he builds models with them.....unbelievably detailed models of ships, trains, etc.

My dear friend and colleague Brook Hanemann is an MUW Theatre Professor. Her father Danny works for the Rayburn Correctional Facility where Himburg is incarcerated. Last fall, he commissioned him to build a "Streetcar Named Desire" for Brook since she is a huge Tennessee Williams fan....who, by the way, was born right here in Columbus, Mississippi. Low and behold, while it was being made for her, she found out that she will be playing Blanche in an upcoming production of "Streetcar," as part of the Tennessee Williams festival here in Columbus in September. Funny how things work out.

So here is the model. He was not allowed to use any power tools, and only had photographs to look at. He didn't even have a model for reference....just a stack of photos. This is the most amazing piece of craftsmanship I have ever seen. The rivets on the outside are tiny drops of glue....there is even a folded up newspaper lying on one of the seats, and tiny hydraulic lines under the wheels, and working LED lights in the roof.

If the stars line up, Brook and I are supposed to go interview him at the prison for a short documentary on how he built it. The model will be on display in the lobby of Rent Auditorium on the Mississippi University for Women campus during production of the play, hopefully with a DVD of the interview playing beside it.

Brook's mother, Marcelle Hanemann, is a journalist, and has written a couple of stories about him and his models, which got picked up by the associated press and were printed in several papers around the country. read the stories and there are photos of an incredible ship he built as well.

We carted this masterpiece around the fair city of Columbus today and took these pix. Once again, I LOVE my job!



Kesler Crew said...

Now, that is awesome. Great photos!

ii said...

i can't wait to see that in person!

Amy Swingle said...

That is so incredible! Great story, Chris!

Talley Images said...

this is incredible

(and the word verification is desiness, kind of like desire.... wierd for this post!)