BLSP’s Topsy-Turvy Bus Debuts in Berkeley

This morning, during breakfast, I pulled out Section B of today’s Chronicle and saw a great feature article on Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities’ (BLSP) newest educational-vehicle creation, the Topsy-Turvy Bus. Spawned from the brain of ice-cream wizard, and my former boss, Ben Cohen (with help from others including myself), this latest eye-catcher plans on heading to Vermont soon via Iowa and New Hampshire.

The Chronicle article mentioned a launching today at Sproul Plaza at UC Berkeley, so I contacted BLSP ED Duane Peterson so see what was up. BLSP had planned on launching with the Hip Hop Caucus crew, but HHC canceled their show due to an ongoing janitors’ strike at UCB.  Duane didn’t know what, if anything, was happening, but I still hopped on BART and got there around 1pm to find Ben Cohen and the Topsy-Turvy Bus creators about to leave. After a brief chat with Ben, he handed me some coupons for free B&J ice cream, a few 3-year-old pull-out pens, and then boarded the bus to head off amongst gawking, photo-snapping pedestrians. I got a few photos myself.

Papa Ben Cohen affectionately leans on his newest brainchild, the Topsy-Turvy Bus

Sadly, Ben was only in town for the day’s festivities, and nothing much was going on for the bus. I could still see that some finishing touches needed to be done (pie chart stop signs, blinking lights for the top, TV/DVD system above the driver for audience viewings, etc.), but the art car looked sweet.

TopsyTurvy Bus Interior

The Global Military Spending bar chart (found in your handy pens) adorns the ceiling like a Sistine Chapel of US Budget Tutorials. BLSP plans on having the Topsy-Turvy bus get driven by volunteers who will go to functions, set up the back with chairs so folks can view a video about sensible federal spending.

TopsyTurvy Bus Front VIew

The BLSP Topsy-Turvy Bus heads down Bancroft Way on the way to it’s destiny out west in Iowa and New Hampshire. The artists plan on driving the thing across country, most likely working on it along the way. Not to mention meeting a whole mess of curious folks with cameras, smiles, and questions. I’m jealous!

TopsyTurvy Bus Back View

Riding off into the “sunrise,” the Topsy-Turvy bus chugs off into the unknown waters of the 2007 USA Primary Season. Look for it in a town near you!

For other postings on BLSP’s Educational Vehicle Fleet, check these out:

Art Car Activism, An Anecdotal History
Meet the Pie Mobiles
Meet the Oreo Mobile
Meet the Carny Mobile 
Meet the Piggie Mobile