Banana Men

Thursday's Los Angeles Times included an article about the sale of a collection of "banana kitsch" from Ken Bannister to Fred Garbutt. The print edition story was headlined, "Fruit Consumes Man." Online, the pun begins, "Bunches of Banana Stuff..."Garbutt runs a liquor store near the Salton Sea. Bannister was the creator and curator of the International Banana Museum.TTLA's blogger visited the I.B.M. back when it was located in Altadena. The resulting Secret City column for latimes.com is

TheSecretCity_The Banana Man1.jpg
in part below, as a .pdf.From the column: 

"He discusses nutritional content. He offers advice
about how to use banana as a hair conditioner, shoe polish, and eye cream. He
waxes poetic about "the bright yellow elongated edible fruit from the
herbaceous family."


And a couple of times Bannister grabs a prop, holds it to
the side of his head and says, "I can't hear you, I have a banana in my




"So amidst all this banana hagiography, Bannister is
asked - quite seriously - about the darker side of bananas.

"How do you mean?" he says.


Banana republics, Bannister is told. The exploitation of
labor; poor U.S. relations with its southern neighbhors; archetypical American


"I don't get into that. I don't get involved in any
negative conversations, period," Bannister replies, "I keep it
positive. I keep it healthy and in a good light.""


The tour then resumed, with Bannister saying, "This
here is a doll made from actual banana leaves..."



Photo credit: Photo copyright and courtesy Jeremy Rosenberg

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