BURGERHEAVEN by Susannah Thompson

 


For Burgerheaven your curatorial purveyors of fine food, Scottish-based artists Beagles and Ramsay, have plunged with abandon into the murky crypt of the church of celebrity. For five weeks only Burgerheaven brings you ‘The True Taste Of Stardom’, a real bite of celebrity with the bitter aftertaste of minimum wage, bad health and globalization (and a few nods to art historical forefathers Claes Oldenburg and Andy Warhol). Utilising the latest food and flavour technology they have concocted a perfect natural synthesis of your favourite dead superstars by fusing together a composite of organic meats and selected (scarily unspecified) ingredients. Each unique burger is manufactured to capture the essential textures and flavours of such twentieth century sacred cows as John Lennon, Kurt Cobain, Marilyn Monroe, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley and Princess Diana.


Blasphemously invoking that most ancient Roman Catholic ceremony – the Eucharist -Beagles and Ramsay have traded shamelessly on the notion of transubstantiation, for the fayre served at Burgerheaven is more than mere gimmickry – it actually purports to re-infuse the dead flesh of the dearly departed with renewed life and vigour. Once risen, phoenix-like, from the flames of the grill our beloved icons are once again cut down in their prime, devoured by big business and ravenous fans.


Though cheap puns and greasy spoons are the mainstay of the proprietors the references do not stop here. Cut through the grease and there, nestling beneath the wipe-clean menu, lie soiled copies of Fast Food Nation and No Logo, greedily consumed by low-paid teenage employees as they sit sulkily through each statutory 15 minute break. These guys go flippin’ crazy, bringing you service without a smile that only the most exploited can perfect. Their skill in blending the dead celeb meat, however, is second to none, with a cutting and mixing technique taught to them personally by DJ Qbert. Thus, the Jimi Burger™ comes with a hot n’spicy chilli sauce, the Lennon Burger™ is naturally meat-free (‘Imagine you could make love with your belly, not war with your bowels. Come together for Instant Karma with this wholesome vegetarian grill. All We Are Saying Is Give Peas A Chance’) while the Cobain Burger™ comes with a hint of cough mixture and smoky gunpowder (‘Tastes like teen spirit’). Poor ‘size 14 Norma Jean’, however, is reduced to a slab of lard-laced white meat, a mere appetizer next to the meaty thighs of The King Burger™. Recommended is the Diana Burger™, served rare, with royal blue blood shining through the sinew. Once tasted, the Queen of Hearts becomes the post-bulimic Queen of Stomachs.


In death as in life, the ill-fated stars are firmly branded, this time by Burgerheaven's own snazzy logo and shiny packaging. Burgerheaven’s mascot, the bete noire of Ronald MacDonald™, is a finely honed, burger-headed hunk who flexes and struts for the diners as they eat. The promotional gifts are also impressive – the battery operated Burgerkid ™ and King Burger ™ toys are sure to be a hit. A continuation of previous food-orientated explorations by the artists, Beagles and Ramsay continue their empire-building quest for multi-national big business by clambering up the greasy pole of corporate whoredom and cashing-in on the success of the flagship Burgerheaven store in Eindhoven, Holland . Marketing , timing and location really are everything in business, and the opening of the Toronto franchise has been cynically scheduled to coincide with the 25th year anniversary of the King's passing and the 5th year anniversary of our beloved Princess's untimely demise. They may have died young, but they will live on forever in your stomachs.


Unsurprisingly, then, Burgerheaven will be excessively promoted and advertised by underage employees in downtown Toronto. Both art aficionados and fast food junkies will be very welcome to partake of the succulent flesh of the famous, listen to a pirate copy of the dead stars favorite hits and watch a well-built man with a giant hamburger head flex his well oiled beefy biceps. After all, it’s all good, healthy, family fun, and, as Mark Twain once sagely remarked, "Sacred cows make the best hamburgers".