OK, let's talk goofy ideas for Tusing building

January 23, 2007|by TIM ROWLAND

Once again, I have to step in and save the day, although frankly I'm getting tired of it and this might be the last time.

The Hagerstown City Council is in a quandary over what to do with the venerable old Tusing Warehouse downtown, which hasn't been occupied since the Industrial Revolution, when it was used for the manufacture of tusings and tusing accessories.

The council listened to any number of proposals for the brick monstrosity and accepted none of them, whether the ideas had merit or not. I see the logic in that. There is a degree of knowability that arises out of the council's present course.

A year from now, we know exactly what the Tusing Warehouse is going to be: Empty, and we like it that way.


Last week the council cast a jaundiced eye toward a proposed sale to a private developer, who would use it for conferences, banquets, weddings and community events. And what bride-to-be hasn't wanted to get married in a warehouse? Especially if the abandoned brick ovens are booked that weekend.

Anyway, I'm sure it's a fine project, but the council is concerned that plans call for a sizable addition to the warehouse's west wall, which it believes might interfere with the annual Blues Fest. Traditionally, the stage has been set up along that side of the edifice.

Mayor Bob Bruchey suggested the new stage simply be set up in front of the new wall, as opposed to the old wall. But it is unreasonable to expect the council to noodle through such a complex, technical solution in one evening, so once again we're in a holding pattern.

That's good, because it gives me time to step in here with an alternative use for the Tusing Warehouse. I believe it would make an excellent venue as the southeastern outpost for the - and I am not kidding about this organization - Canadian Pillow Fight League.

I'm a little embarrassed that I didn't think of the concept myself, but it's a little late to be crying over that now. I do, however, know a good idea when I see one, and this is a bedded bandwagon on which I am fully prepared to jump.

In short, people pay from $7 to $15 for the privilege of watching young women armed with traditional pillows just smack the living pigtails off each other.

The girls wear costumes and have stage names, like "Betty Clock-her," "Champain" and "Eiffel Power." I might also suggest "Peppermint Batty," "Mary Hurtman" or "Phyllis Killer."

OK, enough.

According to Reuters, "The league is the brainchild of 38-year-old Stacey Case, a T-shirt printer and musician who came up with the idea that people would pay to see young women in costumes beat the tar out of each other with pillows - and that women would volunteer to whap each other in front of a crowd."

I like this concept, because there is a purity to it - A certain minimalism of female bloodsports that disdains roller skates, grease, mud or creamed corn. Just a girl and her pillow.

Halle Bury, Dianne Ream, Lucille Maul, Leslie Viscera ... sorry.

The report continues: "People all have a conception in their head of what a pillow fight is all about," says Don "The Mouth" Lovranski, Case's co-investor and the big-voiced announcer for the shows. When they come to it, though, they see it's not hot blondes in negligees; the fights are real, and there's some fun to it. I think that's what the appeal is."

Goldie Brawn, Marge Shot, Peril Streep, Marilyn Monrogue.

I thank the PFL, because I admittedly come into this with a lot of biases and preconceived stereotypes about what a pillow fight is and isn't. I think we all do.

For example, I'm betting there is 70 percent less giggling in the PFL than we might have previously imagined. But no negligees? They might want to rethink that one. I'd be more willing to plunk down a fin for girls in teddies as opposed to girls dressed up like the Village People.

I think it's a natural for Hagerstown, and I think people would fill the old warehouse to see it. Especially if it included an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Dorothy Pummell, Morgueret Thatcher, Jennifer Annistun, Bashley Simpson, Jamie Lee Hurtis, Joan Cusock, Hammerin' Diaz (this is a great way to spend an entire morning at work; I highly recommend it).

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324 or via e-mail at You can listen to his podcast, The Rowland Rant, on

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