Rik Martino aka Franco Massimo aka the Birdman of Silverlakeoccupies the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and Madison, at the Cahuenga Branch public library. Martino has been posting fliers and handmade advertisements for some time now, becoming a recognizable local character, but his message became more desperate when animal control allegedly took and killed his pet pigeons last year. He kept the birds in a cage on the street where he was sleeping at the time.
Martino’s public interventions are frequent and, by now, common. But this particular installation was peculiarly altar-like in form, with fake roses, prayers, and a balloon, arranged around a central platform made of cardboard boxes and plywood. Martino’s signs proclaim his call for Animal Control to be brought to justice, and condemns the PATH program for not adequately helping the homeless.