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Narcos en fantasyland: Pablo Escobar’s 1981 trip to Walt Disney World
09.07.2016
09:21 am
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The Escobars visit Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom in 1981
The Escobars visit Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom in 1981

In the early ‘80s, Pablo Escobar was at the top of his game. He was the richest man in Colombia, he had the family he had always dreamed of, and he was supplying 80% of the world’s cocaine via the Medellín drug cartel. The best part for Escobar was that he was not yet a known criminal. Just a few years later he would be outed as a drug lord, a merciless killer, and he would become the biggest target in Reagan’s “war on drugs” facing a real threat of extradition. For now, he was still legally doing business, buying properties, and traveling under his own name. He used his political influences in Colombia to gain diplomatic immunity and a visa which allowed him to visit the United States as often as he wanted with red carpet treatment.

In May of 1981 Pablo used those privileges to vacation in Walt Disney World Florida with his family. His sister Alba Marina Escobar helped organize the trip and Pablo was joined by his wife Maria Victoria Henao, his five-year-old son Juan Pablo, his mother Hermilda, brother Roberto, and cousin Gustavo Gaviria. The Escobars left their Miami Beach vacation home which was supposedly rented from Julio Iglesias and one of the Gibb brothers of the Bee Gees, then headed 230 miles north to Orlando. While Pablo did not yet have any enemies or scores to settle with the law, his growing economic power made it necessary for him the use bodyguards for the very first time so friend John Jairo Arias Tascon (aka “Pinina”) accompanied the family to the Disney theme park.

The Escobar family reportedly spent ridiculous amounts of money on their vacation, filling dozens of suitcases with souvenirs and clothing. Pablo hired a personal consultant to advise them on attractions as well as a driver to escort them around. Free to do and buy whatever they wanted to in the park, Pablo was overjoyed and acted like a child alongside his son Juan Pablo. Although he was afraid of roller coasters, Pablo rode them all to make his son happy. “Our family life hadn’t yet become encumbered by complications. That was the only period of pure pleasure and lavishness that my father enjoyed,” said Juan Pablo (who later changed his name to Sebastian to protect his anonymity) in his book Pablo Escobar, My Father.

The hit Netflix series Narcos even brushed on the Escobar’s trip to Disney World in a recent episode titled “Deutschland 93.” In a scene where a very emotional Pablo (brilliantly played by Brazilian actor Wagner Moura) is reflecting on his past, he asks “Have you ever been to Disney World? It’s beautiful. It’s very organized. Very clean.” Pablo definitely kept the Disney spirit and thirst for fun alive at Hacienda Nápoles, his vast and awe-inspiring ranch in Colombia about 100 miles east of Medellin. The ranch which put Michael Jackson’s Neverland to shame included three zoos full of exotic animals, 27 artificial lakes, go-karts, and even a mechanical bull. In 2014 a private company appropriately turned the ranch into a fully operational theme park which includes a Jurassic Park simulator. “Pablo World” (if you will, whose mascot is a female Hippo named Vanessa) is currently accessible to anybody with 32.000 pesos (around $15) willing to sit through a three-and-a-half hour bus ride from Medellín.
 
Pablo's son Juan Pablo meets Mickey Mouse in Tomorrowland
Pablo’s son Juan Pablo meets Mickey Mouse in Tomorrowland
 
The Escobars walking through the Swiss Family Treehouse in Adventureland
The Escobars walking through the Swiss Family Treehouse in Adventureland

Posted by Doug Jones
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09.07.2016
09:21 am
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Imaginary pinball machines of Hawkwind, The Stooges, Jim Jones, and more
05.23.2016
08:58 am
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If you’re as much of a pinball nut as I am, you’ll flip over these fantasy back glass illustrations by Charlie Fogel.

Illustrator/cartoonist, Fogel has loads of amazing work on his Plop Culture Prints Facebook page, but these imaginary pinball games are something special. I’ve been hooked since seeing the first one in his series, Jonestown, featuring a grinning Jim Jones holding a silver ball and dishing out Flavor Aid to busty beauties.

Since that first piece, Fogel has created five more fantasy machines depicting, in order of their release, the band Hawkwind, Jodorowsky’s arthouse classic Holy Mountain, notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar, the nuclear tests at Bikini Atoll, and a Stooges Funhouse piece.

Fogel told Dangerous Minds a bit about the pinball series:

I was lucky enough to grow up with a pinball machine in my house that my dad inherited from the firehouse where he tended bar—I’m just now realizing how the countless hours of staring at it informed the way I draw. I got the idea for these at the Pinball Museum here in Asbury Park, looking at how random and awkward a lot of the subject matter of the old machines are. They’re the basest of advertising art, using totally overt sex, violence, bright lights and loud noises to stand out in a crowded bar or arcade. It’s a perfect vehicle to keep addressing the stuff I’m obsessed with (Jim Jones, for instance) without repeating myself or others work on the subject. It’s also cool because all the machines of that era, from the design down to the electronics, are totally analog—but still manage to overpower your senses without any slick computerized fluff. That really appeals to me as someone who works almost completely in analog methods and materials.

All of these illustrations are 12 inches square, mixed media on Bristol board. Fogel is planning to create six to ten more similar pieces to present in a gallery setting. Until then, you can view his work on his Facebook page or his website plopcultureprints.com.
 

 

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Posted by Christopher Bickel
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05.23.2016
08:58 am
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12 foreign objects removed from drug dealer’s pet hippopotamus
12.15.2010
09:32 pm
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Actual objects found inside the body of Pepe, dead drug czar Pablo Escobar’s pet hippopotamus. Through no fault of his own, Pepe was executed in 2009 by a government death squad.

Illustration by Dan Zettwoch.

Posted by Marc Campbell
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12.15.2010
09:32 pm
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