Saturday October 30th 2010
On April 27, 1978, I went to the meat department of Ralphs supermarket and looked at chickens in plastic bags. I picked out a nice one and named it Blinky.
Then I drove to the Los Angeles Pet Cemetery to bury Blinky. I ordered the complete funeral service - a lot, interment, flower vase, blue plastic coffin with pink satin lining, viewing room, and grave marker. The major first-class relics of Blinky are preserved in the collection of Barry Sloane, Los Angeles.
Ten years later, I arranged for the remains of Blinky to be exhumed, and hired a lawyer, a doctor, and a scientist to determine the cause of Blinky's death. Blinky's bones were sifted through an archeological screen, her remains autopsied and her bones analyzed by a computer. Blinky's bones were then reburied, except for a few bits that I saved as relics. I collaborated with Bruce and Norman Yonemoto on a video documenting the Blinky exhumation process.
On the Twentieth Anniversary of Blinky's burial, I was scheduled to do a lecture at a Blinky Festival to be held at a major American university, when by some tick of fate, I contracted chicken pox. I had to cancel my appearance. When I called the university telling them that I was under the weather, they thought I was pulling some kind of performance prank, but sadly it was true.
Presented for the Thirtieth Anniversary of Blinky the Friendly Hen exhibition is the Blinky Chapel that includes a selection of works from the extensive Barry Sloane Collection as well as some relics and bone fragments never seen before.

Authentic chicken relics
In the Middle Ages, the forging of relics became such a major industry that St. Augustine, in his book The Works of Monks, warned monks not to peddle in false relics. Over the centuries, many unscrupulous charlatans have trafficked in forged relics. In the study of relics, chicken bones have become synonymous with fakery. International relic expert and founder of the Los Angeles-based International Crusade for Holy Relics, Thomas Serafin, laments, "If Internet sales continue, eventually you'll have some nut cutting up chicken bones and putting them up for sale." I believe Serafin was waxing prophetic here, as that is exactly what I am doing in this project, except the chicken bones are authentic performance relics from the 1978 burial and 1988 exhumation of Blinky the Friendly Hen.
In the 1960s the Mafia faked hundreds of yards of blood-soaked bandages claiming them to be from the stigmata stains of St. Padre Pio. When newspapers reported on the results of scientific tests that confirmed that the stains were actually chicken blood, sales did not slacken. When the tomb of St. Peter was unearthed in the Vatican grotto, the crypt held not only the Great Apostle's remains but also the bones of various domestic animals, mouse bones and chicken bones - possibly the relics of the Cock that Crowed Thrice. I remember my father telling a humorous story about a hawker selling chicken bones to pilgrims in Rome, saying that they were from that legendary cock. In the peddler's box were enough bones to resurrect a sizable flock of chickens.

New Christian symbol
I would like to put forward the "chicken" as new symbol for Christ, besides the usual lamb, dove, lion and fish. In the Bible, Christ compared Himself to a hen saying, "How often I wanted to gather your children together the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings!" (Luke 13:34)

By: Jeffrey Vallance