HABIT BLUNTS VISION

by Angeliska on September 16, 2004


All is well and we are safely ensconced in
the centrally air-conditioned and fluffy bunny
carpeted bosom of suburbia- with a million
channels and fountains of doctor pepper
to sustain us ’til we head out back home
this evening- barely a drop of rain I hear
even grazed our dear city!
I suppose all those heathen incantions,
feverishly mumbled prayers and
lit candles did their business-
many thanks to all those who thought of us..
Aside from the hysteria and panicked flight,
this has been a lovely little mini-vacation-
All of us bringing instruments with,
as we were unwilling to risk the chance
of water damage or looters..
Hence the motley line-up was:
Myself – fiddle
J-bird – drums
Olivia – keyboards + accordion
Haley Lou Haden – ukelele + tambourine
Ratty – guitar + cello + flute

If we run out of dosh, we can always play
until people pay us to stop- so far we’ve been
going by any of the following:
“Awesome Death Wish”
“Troubadours for Jesus”
“Frozen Delight”
or “Conquering Word”
I’m leaning towards the first one.
In the meantime, we’ve been gorging ourselves
on incredible Mexican food, aguacate y horchata galore
buying pretty dresses at thriftymarts and lolling about.
We also visited the Rothko Chapel and the
incredible Menil Collection, which if you’ve never seen,
you really had better- my swan, what a wonder!

“The Menil Collection is indeed an imagined museum…
the American embodiment of Malraux’s mythic ‘museum without walls.’”  
  Bertrand Davezac, former curator of
Byzantine and Medieval Art

“A museum should be a place where we lose our head,” said Marie-Alain Couturier, the Dominican father who initiated a renaissance in sacred art in France in the 1940s. Alas we rarely lose our head in a museum. Great museums are overloaded with masterpieces and we are bombarded with information that distracts from contemplation and remains foreign to the magic of a great painting. And what is art if it does not enchant? Art is incantation. It is the fusion of the tangible and intangible.
Dominique de Menil, 1987

The most revelatory part of the collection
(for me, that is- Ratty was most taken in
by the golden icons- which were really
quite something indeed
..) were the WITNESSES-
an ongoing exhibition of objects either
owned by Surrealists or similar to objects
in their collections- never have I felt so at home
in a museum..Surrounded by ornaments,
curios, magical relics and natural wonders-
I could have peered ’round that room for an age
and not seen it all! The narwhal horn spiralling
up beside the terrifying spiked “wildman” costume,
a case with a stuffed red-legged honeycreeper
and pale-headed rosella, not to mention the dance
collar made of electric blue tanagers, sacred bundles
and an incredible array of camera obscura-
thaumatropes, phenakistoscopes,
anamorphoscopes, zoetropes, stereoscopes,
praxinoscopes and phantasmagoria..
Drawings by psychotics, cadavre exquises, astrolabes-
a skull-faced child’s death mask and collar made
of metal ex-votos, phallic stone pestles,
mickey mouse kachinas and funerary couples..
I could truly go on forever about it,
but then I had to leave and go see
sweet Joseph for a moment- he always
makes me cry when I see him there!
His blue swan for Tamara Toumanova,
a homage to the Romantic Ballet!
Little glass bottles and liquour glasses
filled with blue and gold powders, shells
a lacy feather, objects in black ink..
And then Max Ernst! And then I was dragged away!
Kicking and screaming!

I’ll make another pilgrimage there one day,
and I recommend you do the same-
should you ever find yourself presented
with the opportunity to do so.
Now to pack my ancient and
most excellent feline back into his box,
stow the instruments and ourselves
and hie back to the road, back to our
city that still stands, work and projects-
oh hooray! Upon my return I shall prepare
something more rousing, I hope.

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