Inside Meow Wolf, there is a house, a mysterious house whose owners are no where to be found. They have their left artifacts; an old desk, an old saggy comfortable couch, a bathroom with toothbrushes still in the cup, closets with clothes hanging, a washer and dryer with clothes to be cleaned. As you roam through the house you find rooms just like you would find in a normal home, but, here, the rooms don’t look like our houses and it has secret passageways, and tunnels and challenges.
In a performance area of the installation, these two young men juggle and do acrobatics for their modern audiences, much like they might have done for ancient kings when the castle was dreary and the king threw a party for some of his political allies.
When this performance is done, we wander through the rest of the house, getting lost, finding rooms we have already been in. Finally, sensory overloaded, we leave the house and its ghosts and go find a green chili burrito and cup of coffee.
Getting lost in someone else’s house is okay, but you never want to be at a point, in your house, that you can’t find the bathroom.
Meow Wolf is an immersive, interactive, art installation in an old bowling alley in Santa Fe, N, M. It has become a tourist destination and once you enter you will be challenged. It was started in 2008 as an art collective. This is what the creators, with over 400 employees, and installations in Denver, Las Vegas, Santa Fe, and eventually Phoenix, say about their effort.
” Meow Wolf creates immersive and interactive experiences that transport audiences of all ages into fantastic realms of story and exploration, This includes art installations, video and music production, and extended reality content….. Inside, guests discover a multidimensional mystery house with secret passages, portals to magical worlds, and an expansive narrative amidst surreal ,maximalist, and mesmerizing art exhibits….. Meow Wolf champions otherness, weirdness, challenging norms, radical inclusion, and the power of creativity to change the world…… ”
When I came out of the installation, I was glad to be back to my pedestrian reality.
This, I’m certain, is just preparing the way for the dystopian, not so distant, world, of artificial intelligence and technology.
I’m missing days when you sat in a rocking chair on the front porch and watched storm clouds rolling in over the freshly plowed and planted fields.
We can’t stop technology, and as easy as it makes our lives, it comes with costs.
At the Albuquerque Zoo, there are plenty of animals; birds, monkeys, a tiger or two, penguins, giraffes, jackals,zebras. They are well cared for in their little enclosures and we can stand at a rail and admire their coloration, adaptations, behaviors. There will come a time when the only animals we will see will be in zoos, but there are still places in the world where animals spend their days and don’t ever see a human.
Pushing the ball just ahead of its huge mouth, this playful hippo walks in his pool because these river horses don’t really swim, but walk along the bottom of rivers or pools, as they hold their breath under the water. They are speedy and quite dangerous in the wild.
Until Scotttreks does its next safari, these zoo animals will have to do.
If I were to organize a parade, this star of the show would have to be in front.
While turtles are cool, hippos, looking ungainly and mis-proportioned, steal this show with quite surprising grace, and playfulness.
At an annual celebration of the famed World War 2 correspondent, Ernie Pyle, at his home in Albuquerque, N.M., a docent tells the small group about the permanent closing of Pyle’s childhood home, in his birthplace,in Indiana.
Ernie Pyle was a celebrated World War 2 correspondent, but, today, there are many Americans who don’t know much about World War 2 except what they see in the movies. They don’t know Ernie Pyle, or Julius Caesar, or Frederick Douglas. They believe the American Civil War was only about the abolishment of slavery and the United States Constitution is outdated and irrelevant, written by stuffy white men who owned slaves and wore white wigs..
Where does history go when it is behind us?
Does God put His memos, research papers,videos and photos on shelves in his personal library? Does he go back and review his plans and progress for the Universe, make changes in the roll out of his vision ? Does knowing history mean we can stop or modify what is happening to us while we are in the middle of its happening?
On this pleasant afternoon, we are taken on a guided tour of Ernie Pyle’s life and times, in a place he fixed bacon and eggs for breakfast and read his newspaper thrown on the front porch by a neighborhood boy on a bicycle.
His house feels like a home and I walk away suspecting that Ernie would offer me a cold drink of lemonade on a hot summer day and have some good jokes to soften the wounds of World War 2 as we both set at a little table on his front porch.
His writings and home survive him, and remembering him and his calling is something we still try to do.
The beauty of his writing and life is that it seems like it was lived for everybody but him.
” Nothing Fancy” is the name of this bluegrass band.
This is a good name for a band because we didn’t just drive hundreds of miles to Westcliff to listen to frills and trills and a lot of Mozart licks.
Nothing Fancy serves us country meat and potatoes, fresh vegetables from pa’s garden, cornbread,plenty of sweet ice tea, and a big slice of rhubarb pie in their down home musical buffet this afternoon to start the after lunch concert rolling.
These boys are also slipping us a little bit of fancy too, whether we want it or not, but we aren’t going home from this performance hungry.
Bluegrass music has fancy in it, but it doesn’t come out on stage until the right moment, and, even then, only for a few choruses.
This music came from houses with no plumbing, no electric, well water and wood heat.
Singing and playing too fancy would be akin to committing musical fraud.
Mother Nature makes her own music.
This little brook gently runs through the Alvarado Campground, following a path of least resistance on it’s way to join a larger river, and then, with that river, rambling all the way to the closest ocean.
Nature’s music refreshes, doesn’t ask for applause, or notoriety, recording contracts, or interviews.
Nature’s songbook is this little brook, wind moving through pine needles in tall trees on a cool clear night, a woodpecker carving his home inside a tree trunk, the rustling of brush as a brown bear scurries off the highway and back into the woods, waves coming into shore as the tide rises, hail hitting the roof of your car in a freak summer storm,deer antlers striking one another as bucks fight for dominance.
In a couple of days, I’ll hear fish songs at Hermit Lakes, breaking the lake’s surface as they greedily gobble dragonflies.
Back in Albuquerque, city melodies will be much more staccato and complex. There will be car horns, sirens,bacon sizzling in a frying pan, heavy equipment taking down condemned buildings, nail guns installing shingles, gunshots, light classic jazz in Starbucks, the sound of a well struck golf ball on it’s way towards the pin.
This brook is a comforting, simple, legato melody.
Mother Nature, as I hear her this morning, is a very good composer.
Her melodies remind me that there is no need to hurry.
I don’t think I need to change anything here.
It is good, at this moment, to just be still and listen.
One of the more entertaining bands at the festival, playing numerous sets over the four days, is the Kody Norris Show.
The Kody Norris band features traditional bluegrass along with dancing, clowning around, comedy, and audience participation tossed in for dessert.
Wearing bright blue and red suits on stage,their group musicianship is high and all our crowd spirits under the big tent this afternoon are in fine shape.
Kody, who is soon to marry the group’s fiddle player, Mary Rachel, asks the audience for tips on making his imminent marriage successful.
One of the best audience suggestions is , ” She is always right. ”
Everyone laughs, when they hear this wisdom,except for the ladies. They all nod their heads in total agreement and give their husbands, boy friends and significant others stern “You should be doing this ” looks.
We catch the band several times between Thursday and Sunday, and each performance is just a little bit different but not too different.
Another good tip for Kody, as a soon to be husband ,would be – don’t sing the same song too many times.
Variety is always needed in performing, regardless of what kind it is.
Greg has been playing since he was a kid, a professional since his teens. He has toured the world, made recordings, teaches , creates instructional aids for aspiring musicians, promotes his music, travels extensively and is among the best at what he does.
His wife, Judy, is on piano and plays professionally in the Chicago area. Tom, on bass, tours with Lee Konitz but is a guest sitting in tonight, much to our surprise and joy.
Listening to Greg is analogous to standing next to a pro golfer on the practice tee after a tournament,watching him hit three hundred yard drives followed by wedge shots to within a few feet of the driving range pin.
Fluency, flexibility, precision, attitude, creativity, are required to make this jazz music sound good, all in the right combinations, like a spectacular gourmet meal served at Chef Ramsey’s finest world restaurant, without Chef Ramsey.
What’s possible to do on the saxophone gets a whole lot bigger this evening.
Seeing how far you can go with gifts you have been given is always praiseworthy..
These two questionable birds remind me of cartoon characters us kids watched on black and white television in the 1950’s, most often perched on a tree limb talking about crazy humans. They were, as they appear here, angular, opinionated, and had New York voices that were like a piece of coarse sandpaper rubbed over my cheek, and not gently.
Perched on a tiny end table in front of the Madrid, New Mexico Mine Shaft Museum, they, for the moment, aren’t gossiping loud enough that I can hear who they are roasting.
The Madrid mining museum is full of old rusted mining implements piled into one large open room, under a tin roof. Through an open doorway, I see the old rust colored machines that kept town and mines operating in the 1800’s when lots of young men and painted women came out west to make their fortunes.
The docent of the museum this morning, a gray haired volunteer woman standing by a manual cash register, talks in a mellifluous voice and explains, to an equally old couple, listening attentively, how the town prospered in its heyday.
I can hear Heckle and Jeckle cackling outside over a really nasty human joke.
For some unfathomable reason, I want to buy them and the fountain and set them all on a little table on my back porch in Albuquerque.
These two could really tell me, every day, funny, but true, stories about mining in Madrid, Mew Mexico, before and after the hippies came.
Watching humans all day is as funny as it gets.