What can I say? Friday evening began with heartbreak. We had already decided on the "Mysterious!" tour at the DIA ("I know you want scary. You're going to be disappointed," says Compatriot. "It's going to be HOKEY!" I exclaim, though, really I'm looking forward to it. We can do silly things together.)
But first, wouldn't snacks and a cocktail at Cliff Bell's be so very nice? Yes, most definitely. And for once, I knew EXACTLY what I would order. Junior's Siesta, one of the best cocktails I have EVER had, a few months ago. Could it possibly be as good as I had remembered? How could it? How could it not? The brain insists on its accuracy, even as it embellishes. A tattoo I saw in recent months: the delicacy of line, astonishing -- jarring -- given its subject matter -- but no, the next time I see it, it's merely typical. Much more interesting in the play space of the brain. And so: how will it be this time?
"...Ohh, we don't make that anymore."
Seriously? ONE OF THE BEST DRINKS I HAVE EVER HAD and they don't MAKE it any more. HOW. How can they not MAKE it anymore. I. We're sitting at the bar. The bartender's apologizing. Like he's heard this protest before, but not so many times before. Seriously, while I get on jags and I AM an enthusiastic person, I rarely pledge my loyalty to a special drink. I look to Compatriot for help. "Perhaps, if you turn on the charm, he'll tell you how to make it. Not that you're not charming anyway." But I have no bartender ambitions. I merely wish for the drink to arrive. It is sweet and quite spicy and somehow the muddled cilantro is not off-putting ( I heart cilantro, personally, but would never have envisioned it in a drink). Well, says Comp to me, if they don't sell that much of it....
The bartender goes away and returns. I am still at a loss. "Well. So, if I LOVED that drink, what else would you recommend?"
He purses his lips. "Well. There's really nothing else like it. A margarita?"
Why don't more people jump on the hot band wagon? It gives you the false sense of doing something good/needed/paring down. C'mon. Your taste buds stand at attention and then your lips burn, or there's a tingling at the top of your throat -- either way: a focus of sensation. Why would you want to avoid this? The bartender returns at intervals. At first he thinks I'm phishing for details on the Ramos Gin Fizz, which is fine, but no Siesta...No...Well, he hasn't made that specific simple syrup himself, but one adds chiles. Or serranos? I suggest. Maybe serranos? He avers, yes he thinks that's right. We're jogging his memory. Oh nooooo, woeful, if he doesn't even care to remember, the libation is lost. This is a sorry affair. After he has gone away, Compatriot says, I feel like there was lime in there~~ Oh, you're right~~ I say. He comes back: You know, there was lime in there, as well. Right. We piece it together, but it's still nebulous. I have no faith I can recreate this. But I suppose, it's better than nothing, being sent away empty-handed. We venture off to the DIA.
The docents are dressed in variable Victorian witch fare. Some families arrive, collectively costumed. The parents are putting a brave (ly costumed) face on. A pinnochio gamely wears his long nose throughout. A couple stormtroopers wave their guns around; boys flap the wings of their sisters' fairy costumes, much to the annoyance of the fairies. Numerous light-up sneakers. Our first stamp in our fake Mysterious! passport journey is a facade of a Philadelphia home. The docent is being theatrical. But not TOO theatrical. No one wants to scar would-be museum goers, and so nothing HORRID is brought up. Maybe a ghost. Maybe the whisper of a ghost. Compatriot skitters fingertips across my neck: scary! I giggle. The docent continues her spiel. A guy knocks on the facade, "Hmmph! I won't just trust this is a real FACADE. I'm a show-me guy." I knock on Comp's shoulder: Are you real? *I* don't just trust these things. She giggles: Stop that.
From that point, there was more navigating with a special map. At first I held my copy as if to consult. Eventually I just stash it into my girly bag and happily follow the navigator. Who am I kidding? She would certainly get us where wherever we needed to go. At some point, I lost my black spider ring, which we had been *told* was the key to our protection. Somehow we soldiered on.
As predicted, nothing was truly scary. Though the installation of camel leg bones -- > "The Legend of the Red Ghost" -- was pretty damn cool. Did you know that the U.S. government imported camels for army use in the SouthWest? But then it was around the time of the start if the Civil War and the Army ceased to be concerned with the notion of foreign animals and then the dromedaries were just kind of left to their own devices? Not that they formed a cabal. I think they just mostly frittered away and died. But not before freaking out non-camel-savvy inhabitants.
We both strongly felt that real creepitude was being overlooked. To wit: ALL the creepy children paintings. HELLO: creepy as the twins in the shining. If you don't get this already, I *love* kids. But painterly depictions of kids, when the idea of childhood wasn't even fully developed? Totally ferkucked.Right? Right. A tour of *those* viewed, within a wee halo of light? I'd probably need someone to sleep over my house. Which is why I rarely watch horror movies (not slasher/gore fest) at home. Must.NOT.go.to.bed.
A cool stop in the tour was provided by "Night Songs," by Joseph Cornell. This is a nice little atmospheric shadow box by the king of shadow boxes (? or at least assemblage boxes). The dark blue conveys a sense of night and the repeated visage-- with lines bisecting it-- is haunting/disconcerting. A nice choice for the pseudo-spooky. As well, as the docent points out, the main image -- which feels like a reflection-- would be a reflection of the viewer, if physics held out in Cornell's world. The docent alternates between being overly leading and appealing for interaction from the younger attendees.
"So, who could this person be? Who do we think think this person is?" The docent scans the motley crew.
In front of me, almost under the Cornell display, is a young boy with floppy brown hair and a striped shirt, who darted into the prior (full) grouping, before the parents even noticed.
"I know what the person is," says striped shirt. "It is the person of the moon." I like him. Not least of which because he ran ahead, before he could be told no, like I always did. I also like the weird, formal language (which, to be fair, echoes the guide). Within the next few minutes, he becomes emboldened by faint praise, shooting his hand repeatedly into the air for the next docent.
The docent seeks out more answers. "I know!!" a older boy bursts out. " It looks like they're hunting her down~~"
"So you think it's a her~~" says the docent~
"Yes, and they're going to set her on fire!" His delivery is triumphant with confidence. The docent is at a loss. She makes a lame joke and attempts to move the small crowd along. Haha, kids! And their incendiary highjinks! Count on them to make the PG-spooky tour scarier. See also: Lord of the Flies.
Naturally, there is more. I feel like with each blog post, I end before it is done. Which, maybe that's a cool -- or at least hopeful -- thing. More stops on an insufficiently scary tour, entertainment provided by people standing around the corner. You just can't see them yet.
I'll say Happy Halloween, since it's that time. Give a scare to the cocky, under-dressed teenagers who skulk by, to swoop candy into their pillow cases for one last go...