Exploring Bishops Arts District at night …
Exploring Bishops Arts District at night …
I made my first trip to Dallas after all these years living in Texas and found that I really enjoy the city. My sister was graduating with her Masters and it was a good excuse to finally see the city. The drive was a short one (especially since I was able to finally nap my way from an exhausting week full of work deadlines) and even though the trip was a short weekend, we still managed to discover a few local spots along the way. We stayed in the Bishop Arts District, which is a quaint little neighborhood filled with old but charming homes and small shops and boutiques, superb cafes like Oddfellows, which has one of the most amazing brunches that even my brother in law and mom couldn’t complain. We also hung out in Deep Ellum where the downtown scene was vibrant with a more younger and hip crowd and the Japanese BBQ is very very g o o d. Overall, if I have more, I’d definitely like to venture back into Dallas to explore more of the city.
Downtown Houston has always had a soft spot in my heart. Even when I used to live in the suburbs, I would find myself making that long trek into the city. I remember, my friends and I would drive down Allen Parkway after filling our bellies with Amy’s ice cream or after a long night of dancing in dirty dance clubs, or sweating away in crowded rooms where our favorite bands would entertain us; we’d drive down that same road and make that curve and see the downtown skyline in front of us and it always made me feel so tiny in the world. We would joke around that we felt “infinite” and we’d have a good laugh, but I’d place my hand out the passenger window as we drove down that road fast and I’d let the cold wind through my fingers and I really felt content for that very moment.
Downtown has a new f e e l for me. I love that I’m only a short train ride into town now where I can venture into my favorite haunts and discover hidden secret bars. Most places are loud and full of people enjoying their own weekend adventures, but there are a few gems that I’ve come to appreciate more and more as I frequent down Main Street, and the experiences are new and different and exciting all at once. The night time inspires me and my head is full of ideas and plans. I’ve rediscovered my old art videos from college and have been getting itchy with getting the camera back into my hands to make some art videos. Sound and light and memories are all that haunts me at night now and I’m excited to see where this all leads to…
On Sunday, we woke up very early and made our way to the Chinati Foundation in hopes of experiencing a few of the exhibits during sunrise. And as the sun rose through the fields, I saw more and more people making the same trek, dark figures moving in formation along the gravel pathway towards the hangars, where aluminum blocks awaited us. Donald Judd’s 100 untitled works in mill aluminum is a collection of these rectangular aluminum structures lined up and facing tall windows inside an old hangar. Every structure is the same in dimension externally , but the inside is build slightly differently for the purpose of reflecting and accepting light in various ways. The light coming through, shining on surfaces and creeping into each crevice of these structures created these beautiful tones and ombré that a photograph really does not do any justice.
One of my favorite experience in Marfa was walking down the hallways of Robert Irwin’s dawn to dusk exhibit where I was able to experience the progression of natural light. I felt as if I were inside a camera obscura, watching the light shine through and reflect off the mesh and onto the walls. The existence of light created these golden hues that were really beautiful to see as the sun rose from the horizon and projected itself into these narrow rooms.
Later in the day, we were able to see all of Dan Flavin’s untitled light installations. Each light structure had opposing colors that really strained my eyes. Whereas the existence of light in Donald Judd and Robert Irwin’s pieces created these subtle and beautiful tones of color, the absence of light in Dan Flavin’s rooms only intensified and heightened the effect of color on my eyes to point where I had to step outside and take a break from the abundance of hues. The monochromatic landscape just outside these buildings really helped to prepare me as I went back into the next building to experience it all over again.
There’s an excerpt from The Place We Live by Robert Adams that I’ve read and which has stayed with me for a very long time now. As I was having all these wonderful experiences with light, taking in the idea of West Texas, and driving through its landscapes and desolated towns this weekend I couldn’t help but recall some of Adams’ words.
I finally made that trip to Marfa. It’s been on my bucket list for some time now and when it was announced that Solange would be performing Scales during the Chinati Weekend this year, I really couldn’t hold off on this trip any longer. So my friend, AJ and I, made that ten hour drive to West Texas and found ourselves immersed into a quick but amazing weekend of art, music, and Instagram memories. We spent our first night camping at El Cosmico where the sunsets are brilliantly pink and the karaoke crowd at night are kitschy and entertaining. We met up our friends Erica and Tina, who invited us to an art performance inside an abandoned adobe building later that evening. We took part in a cleansing ceremony where we stood around a a fire and released some of our negative thoughts and energy into the smoke and as I looked at the smoke rising into the stars above, it was sort of a beautifully calming sensation.
Sunday was a full day of checking out all the art at the Chinati and chilling by the Thunderbird Hotel pool with some good company and conversation before the Solange show, which was such a great experience to be able to be part of. The crowd was asked to dress in white as we made a procession down through the fields of Donald Judd’s 15 untitled works in concrete. We all stood on that hill as Solange and her troupe of brightly clad fuchsia made the same procession down accompanied by the sound of horns blaring in the fields. The unnaturalness of those bright fuchsia figures against the calming monochromatic tones of the West Texas fields unsettled me for a moment, but as Solange began to sing Rise, I felt a overwhelming sensation of calm and peace. The way she moved her body, the fluid movements of her hands and the way the fuchsia swayed in the wind suddenly felt more natural than ever. I remember looking up into the sky above as the sun began to set and looked at everyone’s expression. We all stood on that hill as the pink sky curved around us and I closed my eye for a moment and felt the warm breeze on my face…
Marfa is a funny little spot. The people are friendly but they won’t have any qualms turning you out even when you’re starving for a late dinner. But even then, the wait is worth its time for spots like Bad Hombre, where the burgers are juicy, the buns are perfectly crisped and the boys will mispronounce your name completely, no fucks given. It’s the kind of town where you’ll run into the same people more than once in one day, like old pals from college or even the obnoxious New York socialites in town for the “show.” Marfa creeped up on me like a slow nostalgia and just as I was feeling the love for the place, I had to pack my bags and leave. So until next year, for sure. See ya, Marfa.
The majority of my family was able to gather and spend a few days together last month in Utah to celebrate a graduation and catch up with each other. It’s been so long since we’ve all come together that moments like these are so dear to me. After having to go through a terrible delay at the airport the first night of the trip, the rest of of the weekend trip was so wonderful. We made our first stop at our Uncle Thai”s house where he had a giant pot of pho ready fro us to devour, along with the homemade crawfish my mom had cooked, froze, and transported from Houston. The view from the top of Salt Lake City’s hill’s are so calming and beautiful during sunset.
We also managed to squeeze in a quick camping trip to Zion and Bryce Canyons. The hiking trails are pretty manageable and if i had more time, I’d love to spend more time exploring the trails deeper into the canyons and camp over night longer.