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You Who Are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies - The Book of the Celestial Cow

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October 12th, 2008


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08:00 pm - You Who Are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies
Thanks to a training course in project management, I am once again in Arizona. Phoenix, specifically. Which meant that I could see Cory (shpyum) again! And, as a bonus, I could finally meet sterope, who, like Mara, knows me from the Old Days. And, as a double bonus, she could get us into the Phoenix Art Museum for free! And, to my surprise, it was totally worth visiting. Follow me inside the cut!

Cory picked me up from PHX a little before 11, and we headed into the city for lunch at Carly's Bistro. Which would not open until 4 on Sunday. What the French, toast? So we decided to just go straight to the art museum and see if other food options presented themselves. I navigated, as Cory had a horrible sense of direction.

The museum was open. We walked right in. There was a really neat Big Bang/molecule structure in the lobby that we loved at first sight. Few things inside the museum lived up to its coolness! But you have to wait the entire post to see a picture. Nyah.

At the front desk, I said we should have some tickets at Will Call... "From Amy?" a girl said. Yeah! Whew, that was quite uncomplicated. They gave us our stickers and tickets. We asked if we could leave for lunch and come back and were told that as long as we kept our sticker, we could come and go as we pleased.

Cory explained about Carly's Bistro and asked for other recommendations. The girl was surprised that the place was closed, but she said that her florist was open on Sunday. I didn't know what her florist had to do with anything; we didn't want flowers. It took a while for me to catch on that My Florist was the name of the restaurant. She said it was really good, and it was a bistro-type place, so might as well replace a bistro with a bistro. Besides, I have at least three bistro meals planned in the next two weeks. Let's make it a theme!

As we walked away, Cory reasserted that there were cute girls in Phoenix. I agreed.

We went up the Patricia, Ike, and Marshall Lewis Staircase or whatever, mocking the people who paid to have a staircase named after them. Then we mocked the American Western artists for romanticizing the Old West. Then we mocked the American artists for being wannabe Impressionists. Then we mocked the Europeans for painting boring portraits of boring people. There was some stuff we liked in there, but there was a lot of mocking. This is why it's fun to go to an art museum with someone! It's no fun to mock alone. Cory especially liked the expressions of the women in the paintings, so bored and annoyed that they were being painted.

As we walked down the named staircase, I saw a glimpse of glasses on a girl before she turned and walked down a corridor. Her hair looked like sterope's. I followed her, waiting for her to turn around, but it didn't look like she was going to. She was heading toward a door. Finally, I decided that I should go ahead and take the risk of looking like a fool. "Amy!" I called. The girl turned around, and, hot damn, I was right! Cory and I went to meet her, and Amy and I hugged.

We talked for a bit about our museum experience so far. She recommended something called "Fireflies" that was the most popular thing in the museum, so we made a point to see it. She also corroborated the front-desk girl's recommendation of My Florist for lunch.

And on that note, we went out to lunch, asking the front-desk girl for directions, not that Cory was paying proper attention, since she headed the wrong way down Central. I played navigator again and led us to the restaurant, which was unmissable, as the sign was huge.

The menu presented us with some interesting choices. I was drawn to the turkey and brie sandwich, which was turkey, brie, watercress, and spicy cranberry relish on pumpernickel. I barely knew what watercress was; I didn't think I'd had it. Cory tried to decide between the asparagus salad and the portobello sandwich, which contained eggplant. She liked eggplant, but only if it was cooked properly. I knew! So she asked our waiter to help solve her dilemma. He said that in situations like that, he asked whether the person was in a salad mood or a sandwich mood. Well, that wasn't very helpful. The portobello sandwich, he said, was the second most popular sandwich. The most popular salad was the caprese, followed by some others. The asparagus salad was maybe fourth or fifth. I asked him what the most popular sandwich. Turkey and brie, he said. Awesome! Cory went with the asparagus salad in the end, noting afterward that, what the fuck, she could make a caprese salad at home for under twelve dollars. I also ordered the Willo Chips and Salsa, which looked intriguing with its melted jalapeño jack cheese and "advocado."

I was amused by the decor, so I took a picture.


Doesn't Cory look nice? Tell her she looks nice! She made sure to put on makeup because she knew she'd be featured on the Internet!

While we waited for food, I related my dating woes, most of which miniglik has heard multiple times. Because I haven't dated, I'm no good at meeting potential future wives on these datelike things! And I don't know how to interpret signals! Cory thought I should really look into an Indian matchmaking website. Or find someone on TWoP. I should join every Meet Market of any show I have ever watched, even vaguely. And when that works, I could even branch out into shows I have not watched. "Are there any hot Indian chicks in here? I'll start watching this show, if so." I think it's a sound plan.

The Willo Chips and Salsa, to my surprise, didn't involve actual chips. The "chips" were little slices of bread with melted cheese on them. Which were yummy. Especially when topped with the "advocado" and salsa.

My sandwich was very good! Cory had been afraid that with all the flavors, I wouldn't be able to taste the brie, but I definitely could. And the spicy relish had a nice kick. She believed that the watercress was actually arugula, though, so I still may not have ever had watercress. It may have been my first sandwich on pumpernickel, though. Even the mixed greens were good! I completely cleaned off my plate, even though, near the end, I thought I was getting full. It's almost six hours later now and I'm not really hungry.

Cory was pleased with her asparagus salad and its lemon-thyme dressing.

We had a little bit of amusement with the check since we both put down credit cards but didn't inform the waiter which was which. And Cory's real name is not Cory but Kyle. I thought the waiter would see the "Sunil" and guess that it would be the Indian guy, but, no, he thought I was Kyle, for some reason not even having seen the other card...even though mine had been on top? I really don't know what happened, but we got it all sorted out.

There was a giant statue in the window of a man with his arms held up like he was either praying or about to catch a watermelon. I imitated him. Cory did not snap a picture, to her later dismay.

Back at the museum, Amy was still at her post by the Philip C. Curtis collection, which we had noticed earlier and liked. Philip C. Curtis was from Arizona, so he got his own exhibit.

And, you guys, I totally have another favorite artist now.


From afar, I commented that this looked "Magritte-esque." Look at all the tall dudes! With top hats! And that one guy is on a chair! What does he need a chair for, right? And they all have gifts because it's called The Gift Bearers. That must be one fucked-up birthday party they're going to. The painting next to it confirmed my impression of Curtis's Magritte-esqueness by appearing to feature those same dudes, except regular height and in a train car. Wikipedia informs me that he is sometimes called "the Magritte of the Old West," so go me.


This one is called Farewell. But where is that girl going? STORYBOOK LAND??

But just when I thought I had the guy pegged, he would pull out something like this:


This is called The Bride's Descent, and I couldn't stop staring it. I love how empty it is, how he took the time to make that checkered tile design, how that downstairs hallway seems to go back forever. There's nothing really wacky or surreal about this painting; it basically looks like a normal house. A lot of his paintings looked deceptively normal until you looked more closely. For instance, there was one with people waiting at a train station...except the station was run down and the tracks had been grown over. Yet, they still stood there, waiting.


But he also went a bit more into Dali. (Also, for one painting, he imitated Van Gogh. Very well.) We liked the little cherubs in this one.


You would not find this painting up in the American Western exhibit! This painting kind of blew my mind because I don't think I have ever seen this image. Stagecoaches are always full and glorious and peopled and wonderful in paintings. No one ever shows them like this. Now that I look at it again, I'm not sure that this is what a broken-down stagecoach would actually look like. But it's the principle of the thing.


Welcome to a fucked-up circus. I love surrealism because it straddles that line between reality and fantasy, making you think that with just the right tweaks, this could be real.


I really liked this big-headed girl for some reason. The painting is called Escape, and I love that she's escaping...to her laundry. Or something. Also, there are seagulls in the desert.


DUDES WITH BUILDINGS ON THEIR HEADS FTW.

Like...you guys, I feel like I want to have a Philip C. Curtis painting hung up in my house.

We continued on toward the "Fireflies." On the way, we encountered this thing:


Giant hemispheres, right? WRONG.


The hemispheres are concave!! Upside-Down, Inside-Out. If it reminds you, as it did Cory, of that giant bean in Chicago...that's because it's designed by the same dude. An Indian dude! Anish Kapoor.

We also saw a really cool painting called The Moment I Saw the Man with the Rifle. I wasn't sure what was going on, but it was visually arresting, and I loved that the titular man with the rifle is in the background, overshadowed by what looks to be a hell of a fight going on in the foreground.

I had asked a man how to get to the "Fireflies," and he pointed upwards, "where everyone is going." We hit the top floor, and I lost Cory.

Because Cory had run into an adorable girl named Zoe, who was one of her...library patrons, I think? She still had braces. It was cute. Cory told her we were going to see the fireflies.

The installation was called, I kid you not, You Who Are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies, by Yayoi Kusama. The description talked about mirrors and infinity and reflections of yourself, all overdramatic. We had to wait for the attendant to let us in. And then he did.

And it was seriously one of the most amazing things I've ever seen.


This picture does not do it justice at all. Basically, the entire room is dark except for hanging LEDs that change color...and the entire room is mirrored. So it essentially looks like the lights go on forever and ever, to infinity and beyond. And even though your logical mind tells you that is not true, you seriously feel like you are truly witnessing the essence of infinity.

At first, I was a little scared and freaked out because I couldn't tell where the mirrors were; I cautiously walked, always afraid I was going to run into a mirror. Even when I finally felt the mirror, knew it was there creating the illusion, it didn't lessen the impact. It was like being in the middle of 2001.

Sometimes the lights would be all one color, green or red or blue. I liked those moments because they felt sort of...right. When the lights were different colors, I felt a little scared. But at times, the vast stretch of colors would make me feel at peace, sort of content and appreciative that there was so much there there. Someone on Flickr described it as the closest thing to a spiritual experience that an atheist could imagine, and I competely know what she means. I wanted to tell people I saw God inside there.

We asked the attendant if we were to come out the same way, and he pointed to the exit. I followed the direction he pointed...and ran into a mirror. Because I had been moving toward his reflection. The real he motioned to where the exit was, and we tried to follow the mirrors until...holy motherfucking crap, there was an exit. I hadn't even noticed that there was a giant opening on the other side.

Out in the light, we hugged in excitement and vowed to go again. It was like an awesome amusement park ride.

We looked at more art, some installations and assemblages and abstract expressionism. Some were meh, and some were pretty. There was also this bizarre painting, called Do You Like Iraq?


It was supposed to be some criticism about how the rest of the world views America (note the BBQ continents). The artist wanted to use popular American icons and subvert them or something, but my favorite part is frickin' Yoda over on the left, who totally doesn't belong in the same category as Mickey Mouse and Betty Boop and...Colonel Sanders. I mean, Yoda is a character, not just some icon.

We also made sure to check out the famed jumpsuit exhibit. Yes, there was a JUMPSUIT EXHIBIT. It was...really lame, unfortunately. It was just a room with a bunch of mannequins wearing Jumpsuits Through the Ages. The best part was the guestbook, where I found this:


Maybe it's for real. You don't know!

Cory wanted to tell Zoe that she needed to see the fireflies, but, hey, she'd already seen them when we found her by the exhibit. Which we proceeded to go into again, now able to properly experience it without our initial disorientation. We stood for many minutes, just marveling. We stood together at a corner and gazed into the infinite lights.

Seriously, if you find yourself in Phoenix, you need to see this thing. It changed Britney Spears's life!

Lastly, we explored the gift shop because Cory loves art museum gift shops and their crazy shiny things. She found me Melanie's birthday present. And, no, Melanie, I'm not telling you what it is. But it is not shiny. Except in the Firefly sense of the word.

Amy was no longer at her previous post, so I asked the man there where she was. He called her on the radio: "What's your 20?" Hee! I love that phrase.

She came and met us to walk us out. Before we left, however, we had to get a picture, having finally met after six or seven years or whatever. And I could also get a picture of our beloved Big Bang/molecule thing.


I was a poor navigator following our exit, as I took us the wrong way down Central, but, hey, I got to see...more of Phoenix? And when we turned around, we saw a heinous accident that must have occurred only minutes after we had passed the spot, which was scary to think about.

After a lot of crazy turning, we reached my hotel, and Cory gave me a hug. I thanked her for coming to see me. She had driven all the way from Tucson to hang out with me! I'm lucky to have such awesome friends.
Current Mood: hungryfinally hungry...seven hours later
Current Music: The Lovemakers - Runaway

(31 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


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From:cerulgalactus
Date:October 13th, 2008 03:10 am (UTC)
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I like pictures of food more, but damn that is some good art. I really should get my ass back to PHx at some stage. I think Farewell is my favourite, but I want to be in the Firefly room so very much. Looks almost as cool as the recent Warhol exhibit at out art gallery, in which we had an extension of the silver clouds project.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:October 13th, 2008 04:23 am (UTC)
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Farewell is pretty neat because it's like the girl is on this separate panel of reality.

I sometimes take pictures of food. I know people like that.
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From:darlingviolenta
Date:October 13th, 2008 03:18 am (UTC)
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I will have to go to that museum when I visit my brother in Phoenix at Christmas, because I really like those Phillip C. Curtis paintings.

Also, Cory stole my dress. (Because it's not like there were dozens of them at every Target around or anything.) But she looks cute in it, too, so it's okay.

And your wife-finding plan sounds like a winner.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:October 13th, 2008 04:25 am (UTC)
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Ha ha ha ha, I love that you recognized the dress. She just bought it yesterday at Target without even trying it on. She couldn't go wrong for nine dollars, after all. And she does look cute in it! Now we have to get the two of you together somehow and take a picture of Target dresses.

Operation: Meet Market Madness shall commence anon!
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From:sterope
Date:October 13th, 2008 03:56 am (UTC)
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I think it's funny to read about stuff I look at every day! We used to have a Magritte painting on display, but it was only on loan to us for a little while. It's interesting to read about your perception of Phillip Curtis. I really like the frames on his paintings, but the paintings themselves aren't really my cup of tea. I like the boring European people. I suppose jumpsuits sound like slightly more fun than they actually are. Old ladies go crazy for our fashion gallery though. I always get sick of our fashion design exhibits the fastest for some reason, and unfortunately they change the least often. People not only pay to have staircases named after them, but also benches, chairs, galleries, and all kinds of things. It's ridiculous how our museum caters to rich people, but I suppose that's the non-profit way! Your lunch sounds like it was so good. I'll have to make a point to eat there sometime. Our comment books are a gold mine of entertainment! One of my co-workers had some kind of creepy secret admirer write him a note in one. People also say things about us like, "The guards are mean!!" or similar. I'm glad you guys enjoyed yourselves! It was cool to meet you in person after all these years.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:October 13th, 2008 04:30 am (UTC)
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We used to have a Magritte painting on display, but it was only on loan to us for a little while.
Aw.

I suppose jumpsuits sound like slightly more fun than they actually are.
Well, I was all excited for a guided tour through the history of jumpsuitdom told in very dramatic and artsy fartsy terms. But then it was just a bunch of mannequins.

People not only pay to have staircases named after them, but also benches, chairs, galleries, and all kinds of things.
We saw a rock outside that was probably named something. Oh, and there was a named overlook.

Our comment books are a gold mine of entertainment!
There were a lot of funny pages besides that one! And some neat drawings.

It was cool to meet you in person after all these years.
It was!
[User Picture]
From:punzerel
Date:October 13th, 2008 04:10 am (UTC)
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This is why it's fun to go to an art museum with someone! It's no fun to mock alone.

EXACTLY. Oh my goodness, me and my brother at the Louvre for the second time was MAGNIFICENT in terms of mocking. It was just the most wonderful experience.

Also: Cory/Kyle/shpyum - your dress is adorable!
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From:spectralbovine
Date:October 13th, 2008 04:31 am (UTC)
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Oh my goodness, me and my brother at the Louvre for the second time was MAGNIFICENT in terms of mocking. It was just the most wonderful experience.
Hee! Second time? What happened the first time?

Ha, Cory's dress is a big hit!
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From:electricmonk
Date:October 13th, 2008 04:13 am (UTC)
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The firefly thing sounds amazing. As for atheists finding God in art installations, that's kind of how I felt about this, which I've seen (that's the wrong word) in two different places now and you should absolutely seek out if it's ever anywhere near you.

Eggplant!

I'm hungry.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:October 13th, 2008 04:33 am (UTC)
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The firefly thing sounds amazing.
I'm glad that came across. It was hard to describe in words, obviously, and I couldn't just say "IT WAS AMAZING" over and over.

As for atheists finding God in art installations, that's kind of how I felt about this, which I've seen (that's the wrong word) in two different places now and you should absolutely seek out if it's ever anywhere near you.
Oh, wow, that does sound (that's the right word) cool.
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From:rowanceleste
Date:October 13th, 2008 05:55 am (UTC)
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That looks like a fantastic museum!

And when that works, I could even branch out into shows I have not watched. "Are there any hot Indian chicks in here? I'll start watching this show, if so." I think it's a sound plan.


Hee...while theoretically this plan sounds plausible..how exactly would you find out if there were 'hot Indian chicks' watching a show, before you invested time in the 'Meet Market?'

One of my cousin's told me I should join http://www.shaadi.com/ and apparently its worked well for several ppl..it's how my cousin met her husband. I suck at dating sites though because it's almost like they expect you to be..social? I find the concept to be strange and somewhat foreign...
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:October 13th, 2008 06:00 am (UTC)
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That's the site I keep hearing about, but the website looks sketchy. Maybe I should try it anyway?
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From:kremlindusk
Date:October 13th, 2008 08:28 am (UTC)
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Hey, *I* live in Phoenix! :D

I've only been to the art museum here once, when they had a bunch of classics on loan, like Renoir's "The Boating Party" and... other stuff. But I heard about this firefly thing a little while ago and it's the main reason I want to go back. I'm glad to hear it's still there, I was worried I'd missed it.

I think that artist you like is the artist I liked when I went, too. He reminds me of Mark Ryden and Frida Kahlo, too. Kinda.

P.S. I like your shirt. Hearst College 4evar.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:October 13th, 2008 01:53 pm (UTC)
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Hey, *I* live in Phoenix!
Hey, you want to have dinner tonight or tomorrow? I'm at the Hyatt Regency.

But I heard about this firefly thing a little while ago and it's the main reason I want to go back. I'm glad to hear it's still there, I was worried I'd missed it.
The museum has free admission Tuesday night...

P.S. I like your shirt. Hearst College 4evar.
Go Rough Riders!
[User Picture]
From:kibarika
Date:October 13th, 2008 09:09 pm (UTC)
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I feel like that big headed girl looks like me.

Very cool pictures. Yay West Magritte!
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From:spectralbovine
Date:October 13th, 2008 11:35 pm (UTC)
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Maybe that's why I liked her.
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From:kissyboots13
Date:October 14th, 2008 02:03 am (UTC)
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So, has nothing to do with your post...but have you seen Fate/Stay Night? Despite it's eroge origins, it is so. fucking. amazing.

I think you would really like it.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:October 14th, 2008 03:10 am (UTC)
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I...have no idea what you are talking about.
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From:newsong
Date:October 14th, 2008 04:46 am (UTC)
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I am totally a fan of this post! Sweet artwork and stories and all. =)
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From:spectralbovine
Date:October 14th, 2008 05:03 am (UTC)
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Yay!!
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From:ashfae
Date:October 14th, 2008 01:20 pm (UTC)
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That Big Bang thing is SO FREAKING AWESOME!!!

You should move to the UK. Lots of neat Indian women here. Not that I'm biased and just want to meet you finally, no no.

I really would like to be in the Firefly room. Wow. I could make a room like that, surely...
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:October 14th, 2008 01:54 pm (UTC)
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Neat Indian women WITH ACCENTS!
[User Picture]
From:thetheatremouse
Date:November 29th, 2008 07:16 am (UTC)
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This one is called Farewell. But where is that girl going? STORYBOOK LAND??

Reminds me of a scene from Gypsy.

the entire room is dark except for hanging LEDs that change color...and the entire room is mirrored. So it essentially looks like the lights go on forever and ever, to infinity and beyond.
If only the walls and ceiling of Space Mountain were that intense...

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