The Colorado State Fair ends today and the venders of hot dogs, cotton candy, deep-fried Snickers, and (this one was new to me) deep-fried Nutella are packing up their meals on wheels and heading on home. Nutella! How do they do that? I envision a Nutella version of Milk Duds. Thanks to Google, I type in “deep-fried Nutella”: perhaps I can get the recipe.
The beauty of Google is you get what you want but you always get so much more. The “more” included recipes for deep-fried butter, deep-fried Coke, and deep-fried Twinkies. As for deep-fried Nutella, think of a toasted cheese sandwich without the cheese.
Midway food is enough to put you off the state fair entirely. That said, the grandchildren were in town, and they deserved a close-up look at the animals on display. Plus, the sensory over-load is a heady tonic. I love the sawdust, manure, and dust motes… I loved a newly shorn ewe awaiting the show ring in a zebra patterned wrap… the African geese, and the Chinese roosters. In addition, there were a number of designer animals. Highlights of this year’s fair included a life-size cow sculpted out of 800 pounds of full-cream butter spread over a wood, metal, mesh frame.
Also, we saw a tent towering sand sculpture to include a rhino, a lion, a wildebeest, a crocodile, a hippo, monkeys and more scrambling over one another to reach the mountain top. The realism of the trees, the limestone cliffs, and most of all, the dog-eat-dog energy of the tussle to the top were all on show. Remembering my amateur efforts at the beach with a shovel and a sand pail made me appreciate the carvers’ artistry that much more.
The butter cow was novel. The jungle scene was intriguing, but the Lizard King, built by 20 Waltrip High School students and their teacher Rebecca Bass of Houston TX took the cake. The fearsome lizard was built over the frame of a 1990 Honda Civic hatchback plus “a steel armature, carved foam, broken mirrors, stuff, tons-o-beads and close to 24 cases of silicone caulk.” The lizard flicks its long tongue and dares the viewer to come closer. Is that Kali, a Hindu goddess, on top of the car? Every goddess needs a lizard. Anyone for Game of Thrones?
Those readers who are local may want to drive south to Trinidad on September 13, 14, or 15 for a festival designed to draw Artcar aficionados. This art form was entirely new to me. If you have an interest, check out http://www.historictrinidad.com/artocade.html.
In addition to the novelty acts in the name of art, the Colorado State Fair always has a very good Fine Arts exhibit. What fun to see the work of friends and neighbors on display. In particular, I was drawn to the work of Jerrie Hurd of Boulder. She is not a friend; she is not a neighbor. I wish that she were. In particular, I loved her photo “Daddy’s New Dog.”
But it was her “Risk to Blossom” entry that held me spell-bound.
I love the masks. The viewer must ask himself, “What do the masks mask? What masks do we wear? Do we have different masks for different occasions? Do we choose our masks in the same manner as we choose our shoes? If we are nude, are we naked or merely nude? At what point are we exposed? Are we exposed by others or do we expose ourselves? At what point do we expose ourselves? The Anais Nin quote suggests that we should drop our masks.
I liked “Risk to Blossom” in itself, but perhaps more so because I am reading When Women Were Birds a mystery/meditation by Terry Tempest Williams. Briefly… before dying, Williams’s mother, the matriarch of a large Mormon clan, tells Terry to read her journals after she has passed on. Some weeks after her mother’s death, Terry finds the journals chronologically lined up, spines even with the leading edges of three shelves. Terry takes down the first journal; it is blank. The second journal is blank. All of the journals are blank.
In many ways, this book (sub-titled “Fifty-Four Variations on Voice”) is Terry Williams’s efforts to understand her mother’s message. Nothing was written in the journals, and yet, at her mother’s request, Terry tries to read between the unwritten lines… to see beyond the un-printed page. What was the significance of the blank page? What was her mother’s message?
When Women Were Birds intrigues me. I put myself in Terry Williams’s place. My mother never kept a journal, but she did wear a mask. I saw her nude, but I never saw her naked. She never exposed herself. She never let the mask slip. Or… did I failed to notice when from time to time she removed her mask?
Closer to home, I think of my own masks. As I hope you think of yours.