Sunday, January 17, 2010

Shmaltz Across Texas, Part 1

My squeeze the Cheez and I always say we have so much fun together, we could go on vacation in a paper bag and still have a great time.

This winter, we didn't go for some little lunch sack. We headed for a full on shopping bag, the shmancy kind with those little ropey built-in handles.

It's was a big bag we vacationed in. A big bag called TEXAS.

So big, we couldn't take it on all by ourselves, so we invited some pals to join us. No, not Miss Ellie and JR, I meant a couple of real live actual friends:

1. Doougie Rocker, PhD, everyone's favorite Riot Grrrl/Classics Professor

2. Doougie's honey, Little Lord Portleroy
As Little Lord P noted, we were ideally suited for this journey, representing North, South, East, and West. To wit: Cheez as the Northerly Canuck; me as that exemplum of east coast, a New Yorker; Doougie as a native of the westward Oregon Territories; and Little Lord P heading up the South, having been raised in the Ozarks in a Doomsday cult that supported itself by BeDazzling the concert costumes of Elvis Presley.

And to think, people believe the South is more f*ed up than other regions.

Anyhow, we set off not to mess with Texas but to mesmerized by it. Cheez and I spent eight years in LA. We thought we'd seen all there was to see of the delicate intersection between big wads of cash and really tacky taste. But Rodeo Drive has got nothing on rodeo gaudy.

I just asked Cheez for an illustrative example. He answered I think that $170 leopard and rhinestone belt we saw in the store in San Antonio certainly counts as Texas Tacky.

Actually, I disagree. I think it just counts as proof that Texas has so few Jews, people actually pay retail.

So here is a recap of some highlights of the trip. I'm sorry if the recap is long(horn). Texas is big. There is an awful lot for me to mock.

Day 1: Complimentary breakfast at the hotel:

A Texas-sized vat of deep fried pig.

And to think I said this was a goyim-heavy state.

With that much bacon, it's more a heavy goyim state.

Much to Doougie's despair, Little Lord P immediately embraced the Texan belief that everything is better with bacon. Even yogurt.

Once we had filled up, we headed out to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. It's a gorgeous building filled with memorable pieces.

Such as this room-sized sculpture . . .
made out of mint-green candies.
We're big fans of found-object art. But this was our first exposure to found-in-the-bottom-of-some-grandma's-pocketbook art. If the sculptor had thrown in a tissue with a blotch of coral-pink lipstick on it and a bus transfer from 1962, it would have been perfect.

After leaving the museum, we happened
upon a once beautiful but now somewhat rundown art deco building.

We snuck inside to investigate.

We made our way through ornate halls, poking into side rooms
littered with old box fans and duct tape-mended couches, until
at last we passed through giant doors labeled "coliseum," and discovered that we were inside the rodeo dome.

And that, although there was no one else around, the soundsystem was playing full blast. And that the song it was blasting was Barracuda.

Because nothing says rodeo like decaying art deco and false rumors of lesbian love.

And speaking of girls who like horses, our next stop was the Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame. Highlights included the following quotes from Hall of Famers:

Who'd want a husband when you could have this wonderful horse? Mitzi Riley

Of course, when you do as many things as I do, it takes a lot of outfits. Fern Sawyer

Basically, anyplace you can be down on marriage and up on outfits, is my paradise. I celebrated by galloping over to the gift-shop and purchasing myself a sweet little filly of a cowgirl hat, which to Doougie's mortification I insisted on wearing just about every place else we went in Texas.

Full up on Fort Worth, we headed to Houston, checked into the Hyatt, and spent the evening watching Panic in Year Zero, which I can say without a doubt is the finest film about nuclear holocaust directed by and starring Ray Milland and co-starring Frankie Avalon that I have ever seen.

And that was just day 1.

More Texas-sized tales of terrific travel to come, I promise. Until then, settle back with some yogurt-coated bacon, and dream of all the open prairie has to offer . . . even if they are selling it at retail.

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