So readers, your dear Funky went on a pretty darn amazing, life-altering, trip at the end of March. I found another local band to love, and I followed them all the way down to Santa Fe, New Mexico just to see them play in the infamous (in my crowd) Meow Wolf. Looking back at my own stories, I am very surprised to see that I have yet to discuss the band, Itchy-O….SHAME ON ME!!
Itchy-O is an experience. Whether you are trying to just listen to them, or looking them up online, or you are actually there, you will never be really ready for what you are about to encounter. The way that I describe them, is, “They’re a marching band on crack…and acid.” To put it another way, they are like a marching band on steroids, and their vibe is cerebral, to say the least. There are about forty members in the band, and every single one of them wears a mask–complete anonymity. (I happen to now know several members of the band–they have been unmasked–but I am not allowed to publicly mention their names, haha.) The main instruments are drums and computer-generation-manipulation of sounds. Most of the band members invade the crowd, their “instruments” being mobile–some carrying their drums like on-the-front backpacks, others with a “table” strapped to their chests to hold their laptops and giant amplifying speakers on their backs–or just being creepy wraith-esque figures dancing/ crawling/ disturbingly still tucked in a corner to startle you. The only exception to the rule of them all infiltrating the crowd are those with the BIG drums–they are usually on the stage or somewhere where they can be the central focus.
I have been to several Itchy-O concerts….you could say that I am something of a groupie, hahaha! And the show never gets old, honestly. My favorite part? When you suddenly stop being an individual and become part of the whole. It was rather startling the first time! I mean, if you have read any of my blogs, then you know that I am a dark, proud, daring individual; I like being able to stand out from the crowd. But an Itchy-O concert is different…
It really is hard to explain, but the best similarity I can think of is how a crowd feels during a ceremonial practice. I know, I know…there aren’t a lot of those in our mainstream world anymore, so look it up, haha. Check out the Maasai Adumu Ceremony (don’t forget that I work at a museum, hahaha!). Anyway, there comes a moment during an Itchy-O concert where the individual ceases to exist. You form one consciousness, move together as one–feel every soul and molecule of energy converge into one giant seething mass of feel-good unity. It’s breathtaking!
Although no mere words could ever be enough to truly capture the experience that is Itchy-O, lets move on to Meow Wolf…where again, no mere words could ever be enough to adequately describe that experience.
Meow Wolf is an “art-collective”, nestled in Santa Fe, New Mexico. According to Wikipedia, it was established in 2008 by a collection of artists who desired to provide their city with a unique art house and music venue. But I did not know any of this when I headed down there, so let me attempt to explain the experience in my own words, while still keeping the mystery alive enough that you all will have to venture down there yourselves, without any spoilers…
I will start at the beginning: I woke up the morning I was supposed to leave for my trip, to my brother panicking that he couldn’t get out of the driveway because of snow! What? I admit it, I was stressed TFO! Well not to mention that up until that point, I was dealing with my father’s health issues, I had gotten into that age-old trap of being annoyed and complaining about my job and therefore hating it, and “The One” (see https://funkylollipop.com/2016/08/11/can-i-read-my-book-please/) came back and left twice since November and this last breakup was over the trip to Meow Wolf–so yeah, you could say I was very close to a breakdown, haha! In any case, the panicked wake up call started the day off bad, and then an insensitive text from my brother’s boss to my brother, but recieved on my phone because his phone doesn’t work at our house, sent me over the edge! Basically, I responded rather harshly and then immediately apologized (in a mean way) but my brother’s boss must be an amazing person because he felt that I “seemed stressed”, so he bought me a giant bottle of wine and made my brother promise to make sure I had a great weekend. This, of course, made me bawl like a baby, lbvs! So from that moment on, I promised myself that I was going to do just that–have a great stress free weekend.
By the afternoon the snow had cleared up completely–yay Colorado! So, four people and a dog left Colorado around 10:00 Friday evening, in a nice little rental car, because all of us drive older cars that we do not trust to take out of state, haha! We headed south, (I left my stress and pain at the Colorado State line) and after a few–sometimes questionable–rest stops, we made it to our buddy’s hotel room at around 4:00 am Saturday morning, in Santa Fe, NM. We had a lovely two-bed room, and five people and a Scruffy to sleep in it. I got to share a bed with only one other person (who happened to be a handsome fellow) and the dog, so I was happy.
The next day we went to lunch at a vegan-friendly Mexican restaurant for our newly vegan boy (it was yummy, haha, even though I still had meat.) Then half of us went to peruse the random shops, while the boys and the dog went to sniff out that skate park! (I found an awesome shop called “Mira’s” but it might as well have been named “Rachel’s” it was so perfect.) Around five, we met back at the hotel to greet the three new-comers who would bring our hotel-room occupants total up to eight people and a dog!! Talk about a packed house! Thankfully, these three brought an air mattress for them to share, hahaha!
The best part was that our hotel was within walking distance of Meow Wolf, so I dug into that gifted bottle of wine, before we headed down. We showed up a little bit early, so we could traverse the venue…but little did we know, we could have come as soon as they opened, and still would not have enough time to catch it all.
Built in an old bowling ally, Meow Wolf is vast and full of mystery. Around every corner, in every nook and cranny, through every hidden fireplace and cupboard under the stairs, a new wonder waits to be discovered. Even the bathrooms were a place of fantasy and visual excitement. Several worlds merge into one under the high warehouse-esque ceilings, and stepping over the threshold imbibes in you the sheer joy and innocence of a child on a Wonderland adventure.
Then you add Itchy-O, and you suddenly have a heady mix of mystique and euphoria.
At one point, one of our buddies had a bit too much fun, and we lost him. What could have been a major bummer that we were missing some of the show, ended up being a blessing in disguise, since the hidden recesses of Meow Wolf were abandoned for the Itchy-O show in the center. We discovered rooms that we had missed in our quick inspection before the show. My favorite room, of course, was the Eyeball Room, in which singular orbs of every size and description graced the surface of the rounded cave-like room. But that wasn’t all to see….
The amazing night ended, and we all trooped back to the hotel, and we found our lost friend soon thereafter, so everything was good. After a quick dip in the pool with some fellow Colorado pals and customers at the same hotel, we all went to bed. Eight people and a Scruff, two beds and an air mattress–one big happy family.
After a scattered morning, the eight of us (and a Scruff), left in our respective vehicles, to head home. We stopped for a quick bite at an Indian vegan restaurant (yes, readers, I ate a meal without meat…), then got back on I-25 for the long trip home. This time, I was the one who drove first (I did drive about an hour in the wee hours of Saturday morn), because my car-mates had a little bit more fun than I did, haha, so they all fell asleep, leaving me to enjoy the drive by myself. Which I certainly did, for it had been a very long time since I’d had that much time to think all to myself. Deciding I was happy driving, I drove the whole eight hours, while they mostly slept.
I had several epiphanies on that drive. Again, if you have read any of my blogs, then you know that I am very capable of dark, painful thoughts. I’ve seen some things in my lifetime that have left me sad and fairly broken. But I have also always said, “Everything happens for a reason.” Well, either I believe that theory, or I don’t. If I do–and for sanity’s sake I think I better–then every single bad experience was meant to be, meant for me. Lessons learned, life taught….every death, every bad relationship….was meant for me to make me who I am.
For example, all of the breakups with The One–meant to be. I had buried my heart in anger, after my mom died. He was the one who helped me find it again. (“It does exist!”) I didn’t know how much I actually wasn’t feeling. I mean, I know I love my friends, and I enjoy all the good times that we have–but I wasn’t actually feeling it. It was like a facade, window dressing on an abandoned building. And what would it take to break through my healthy coating of anger? Love and pain, of course! I cannot fault him for anything though. Once I left the pain on the state border, all I was left with is love, and that is what I brought back with me from Santa Fe. Love–love that actually hurts with it’s severity and sincerity–for everyone and everything. Even my anger at “the powers that be” has left me. It also made me realize how scared I actually was. I have been on a lifelong search for love, but it scares the heck out of me, and it always has. For to love, you become vulnerable to that person–the absence of their love can hurt you. Death is an old family friend, and he comes often for a visit. Because this is what I know, my impatience to start living the “happily ever after, ” is expounded! So I have the impatience, but I am terrified of loving someone, so I don’t actually tell them, but then I have ridiculous expectations in which they must live up to. *Sigh* I had no idea I was so confusing, lbvs!
The moral of the story is….sometimes adventures are weird from the get go. Itchy-O = Weird, Meow Wolf = Weird. Itchy-0 + Meow Wolf = Best Weirdness of Your Life!! And sometimes beauty is born out of that weirdness…life-altering beauty.
I had such an amazing trip, and I strongly suggest visiting Meow Wolf and witnessing Itchy-O live. It will be something you cannot forget.