Endlessly, 2015. Up @circuit12 in Dallas as part of Diamond Seat. A show with Caris Reid inspired by joint research of Robert Thurman’s text on Mandalas. @carisr @circuit12 #circuit12 #circuit12contemporary #AmandaValdez
Special Report: In Dallas with Bubi Canal for the NONOBJECTIVE Opening at Circuit 12 Gallery.
On Thursday the 16th, I stayed at Bubi’s as the next morning we would be leaving for Dallas first thing. I slept like a rock, with the hum of the air conditioner and the soft glow of a Mickey Mouse lamp he placed on the coffee table next to the sofa.
I got up at 6 a.m. to finish one of my photo galleries and time raced by. Paul was calling to make sure we were on our way to the car service and I quickly changed. I was wearing a Supreme Jean Michel Basquiat button down shirt with Vinti Andrews Eco Jeans (which are half unzippable sweatpant attachment and half jean), Koos’ Toms espadrilles, Martin Margiela belt and a purple paper hat I got from a vendor in front of work at Rockefeller Center.
I grabbed my American Tourister weekend bag and Bubi grabbed his new North Face duffle bag and off we went to Puerto Rico Car Service. We got a car right away and got to LaGuardia in no time.
The flight on Virgin America was effortless, I was fascinated by the touch screen at the seats through which one would order beverages (no free snacks). After the initial drink service, I used the touch pad to order two glasses of Coke Zero.
Soon enough we were at Love Field looking for the DART train to go downtown. We took a bus to a train station and waited for about 10 minutes, taking in the dry 100º heat and checking out the suburba-like surroundings.
We transferred downtown and got to the Hyatt Regency Hotel. I immediately loved its Reunion Tower, which kind of reminded me of the Skylon in Niagara Falls.
Bubi and I checked in and we asked what time was best to go up the tower to see the skyline and take photos. The concierge said at around 7:30 was best.
Paul had given us the addresses of a few vintage stores, and there was one in particular that seemed great, called Dolly Python. After dropping our bags in the room and being amazed by the massive atrium of the hotel and its roller coaster-like elevator, we were delighted with the room and its view of the city. We picked out the side with a city view even though the concierge said it was noisy because of adjacent train tracks. Still, we knew it was ok as we’re used to loud trains in Bushwick.
After freshening up quickly, we wanted to take a cab to Dolly Python. Our first attempt was futile; the driver wanted to charge $20 and we knew we weren’t going that far. So we tried another cab that actually used the meter, and we got to the store, driving past the Dallas Art Museum through several clover leafs and viaducts.
Dolly Python was in a strip mall, and we went in, greeted by two cute dogs. We checked out the prices and compared them to Bushwick; I went through distressed jeans and tried on a pair. They didn’t fit properly, so I went to a corner of the store where Bubi was eyeing some plastic toys and I noticed they sold records.
I was going through a plethora of David Bowie first edition U.S. LP pressings and admired a large Kraftwerk table display which I had never seen before, all lovingly curated by Bucks Burnett, a most kind man who runs a decidedly intriguing Eight Track Museum, and who texted us recommendations on places to eat later that evening. The display was like a gigantic album cover attached to reproductions of covers of Rush’s Fly by Night and 10CC’s Sheet Music to form a cardboard triangular standee. (I spoke with Bucks about 8-track treasures, mentioning my sealed copies of Kraftwerk’s Ralf and Florian as well as Parliament’s Funkentelechy vs. The Placebo Syndrome.)
After hanging there until the store was closing, we wanted to eat something so we asked where to go. We decided to head back towards the hotel, and in walking towards the DART station, we bumped into another street mall on the pedestrian-free streets and wandered into a Target for some nuts, baby carrots and string cheese.
We found the DART station under a condominium called City Tower and we quickly made our way to Reunion Tower to take some photos. I put on my Austrian thaler t-shirt with perforations by ShockVintage, Vinti Andrews Eco Jeans shorts in recycled denim and Koos’ Toms espadrilles.
After we did our photos, we went to our room and relaxed for a bit. We went to the pool, which was beautiful against the backdrop of the hotel’s glass walls. We wanted to grab a bite to eat, but it was already 10 p.m. and it seemed like mostly everything around the hotel was closed. We went to the lobby and picked up a salad and a sandwich, went to our room, ate and got ready for the next day.
That night, I only woke up to the sound of a train once through the night. Bubi felt it too. Later on in the day, I would get a text from Tony saying he had heard about a small earthquake happening in Dallas late at night.
The next morning, Bubi went to the pool while I finished some work and wrote and then we wanted to grab a bite. I had done some research the night before on chicken fried steak joints, and figured it would be wonderful to sample this local delicacy.
I had contacted Buddy, who had recently moved to Dallas, for a recommendation of places to eat and also to invite him to the opening. He recommended Mama’s Daughter’s Diner, and I looked in Google Maps for walking directions and off we went. I was wearing a Deep Creek Lake, Maryland vintage souvenir tee with pussy willows and kittens on pink, from Worship vintage in Bushwick, with the Vinti Andrews Eco Jeans with the sweatpants attachments removed to make shorts and Koos’ Toms espadrilles.
Little did we know that on our route we would walk by the Texas School Book Depository Building, where from a sixth floor window Lee Harvey Oswald shot President Kennedy. I read the plaque on the building, past the Red Museum and into a construction area where we recorded videos under the scorching sun.
Google Maps was taking us underneath viaducts and past bright pylons on road construction sites to a cluster of fast food restaurants at a barren intersection. In the distance, I saw a Jack In the Box and remembered the fond moments I had at the one in Adelphi as a child, when one of the few things I wanted to eat were their plain hamburgers and milk shakes.
I figure it’s not every day one visits Dallas, so I reminisced with Bubi about the Maryland days and we went in for milkshakes.
Back under the sun, I remembered my practice walks with Dominic and Tony and just kept going; Bubi and I laughed at the very prevalent Lana Del Rey atmosphere.
As we were crossing a thoroughfare out of rote, we stumbled into a store called Kate’s Cool Things. It was a consignment and pop culture items extravaganza and we ogled at everything from a Windy clown face helium balloon blower I clearly remembered seeing at Kmart in Puerto Rico, to issues of Playgirl with photos of Big Daddy Kane in silk underwear.
We bought a few gifts and were on our way. We soon realized we were in a trendy area which turned out to be the Design District. We passed store after store of dreamy period furniture, mostly Mid-Century.
We saw a Dodge Charger spray painted in black perched on a gigantic plinth and somehow we sensed the Circuit 12 Contemporary Gallery was nearby, which was the place which would be displaying the Nonobjective Group Show which features Bubi’s work. We took pictures in front of the car and thought it was like Daft Punk.
I checked the map and we had only about 9 more minutes to go before arriving at Mama’s Daughter’s. We made our way stealthily, and walked into a time warp dining salon with family-style tables and inscriptions of Mom’s sayings on the wall.
We sat down to eat and ordered specials. I got the chicken fried steak with three sides for $6.99 and Bubi did the same but ordered grilled chicken as he doesn’t like saucy dishes.
Bubi was unsure about which side dishes to choose: cole slaw, mac ‘n’ cheese, and what else? I suggested getting the peach halves, and he thought that was fine.
The food came was served very quickly and I noticed a couple of bears sitting next to a blackboard advertising various pies. I saw the desserts sitting on a stainless steel counter next to the kitchen entrance, already portioned off into servings.
I ordered a coconut pie and it was a creamy concoction with delicious meringue on top.
It was super warm outside and we decided to try out Uber. Bubi downloaded the app on his phone and we got a discount, so the ride back to the hotel was $4.
Back at the hotel, we decided what to wear for the opening and opted for a simple t-shirt and shorts story. I had a vintage tee with balloon print from Worship in Bushwick, the unzipped Vinti Andrews Eco Jeans, Koos’ Toms espadrilles, Jean Michel Basquiat Uniqlo/SPRZ tote and a bespoke Geoffrey Mac rubber bracelet.
Bubi opted for a cap he customized with an insignia procured from a market in Sicily, a white Carhartt pocket tee, geometric yellow and black shorts from Uniqlo, Only NY socks and white Nike AF1 sneakers. A necklace with a good luck horn charm from Naples pulled the ensemble together.
And so off we went in another Uber car, getting to the gallery quickly and noticing it was indeed located near the car sculpture and Design District we had stumbled upon.
We were among the first ones to arrive at the opening in the beautiful gallery space. Owners Dustin and Gina gave us a tour of the freshly redone interiors they had recently moved into, including ample storage room which is neatly filled.
Shortly after seeing the facilities and admiring how well the art was presented, Oren Leavitt arrived, a Facebook friend I hadn’t met in person. He was charming and gracious, he stayed with us until the end of the opening. I loved his amazingly long beard braided to his waist, cosmic tie dye shirt and dress socks.
It was great getting to know Oren, and soon after Gene arrived with his partner Kenny, whom I was meeting for the first time. It was lovely to see Gene in his home base, and he gracefully offered to drive us around Dallas and show us places. Buddy and Kent, who had recently moved to Dallas from New York, also stopped by. I had last seen Buddy at a restaurant near Pratt in Brooklyn. We hung out and got caught up. We looked at the art in the show and Bubi took our picture.
We also met Dan Rodríguez and Joseph John Steffen, who sell gorgeous hats, jewelry, bags and other items at the Primer store within the gallery, which they curate. I wore one of their Dan+Joseph hat creations, with feathers made completely of leather. Bubi took my picture with Joseph next to one of his pieces.
I got an Alexander Giraud coloring book for Scooter and an Eames memory game for Van and milled again at the opening; Bubi and I eventually headed towards the front yard where people gathered and drank bubbly.
I had called Gene a bit earlier as he had offered to drive us to dinner and so he picked us up in 20 minutes, which I spent chatting with a fellow who had lived in the East Village a few years before.
Gene arrived and took Bubi, Oren and I to an eatery in Oak Lawn called Buzz Brews. The delightfully charming wait staff pointed out their favorite tex-mex dishes. I had a scrumptious salad with skirt steak.
After several cups of coffee and lively, heartfelt conversation, we dropped Oren off at his place and then, at our request, Gene dropped us off at a disco called It’ll Do, a 1940s ballroom which is the best club in Dallas, Dan and Joseph had told us.
We agreed to have breakfast the next morning before saying our good nights.
Bubi and I headed down a small parking lot to the disco, which had the most extraordinary signs. I thought the signs were so good it would be hard for any club to match the excitement they were producing in me. O, the Visions!
Amazingly, the names of the DJs that were going to play were actually graffitied into a proper mural on the wall leading to the entrance…DJ Pierre…Digweed…Danny Tenaglia… Like checking out a parade, we walked towards a balcony in the back with was crowded with smokers.
We felt like we were a bit wanting to have another Uber ride to the hotel and rest up for the early wakeup time tomorrow, so we reached for the phone.
It was just then we ran into Joseph and Dan, who were just getting there. They promised they would treat us better (if by any chance we had been mistreated and that might have made us want to leave). We explained no such thing had happened.
The Uber car was across the street and we piled in and went to the hotel. Bubi turned on the TV and fell asleep. We were both pleased with the plethora of activities throughout the evening.
With the lights out, there was a sensor in the room that would turn a nite lite on whenever one stepped out of the bed and set foot on the floor.
At sunrise, I got up early to do some writing and we went to the pool for a short while. Gene and Kenny came to pick us up at 9:30, soon after we checked out.
I had seen on the night of my research regarding chicken fried steaks there was a place in East Dallas called Hypnotic Donuts that makes breaded chicken breast sandwiches in homemade biscuits with honey or milk gravy.
We got in the car and headed towards the shop, where we also had the most decadent donuts, with heaps of frosting and sugar candy on top.
When we sat at a couch in the packed room to eat, a man who was in workout gear sitting in front of me offered me half of a chicken sandwich he hadn’t eaten, and I happily ate it.
After we drove to see a monument in the gay neighborhood and stopped for a coffee at the Cosmic Café, a veritable extravaganza of murals and trompe l’oeil in a jungle theme. We also saw a glorious old movie house which is not a venue called Lakewood and Bubi took my photo in front of it, wearing the same outfit I wore when we flew to Dallas, for the sake of circularity, with an additional Chalk Master Apron.
On our way to the airport, we saw the Cathedral of Hope’s Interfaith Peace Chapel, a lovely modernist church designed by Philip Johnson that looks like a gigantic bird.
Soon after we were again in Love Field, arriving just in time to board the plane. Bubi was seating kiddie corner from me as the plane was full, and I sat with perfect posture feeling the hat on my head, to later take it off.