Thursday, August 02, 2012

Chicanonautica: Road Tripping Through Aztlán

When you read this, I’ll be finishing up with a road trip through Aztlán, better known as the Southwest here in the United States of America.
I’m beginning to prefer Aztlán to Southwest. It fits the way I see it better, connecting with an ancient, half-forgotten past.
Then, there are times when I prefer the Wild West . . . or the Weird West . . .
I do need to get out of the Metro Phoenix Area and escape the strange place where people from the Midwest and Backeast come to seal themselves in air-conditioned enclosures and pretend that all the strangeness sizzling in the heat ripples isn’t there. They might as well be living on a Mars colony. And of course, if they have to deal with desert environment, see non-caucasians, or hear languages other than English, they have panic attacks and call for law enforcement.
I love the world that burns under the veneer of civilization here, so I have to get out beyond the attempts to recreate the California sprawl in a dystopian test tube -- so I’m heading East, into New Mexico.
I’m switching gears, putting my bullfighting research aside -- though, I wouldn’t be surprised if I found something taurine along the zigzagging way I need to think more about my pre-Columbian ball game research, but also keep my senses and brain wide open.

I’ve been rereading David Hatcher Childress’ Lost Cities & Mysteries of the Southwest, and Tom Miller’s Revenge of the Saguaro: Offbeat Travels Through America’s Southwest in preparation. Childress hones my cherchez le weird, while Miller reminds of the wild history and tumultuous culture and politics of the region. I don’t want the usual turista fare.
To quote Miller: The difference between radical travel and conventional travel is simply how much you inhale along the way.
I plan on some deep, dark, serious inhaling.
I’m going to be on the lookout for witchcraft, secret UFO bases, the local version of Bigfoot, the Seven Cities of Cibola, atomic mutations, La Llorona, El Cucuy, El Chupacabra, my own elusive ancestors, and bizarre things that are out there, waiting for me.
I’ll be taking notes and making sketches. When I come back, I’ll have all kinds of raw material. And who knows what I’ll be inspired to do with it!
People ask me where I get all my crazy ideas. They’re all around us. All you have to do is tune your brain, go out, and find them.
Aztlán is one of the most idea-rich places on this planet.
Ernest Hogan soaks his psyche in whatever environment he finds himself in, and makes it into art and writing that my be hazardous to tolerance of the mundane.

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