Monday, 7 May 2012

Yes! We Have No Bananas!

… Pirate's mob gather at the shores of the great refectory table…crowded now over the swirling dark grain of its walnut uplands with banana omelettes, banana sandwiches, banana casseroles, mashed bananas moulded into the shape of a British Lion rampant, blended with eggs into batter for French toast , squeezed out a pastry nozzle across the quivering creamy reaches of a banana blancmange to spell out the words "C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la guerre" (attributed to a French observer during the Charge of the Light Brigade) which Pirate has appropriated as his motto ... tall cruets of pale banana syrup to pour oozing over banana waffles, a giant glazed crock where diced bananas have been fermenting since the summer with wild honey and muscat raisins, up out of which, this winter morning, one now dips foam mugs full of banana mead ... banana croissants and banana kreplach, and banana oatmeal and banana jam and banana bread, and bananas flamed in ancient brandy Pirate brought back last year from a cellar in the Pyrenees...
Tutsy and I had been discussing where we could go show-off our new Vita’s Boudoir outfits. I had in mind – rather predictably, on reflection - something gothic, churchy, grave yard-like and tp’d over to a region called Legion.
“Nein, mon beignet framboise!” the French artist exclaimed. “We have usurped the despot President Nicky Sardonic and now we must celebrate like a seagull following a trawler for a sardine!”

I stared back at him, blankly.
“Open your mind, mon cherry!
Be free like an albatross smoking Gitanes on the bank of La Seine!
We need to reflect the colour of the feathers of peacocks!
We need to hear the music of Paris S’éveille!
We need to dance like the Bronze Venus!”
“You’re bananas, you are,” I replied.

“Nein, mon gȃteau á la crème peu! I have never been more sane! Follow me, and prepared to be amazed!”
He tp's me to a destination unknown, and I follow....

Le Cactus’ is a fabulous installation by Maya Paris, hosted on the SBCC (Santa Barbara City College) region.
At ‘Le Cactus’ you are invited to ‘throw a banana on your head, dance on a cactus and tickle a tentacle!’ And so we should!
But first, immediately on arriving, switch on your music stream and listen to 1920’s and ‘30’s Big Band Jazz Swing as you take in the vibrant colours and the ambience that Maya has created.

‘Le Cactus’ is a homage to American-French dancer, singer and actress Josephine Baker (1906 – 1975), African-American jazz musician Valaida Snow (1904 – 1956) and French singer-songwriter Jacques Dutronc (b. 1943).
Now, truth be told...I had not heard of any of these three artists before arriving today at Maya’s installation…but Tutsy had and, in fact, declared that he loved Dutronc’s work.

‘Le Cactus’ is very much in the style of an Old Time Music Hall popular from the 1850’s to the middle of the 20th century. One is almost anticipating the arrival on stage of a genial compare to introduce a cheeky but loveable stand-up comedian like Max Wall or Arthur Askey (singing ‘I Want a Banana’).
‘Le Cactus’ like a lot of Maya’s other work, has two characteristics which I particularly adore: it is quirky and fun – her humour abounds within her work - and it is very interactive.
Most every object is interactive in some way or other, be it a ‘sit’ or a singles dance animation or a URL to a Baker, Snow or Dutronc web page.

One sad omission, in my opinion, was that we could not find a couples dance machine. Sometimes it is nice to dance cheek-to-cheek while discussing the finer points of Sartre’s existentialism or correcting Napoleon’s disastrous military strategy of 1812.
A small point, perhaps. But certainly one that Maya should keep in mind if she should ever decide a career change and give up being one of SL’s most successful and popular artists and instead decide to be a Second Life Club Owner.
The “Main Attraction”, so to speak, is a large four-seater Banana Carrousel which explodes with joyous particle delight whenever someone takes a seat. Fabulous fun!
It was like winning the jackpot on a very, very large fruit machine!

Now, I know that in some quarters this is a dreadfully uncool thing to say but, ‘Le Cactus’ is a happy place. It made me feel happy and light-hearted.
I enjoyed it immensely.
There. I said it.
And, yes. I have no bananas, today.

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