Okay, so it’s been a little while since the last newsletter, but life intruded. Honest. Let’s see: several gallery open houses, including our recent third anniversary event on August 18. Lots of wrangling on new enclosures, including some custom commissions and a literary-themed Mexican butterwort enclosure inspired by the Ernest Hogan novel Smoking Mirror Blues, and preparation for more by mid-October. There was the big carnivorous plant workshop at Curious Garden near White Rock Lake, and medical issues around Texas Frightmare Weekend that still give me creaks in my left ankle. (Ever get your teeth into a really good chunk of gristle in chicken or beef and decide to crunch down? That’s what I hear in my left ankle and right knee on rainy nights.) The author Harlan Ellison died, and the carnivorous plant expert Adrian Slack died. I could just send you to the main Web site for all of those details, and that’s probably the best option for rehashes and updates The newsletter is best for new content.
As for all of you new subscribers, welcome. The purpose of this little missive isn’t just to pass on news and information about Dallas’s pretty much only carnivorous plant gallery, although that’s going to be about 70 percent of its weight by volume. Its stated purpose is to become a replacement for the old Triffid Ranch Facebook page, particularly by sharing information that won’t disappear in your news feed or that doesn’t have to be boosted in order to be seen by more than ten people. It’s also a great way for readers to hang onto links and recommendations and act on them if desired: how often have you been ready to click a link for a new book or event, only to have Facebook reload the page and lose that link forever? None of that here. This is for sharing with no expectation of return, not to goose someone’s stock prices. Hence, why the recommendations and referrals appear on the bottom, so you’re more likely to act on them.
A lot has happened in the last few months, and one of the most bittersweet involves local artist Larry Carey, the creator of that incredible Triffid Ranch mandala featured on posters and T-shirts for the last five years. I worked for and with Larry for three-quarters of a decade, and our coffee-break conversations about innumerable subjects were an inspiration for research that still surprises me to this day. Anyway, Larry is leaving the Dallas area (I’m not at liberty to say where just yet, but he’s apparently much happier already), and without his inspiration and encouragement, the Triffid Ranch wouldn’t be anything close to what it is today. Godspeed, Larry, and thank you for my having to triple-research everything before I made a statement.
In other developments, the Dallas Observer Best of Dallas Awards nominees for 2018 are out, and voting continues for the final awards until September 8. Now, it’s not necessary to write in the Triffid Ranch for “Best Carnivorous Plant Gallery” because it won last year’s Best Of Dallas Award (but feel free to do so if you’re having fun with the concept), but vote for the other entries anyway. I’m feeling rather protective of the Observer as of late, and it’s time to let its current crop of writers and artists know that we appreciate them.
Both volumes are supplements to the current Toward a Concrete Utopia exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The exhibition was spurred by online interest in the modernist memorials misrepresented as Communist tributes instead of war memorials, and both books go into both the inspirations for these massive constructs and their current situations. Some were destroyed in war after Yugoslavia tore itself apart, others were neglected, and many are undergoing restoration and reconstruction as a tribute to the past. Considering how little information existed on the entire movement in the West until very recently, and how many of them were designed to weather and age with their environments, I’m recommending them as essential references for both general landscape and green rooftop designers, especially those who like their statements BIG.
With the sheer range of music available through Apple Music or Spotify, it’s hard not to fall down a rabbit hole when encountering genres or movements, and I’ve been a sucker for interesting movie and television soundtracks since the late Seventies. It’s hard to tell if the Epic Score crew is responsible for a particular feel in soundtracks (the group’s work is regularly heard in movie trailers and game demos) or if it’s highlighting existing trends, but you’ll swear that you’ve heard at least one track in a big movie within the last ten years. Either way, the most recent hybrid action album, Prometheus Rising, is quite handy in the gallery as background music while sculpting and painting, and the album Distorted, Vol 1 is a perfect soundtrack for weeding in the greenhouse.