Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Where is Beyond Brookledge?

It would be easier to give Dorothy directions to "somewhere over the Rainbow" than to tell someone how to find Beyond Brookledge.  And WHERE is a much easier question to answer than WHAT is Beyond Brookledge?  Those of us, who have been Beyond and come back to tell about it, find the event and/or experience extremely difficult to describe. The task is impossible if explaining to anyone who has not been as far as Brookledge before.
There are no adjectives to describe uniqueness.  To call something unique means there's nothing similar to it. Unique is without comparison or likeness so how do you explain it in words.
Perhaps there is a way to convey the concept of Beyond Brookledge in a more tactical way.  Instead of depicting a  unique moment in time and space let's describe it as a thing.
BB is a living breathing organism of immersive theatrics and a variety of artists entertaining selected guests and themselves with their talents.  Once a year this creature materializes at an old historic Mission in California. For two thousand eight hundred, eighty minutes the beast appears and disappears all over the rambling mission grounds. Each manifestation is a different mystery and emotion portrayed once only for those who know where to be and where to look in that moment.
You meet a lot of people who are with you on the journey. Sometimes you meet the same people more than once.  Performers morph into other characters and assume other roles.  It makes you wonder if anyone is really who they say they are the first time you see them.

Beyond Brookledge is the love and art child  of  BabyTattoo and Magic Castle, and has the characteristics of each its parents. There is magic of course and art of course, but they exist as a seamless package in this monster Beyond. The magician, singer, juggler, comic, clown, sword swallower, ventriloquist, game creator, illustrator, astrologer, sculptor, and comedy dare devil display their skills separately but in concert with each other to create an art project bigger than the sum of its pieces. Think of the blend as colors on a canvas, the notes of a symphony or the dancers in a ballet. 
For the 2800 plus minutes of Beyond Brookledge existence, everything you can imagine is happening and nothing is completely real.

For example, take the Beyond tour of the old Spanish Mission Hotel conducted by two docent guides. Claims that the clock tower is made of Styrofoam, the waiters - Disney animatronics, the Spanish tile floor -  overstocked Costco goods and information that the Mission was actually built in the late 1970's, does not seem to jibe with historic fact about the structure. 
Bob and Erika -
Beyond Brookledge Beast Wranglers
An 11 foot sculpture seems possessed with life as it appears anywhere there is to be a gathering in the Historic Mission Inn.  Considering the old Hotel is a maze of rooms that have no access but steep spiral stair cases, how the huge gothically inspired Monolith gets from place to place is only speculation. Although you occasionally see other performers in costume or with props walking the halls, the Monolith was never seen out and about but always in the next spot where there is to be a performance.
There are planned events, for those in the know, springing up in various areas of the old Mission at almost any time during the 2880 hours. There was a 9:30 AM illusion show performed "flawlessly hung over"  by performers in their pajamas using toasters, bagels, coffee and orange juice as their magic props. If you know the off beat act of Amazing Johnathan or have ever been to a Puddles Pity Party you understand what some of the scheduled shows are like.  But, after hours, in suites surrounding a moonlit roof top courtyard and sometimes in the courtyard itself, impromptu performances continue well into the night.  The Beyond Brookledge Beast never really sleeps.
Singing while escaping the rotunda and
straitjacket.  

As I left on Sunday after the Beast disappeared into hibernation for another 365 days, I questioned my own reality for a moment.  Having never before been to the the Old Mission Inn and Spa in Riverside, I drove only blocks away when I began to wonder if the place actually existed.  Maybe it was made of styrofoam like the guides said. Perhaps the Beast takes this lair with him when he goes. I was afraid to look back thinking I would surely be turned into a pillar of salt.
Preview of Pity Party. 






I plan to attend next year. (May 19 - 21, 2017)  It will be the fifth anniversary of the Beast's return to the Mission Inn.  I am already planning what I can feed the Beast for its birthday.  I'm not sure if I will be audience or performer next time but it doesn't really matter. I plan to become whatever the Beast needs me to be. At Beyond Brookledge fourth walls do not exist.   If you are lucky enough to attend,  you might or might not see me.  If you do you might or might not know me.
To answer the question "Where is Beyond Brookledge?"  with an enigma , you don't find Beyond Brookledge, it must find you.
As you were,
Jay

2 comments:

Dave Robison said...

"Ventriloquists lead such inter-resting lives" done in my best Bugs Bunny Hairdresser voice.

bad boy of the north said...

first time commenting here.when you had mentioned the play in your article,i had a huge flashback.
living in new york city at the time,my wife at the time and I had seen the production on broadway.flash forward a few months later,while visiting friends in LA,we found out the play was on stage there and went to see it again.
I completely forgot about "is it soup or is it art?" until now.
thanks for the push to clear the cobwebs.