Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tex-Meg: Worship At Ye Cathedral of Junk

At what point does stuff become ours? At what point does what's ours become junk? At what point does junk become art? I'm not quite sure if these questions were answered while visiting the Cathedral of Junk while in Austin, but walking through the formation erected entirely of junk was definitely an experience.

If there's one constant feeling I encountered down in Austin, it was an appreciation for antiquated items and often the repurposing of them in an interesting and more engaged way. Austin is littered with vintage and antique stores which definitely stand to help maintain that whole "Keep Austin Weird" mentality. This was especially apparent while traipsing around South Congress Avenue which is literally one antique store after vintage store after antique store after another. Sure, it gets a little repetitive, but as someone who grew up spending hours combing through small antique and thrift stores, everywhere we stopped in Austin was practically my Mecca. It's also the reason I use to explain why I came home with a troop of new black t-shirts ranging from metal bands to Hocus Pocus (trust me y'all, the Hocus Pocus one is goooood).

I'm not sure if it was the heat or all of the time I spent outside visiting "weird" attractions, but after a few days, Austin started to evolve into what I imaged real-life Carcosa would be like (that's True Detective reference, if you don't know it, then stop what you're doing and immediately find someone with access to HBO so you can watch it). The weather was balmy - if you call that dry heat, I call your bullshit - you ran into weird characters, and everything was old and a little dilapidated. There was also a quietness to the city which caught me off guard. While exploring the Cathedral of Junk by myself, it was easy to get lost not only in the structure itself, but in the memories all of these random items once held for someone. Don't get me wrong, I would much prefer this junk to hold a "purpose" rather than just sit and decay in a landfill somewhere, but I imagined how many visitors pass through here throughout the year and if any one item stands out from their past.

You can actually climb up and into the Cathedral which was really neat. Held together by cemented junk, it's probably not the safest adventure, but nevertheless, an adventure to be had.

If you do stop in at the Cathedral, be sure to call the owner Vince beforehand (512-299-7413) to see if he's home and willing to show you around. He does ask for a $10 donation per group, so it might be worth grabbing more than yourself and a friend if you do visit.

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