The Rothko Chapel

 

This image was taken from the book The Rothko Chapel: An Act of Faith by Susan J. Barnes as no photos are allowed inside.

THE ROTHKO CHAPEL
3900 Yupon Street
Houston, TX 77006
713.524.9839


I moved away from Houston, my hometown, in 2000. Every time I come home, it feels like a pilgrimage of sorts–a journey that reminds of where I'm from and how far I've come. These trips are marked with one very significant visit and that is to The Rothko Chapel. 

How can I explain what this special place is? The plaque outside of it states that it is "a sacred place open to all, every day." While it is a chapel, it's not religious, per se, but rather spiritual. Inside of this octagonal Philip Johnson-designed structure are fourteen large black and purple paintings by Mark Rothko that were commissioned by philanthropists Dominique and John de Menil. Intimate yet expansive, it is truly a gift to the city that keeps on giving.  

After a major break-up three years ago, I briefly moved back home and visited the Rothko Chapel quite often. There were times where I'd be driving elsewhere and somehow find myself pulling up on that leafy tree-lined street and parking the car. My sanctuary. I would sit on one of the benches and lose myself in the void of those big black canvases. y whole being would swell with emotion and, with every exhale, my mind would feel more at peace. Lighter. Freer.

From then on, whenever I'm in Houston, I make it a point to come here. Whether it's for gaining clarity or emptying out loads of anxiety, my initial thought as I get back into the car is always this: "I feel so much better now."

 

F*ck Weddings

One night, while I was making dinner in the kitchen with my friend Lulu, my housemate nonchalantly mentioned that he had committed to attending a total of six weddings this year–not realizing that he had simultaneously kicked a hornets' nest, opened a can of worms, and released the millions of imps inside Pandora's box. 

"Think about how much of your income you're spending towards everyone else's wedding," pointed out Lulu, as she ate a forkful of pasta, "It's not just about the wedding either. It's about all of the other events surrounding the wedding: the bachelor or bachelorette party, the bridal shower, the travel... If I had a wedding and my friend couldn't make it because she couldn't afford to, I would totally understand." She paused, dangling her leg off the side of the ottoman. "First of all, I would never make my friends go through that! People should just invite people who are 'into weddings' to their weddings." 

 "I know! I mean... Do I even look like I'm into weddings?!" I asked rhetorically, in an angry manner to nobody in particular.

Weddings. Who knew they'd be such a touchy subject amongst single girls.* 

My friend Preston says that, while he does not believe in marriage, there are only two reasons why people should have a wedding: (a) to get a green card, and/or (b) to celebrate their commitment/love amongst their family and/or close friends. The ideal wedding here being JFK Jr. and Carolyn Bessett's secret ceremony on Cumberland Island, which had all of 40 guests in attendance. (See also: Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big who tied the knot at City Hall and had brunch with a table of friends at Junior's in Brooklyn.) Some weddings feel like obnoxious, overblown, over-the-top affairs, complete with fairytale princess themes. And I only know this because sometimes I spend evenings watching wedding videos of strangers on my laptop while drinking questionable red wine.

Like Carrie Bradshaw, I am under the suspicion that I may have been born without the bride gene. I don't have a secret "first dance" song. I haven't picked out a color palette for my bridesmaids' dresses and I don't know what flowers will go into the table centerpieces. However, I have had the occasional flashes of fantasy when it comes to wedding stuff, so let me indulge just this moment...

Click through the gallery and roll-over for captions: 


*This, of course, has already been covered by Sex and the City in an episode titled "A Woman's Right to Shoes",  in which Carrie Bradshaw expounds upon it further:

“I did a little mental addition. And over the years, I have bought Kyra an engagement gift, a wedding gift, then there was the trip to Maine for the wedding, three baby gifts—in total, I have spent over twenty-three-hundred dollars celebrating her choices. And she is shaming me for spending a lousy 485 bucks on myself?! Yes, I did the math. And if I don’t ever get married or have a baby, I get what? I get bupkis?

Think about it... If you are single, after graduation, there isn't one occasion where people celebrate you. We all have birthdays–that's a wash. I am talking about the single gal. Hallmark doesn't make a 'Congratulations-you-didn't-marry-the-wrong-guy' card. 

The fact is, sometimes it’s hard to walk in a single woman’s shoes. That’s why we need really special ones now and then, to make the walk a little more fun.”