Friday, February 10, 2012

Tripping with the Groove Guru

I am wandering down a sparkling path inlaid with brightly colored tile and glass, my hand sliding along a rail that becomes a snake in my hands. I stroke its colorful jeweled scales as it leads me down a staircase towards an enthusiastic crowd oohing and aahing in amazement. They mill about, munching tamales and eyeing an enormous ice chest filled with champagne, then pointing up towards the trees where a woman balances precariously among the branches, held aloft by silvery balloons.

Through the looking glass...

No, this is not a dream I am having, though it could be. In fact I am wide awake, my senses keened to every nuance, realizing how fortunate I am to be here. For this is the party of parties, the one we will be talking about for years to come- to brag that we were there, along with several hundred, possibly thousands of gringos and Mexicans alike who have donned their finest headwear and shawls, boots and glitter, and enough jewelry to fill the Taj Majal, just for this extraordinary event. The Grand Opening of the Chapel of Jimmy Ray, alter ego of Anado McLauchlin, bearded wonder and artist extraordinaire.

The Casa de Caca.
Most beautiful outhouse in the world?
Behind me a man in a rabbit mask darts among the organos cactuses, disappearing behind a tower built of multi colored wine bottles, inside of which two brightly mosaic toilets sit side by side. Proudly calling itself the Casa de Caca, it seems that even pooping is an art form here.

At the entrance to the 'Chapel' a masked mosaic figure with what appears to be a flaming torch at his crotch rises up above a tiled gurgling fountain, welcoming us to come inside. We meander past hundreds of colored bottles imbedded into the concrete the walls of the building, bright blue and pink walls decorated in mirrored mosaic- where fragments of our own faces stare back at us. Once inside, Anado's artwork prepares to push and pull our minds into places we did not even know were possible. Altars of dolls at the feet of Mayan deities. Mirrored snakes wind past bright pink and blue Buddhas. Voodoo Jesuses. Bull's horns crowning the Virgin of Guadalupe. Bright plastic hearts oozing turquoise blood.

Chapel entrance

Who needs drugs? We are inside the mind and boundless imagination of Anado himself, inside the chapel, the temple, the arteries of the man to whom the word excess does not exist. The man who, along with his delightful partner Richard, enliven the streets of San Miguel in stripes and paisleys and enough beard between them to earn the right to call themselves the twin Santas.

Member of the
Cartaphilus Teatro

In another room of the chapel, photos of nudes by Spencer Tunick, (yes, THE Spencer Tunick- the one who photographs naked people  en masse all over the planet) adorn the walls, framed in tin Nichos. There is a buzz in the air promising the possible arrival of real live naked people. In fact, they do arrive, and no one seems to be surprised at all.

So who the heck is Jimmy Ray? It turns out that Jimmy Ray, alias James Rayburn McLauchlin, is none other than Anado's very own dad. A humble unadorned photograph of him is tacked to the wall by the inside entrance of the chapel, leaving one to wonder what kind of man he was to spawn such an enigma as the one who built this psychedelic wonderland.

So here's to Anado, an inspiration to all who meet him. 
The man who says yes to life, where others say whoa!... 
YES with a capital Y, capital E, capital S. 
And a big fat, pink and blue polka dotted exclamation point.

Much more about Anado on his website HERE 


  1. nice take on the experience, great description of an amaaazing event!

  2. You captured it! Thanks for sharing.

  3. These are such kind words...I have emailed it to my two sisters in Oklahoma!


Thank you for commenting at Gringado.