Thursday, May 17, 2007


R and I were looking for something to do in Misery last weekend and happened to stumble upon Sedalia(!). (It's way more exciting with the exclamation point after it, don't you think?) Apparently, Sedalia(!) is the home of rails, trails and ragtime. We had heard that there was good Mexican food and art in this town that is also the home of Misery's state fair. Anyway, we decided to check it out for ourselves.

The road leading into Sedalia(!) contains no signs that tell you anything. We did see a sign mention an art museum on I-70, but that was the last word on that. We actually drove a couple of miles outside of town before turning around to ask for directions.

R ran into the closest Shell station and asked where the contemporary art museum was located. The (East) Indian couple behind the counter had no idea there was a museum of any kind in their little town, neither did the other locals in the conveni
ence store.

After conferring with the Yellow Pages, we headed toward the 16th where the museum was located. As we drove by the state fair grounds, I joked that it was probably located on the fair grounds itself. Well, I was close. The museum was hidden on the campus of State Fair Community College which sits adjacent to the fairgrounds.

The lot was empty. Not only are the folks of Sedalia(!) ignorant about their very own contemporary art museum, but they also don't park anywhere near it. (Maybe they wait to go after church on Sunday.) Regardless, we could tell right away that this little art space was an oasis in the desert that is Misery. The exterior reminded us of our beloved Wexner Center in Columbus, OH, and we hoped the interior would provide the same comforts.The Daum Museum of Contemporary Art is a cool art space that provides a wide array of contemporary pieces by some of today's most known and unknown artists. The museum is currently featuring two artists.

The first is New York sculptor Jeffrey Mongrain. His juxtaposing of large iconic sculptures in traditionally religious settings was interesting, but sort of odd. I guess it would mean more to me if I were Catholic. He did have some interesting pieces featuring a moose and one that enlarged the eye of the guy who created those eye scanner things you see in sci-fi movies.

We found the other visiting exhibit to be both interesting and entertaining. Tom Huck's wood prints in his Two Weeks in August and the Bloody Bucket focused and the legends and folklore that emanate from America's small towns. His bizarre characters, scene depictions, and accompanying stories filled our hunger for Missouri weirdness. There were stories of crash-up derbies gone awry, strange fold having sex in outhouses, and NRA squirrel barbeque's. It definitely made the insanity that is Misery seem OK for the moment.

After visiting with a very lonely docent, we headed out to her recommendation for good Mexican food, El Tapatio. The restaurant was a spacious but typically-decorated Mexican restaurant. The one unique piece of the interior was the smallish, raised, wooden dance floor. we quickly dove into some tasty chips and salsa accompanied by two Negra Modelos.

I had the Chimi Del Mar which featured shrimp and a topping of a delicious guacamole. R chose the Birria, the "most authentic dish, straight from Jalisco, Mexico," according to the menu. While mine was a pretty standard chimichanga, R's was this bowl of shredded lamb and pork goodness soaking in a pool of its own juices and spices. The tortillas that came with her dish were so authentic (insert extremely offensive visual of Mexican culture in order to demonstrate
said authenticity here). Needless to say, this was some the best Mexican we've had this side of Mexico (MO).
To top off the evening, some of the local girls (brown and white-skinned) performed traditional Mexican folk dances on the restaurants previously mentioned dance floor. I have to say that it was an unexpected treat. Some of the girls had no clue what they were doing, and some were quite good. I'm sure this is no different from any other youth dance troupe.

All in all, Sedalia(!) was quite a pleasant surprise. It made me feel like there is something not-so-miserable in between St. Louis and Kansas City. We'll definitely return. I would love to try the famous Guber Burger next time...


ATR said...

Actually went to the Misery State Fair several years ago. It was a state fair like most others. The hams were exceptional, the pigs were fast, and the cows needed to be milked. Other than that, I've only driven through Sedalia, on my way to more exciting locales like Taberville, Nevada, and Schell City. I may kick myself, now, if I leave this state without sampling a Guber Burger, which looks to me like the tastiest near anagram of a meal I might ever see.

comoprozac said...

Maybe we should all do it before R leaves town...