Proposing a new Andre Breton Surrealist Café


Berkshires Week & Shires of Vermont

The more I think of it, the more I'd like to see this. You're standing on the sidewalk, and a small cafe or pub catches your eye. It's painted in deep, swirling color, not garish but bold -- emerald, October-sky-blue, amber, blood-orange red. Maybe it's called The New Wine.

You walk in from the street, and the walls are covered with dream-like and unexpected artwork -- maybe surrealist prints, or maybe they hang up the most interesting results from the patrons, filling a wall with words and sketches.

You take a table by the window. Most of them are long tables and casually shareable, with candle holders made out of unexpected objects -- antique glass bottles or carefully pierced tin cans or carved turnips or mason jars wound around with yarn -- and pencil sharpeners sit beside them.

On the table you find a stack of paper and a leather-bound three-ring binder containing a set of game rules. There are a dozen games or more, many of them variations on the theme of writing something on your sheet of paper and passing it to the person on your left, who writes a response to your bit and folds yours over, or who adds a second bit without seeing yours. You'll all do this and keep passing all the sheets of paper around until you've created something -- Giant Los Angeles dances knavishly with a web-footed daisy. Three tall women fall from an asteroid to poach the darkness and spear the moon.

For the drawing games, you can order a side of colored pencils or a flight of watercolors to go with your cocktail. And the cocktail menu is not to be believed ...

Last week's evening of surrealist games at Mass MoCA started me thinking about it. I'd love to play those games more often and with more people.

I tell you what, can't we persuade anyone to take this up? Help me out though -- I still need to figure out the drinks menu. Doesn't a surrealist cocktail have a certain scope? It begs to be a combination of flavors you'd never have put together and can't imagine until you try it, that somehow work strongly together ...

If you were inventing one, what would you put in it?

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