Minutes : le weekend : another kind of farmer’s market

August 2, 2009

posted by Caroline Picard


A few years ago I happened to be in Santa Fe for a few days in the summer. Among other things, we created a cocktail called The Politician’s Wife: a glass of white wine (chilled) with the liquidy dregs that accrue after one’s scrambled eggs, and single cube of ice. The premise was that, since Santa Fe was in the middle of a drought and all water had to be salvaged and recycled, the Politician’s wife would support her husband through such public and fastidious gestures. (The Politician’s Wife was to go in a long list of peculiar cocktails including The Ultimate (whisky with large Polish sausage garnish: the fat from the sausage congeals on the surface of the liquor), The Beretta (whisky with a maple breakfast sausage (the small kind, otherwise known as a ‘link’) or The Dandy (a martini with a veal garnish that drapes over the side of the glass).

But. I digress.


At the farmer’s market there was a performance artist, a puppeteer. He wore a black mime’s unisuit and black gloves. His face was painted similarly black and he wore a black knit cap. For his legs, however, he wore a cheetah costume, with a cheetah tail coming out of his butt, and strung up to his shoulders with an invisible string attached to his shoulders. This, of course, was cumbersome at time, because the pedestrian customers didn’t always see the fishing line and thus would, from time to time, get caught up and confused in his tail.

Extending out of his torso, parallel to the ground and directly from his groin, came the body of a cheetah, with a pair of fore legs, and of course, a head. The puppeteer controlled this crotch-puppet (it was life size) by another series of strings which connected to the cat’f forepaws, head, eyelids, mouth, and (somehow) tongue. As the cheetah man prowled the aisles of the farmer’s market, the scent of roasting chiles thick in the air, a few old timey blue grass musicians playing on twangy instruments, it would pause now and then to clean itself and lick its paper mache paws. Until of course it found a baby, in this particular case it found a baby in a stroller and it went up to the baby and it sniffed the child’s face, and the mother smiled and the puppeteer said, “if you put a dollar in its mouth it will take it” and the mother gave the child a dollar and the babbling baby that barely knew what for clutched the dollar and the cheetah head neared the child and opened its mouth and licked the child and bit on the dollar and tugged on the dollar and the baby started to cry and the puppeteer started to laugh and the mother started to laugh and she had gooseflesh on her arms and the cheetah took the dollar and swallowed the dollar (somehow) and the mother gave the pupeteer another dollar and both gazed together at the marvels of abdominal extension.


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