Monday, July 9, 2018

The Moon Stew Cafe

New Roadside Cafe is Inspired by a Jazz Musician and a Recipe

By Klaus Bereznyak

Since January 2016, Cafe Klaus has been welcoming casual passers-by and regulars to a magical little corner of the Mainland Continent of Heterocera. The location had instant appeal and seemed the perfect place to build a roadside cafe, alongside Route 1 and well served by regularly passing Yavascript Pods. Many of the surrounding parcels are tastefully maintained by Prokofy Neva of Ravenglass Rentals and have ensured that there's been a sense of life and habitation at a time when much of the mainland has been abandoned.

As it was, it proved a great place to entertain guests and enjoy a regular Cocktail hour as the shadows lengthened and the Linden sun set over Patagonia. When it came to decor, I indulged a love for jazz and old-world aesthetics with a touch of colonial Africa. However, on the June full moon, 2018, the cafe underwent a radical re-build. It felt like the right moment to dive deeper and bring an earthier, more rootsy feel to the place. The tipping point leading to the transformation was the discovery of a stew recipe by the brilliant and eccentric jazz pianist, philosopher and bandleader who went by the name of "Sun Ra".

Through the 1960s, Sun Ra and his Arkestra lived in a commune in New York. Surrounded by deprivation and a heavy drug culture, the Arkestra became an informal rehab of sorts, presided over by Sun Ra, who was creating experimental music that seemed to emanate from other-worldy sources. He explained that he had been told during a visionary experience while at college that should give up his studies and focus on speaking to the world through music. When times were hard, Sun Ra would take over responsibility for cooking meals for the band, and this was when he dished up his "Moon Stew".

Many things came together at once to make Moon Stew Cafe a going concern, and we are now open for business. Avatars who swing by the cafe can pick up a free Moon Stew Bowl and a copy of the recipe from the bar. They can enjoy the sights and sounds of the Arkestra on a screen above the rice cooker, relax and drink cocktails, and it's still a great place to enjoy the sunset.

The inspiration for this place has been drawn from many corners of Second Life, including rugs and furniture from the Worlds Collide shop (also on Heterocera), and various pieces of artwork by SLartists. The aim has been to create an eclectic theme that I hope is in the spirit of Sun Ra's endeavours. It celebrates life, roots (cultural, spiritual and edible), wholesome food, creativity and self expression in the face of adversity. Aruba DeCuir's "African Moon 2" dominates one wall of the storeroom-lounge. Visitors can also enjoy vegetable art by Tea Gupte on the walls, and there is more to come. Like its predecessor, the cafe will continue to promote artistic creativity on the grid. Information about current exhibits can be found in the smaller room of the cafe.

By pure serendipity, local parcels came up for sale at the same time as the re-build, so the whole region of Patagonia has been augmented in the past month. There is currently a farm over the road (supplying some of the essential stew ingredients) and plenty to explore in the locality.

Moon Stew Cafe:

Klaus Bereznyak

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