Friday, September 27, 2013

Cargo Space: How Does It Rate? A Scientific Study

Robert Boyd

Cargo Space made its debut last night. It looks like there is still some work to do, which better be done fast. It is soon taking a long trip to Tulsa, bringing artists to the prairie. They are scheduled to be in Tulsa at the Hardesty Arts Center on October 4. Chris Sperandio, the prime mover behind Cargo Space will be the Neal Cassidy of this trip. The Cargo Space will be shuffling Houston artists up to Tulsa in several trips. The traveling artists are Daniel Anguilu (one of the artists who painted the exterior, along with Eyeful Art, Dual and Beau Pope), Mike Beradino, Natasha Bowdoin, Robert Pruitt, Rahul Mitra and Seth Mittag.

Cool little figures on the back of the bus.

Welcome aboard!

You can write messages to your fellow passengers on the chalk boards, which will come in handy when various passengers decide they aren't talking to one another anymore.

It looks good but not complete. For one thing, no privacy curtains around the beds.

As I was looking at Cargo Space, especially the paint job, I instantly thought of Ken Kesey's bus and the cross country "acid test" trip it took. And that got me thinking about other famous RV-type vehicles. How does Cargo Space stack up? Well, we won't know for sure until Cargo Space hits the road, but here're our RV-comparisons.

Cargo Space vs. Ken Kesey's Furthur Bus

In1964, writer Ken Kesey purchased a bus for the purpose of taking a cross country psychedelic trip (in both senses of the word) with the Merry Pranksters. At the wheel was Neal Cassidy, Jack Keroac's speedfreak buddy who was the model for Dean Moriarty in On the Road. It was an epic trip at the dawn of what we think of as the 60s. They even passed through Houston so that Kesey could meet up with his friend Larry McMurtrey. The whole thing was financed with the profits from Kesey's novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. And the trip was immortalized in Tom Wolfe's The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. So how does the Cargo Space stack up?

Cargo Space vs. the Breaking Bad meth lab RV

This Sunday, the final episode of Breaking Bad airs. It's the story of Walter White, a chemistry teacher diagnosed with terminal cancer, who decides to manufacture methamphetimine in order to leave something behind for his family when he goes. He teams up with an small-time criminal Jesse Pinkman, and the pair initially cook their drugs in the RV below. Why in an RV? Because the process of cooking meth makes a very powerful and distinct odor, so being able to travel to some place remote, park, cook, then move on is very useful. Even if someone did notice the smell, Walt and Jesse would be gone before anyone put two and two together.

Is this realistic? If you've ever read Methland, the harrowing book about the effect of meth on one small town, you know it is. One of the things meth cooks do in that book is make miniature meth labs in liter-sized coke bottles, then strap the bottles to bicycles which they ride around town as the chemicals react. That way the smell is dissipated. This lead the town to literally outlaw bicycles.

The interior of the Breaking Bad RV was a little bit cramped, but highly functional.

Cargo Space vs. the Girls Gone Wild bus

There was a time in America when these buses criss-crossed America getting intoxicated college girls to take off their clothes on camera. Now that Joe Francis, the leader of the Girls Gone Wild empire, is in jail, I assume Girls Gone Wild is defunct--at least as a bus-based pornographic business.

I couldn't find any photos online of the inside of the bus. Just as well, I suppose. This is a family blog.

Cargo Space vs the Lost in America RV

The first part of this video clip is from the brilliant Albert Brooks movie, Lost in America. The second part is an ad with really loud music. You've been warned. The RV in the movie symbolizes their desire to escape their lives of quiet bourgeois desperation and their inability to leave bourgeois comforts behind.

Cargo Space vs. EM-50 Urban Assault Vehicle

In Stripes, this innocent looking RV turns out to be pretty bad-ass. Bill Murray and Ivan Reitman use it to rescue their hapless fellow soldiers from Czechoslovakia.

Can Cargo Space live up to its illustrious predecessors? Only time will tell.


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