AOTFIVFLYER.pngAOTF IV: Decelerator: Decadence in the Desert

Gourmands! Lend me your tongues! We are proud to announce our next event, AOTF IV DECELERATOR: DÉGUSTATION & DECADENCE IN THE DESERT will take place this May 24-31st, 2019 in and around Marfa, TX.

We have been certified as an educational non-profit corporation by the State of Texas and are working towards federal non-profit status. At the moment we can’t make your contribution a tax-free donation, but at future events we should be able to.

Most people fly into El Paso on the 24th and fly out of El Paso on the 31st. We pick you up and drive out. Others in the past have driven from Austin, Dallas, and the West Coast. Try not to get your flight super early on the 31st, but if you have to we can probably still make it. Some people get hotels before and after in El Paso.


We’ll be interrogating, weaponizing and imitating the ideas, stylizations and recipes of Alexandre Balthazar Laurent Grimod de La Reynière, the father of modern food criticism and a world renowned chef, host, performance artist and character assassin, with a series of grand French funeral suppers in his tradition. We’ll also be making some recipes from Alexandre Dumas’ (of Three Musketeers fame) Le Grand Dictionnaire Cuisine.

There will be many small plates every night with cocktails/wines/drinks paired to each one.

We’ll be decelerating. Slowing down. Appreciating 7 days in the desert. Hiking, swimming, cooking, and appreciating incroyable food, good company, great literature, music, and rarely screened cinematic masterpieces. It’s time to ignore the constant data smog of the contemporary West. Disconnecting in the Great Decelerator.

The only media we’re going to consume are masterpieces. This week, there is no room for the constant digital spam of contemporary life. Come spend a week with us in West Texas. We will commune with nature, cook bountiful meals together, and dive deep into The HARD TO WATCH Film Festival. There will be lectures, performances, swims, hikes, art gallery tours in Marfa, and explorations into the vast night sky.

Inspired by several characters preceding, within, and around the French Revolution, this time we’ll be investigating decadence, as a philosophical ideal, a funeral oration, and as a way of expanding our waistline. We’ll explore the performativity of dégustation: high culinary art and good company. The stages of decadence, the staging of dinners, first hand courses on the dark arts of fermentation, hard-wood smoking of meats, cheeses, and vegetables, and a nightly 8 course meal of the chefs signature dishes accompanied by a matching wine/cocktail degustation which complements each dish.

Dance choreographer (and co-curator) Andrea Spaziani will be showing a version of her new work about the West, THE RIGHT EYE OF CLINT. Music by Matt Smith and Outside Eye by Canadian dance legend Danny Grossman.

We’ll be dosing ourselves with equal parts light-hearted and heavy-handed affirmations towards suicide, bad art, boredom, religiosity, atheism and immortality (with a whiff of blood) at THE CHURCH OF CIORAN every other morning with coffee and brunch.

Our star party/avant-garde listening party NOCH SCHON will be under one of the darkest skies in North America in Ft. Davis, TX.

This year there will be a supplementary reading list emailed to all participants so you can go as deep as you want to.


Friday: Everyone flies into El Paso and we pick you up. We’ll eat some delicious local cuisine and then drive to Ft. Davis, get settled in and start cooking a large 1700’s French meal from ALEXANDRE DUMAS’ LE GRANDE DICTIONNAIRE DE CUISINE as we read aloud from it. We’ll end this night with a triple feature, DANTON, HISTORY OF THE WORLD PART 1 & RIDICULE.


Saturday we’ll start our day with a hike at the Chihuahuan Desert Research Center.

Then we’ll return for lunch and have a live group reading of the short novel SUICIDE by Édouard Levé in it’s entirety. This will be paired wiith NOCH SCHON: a listening party of rarely heard classical works having to do with the themes of death, suicide, and worse. Brace yourself for a journey through another heart of darkness, a simultaneous knitting and unraveling of identities with avante-garde classical music compositions from Nono, Zimmermann, Gubaidulina, Scriabin, Ligeti, Gorecki, Shostakovich, Scelsi, Maconchy, Schoenberg, Boulanger, Schumann, and more, played through a hi-fi sound system as we read appropriately selected short novels and literary works in their entirety, including Edouard Levé’s short 128 page novel SUICIDE written shortly before his own suicide.

The HARD TO WATCH FILM FESTIVAL presents MAD LOVE: The Films of Andrzej Żuławski

One of the most nightmarish, hilarious, dark and inimitable auteurs in cinematic history. Long before Nic Cage’s “noveux-shamanic” style, European film critics were labelling anything unspeakably over the top “Zulawskian”. We’ll be reading reviews of Zulawski films before viewing them, and taking notes and writing our own.

We’ll be cooking and feasting on 1700’s French cuisine (with at least one Polish dish thrown in to honor Zulawski) and watching Zulawski films the second half of Saturday, deep into the night.


Sunday we’ll rise and with brunch we’ll have THE CHURCH OF CIORAN, a philosophical repeat after me session of Cioran’s dark and paradoxical aphorisms.

Then we’ll head to Marfa to check out BALLROOM MARFA an excellent gallery, and a few other odds and ends, The Prada Store and possible some of the Judd & Co. stuff, ending up at the pool for a swim and a cocktail.

Sunday Night: Cannibals in Regalia: Human Umami & The Art of Fermentation

We’ll be trying to recreate the flavors of human flesh, and watching films about cannibalism. This will be a meat heavy meal, with duck, pork, beef, and many sides. We’ve got some literature describing the flavors in great depth from an intrepid journalist for The New York Times, and some other first and second hand accounts from survivors’ delicate palates.

Films: RAW, The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On, Trouble Every Day, Cannibal Holocaust, Ravenous

Andrea Spaziani will be performing her new dance work, THE RIGHT EYE OF CLINT. Live soundtracked by Brian Coleman and Alejandro Fargosonini (and possibly local legend Paul Hunt!).

She will also be giving a performative lecture/dance class on decadence.

Afterwards the musicians will live soundtrack the BAUHAUS masterpiece by Oskar Schlemmer, TRIADISCHES BALLET.

We’ll finish with two films by AGNES VARDA, Beaches of Agnes and THE GLEANERS.


This night we’ll be watching, discussing and investigating the cinema of PIER PAOLO PASOLINI.


We have booked tickets for a star party at the McDonald Observatory in Ft. Davis, TX this evening.

Wed.: We’ll leave Ft. Davis and will be camping at Balmorhea State Park where there is a large spring fed pool. We’ll be able to eat and drink and hang out. Here there will be more NOCH SCHON listening parties and group readings and discussions and reflection.

Thursday: We’ll pack up and move on to Guadalupe Mountains National Park, where we’ll camp and do a big hike in the gorgeous mountains.

Friday: We’ll head back to El Paso, possibly with time to visit an art museum or gallery, get some good coffee/food and drop everyone at the airport.

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