We didn’t know this house was there until we found it. We said “hey gang, let’s go to Texas and open a portal in a mall” and someone else said “hell yeah” and then we went and opened the portal and there was a house. Deja vu all over again. But this isn’t a sequel or a reboot. This is something else. A kind of echo or loop revealing itself.
We’re opening this portal up to YOU so you can see what and where we found on the other side and help us figure it all out. Now obviously, what we’re about to talk about is SO VERY SPOILERY, so if you don’t want to know more about what lies in The Real Unreal, stop reading now. Also… the story is only part of the experience, there are art and lights and sounds and so many other things to explore, don’t feel like you HAVE to do it all. It’s about the journey. It’s about YOU.
Ok, hold on to your socks, shoes, and selfs, it’s time to meet the Delaney and Fuqua families.
At 470 E. Briarcliff Road sits the cozy mid-century home of Ruby and Gordon Delaney. They had long dreamed about owning a house, and the relatively new development of Bolingbrook, Illinois was a perfect place to settle down.
Gordon was a touring jazz musician. He traveled the world and recorded albums. When it was time to settle down in Bolingbrook and be present for his young family, he turned to teaching music out of the small front room. Ruby cleared out space in the front yard to make a garden and settled into taking care of their daughter Carmen while also finding ways to supplement their income.
From their first moments in the house, Ruby felt that the house seemed to “care” for the family. Even claiming that it amplified their lives somehow. That better things happened once they were under its roof.
Throughout the house you can see evidence of these early years — Gordon’s records and touring photos cover the walls of his music room. In the master bedroom upstairs you can read letters that Ruby and Gordon wrote to each other over their relationship. Family photos line the walls along the staircase.
As they aged, Gordon’s eyesight began to fail. Ruby had to care for him, and the garden fell into disuse. A few years ago, Ruby passed and Carmen moved home to care for her father and the house, revitalizing her mother’s garden and creating small decorating projects for herself around the house. Ruby’s tendency to find small ways to supplement income had rubbed off on Carmen, who has done everything from selling MLM shakes with Eager Hills to starting her own business.
Carmen has taken over the dining room with her new business venture — Ruby’s Garden — a spice blend company named in her mother’s honor. Her new boyfriend Antoine helps her with social media to share her cooking with the world.
Carmen’s lifelong friend LaVerne Fuqua has recently moved into the house with her son Jared. They have the smaller upstairs room where Jared has covered a wall with a collage of his favorite things. LaVerne’s older daughter Jerrica is a college freshman but recently came home when Jared went missing. Or was missing… Jared is both missing and not missing. It’s complicated. We’ll get there in a second.
LaVerne is using her talents for business to help Carmen with the money side of Ruby’s Garden. She spends her days working at the dining room table. They have formed a tight knit, loving found family inside the large home.
Jared has fallen in love with the Delaney house. He and Gordon have become fast friends — they talk for hours about Gordon’s travels with his band. Jared has made a documentary about Ruby as a gift to Gordon. Recently, the conversation has been centered around Jared’s imaginary friend Happy Garry, who Gordon might be able to hear…
And then Jared went missing. Gordon was sick and Happy Garry thought Jared might be able to find something to help through a portal in the closet and so they left. They were going to come right back — but you know how things are when you start to explore realms beyond the real.
We can’t tell you everything. You have to go and see for yourself, but you should know that this blended family has come together in a moment of crisis. And the house has become a beacon for that energy. Reality crackles and pops at the edges, and opens into a place known as The Real Unreal — this realm is where all imagination comes to rest, pile up, and coalesce. The creative energy mixing and stewing around here changes everything it comes into contact with. Humans, and places, can find themselves magnets for the creative energies of The Real Unreal in certain circumstances.
We should probably talk about the elephant in the room. Which is not an elephant but a house. In a room. Houses, really. You’re probably thinking to yourself — “wasn’t there already a house?” — and you would be 100% correct. That house, and that family, also came together in a moment of crisis. Reality also broke loose from its bonds. They also seemingly vanished into … the whatever that’s out there.
We want you to know that it surprised us as well.
A second house.
It was confusing — some of us got angry and others just threw up their hands thinking we had all somehow gone back in time and went looking for bowling lanes. They didn’t find any bowling lanes, balls, or pins, but they did find some old bedding and bath products lying about, but those seemed unrelated.
But then we realized — this was our eternal return. A chance to revisit our past selfs. In philosophy the Eternal Return is the idea that things repeat infinitely. That everything is a constant loop. This has all happened before. And will again.
It is the loop revealing itself. It is a deepening of the loop.
From Founder Emily Montoya:
Artists constantly experience the pull to return to particular motifs as they create their body of work and the collection of minds that calls itself Meow Wolf is no different. What compels us to do something again...kind of the same...but different? Do it again but this time, larger, smaller, more details, more angles, more...blue.
Do it again but with new eyes. Every time we approach the act of making, we do it as a new person who never would have come into being without every experience of making that came before this one. In this way, the nature of art itself thwarts the act of replication and instead engages us in a perpetual act of becoming.
Beyond the house though? Was the same not OUR reality that we found in Santa Fe. Why were these two houses connected to the same place?
Why have these places become doorways into another reality? Why these families? Why do they keep finding US? There must be something out there that causes certain homes, or buildings, or people, to resonate with just the right frequency to open them up to this kind of absolute weirdness.
The Delaney and Fuqua families didn’t know the Seligs (though Lucius might be involved? (ugh, that guy)). They didn’t visit Mendocino. They didn’t have connections to the Anomaly or Charter (that we know of). So it had to be something else. Maybe Ruby was right, that the house had some kind of magic to it.
We invite you to explore this new house and the worlds beyond the portal. Our highly trained portal keepers are standing by to mall walk you to the doors into the world of The Real Unreal.