NICOLE’S PONDERINGS: George R. R. Martin’s Jacques Cocteau Cinema, Meow Wolf bring mind-boggling adventures to Santa Fe

Nicole Wolkov
The outside of the Jacques Cocteau Cinema.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, is home to rich Native American cultures, diverse art galleries and delicious Southwestern cuisine.

If you’re not into that, (and I don’t see why you wouldn’t be) Santa Fe is also home to George R. R. Martin, author of the famous “A Song of Ice and Fire” series on which the TV series “Game of Thrones” is based.

As a fan of his work, I was elated to peek into Jacques Cocteau Cinema, the movie theater he owns, and Meow Wolf, an interactive museum that he helped to fund and plan.

I had heard from a friend who lives in Santa Fe that Martin often visits the theater. Unfortunately, while I was there, I didn’t get to meet him.

(Photo used by permission of Nicole Wolkov)
Senior Nicole Wolkov sits in the black-and-white comic book kitchen. Wolkov, who wears only black, said that she thought it would be humorous to take a photo in the room.

There is a small area in the lobby with a counter to buy food and snacks as well as a small bar. Bookshelves line one wall with signed copies of books from various thriller, fantasy and sci-fi authors as well as signed copies of Martin’s books.

In fact, all of the books on display were signed by Martin. There were even figurines of the characters from the show and replica swords in signed boxes.

The movies playing at the theater are usually artsy films or ones out of the mainstream.

Although I didn’t watch any films, I did look into the theater. It had a very small screen and very few rows.

After visiting Martin’s theater, my family and I drove to Meow Wolf. We were told to spend at least two hours in this interactive museum.

Nicole Wolkov
A furry ice monster blinks down at viewers at Meow Wolf.

Two hours is an understatement. We could have visited the museum for multiple days and still not have solved the mystery or interacted with the entire exhibit.

The interactive exhibit, “The House of Eternal Return,” starts with a Victorian house owned by the Seligs, a fictional family that mysteriously disappeared. Visitors are given clues regarding a tear in the space-time continuum. It is the visitor’s job to discover why and how this happened.

It seems that the Seligs had been on the run from an organization called “the Charter.” This group strove to create order and structure in the universe. The Seligs, who appeared to be adversaries of the Charter, were also fleeing from them.

Nicole Wolkov
A boy plays in the black-and-white room at Meow Wolf.

To add to the chaos, the family lost their son in an accident involving dimension jumping. There is a recurring theme of the Selig parents’ attempt to find their son.

The mystery unfolds in a nonlinear fashion as clues extend from the Victorian house, which has been pierced by different universes.

These universes are individual exhibits created by 135 artists, according to National Public Radio. One hundred of them were local to Santa Fe.

The “universes” (exhibits) include a two-story cave with pink stalactites and stalagmites, a monochromatic comic book-style kitchen and a futuristic control room.

The multi-dimensional attraction is 20,000 square feet and requires some climbing and crawling.

Despite this, all ages were present. Children can enjoy the art, which they are allowed (and encouraged) to touch, while adults can attempt to solve the mystery.

Nicole Wolkov
A giant robot stands in the parking lot of Meow Wolf. According to senior Nicole Wolkov, the museum hopes to get it automated soon.

Although my father and I are fans of Martin’s writing, my mother isn’t. Even so, she enjoyed Meow Wolf just as much as we did. I even think she was the most determined of the three of us to unravel the mystery.

I don’t want to give too much away, but after spending about four hours walking through the House of Eternal Return, listening to audio recordings  and reading documents, handwritten notes and journals, my family and I still hadn’t figured out what happened to the Seligs.

By Nicole Wolkov

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