Christy Montana

Things that make Me throw up: One night I went out and got drunk. My own idolatry. The way I surround myself with pretties and it drives me bonkers. I despise fake flowers and all kinds of simulated nature. Abuse of power. My old yearbooks and the Chinese Zodiac. Ghosts and atomic bombs. Goldschlager.

My history begins with Christina Jean Bereolos (1874-1957), the daughter of a German immigrant who made a fortune in the petroleum industry. In 1897, on a railroad job in Arizona, Bereolos bought a Navajo deerskin shirt. Her passion for collecting soon overtook her engineering and banking careers. She crisscrossed the Americas, even traveling to Europe in pursuit of treasures. Her collection, one of the world’s finest, grew to 800,000 objects, ranging from delicate Pomo baskets to Mayan gold and jade. Little escaped her acquisitive eye and purse: Mohawk beaded hats, Mapuche silver and textiles, gold Inca figurines, wood carvings from the Haida, embroidered Huron cigar cases, Seneca corn-husk dolls, Navajo baskets and blankets. Among her finds were such historically significant items as Geronimo’s hat, Chief Joesph’s rifle cases and Sitting Bull’s drum. Later in life, Bereolos worked in the St. Louis Bread Company chain and at the downtown McGowan playground.

As a little girl I remember watching Walt Disney’s The Bear and feeling akin to the animals and appalled by humans. You see, the bear cub’s mother gets shot by sport hunters, and the orphaned bear subsequently endures a night of mushroom-induced hallucinations of frogs. From this I gathered that I like animals that acted like animals instead of humans.

Pan from early childhood shot to Christina at eighteen.

(This is a journal entry:) When I first got off the plane my brain wasn’t functioning properly. It was my body doing the feeling. My stomach felt knotted like imperfections in wood. I believed everyone knew where I was coming from, how little I know about the world and how young I am. But they don’t, I imagine they are just about as beautifully blended as I am. Confused about this world and eager to find themselves.

I had traveled to Australia. I was beginning to learn how to see myself in a world that was not my world. In a few months I would get the rare opportunity to visit Arnhem Land, which is basically the one gigantic reservation for Australia’s indigenous people. White people rarely get to see this area, since it is reserved for the Aborigines. There are only faint dust roads leading to where we were going. I was traveling with some fellow Americans and we had arrived in our Toyota Coasters. As we sat in the air conditioning for fifteen minutes, I watched the Aborigines tend to fires while mangy dogs ran around animal bones and scattered trash from the locked-out white world. It looked like a developing country with a few traces of modern consumerism. We had pamphlets that suggested ways to show respect to the Aborigines such as, don’t make eye contact, something I love to do but can be invasive, and to ask before taking pictures of people. A few of my friends read with me, but no one else did. A man began getting all up in this woman’s face that was cooking a snake and began snapping a dozen pictures. I looked at this and thought, “what for? What is he trying to acquire? Why am I here and how can I stop being so stupid?”

Christy sees the world
Like it’s a Baby Boy
Whose Diapers need Changing…

—Tucker Booth