It was a first for the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Labelle’s “A Man in a Trench Coat (Voodoo)” bathed the Temple of Dendur in serpentine funk. The song’s metallic groove greeted a sold-out crowd, gathered together on a February evening that only arrives once every four years. They awaited the arrival of “Cyboracle”, alias: Nona Hendryx.
A magnetic energy suddenly filled the room. COVID-19 hadn’t yet halted the shared experience of live music (or any experience, for that matter) in New York. Sitting shoulder to shoulder, the audience collectively turned their gaze towards Hendryx leading a pageant of musicians, dancers, and vocalists along the room’s southern wall. “Zoom zoom, up in the air” they chanted, channeling “Rocket Number Nine Take Off for the Planet Venus” by pioneering composer and bandleader Sun Ra.
Liquid light projections merged and flowed on a wall behind Hendryx. Attired like a silver-plumed space empress in her Cyboracle finery, Hendryx stood opposite the Temple of Dendur. Built around 15 B.C. during the reign of Roman emperor Augustus in Egypt, the Temple of Dendur honors the Egyptian fertility goddess Isis. It’s the only ancient Egyptian temple in the U.S. An invisible thread wove the air between Hendryx and the Temple’s entrance, intertwining the past, present, and future ...