That’s who the postcard was addressed to. The postcard announcing the annual holiday fair of the artifactory / The Artifactory in Palo Alto:

(#1) Arnold M Zwicky has been getting these announcements for a couple of decades, but I believe that this is the first time MARCIA M Zwicky got one and I didn’t (it’s possible that I didn’t notice for a couple of years, because COVID-19, but my replacement by MARCIA M is surely a recent thing)

I suspect that this address is incorrect — it should be MARCIA M M Zwicky, because her full name is MARCIA MARCIA MARCIA Zwicky. As in The Brady Bunch.

Back in the real world, there’s the question of where MARCIA came from, and for that I have no idea, beyond the possibility that the Artifactory’s address database somehow mingled two different addresses, MARCIA + X and Y + M Zwicky.

In the world of consensus reality, there’s the Artifactory cooperative and the tv series The Brady Bunch (though I have to point out that we’re interested in the series for the (fictive) narrative in it, for the stories it tells). And then the fantasies and inventions I’ll spin out will use some other established fictive narratives: the story of the Three Magi and the tales of the Archangel Michael. With a side reference to the comics and graphic novels of Alison Bechdel.

In fact, Bechdel will serve as the entry point into the (real-world) story of the Artifactory cooperative.

The Artifactory in the late 1980s. From my 5/10/12 posting “Alison Bechdel”:

I’ve been a great fan of Dykes to Watch Out For from the beginning, a fact that once led to an odd shopping moment.

For some 30 years, downtown Palo Alto had a woman artists’ cooperative, the Artifactory (at Hamilton and Emerson Sts.; the building was pulled down in 1998, after a fire, and the Artifactory moved elsewhere [see above]). I regularly shopped for Christmas presents there. In 1986 or 1987, I picked up some jewelry (for my daughter) and a Dykes to Watch Out For collection (for myself and my guy Jacques). The woman at the cash register was deeply suspicious about my buying a Dykes book; she quizzed me aggressively, “Why are you buying this book?” (I suppose she thought I was a guy hoping to get off on lesbo sex). I gave her the honest answer, “Because I think her work is great — perceptive and tremendously funny”, adding “And by the way, I’m gay”. Then things were ok, and she offered to help find other things I might not have noticed.

I did wonder if she would have refused to sell me the book if I hadn’t given a satisfactory answer. Maybe so; the times were like that.

Digression on Bechdel’s Dykes. There were the individual strips, then the small paperback book collections (such as I bought for Jacques and me), then big retrospective volumes, among them:

(#2) Cover for the collection (hardbound 2008, paperback 2020); the characters begin and end with Bechdel’s main character Mo, a stand-in for Bechdel herself

The publisher’s blurb:

Settle in to this wittily illustrated soap opera (Bechdel calls it “half op-ed column and half endless serialized Victorian novel”) of the lives, loves, and politics of Mo, Lois, Sydney, Sparrow, Ginger, Stuart, Clarice, and the rest of the cast of cult-fav characters. Most of them are lesbians, living in a midsize American city that may or may not be Minneapolis. Bechdel’s brilliantly imagined countercultural band of friends — academics, social workers, bookstore clerks — fall in and out of love, negotiate friendships, raise children, switch careers, and cope with aging parents. Bechdel fuses high and low culture — from foreign policy to domestic routine, hot sex to postmodern theory — in a serial graphic narrative “suitable for humanists of all persuasions.”

Digression on the cooperative. Coverage of the Artifactory in local news outlets almost always characterizes it as a woman’s / women’s artists’ cooperative: it was founded by women, and so far as I can tell, all the exhibiting artists / craftsfolk have been women, indeed women with a decidedly feminist bent; and lesbian exhibitors have always been welcome, sometimes featured.  For whatever reason, the cooperative’s own literature merely mentions “fine crafts” and “local artists” (see #1), without regard to sex, gender, or sexuality.

Marcia Marcia Marcia. Marcia M inevitably called to my mind the celebrated quotation from The Brady Bunch‘s young character Jan, feeling aggrieved about her older sister Marcia. Here you can watch the YouTube video of the relevant segment from The Brady Bunch S3 E10 (originally aired 11/19/71), “Her Sister’s Shadow”, with the sole occurrence of “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia” in the series — when Jan gets upset when Marcia gets all the praise at school. She said it once, just once, and it stuck.

The Marcia in question was played by Maureen McCormick (who was 15 when the episode was filmed): From Wikipedia:

(#3) McCormick in 2009

Maureen Denise McCormick (born August 5, 1956 [so now 66]) is an American actress. She portrayed Marcia Brady on the ABC television sitcom The Brady Bunch, which ran from 1969 to 1974, and reprised the role in several of the numerous Brady Bunch spin-offs and films, including The Brady Kids, The Brady Bunch Hour, The Brady Brides and A Very Brady Christmas (1988).

MARCIA and MICHAEL, sitting in a tree. I’m focusing on Marcia, rather than Jan, because it’s MARCIA who somehow got swept into my orbit via the Artifactory: MARCIA, some sort of epiphenomenal being who represents, oh, maybe, my feminine spirit, joined in Freudian union with my corresponding masculine spirit. Which would be MICHAEL.

MICHAEL Zwicky is an epiphenomenal being, a consequence of my saying “Arnold M — M as in Michael — Zwicky”, where “Michael” is to make it clear that my middle initial is M, not the acoustically very similar N, while avoiding my actual middle name, Melchior, because it’s weird and sets off a digression into the Three Magi, and possibly into Melchior as a very Swiss, but now decidedly old-fashioned, personal name). So MICHAEL gets attached to me. There are a respectable number of actual Michael Zwickys in this world, especially in Switzerland, but MICHAEL is my nominal Michael Zwicky, so to speak, called into being only by my clarifying my name.

Digression on Melchior. Just to note that the Magus Melchior is — in some sense of is, since we’re dealing now with characters of very tenuous reality — the oldest of the three Magi, the King of Persia, and the bringer of gold to the Christ Child. A weighty character indeed.

MICHAEL puts on the armor of light. Once called into being, MICHAEL picks up the power of the archangel Michael: chief of all the angels and archangels, commander of the heavenly host, fiercely beautiful, and, oh yes, sporting really big and powerful wings. Have I mentioned that I have a thing for winged men? Oh my.

Much of the archangelical MICHAEL stuff is covered in my 9/30/17 posting “The archangel Michael”, which doesn’t shy away from the sexual imagery of winged male beings. There you will find this image of the commander of the Christian heavenly host — by the way, Michael is also the commander of the Jewish heavenly host (mythic worlds are almost always multifaceted):

(#4) From that posting: “a costumed muscle-hunk wielding a sword is immediately open to a homoerotic interpretation, whatever the artist’s original intentions”

It was just the annual postcard. But this year it brought me MARCIA, and she called up MICHAEL. O brave new world / That has such people in it!

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