Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mega Art Jam Report

Craziness in the desert! We arrived Friday morning in East Jesus for the Mega Art Jam and East Jesus Build Party. There were over 20 people present and creativity was the order of the weekend. I worked a little on the Tower and Nita and I both started cutting fabric to make flags to string along the guy wires for the tower.
Our friend Blaze came down from Northern California and created a sculpture in the garden. He also did some needed maintenance work including leveling the library trailer, one of the latest additions to the East Jesus compound.

Rabbit worked on his camp, cleaning up and bringing in more building materials. Joe added another room onto Xanadon't - his growing art structure. Some of the Gypsy Camp folks were playing music, and it was a damn good time. The weather was perfect. See my photos You should also check out, if you can, this batch of photos by Flip - Really great shots. AND... I made an extremely short video. Short because I didn't shoot much footage. It's too bad I didn't capture some of the amazing musicians on video.

video

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mega Art Jam in East Jesus

 This Thanksgiving weekend there will be a MEGA ART JAM in East Jesus. All kinds of artistic possibilities and projects will be explored, added to, started, finished, and embellished. From Friday November 26 to Sunday November 28 there will be an art creation extravaganza in the tiny suburb of Slab City, East Jesus, population: one.

Come out and make art out of junk, camp in the desert, and have a good time. This is desert camping. Bring your own everything. Don't leave a mess. Don't piss off the mayor!
More info about the event on the East Jesus Build Party Facebook page If you want to come to the event, be sure to R.S.V.P. on the Facebook page.

There are other fun things to see in the vicinity, too. The big attraction is Salvation Mountain. This is an art/religious monument created by Leonard Knight. There are also some gigantic, wildly painted concrete tanks. There are lots of art cars, too. For those interested in a natural anomaly, there are mud volcanoes only a couple of miles away at the edge of the Salton Sea. The Sea, itself, is pretty strange, not to mention the active bombing range right next to East Jesus. What a krazeee place!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Art Car Caravan

We just got back from participating in the SW Art Car Caravan from Los Angeles, CA to Douglas, AZ. What an adventure! The Cadwac, our art car, had been with my brothers in Southern California for the past year so our friend Mark drove us out to pick it up. We tried to get there in time for the first event of the Caravan, an artwalk in Santa Ana, CA. Unfortunately, when we got to my brother's house, the battery on the Cadwac was dead and we couldn't revive it in time for the show.

We spent the next two days re-painting and adding art to the car. We also got the battery charged, all the fluids topped off, and got it ready to go on a long trip. The first event the Cadwac could make it to was on Tuesday night at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. About eight art cars were present for that event. The cars were displayed in front of the museum's entrance which is in their parking garage.One of the purposes for the caravan was for the organizer, Harrod Blank, to screen his new documentary about art cars. At each major stop a film screening was scheduled.

The next stop was the True World Gallery in Joshua Tree, CA. During the day we toured interesting sites around Joshua Tree. The most interesting, to me, was Noah Purifoy's art environment. It consisted of sculptures and building all made out of junk. We also did a photo shoot at Giant Rock. Giant Rock is supposedly a place where UFO's are seen often. It's a beautiful spot to shoot pictures. In the evening, Harrod's movie, Automorphosis, was shown at the True World Gallery. Afterwards we went out to a campground for the night.

In the morning we drove through Joshua Tree National Monument. On the way there, we stopped by the studio of metal, and junk, artist, Bobby Furst. His studio was amazing! He had such a delicious collection of objects all fairly neatly organized. What an inspiring place. Thanks, Bobby, for letting us visit. On the way through Joshua Tree, we stopped for a photo shoot. Then we blazed onward. Our next stop, Salvation Mountain, near Niland, CA.

Harrod did a special screening at Salvation Mountain for Leonard Knight, creator of this monumental art environment. Leonard is getting pretty old so it was a special treat to see him watching Harrod's movie. Unfortunately, I think he fell asleep during the part of the movie that he, and Salvation Mountain, are in. We spent the night in East Jesus with art car artist and iconoclastic visionary, Charlie Russell.

Early the next morning Harrod, with his two cars, and Nita and I, in the Cadwac, headed east across the desert to Yuma, for a brief photo shoot, lunch, and meeting with the mayor. Then on to Tucson. A full day of driving. We stopped at some really out-of-the-way gas stations and always drew a crowd. In Tucson several other cars joined us for Tucson's Second Saturdays art walk downtown. Harrod showed Automorphosis and the cars were displayed near the theater.

The largest event was next. Bisbee is known for having a lot of art cars for its size. There were eleven cars at Bisbee plus live bands and lots of fun. The Sierra Vista Herald covered the event and wrote a nice article with pictures. The last stop was at Art Car World. This will be a museum for art cars. There is a lot of work to do here, but Harrod has a great vision and I wish him success. He already has a small collection of art cars including one of my all-time favorites, "Carthedral," by Rebecca Caldwell.

We got back home last night. Now the Cadwac is leaking just about everything it can leak - oil, transmission fluid, coolant. I have a little bit of work to do to get it back into shape for another trip. It gets to rest awhile now, though. Winter is coming and that is not a good time to drive a car with no roof or heater.

We had a great time on the caravan. Click here for my pictures.

Here are some other people's blog posts and media coverage of the trip:
Cynthia's Hi-Desert Blog - about our visit to True World Gallery in Joshua Tree
Paintress Gretchen - photos of the Bisbee show

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Wac is Back

In August of 2006 the engine of my art car, the Cadwac, threw a rod on the way to Burning Man. We towed it back home after the event and then it sat in the yard at my shop, dead, for about a year. In Fall of 2007 I finally got a new engine put in it. The Baker brothers in Tucson did the rebuild at Bakers Auto Machne, LLC.. These guys really know what they are doing and did a great job. Instead of rebuilding the 472 c.i. engine, I traded it for a 500, which they bored out. So now I have an even bigger engine. It was rebuilt in a way to give me maximum longevity instead of building it for racing. This is what I wanted, for it to last a long, long time. Special thanks goes to Gary Taylor for hooking me up with the Baker brothers and for helping take the old engine out of the car.

Anyway, after the rebuild, and after we put the engine back in, we rarely drove it. I probably put only 500 miles on it in the first year since the rebuild. Since it was just sitting there, I decided to try to sell it. Of course, Prescott is not considered a major auto sales market, so I took it to my brother, Randy, in Southern California. He makes a living out of buying, selling, and brokering the sales of cars, mostly collectible Volkswagens. He owns Oldbug.com and has quite a reputation for reliability and honesty as well as tons of connections into the automotive world. He has been trying to sell the Cadwac for me for the past 10 months but no luck yet. An art car is a hard sell, I think.

Suddenly, the Cadwac is getting attention! It got photographed by journalists from Hot Rod Magazine at some event or another and ended up in the November 2010 issue of the magazine in a long article about Rat Rods. The photo shows just the front of the Cadwac with it's Burning Man-like hood ornament made from a wine bottle opener. Cool, huh?

Early in October, I am going to go to California and get my car and take it on an art car road-trip called The Southwest Art Car Caravan (caravan schedule at bottom of the linked page) and Film Tour. Harrod Blank's new movie, Automorphosis, will be screened at various locations between Los Angeles, CA and Douglas, AZ.from Sept. 30 to October 11th of this year. My wife and I will be joining the caravan from October 5 to October 9th. Our journey will begin Tuesday evening on Oct 5th at the Petersen Automotive Museum in L.A. From there we will caravan out to Joshua Tree, then to Salvation Mountain and East Jesus, on to Yuma for a short event, and then to Tucson for another event. At that point the Cadwac leaves the caravan and we head home to Prescott. The caravan continues without us to Bisbee and then to Douglas where Harrod has been creating Art Car World, a museum for art cars.

I am sure there will be various media covering the caravan as it makes its journey through the Southwest. And maybe the Cadwac will get its picture in more magazines, or newspapers, or, gasp, even television? I suppose I still should sell it. I have other ideas for art projects and the Wac has had a great life. I need the money and the space, too. You can own the Cadwac (after the Caravan) for a mere $3000. Remember, it has a nearly new rebuild (excellent quality rebuild, too!) on an awesome huge engine. The engine itself is worth more than 3000 dollars. Contact me if you want to buy a slightly famous and definitely wacky car!

See you on the road maybe!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Not at Burning Man!


We are back from our non-Burning-Man adventure. We got within two hours of the playa with no intention of going there. We imagined our friends out there in the dust, dancing and laughing and having fun. But we were on a different mission - communion with nature and exploration of the mountains.
 
We left Prescott on Sunday a week ago and drove to Independence, CA in the Owens Valley. We camped by a creek in the desert but there was an unusually cool period of weather at that time so it was very pleasant. Then we blasted up to Nevada City so I could show Nita the area. We couch-surfed with some locals that have lived there for 30 years so we could get the inside scoop on the region. It still looks extremely promising as a relocation destination. Lots of trees, cool people, rivers with water in them (how unusual), and reasonable distance to major metro (Sacramento) and to the high Sierras and the desert on the other side. 3 to 4 hours to the bay area as an added bonus in case we want to enjoy cultural adventures in one of the more cutting-edge cities in America.  
 
We spent a couple of days in Nevada City looking around, driving rural roads, putting our feet in rivers and picking blackberries that grow wild along the roads everywhere. Then we headed north on Hwy 49 to the California gold rush highway town of Downieville, a super cute little mountain town on the North Yuba River in the middle of gold rush country. It seems that this town is a conclave of members of the Ancient Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus. There is a tiny park with a big commemorative plaque to "Clampers" (what members of this group call themselves). After we visited Clamperville, I mean Downieville, we camped a night near Sierraville next to a creek surrounded by huge trees and then drove through Truckeeville and then through Renoville on our way back south down Hwy 395 -ville.
 
For the last three or four days we have been camping in the high Sierra, accessing it from the east side. We camped for two nights in the Virginia Lakes basin, right next to Trumbull Lake. We saw deer, beaver, trees, birds, rocks and sky and had to protect our food from bears. People were catching so many trout that they were giving extra fish to us. When we turned off 395 to drive up to the lakes we had no idea of the elevation. It turns out that the spot we turned off the main highway was over 8000 feet and the lake we camped at was at 9500 feet. We were thinking were were just out of shape until we found out how high we were. We spent most of a day hiking up to higher lakes and enjoying the awesome beauty. I was attacked by chipmunks, managed to fend them off, Nita took a dip in a nearly freezing lake, and then we had lunch.
 
Our last night (Saturday) was spent camped next to Big Pine Creek near the base of some 14,000-foot mountains. We were only at 7900 feet, though. Still pretty high. We did a tiny tribute burn that night. I made a little man out of sticks and set it in the fire pit. We faked the sound of thumping techno, faked a fire conclave show, burned the little man, and then danced around the fire pit one time. We laughed the whole time. Just the two of us.
 
Yesterday we drove home, crossed the Colorado River in mid-afternoon with the mercury at 111, and pulled into our driveway just after sunset.
 
It was just the vacation I needed. I got to visit an old and deeply loved friend, the Sierra Nevada mountains, and we endured exactly zero dust storms, unlike our friends in the Black Rock Desert. I heard that there were some crazy dust storms on the playa this last week. Probably no worse than any other year, though. I expect to start hearing reports from the Burn soon, as people straggle back to the default world.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Gypsy Wagon Progress - Color Scheme

I started running the electrical wiring inside the gypsy wagon today. The lighting will be 12 volt and there will be several 110 AC outlets when we can hook up to house power. I also started taking apart the stove I picked up. The stove, as it is, is a bit too tall. I figure I can cut the broiler part of it off and make the whole thing about 8 inches shorter. That ought to work.

I then took a little time to mess around on the computer to come up with an exterior color scheme we like. It's great to be able to manipulate color on the computer for this. What I started with in my minds eye was quite different than what we ended up with. Nita and I both consulted on the colors as I changed the color of each of the different elements until we found what we liked. With this info I will go to the paint store and try to find paint chips that match what we chose and have it mixed up for us.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Gypsy Wagon Progress - July 2010

I haven't had much chance to work on the gypsy wagon over the past several months. In the past few months though, I have made some progress. I got the wood siding on the front (tongue side). I put wood jambs into the door and window openings. I made access doors for the under-the-bed storage space and for the composting toilet. I found all these great little scroll-like pieces of steel and welded them onto the access doors to make them fancy. Click the picture to see the fancy on the doors.

I also just got a stove with an oven from my friend Mel down near Maricopa. Thanks, Mel! I may have to cut the bottom 9 inches off the stove (the broiler) so I can fit it where I want it. I don't think we need a broiler.

Doors and windows are next. They will have painted wood frames. I also need to put some sheet metal up on top to shed water and serve as a mounting base for the solar panels. I would love to get the whole thing sealed against the weather in the next couple of months.

Friday, June 11, 2010

East Jesus Hot This Summer

I delivered my largest wind sculpture, Cosmos, to East Jesus last weekend. The piece will get so much more attention there than it will ever get sitting in the yard at my Prescott, AZ shop. I wouldn't ordinarily expect  much attention until fall but this year may be different. Summertime in East Jesus is usually pretty dead. I'm sure that regular highs of 100 degrees or more have something to do with this. But not this year! Things are happening. Strange and inexplicable things.

Not only is Cosmos now happily spinning away in the desert, another sculpture, by artist Joe Holliday, has been delivered to the East Jesus Sculpture Garden. His sculpture is a 14-foot high woolly mammoth made of tire treads. You know, the ripped and shredded bits of truck tires that litter the shoulders of highways. The Mammoth is not assembled yet but will be together in time for East Jesus' first big summer event - the MAMMOTH ERECTION.- on Saturday, June 19th. The preceding link is to a Facebook page, There will be bands playing at the range and, I suppose, other fun activities. If you are willing to brave the heat of the desert, this will be a fun event. I can't make it, though. I will be performing with my fire troupe, Pyroklectic, in Prescott at the Tsunami-on-the Square performing arts festival that weekend. But that's not the only event in E.J. this summer.

Captain USA (pronounced "oo-sah") will be performing his annual 4th of July stunt for freedom in Slab City with preparations centered in the East Jesus compound. Read Charlie's blog post about this crazy guy. Captain USA will be filmed standing on top of a moving SUV covered with flaming fireworks and gasoline. Sure to be spectacular! The name of this event - The Flaming Burro of FREEDOM!! - another Facebook page. I probably won't make this one, either, but I wish I could. Sounds hilarious!

I will stay busy here, making things from steel and playing with fire. But YOU don't have to stay home. YOU can go out to the desert and participate in the craziness of East Jesus.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Teaching Art in Texas

My wife, Nita, and I taught workshops at the Eye of the Dog Art Center in San Marcos Texas last weekend. Nita taught a mosaic workshop and Royce taught a found-object art welding workshop. Each of us had ten students. It went really well. Everyone made cool stuff.

In addition to working, we got to visit with good friends, go tubing on the San Marcos River, have dinner at a Texas barbecue place, and make a bit of art ourselves. I posted some photos of the trip here:
http://picasaweb.google.com/zebulonspleen/Texas2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My Bus Adventure

A couple of posts ago I mentioned that, about 20 years ago, I had a school bus that was converted into a motor home, I then went on to talk about hippie buses and how cool they were. Well, my bus was a 1962 Dodge. It was 32 feet long and had a 350 Chevy engine and automatic transmission. It was slow and got between 8 and 9 miles per gallon.  I bought it in 1990 for $800.

I wanted to move away from the L.A. area and needed a good camping vehicle. What I was really looking for was a Volkswagen bus. I saw an ad in the paper for an old school so I thought I'd go ahead and take a look, even though that was not what I was looking for. I have always loved the old hippie buses so I called the advertiser of the school bus and arranged to see it. I was a bit panicky as I caught myself making an offer on it. "What am I doing?" I thought to myself. "This is crazy." Amazingly they accepted my offer and then a big smile creased my face and the next thought was, "I just bought an $800 ticket to heaven!"

It was already partially converted inside. I went to work on it to finish the conversion by adding cabinets, cleaning up the kitchen, adding some furniture, etc. I painted the bus and my friend, Billy, made a wooden grille for it. I had a couple of yard sales to sell everything I owned that wouldn't fit in the bus, moved into it, and drove off into the night leaving Southern California behind for good. I didn't know where I was going or where I would end up. I was on the road! I ended up in Prescott, Arizona, where I still am today. In 1992 I traded the bus for a truck and a small travel trailer.

It was fun having the bus but I think, even more fun, will be the gypsy wagon I am building. Now that I am back from my annual allergy escape trip, I am back to work on it. I got the tongue-and-groove siding put on the front of the gypsy wagon this past weekend. The next step is to create the jambs for the door and windows.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Art Inside a Freeway

When Joe was in high school he discovered a mysterious portal into another world. At least it was potentially another world. He got to work and now, six years later, it is, indeed, a strange and mysterious place.

He found an entrance into the insides of a freeway overpass.  Joe wasn't the first person to find this place, either. He found evidence of previous visitors. This portal was likely created so that the structural elements of the freeway could be inspected from time to time. Apparently no one has tried to inspect this one for quite awhile. Maybe never.

The space consists of a vault that is just under six feet high, maybe eight feet wide, and probably over a hundred feet long. He divided the space into small rooms connected by tunnels. The string of rooms extends out probably 60 feet. At one point there are a couple of 4-inch holes in the concrete floor where you can see the road below. The tunnels are hidden and/or hung with strips of fabric and plastic so that it is a disorienting adventure to explore. The disorienting effect was on purpose. The vault is right underneath the road bed so you can hear the cars above and feel the vibrations when a big truck goes over,.

"It's all in the details," the artist says about his hidden creation. Everything inside had to be carried up through a 30-inch diameter hole. It is amazing what he managed to get in there. We saw a desk, two toilets (not working) and even a piano! I asked him how he got the piano in there and his response was a question, "How do you eat an elephant?" The answer, of course, is "one piece at a time." There have been parties inside the freeway, too, sometimes even with a live band, The port is just large enough to fit a bass drum through..

He says that there is an entry at the other end of the overpass with another art installation just beginning.  Obviously, all this was done without the permission or knowledge of the powers that be. Because of its clandestine nature, the location of this art installation cannot be disclosed. I probably couldn't find it again anyway.

It was pitch dark inside. We had no idea what we were in for when we went looking for the place so we didn't have much in the way of lighting. We managed to scrounge two flashlights. Because of the lack of light and the tightness of the spaces it was difficult to shoot video or take pictures in such a way that you get a good idea what is going on. Nevertheless, I put together a short video of the adventure called "Art in a Freeway Overpass."

Sunday, April 4, 2010

L.A. Graffiti and Murals

 I visited my friends, Bill and Jana, in Hollywood a couple of weeks ago. We managed to cram several days worth of art adventuring into only about 24 hours. We explored sculptural art installations in Elysian Park, went inside a freeway to see an unusual art installation, visited a artist's collective of sorts in a warehouse under a bridge, and went for a walk looking for graffiti. I'll start with our graffiti walk.

We took a three-hour walk down Hollywood Blvd. in search of graffiti and murals. There were plenty. There is art everywhere, some of it obviously done with permission and some obviously not done with permission. From simple tagging to elaborate paintings, I was impressed by the talent of these artists..
More photos

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hippie Buses Forever!

About 20 years ago I had an old school bus converted into a motorhome. It was a 1962 Dodge bus that was a little taller than the usual school buses of the day. I had it for a couple of years and lived in it for several months. This evening I was indulging in a little bit of bus nostalgia and browsed the web for hippie bus photos. I found quite a few.

Hippie buses began in the 1960's and the tradition never went away. There are still people out there decorating buses in the '60's hippie style. The most famous bus was Furthur, the bus that Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters drove across the country. This journey was made famous in Tom Wolfe's book, "Electric Kool-aid Acid Test." The original bus is rotting away in a swamp on Ken Kesey's ranch in Oregon. In the late '80's they got their hands on another bus and Further II went on the road.

I knew a couple of people, in the '70's when I lived in Fullerton, California, who were bus nomads. One guy, Silverbear, would come by most years on his annual migration from somewhere in Oregon or Washington down to the desert of Arizona. His bus, "Patchs", got its picture in a 1979 book called Rolling Homes by Jane Lidz.  The book has been out of print for awhile and it has become a collector's item. I understand Patchs might be still on the road. Another friend, Arthur, converted a step van into his home, and I visited another guy who owned a school bus with a couple of VW buses welded on top.

People are still converting buses to motor homes and some of them paint them wildly. I have seen several of them at the Burning Man Festival over the last ten years and they still regularly appear at Rainbow Gatherings. I found a few websites that have collected photos of these. One of them has about 40 photos of colorfully painted Volkswagen buses. Another one has pictures of various hippie buses.

My Gypsy Caravan project is an extension of the love affair I have had with buses and do-it-yourself mobile living for over 30 years.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Caravan Progress Report - 2-15-2010

A couple of new developments to report. I started putting tongue-and-groove wood siding on the ends of the caravan. I stained the wood with a Brazilian Cherry stain and sealed the boards with spar urethane.Then  I cut them and screwed them onto the metal frame. Each piece was custom fit to the cuvces and I had to pre-drill the wood and the metal before inserting the screws.  I have the back wall done and the wood is ready to go on the front end.

I bought four trailer tongue jacks and modified them to create a way to jack the caravan off of the trailer. I made jacking points at the four corners of the caravan and made mounting brackets for the tongue jacks. I had to exted the length of each jack by two feet. I did a test jack-up last weekend and it worked fine. Now I can remove the flatbed trailer out from under the camper.While I had the camper jacked up, I was able to put sheet metal sides on the lower sides.This is all part of the process of making it weather proof.

I drew, with chalk, the positioning of all the interior elements - the bed, bathroom, kitchen, closets, etc. I researched and figured out how I will make the doors and windows, which , I think, is the next major project.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Caravan Progress Report 1-17-2010

I picked up the roofing panels on Friday. Just in time, too. Big weather is supposed to be coming our way and I needed to get a roof on the gypsy wagon so the plywood floor doesn't get ruined. The panels are 20 feet long so I hitched up my other trailer and rigged a way to put the panels on it. Fortunately they came bundled on a makeshift pallet of sorts and it wasn't too hard to manage.

On Saturday Nita and I started screwing down the roofing. She would sight along the ribs and tell me where to put the screws. A good bit of teamwork. We got all the panels on but they weren't trimmed yet. I used nearly 300 screws and there are still another 50 or so that need to be put in. That can wait until later.

On Sunday I got out the plasma torch and cut the roofing panels to fit. We also put the roof on the clerestory structure on top. The final step was to silicone all the screw heads. I then tied tarps up on the ends of the wagon and threw a tarp over the top. This wasn't easy. The gypsy wagon is pretty tall and we had a heck of a time getting the tarp over it. The wind kept picking it up and tossing it around. We got it, though and now it should be ready for the rain and snow that is forecast for all of this week.

The photos below show what the gypsy wagon looked like at the end of Saturday. I did not get a photo of it with the roof panels all trimmed and screwed down to the curve of the frame.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Cosmic Caravan Progress Report 1/8/2010

Since we got back from a trip to California I got some more work done on the gypsy wagon. I put in the floor insulation - 1 inch thick polystyrene panels. I put the 3/4" plywood floor down and attached with lots of screws. I finished the curved ribs on the frame and built the clerestory window structure for the roof.

I ordered the roofing panels, too. They should be here late next week. I wanted a certain pattern of RV siding but the cost turned out ti be prohibitive. I settled for metal house roofing panels which was 1/3 the cost. I got 29 gauge steel coated with an aluminum/zinc alloy and painted an off-white. The color, or lack of it, will make a good background to paint murals on the sides.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Mosaic, Junk, and Mud

We just got back from a week-long driving adventure to southern California over the Christmas holidays. Since Adventures in the Zone is about art I will focus on the arty parts of our trip. We also visited family and friends for most of the time which was the reason for the trip.

We visited Queen Califia's Magical Circle in Escondido - my second visit but Nita's first. It is truly magical even though I can see some deterioration since my last visit. There is supposed to be a foundation that maintains the site but I didn't see evidence of anyone repairing the broken bits. The first phot0 in this post shows two giant mosaic snakes that frame a view of Queen Califia atop a giant bird.

My brothers and their significant others joined Nita and I along with my good friend, Don, and went to see the movie, "Avatar", in 3-D. A ground breaking movie for sure. I recommend it, especially in 3-D. It is visually amazing.

We went for a walk in Elysian Park in L.A. with friends who live near there. Surprisingly, there are some folk-art pieces cropping up in the less-manicured areas of the park. These things are happening without permission from authorities and by anonymous artists. A totem pole of toys and junk was quite nice. We didn't have a camera with us on that walk so I didn't get a photo myself. I did find a photo of it online, though, on a blog called Summer of Shred. Here's a link to their photo of the Santa Totem

We went out to East Jesus on our way back to Arizona. Things keep changing out there. Some more work has been done on the Tower of Found Object Art and a visitor has arranged the truckload of duck and goose decoys around the tower in an entertaining and hilarious way. Some are partially buried as if the dirt was the surface of a lake. Some are interacting with pieces of junk that are lying around. Nice work! Only a small portion of the duck array is shown in the photo at left.

Our last stop was to see the mud volcanoes that are only a couple of miles away from Niland - the gateway to Slab City. We really loved these! The mud volcanoes are part of a geologically active area on the east side of the Salton Sea. There are hot springs, and geothermal energy extraction facilities in the area, too. The area is seismically active and is the southern end of the San Andreas Fault. Charlie said there were a couple of earthquakes the morning of the day we arrived. Although the mud volcanoes fall outside the focus of Adventures in the Zone, they were so interesting I had to post about them. I shot video. I love the noise they make. See my video here.