Last weekend was one of the greatest weekends of my life. I don’t know where to start, waking up in a tent by a train yard next to a big rig overpass in Long beach at the end of my weekend adventure or waking up to the rain in Fullerton and walking to the train station. Let’s do the train from Fullerton to Union Station in Los angeles where upon arrival the city was so soaked in rain and shrouded in clouds i walked in the wrong direction and hoped on the wrong bus with all my camping and painting supplies. I was late and in hurry to get to The Hive gallery and meet up with all the resident artist to head to east jesus. I felt ansi and my shoulder hurt from carrying all the wait. The previous Night was my friends Nick and Sabrina’s Bachelor/bachelorette Party and i was fueled by a monstrous hangover and 3 hours of sleep.
When i arrived at the hive everyone was pretty much ready except for a few stragglers but we would soon be on our way, pot brownies and booze all ready to go as if we were headed to East Jesus to battle it out with some monstrous party monster. Meeting all the residents from the hive was a great experience all in it’s own, I quickly learned everyone is super easy going, positive and ready to create. We were finally on our way. I hadn’t checked the weather for the Salton Sea i didn’t know what I was in for, the rain had Los Angeles in a blanket. When we hit Palm Springs a we popped out of the cold dark rain clouds and into the wind where a sand storm blew like the desert was hyper ventilating for some reason, then, the rainbow. A giant rainbow appeared and it’s colorful arch screamed of positivity and from that moment on i felt like a little kid walking into the greatest candy store amusement park he’d ever imagined.
When we arrived to East Jesus we passed signs saying almost there and Welcome to slab city, “pack it on in, pack it on out” and then finally East Jesus. I didn’t know what to expect, I’m not a very religious person and for a second i thought I might have to be on good behavior and do some minor praying but that was not the case. Definitely was not the case. It was like a self sustained art community that was like anarchy on the honor system. Craziness in every direction and art covered in art. Giant installations, a duck pond filled with ducks swimming in dirt?? Stories on top of stories behind everything, my brain was instantly over stimulated. Cars get lit on fire, T.V’s telling the truth! It was a dream come true, not only mine but many, and the whole place lights up at night!
After we got the tour from Frank I could wait to paint, I rushed to set my tent up and get me easel set up in front of a house half sunken into the ground and beautifully painted titled ” Fame Retardant” I found a rusted silver platter on the ground there, painted the house on it, the had it nailed on the house and i’m super stoked to be a small part of the installation and hope Ben Wolf and Heidi Tullman don’t mind it being there creation.
I missed the sunset But certainly not bands. The first band was just two members from Flip Cassidy and The Junkyard Gospel. Flip Cassidy’s vocals are so strong and full of life, his song “Barry me in whiskey” is still stuck in my head. They completely killed it. It felt as though we were at our own private music festival. As for next events i’m not quite sure in which order they fall in, my memory is pretty foggy. I’m not sure if I pulled a Whole tree in the fire before of after The next band “Orphans in The After Life” which blew me out of this world, it seemed as though every member knew and played every instrument you can imagine and used it load the universe into a gun and shoot it into your brain. We were all way to impressed, and over stimulated.
There was a lot of running around after, mingling about art, eating delicious eggplant parmesan, walking through fire, and exploring, tons of which i can’t remember. What i can remember at brief moments is ripping out trees whole with Alex Scheafer and trying to build the biggest fire we could. Another moment Were bouncing around in the back of a truck headed to some hot springs where everyone immediately peels every article of clothing and jumps in. The water was Perfect and we were all as inebriated and as free as could be! The next thing i remember is waking up to a dwindeling fire in the bone chilling dessert air. I stumbled into my tent and tried to sleep for a bit but only having one blanket i quickly said fuck it and started pulling everything i could into the fire.
After a few moments Daniella Batsheva came stumbling out and helped with the fire. Shortly fallowed By Alex Schaefer. We had a plan and we quickly set like paint troopers out through the back yard of Slab City resident where we found many interesting things like the shoe tree and some primitive rock maze. We where on our way to plein air paint Salvation Mountain. We encountered so many interesting characters including one of which i found the most interesting. His name was roy, he pulled up in a big painted school bus blocking the mountain, hoping out and walking straight toward me. He walked like he had some authority over the place and proceeded to ask me if i could paint a huge mural of the mountain on the bus.
Roy was a changed man, he was a previous felon and drug addict but when he left prison he was a changed man. He bought this bus and has been traveling around the united states picking up hitch hikers and helping people out. The bus is covered in signatures like a high school year book saying thanks and full of positive messages. Anyways I could not accept his request to paint the bus so sent him East jesus bound and let him know we were all there from the hive gallery and ask around for some one who might be interested.
After I finished my painting, which i had done on a cubbard door, I packed up and headed back to camp. Alex finished about an hour earlier and now i’m hiking back alone. I feel sick, dehydrated, jittery, and hungry, the weight of all my stuff was dragging me down and East Jesus seemed to only get further. When I finally get Back I greet everyone and get some water and some fruits fallowed by rum. I am now feeling better and we are all top of the morning, some of who have yet come down from last night trip. I realize i’m covered in cuts and bruises and the bottom of my big toe is cut open. sigh.
There is no time to wine and we are all off! A caravan back to salvation mountain were everyone climbs around like happy little monkey’s and Madliene Haim. Roy shares his story with every one and we all make our way to these huge water tanks covered in Paintings of all sorts of creatures and animals having sex in positions porn directors can’t even imagine. The place seems like a post apocalyptic playground where vagabonds and gypsies rome around. Chris Rexroad and Clark Walter trade them some weird veggies for some shiny rocks and geodes and now it’s back to the caravan.
Our next stop are some mud pots where i’m not sure what happens in the ground but hot mud spews out of the ground like mud pimples popping them selves. We walk up in dead silence, I didn’t know why we had to be quiet but quickly understood, what fallowed was bloop, blop, blurg, blop, blooooop, blurg, blop, bloop. These sounds were mesmerizing i wanted to sit there and have a slow drum circle with the sounds but for us, there was no time to waste. In minutes we were all painting each others faces, war paint for us art warriors! I couldn’t help but grabs mounds of wet mud and draw a huge Bee and write The Hive leaving our stamp that we were there. This place is a magical place everyone absolutely must visit if they/you ever journey through here. Niland, Ca.
On our last stop before heading back to East Jesus we stopped at an old Burnt down brothel, dilapidated house and old water tower. It’s a place just begging and screaming photo shoot. Chris Benton throws on a Rabbit mask, Seraphime puts on a horse mask and Flip Cassidy jumps through a window wearing a gas mask. The ground outside of the brothel is encrusted and made of salt, Nathan Cartwright tasted and made sure of it, war paint an all, a true fun soldier of the dessert.
We get back to East Jesus pack it all up and say our goodbye’s, only two days and one night there and we were all beat, but East Jesus did not want us to leave just yet, the sand entrapped Bonnie Dias’s truck first, and then Nathan’s van next. The van we had to dig out, and then after an hour we were on our way. leaving a place i completely fell in love with, i kept asking my self, why am i leaving? After some delicious pizza, beers and long ride back to the hive, i still had a long ways before i’d get home. I owe a great thanks to Madliene for dropping me off at grand central station so i could make it to The last train to long beach.
I was headed to the Queen Mary to meet up with my girlfiend Erin, and some friends. My friend Nick and Sabrina had gotten married earlier that day. unfortunately by the time i arrived to Long Beach, and walked from the last stop to the Queen Mary, it was late, i had no phone(i lost it on the same train in Compton last week) and everyone was passed out drunk. The man at the desk would let me go knock on anyones door and i had to venture back out into long beach.
I walked and i walked and i walked. The weight of all my stuff was the only thing keeping me warm. I was looking for a place to set up my tent and get some sleep. I was utterly exhausted. I met two thirsty raccoons and they pointed me out a nice place next to a train yard and the big rig over pass, there i slept. all this seemed to be a preparation for when i leave on my walk to portland. Practice always makes perfect.
Thanks again for reading