Desert Dispatches...

LAND ARTIFACTS: A DIDACTIC OF RUINS

July 09, 2018  •  1 Comment
Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, A poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more…. Shakespeare – Macbeth (c. 1605), Act V, Scene 5, Line 23 We are all going to die—every last one of us. We leave everything behind as a kind of tally of how we lived. We leave our children, our thoughts...
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HIGH & DRY: MOAH!

May 06, 2018  •  1 Comment
High & Dry is proud to announce our latest exhibition: High & Dry: Land Artifacts 665 West Lancaster Blvd, Lancaster, CA 93534 (661) 723-6250 • lancastermoah.org May 12 - July 15 • Opening: May 12, 4-6pm Artist talk: Sunday, June 3, 1pm The exhibit represents a full realization of High & Dry’s long-term, multi-platform exploration of the Calif...
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WHITTAKER-BERMITE PART 2: ENVIRONMENTAL REDEMPTION IN SANTA CLARITA, CA

February 28, 2018  •  Leave a Comment
The administrative building is long, compartmentalized, encapsulated by larger and smaller rooms now of indeterminate purpose. At its high point, 400 workers were employed here. All of the structure has been vandalized over the years, which gives the movie people free rein to adapt it to their needs. Some rooms have enormous gridded panes of glass...
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THE MANY LIVES OF WHITTAKER-BERMITE

February 06, 2018  •  Leave a Comment
In the sultry heat and dusty surroundings of this southern California industrial site, the desert landscape wears its ravaged face for all to see. It is a countenance scarred, wrinkled, marred by blackheads of refuse, industrial detritus, and debris. Yet there is something intrepid, even aesthetic below the well-worn surface of dry grass once verda...
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KING JOEY OF TRINITY STREET

August 24, 2017  •  1 Comment
Trinity Street in Mojave, California is short. It runs three blocks from Highway 14 (Sierra Highway) to the Mojave High School football field. The football field has grass, unlike most of the yards on Trinity Street. Dirt yards are good for saving water, bad for a sense of suburban decorum and manicured gentility. Trinity Street has bland architec...
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TOMBSTONES OF THE GHOST FARMS

November 17, 2016  •  1 Comment
Twin Silos and Collapsed Farm Building - Infrared Exposure - Bishop, CA - 2016 The past speaks to us in a thousand voices, warning and comforting, animating and stirring to action. – Felix Adler Across the dead fields and arid wasteland of northern Inyo County there are ringed silos standing straight, desolate and empty. They are now tombsto...
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OF MIRACLES AND BURNING PALMS: THE GREAT FIRE OF THERMAL, CA

August 30, 2016  •  2 Comments
“All things are possible, if only you believe.” – Gospel song sung by Elvis Presley and others The rumor went around that the fire in the fan palm grove belonging to the Jesus Is Salvation Church began with a lightning strike. Pastor Ruben Martinez tells me it may have been an electrical short in a work shed on the property. So the fire wasn’t...
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ONE THOUSAND AND ONE CULTURAL ILLUSIONS: ORIENTALISM IN THE COACHELLA VALLEY

July 15, 2016  •  Leave a Comment
God, she was beautiful - my first image of the Orient - a woman such as only the desert poet knew how to praise: her face was the sun, her hair the protecting shadow, her eyes fountains of cool water, her body the most slender of palm-trees and her smile a mirage. – Amin Maalouf Our attitudes about the Orient and Middle East have changed signif...
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MR. AND MRS. DATE PALM ARE MOVING TO THE COUNTRY

June 15, 2016  •  1 Comment
An old Arabic legend tells of the Date palm's creation: "After God had finished molding Man from Earth; He took the remaining material and shaped it into a date palm which he placed in the Garden of Paradise." As we drive around the Coachella Valley towns of Indio, Thermal, Coachella, and even Mecca, we see full-grown, beautiful date palms being c...
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APRIL IS THE COOLEST MONTH

April 05, 2016  •  Leave a Comment
Hot off the press, the Whole Life Times' feature story High & Dry: L.A.'s Tug-of-War with its Neighbors (beautifully written by Genie Davis) explores the city's historic relationship to the surrounding desert and the challenges we face in an era of increased water scarcity. by Genie Davis, photos by Osceola Refetoff Meanwhile, High & Dry's...
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THE DESERT SALT PAN: EMPTY AND FULL; SENESCENT AND REBORN

March 29, 2016  •  3 Comments
“I said nothing at the time, just ran my fingertips along the edge of the human-shaped emptiness that had been left inside me.” – Haruki Murakami, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman Standing at the edge of the salt pan on the floor of Death Valley I think of sugar frosting, chocolate foam and chocolate chip ice cream. I reach down and pop a very tiny...
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OF DESERT CASTLES AND HUMAN HUBRIS

March 01, 2016  •  2 Comments
I think natural disasters have been looked upon in the wrong way. Newspapers always say they are bad. a shame. I like natural disasters and I think that they may be the highest form of art possible to experience. For one thing they are impersonal. I don’t think art can stand up to nature. Put the best object you know next to the grand canyon,...
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ALTERED LANDSCAPE OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT

January 12, 2016  •  1 Comment
Any landscape is the condition of the spirit. – Henri Frederic Amie Looking around the severely disturbed countryside, the mine foreman sees beauty in the landscape. He is harshly altering and deconstructing it with giant land-moving trucks chewing away at what’s left of several, now indistinguishable, small cinder cones. The “product” is excav...
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WALKING THROUGH TIME: THE LAYERED PAST OF RED HILL'S VOLCANIC VIEWSCAPE

December 16, 2015  •  Leave a Comment
“Sometimes, when one is moving silently through such an utterly desolate landscape, an overwhelming hallucination can make one feel that oneself, as an individual human being, is slowly being unraveled. The surrounding space is so vast that it becomes increasingly difficult to keep a balanced grip on one's own being. The mind swells out to fill the...
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VIDEO & THE RADIO STAR

November 04, 2015  •  Leave a Comment
VIDEO & THE RADIO STAR Eric Minh Swenson's documentary on High & Dry premieres today, after this weekend's acclaimed premiere of Christopher Langley's original radio play You Are There: The Water Picnic, performed by Metabolic Studio's IOU Theater in Lone Pine, CA. This 8-minute film outlines High & Dry's long-term collaboration and compares...
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