Category Archives: Uncategorized

Last Days in Quartzsite

Standard

The Rubber Tramp Rendezvous has come and gone.

All of my friends have left Quartzsite, save for the new one, the one with whom I am planning on embarking on an epic adventure road trip. Or at least a several hundred mile ride in the van.

Imagine my delight to meet another traveler of my ilk, someone who knows and holds dear dumpster diving, gas jugging, and sign flying. Imagine my delight in meeting another seeker, a fellow believer in magic and signs and the machinations of the Universe.

So we’re still in Quarzsite, but not for long. As soon as the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed, we’re blowing this popscicle stand. Leaving right now would be fine with me, although I’m resigned to the fact that we won’t be out of here that soon.

The traffic’s gotten bad. The library parking lot was packed this morning when I arrived at 11am. There was nowhere to leave the van anywhere near the scratch and dent grocery store. The internet connection is slow and frustrating. (Thank goodness I had two weeks of blog posts scheduled. I’d be a wreck if I’d been dealing with the frustrating internet all this time.)

I hope to sit somewhere in the next couple of days and schedule the posts I’ve been writing down in my notenbook.

In hope all my readers will stay tuned.

Sekhmet and Lions Mural by Nikki Danby

Standard

The Temple of Goddess Spirituality in Cactus Springs, NV is peaceful place for spiritual exploration and reflection. There is art of many different kinds on the grounds of the temple, but because the place is dedicated to Sekhmet, much of the art is focused on the Goddess.

One of the most striking pieces featuring Sekhemt is the mural Sekhmet and the Lions by Nikki Danby.

img_5428

I took this photo showing Nikki Danby’s mural Sehkmet and the Lions. The mural is on display on the grounds of the Temple of Goddess Spirituality in Cactus Springs, NV.

The mural is painted on the wall of an outbuilding on the grounds near the temple. There is an explanatory text nearby which describes the symbolism in the painting. (For example, the blue lotus flowers near the lioness and her cub symbolize feminine energy, while the papyrus plants near the male lion symbolize masculine energy. Also, the red of Sehkmet’s dress symbolizes passion and blood.)

According to her website (http://www.nikkidanbyart.com/about.html), Nikki Danby, the artist who created this piece,  has been drawing and painting for as long as she can remember.

Since graduating from The Byam Shaw School of Art, London, England in 1983, (now The Central School) [she has] worked continuously as a painter, living in Europe, Australia and now back in  [her]  native North America, painting commissioned portraits as well as still life, landscapes and seascapes for exhibition.

 

 

Hands Full

Standard

It was the Friday evening of the Independence Day weekend. Seven of my nine campsites were reserved for the night, and I was busy checking-in my campers.

I was greeting the ladies who’d just arrived on site #5 when a big pickup truck pulled into the campground. The truck stopped at site #1, and I planned to head over there next. Before I could even head in that direction, and older man marched from site #1 to the middle of the campground where there is a capped water spigot. I didn’t understand what he was looking for until he bellowed (at me in particular or at the Universe in general, I was unsure) Where’s the water? Where’s the WATER?

There’s no water, sir, I called out.

We expected there would be water, he bellowed.

In the distance, I heard another man on site #1 say, Dad, I have water.

Great, I thought. The folks on site #1 have been here three minutes, and already someone is disgruntled.

When I finished with the ladies on site #5, I headed over to site #1. I spoke to the younger man since he’d made the reservation. He stood with his back to his campsite. As I told him about quiet hours and check-out time, I had a perfect view of site #1 and his dad.

The tent was already assembled, as was an easy-up shade shelter emblazoned with USC. Around the campsite were several old-school lanterns, the kind that run on liquid fuel. I wondered if such lanterns were a good idea and if there were any rule prohibiting them. I decided that even though they seemed like a bad idea to me, without a written rule saying they were forbidden, there wasn’t much I could do.

As I watched, the dad tried to light yet another of these 20th century light sources.

I’d just asked the son if they were expecting anyone else. (I wanted to explain the extra-vehicle fee as soon as possible if it were going to be an issue.) As I watched, the entire lantern the dad was working on was engulfed in flames. The dad said something like Oh boy! I said something like Oh dear! The son looked over at his dad fiddling with the flaming lantern and said to me, No, we’re not expecting anyone else. I’ve already got my hands full.

“5 Million Ways to Kill a C.E.O.”

Standard

I was sitting in Panera, minding my own business.

Two women (probably in their 60s) sat at the table next to me. I wasn’t paying much attention to them. I was updating my Facebook status, when I heard one of them say transgenders, then it seemed like I couldn’t not hear them.

One of them said she didn’t want transgenders next to her daughter. Then one or the other of them started referencing scripture.

This transgender stuff, one said. What about US that have to LIVE with that? What about us that have to look at that? I’m not sure what exactly she thought she was having to look at. Did she mean the genitals of transgender folks? Why in the world would this woman be looking at the genitals of any stranger? She may not realize this, but if she is going through the world trying to look at the genitals of strangers, she is behaving inappropriately.

I don’t want to SEE that! one said. Then why, I wonder, is she craning her neck to see what’s going on in a restroom stall she’s not occupying? I don’t know where she’s been peeing, but every restroom I’ve been in since elementary school has had three walls and a door. Outside of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, I’ve never once in my (sometimes wild) life accidentally seen a stranger’s genitals. Where is this woman hanging out that genitals are just being waved in her face? And can we assume she doesn’t mind seeing the genitals of cisgender folks?

Then the women started talking about choice, something along the lines of Now that they’ve made this choice, and I just couldn’t listen anymore. I was going to lose my shit, but I didn’t know what to say to these women or how to talk to them in a way they might understand. (And please note, this all happened in California, not North Carolina.)

So I hit play on whatever Insane Clown Posse song was up on Youtube (I’d been doing research, folks…I may be many things, but I am not a Juggalo Juggalette.) I quickly decided that wasn’t really what I wanted to hear and typed in The Coup. (To learn more about The Coup, read the post I wrote about their song “Ride the Fence” here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/12/15/ride-the-fence/.) When the video for “5 Million Ways to Kill a C.E.O.” (which I’d never seen) came up, I shoved in my earbuds and gave it a listen. Oh, the blessed sanity of class struggle.

Party Music

I share the video with you today, in the event you have to block out unpalatable noise while minding your own business.

After the woman left and I was researching for this post, I found a Trans 101 page on the Sylvia Rivera Law Project website (http://srlp.org/resources/trans-101/). I wish I’d had a printed copy to hand to those women. I wonder if it would have made any difference.

Night of the Lepus

Standard

IMG_6314

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, this mural is painted on the side of the building housing Roadrunner Java in Ajo, Arizona. (Roadrunner Java is located at 932 North 2nd Avenue.  North 2nd Avenue is the same thing as Highway 85, so this cafe is on the main drag, on the east side of the street.) I was told the mural was painted by Ajo muralist Mike “DaWolf” Baker.

According to the mural Night of the Lepus was filmed in Ajo.

IMG_6317

What in the world is Night of the Lepus? you may ask. You may also wonder, Why do those rabbits look so mean?

According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_of_the_Lepus,

Night of the Lepus (also known as Rabbits) is a 1972 American science fiction horror film based on the 1964 science fiction novel The Year of the Angry Rabbit.

Released theatrically on July 26, 1972, it focuses on members of a small Arizona town who battle thousands of mutated, carnivorous killer rabbits. The film was the first science fiction work for producer A. C. Lyles and for director William F. Claxton, both of whom came from Western film backgrounds. Character actors from Westerns the pair had worked on were brought in to star in the Night of the Lepus, including Stuart Whitman, Janet Leigh, Rory Calhoun, and DeForest Kelley.

Shot in Arizona, Night of the Lepus used domestic rabbits filmed against miniature models and actors dressed in rabbit costumes for the attack scenes.

Ok, wait. Could we read the last part of that last sentence again?

Night of the Lepus used domestic rabbits filmed against miniature models and actors dressed in rabbit costumes for the attack scenes.

The aforementioned Wikipedia page explains in a bit more detail:

To depict the rabbit attacks, a combination of techniques were used. For some scenes, the rabbits were filmed in close-up stomping on miniature structures in slow motion.[6] For attack scenes, they had ketchup smeared on their faces.[1] For other scenes, human actors were shown wearing rabbit costumes.[1][2][6]

So this movie tried to scare people with regular pet bunnies moving among (and probably knocking over) miniature models? And to make them scarier, the bunnies were filmed with ketchup smeared on their faces! (Oh, that’s scary!) And then when they needed the bunnies to be really, really scary, they put human people in rabbit costumes? I haven’t seen one minute of this movie, but I’m already laughing.

Here’s more from the Wikipedia page:

In a darkened room, a woman is shown lying screaming in a bed bathed in light. On the wall overhead, the shadow of a larger, unnamed creature with large teeth is seen.

This is the original theatrical poster for Night of the Lepus. I took this image from the movie’s Wikipedia page.

Originally titled Rabbits, production company MGM renamed the film, using the Latin name for “rabbit” in hopes of keeping the audience from presuming the animals would be non-menacing. To further prevent the audience from thinking of cuddly bunnies in relation to the film, the theatrical posters featured no rabbits, instead displaying only eyes and referencing unnamed “creatures”. The trailers showed no critters, and the press releases only mentioned that the film had “mutants.” The only clue given to the audience was the required acknowledgment on the poster to Braddon’s novel. However, some Night of the Lepus promoters gave away the secret by sending out souvenirs decorated with rabbit’s foot designs.[2]

I was not surprised to learn that this film received a lot of criticism. It seems like John Kenneth Muir summed it up pretty well in Horror Films of the 1970s. He

felt Night of the Lepus was one of the “most ridiculous horror film[s] ever conceived”, with a poor blend of horror and environmentalism that resulted in it being more of a comedy. He criticized the “primitive special effects”, badly done editing and laughable dialogue, and noted that while the rabbits and actors are rarely seen on screen together, the filmmakers used obviously fake rabbit paws and people in rabbit suits for the few scenes calling for human/rabbit interactions. Like most critics, he pointed out that the rabbits were “cute bunnies” rather than “fanged, disease-ridden mutated creatures”, but he felt the actors did the best they could with the material, and praised them for “[keeping] straight faces as they heroically stand against the onslaught of the bunnies”.[16]

Sounds like the mural in Ajo is more artistic and more entertaining than the movie that inspired it.

IMG_6316

I do wish someone would remove the bush blocking the view of the mural. The bush is distracting and makes the building seem abandoned.

I took all of the photos in this post.

Cosanti

Standard

IMG_4945

My friend asked me if I wanted to visit Cosanti. I wasn’t even sure what Cosanti was, but when she said free, I was in.

According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosanti,

Cosanti is the gallery and studio of Italian-American architect Paolo Soleri and was his residence until his death in 2013. Located in Paradise Valley, Arizona, USA, it is open to the public. Cosanti is marked by terraced landscaping, experimental earth-formed concrete structures, and its sculptural wind-bells.

Paolo Soleri invented the word Cosanti…[by] fus[ing] two Italian words, cosa (meaning “things”, “property”, “matter”, “business”) and anti (“against”).

The structures at Cosanti include the original “Earth House” (which is partially underground), student dormitories, outdoor studios, performance space, swimming pool, gift shop, and Soleri’s residence. All are set amidst courtyards, terraces, and garden paths.

Location and orientation of the buildings is significant. Many structures have been placed under ground level and are surrounded by mounds of earth so as to be insulated naturally, year round, for moderation of their interior temperatures. Soleri also designed south-facing apses (partial domes) situated as passive energy collectors, accepting light and heat in the lower winter sun, deflecting it and creating shade in the higher summer sun.

Cosanti (and the related Arcosanti project) are famous for bells which help fund them. (The Arcosanti website [https://arcosanti.org/cosanti] describes them as bronze Windbells.) My friend had been to Cosanti before, but IMG_4959had never seen the pouring of the bells. We went on a bell-pouring day. (Some days bells are poured at Cosanti, and some days no bells are poured. If you want to see the bells being poured, call ahead [(480) 948-6145] and get the schedule.)

We knew bells would be poured during certain hours (9am to noon, I think), but no particular time was promised for a pouring event. We arrived at approximately 10am and walked around the grounds.

There were no informational signs on the grounds of Cosanti. When we arrived, we knew we were in the right place thanks to the welcome sign near the driveway (pictured at the top of this post). After that we were on our own. There were no signs explaining the function of any of the buildings or how those buildings were constructed. There were no docents milling about answering questions.

IMG_4962

This is the foundry where the bells are poured. While we watched, a half dozen men scurried around making preparations. The boxes on the ground hold the molds.

We stopped at the foundry to see what was happening there. The foundry is where the metal is melted and the bells are poured.

IMG_4956

This is the red-hot hole in the floor of the foundry.

In the floor of the foundry, there is a red-hot hole. Solid chunks of metal were being fed into the red-hot hole to melt.

While the metal was melting, half a dozen men were moving around the foundry, preparing the molds. The molds are made from sand contained in boxes before, during, and after the pour (until the molten metal hardens).

My friend and I had some questions, so we went into the gift shop, looking for free information. There was no free brochures or pamphlets telling the history of Cosanti or discussing its current function. There was a Cosanti guidebook in the gift shop, but the price on it was $10. IMG_4952

 

 

 

 

No way was I going to spend $10 on something I was probably only going to look at once. I understand selling a book with lots of information about the project and its founder, but it seems like the more casual visitor might just need one page explaining the basics. (My friend flipped through the display copy of the $10 guide until she found the answers to her questions.)

The gift shop was filled with bells for sale. We looked around, but neither of us bought anything. (My friend’s family has two Arcosanti bells, both of which were gifts. I don’t have anywhere to hang a bell, even if the $32+ price tag were in my budget.)

My friend and I walked around the grounds some more and looked at buildings for which we had no context. When IMG_4987we made it back to the foundry, we found life there was getting exciting. Two men had donned protective jackets and protective chaps with covered the fronts of their pants. They’d also put on helmets with protective plastic shields. They looked serious.

Working together, the two men removed the crucible filled with molten metal from the red-hot hole. They carried the crucible between them, each holding a long pole on either side of the extremely hot pot. They brought the crucible over to the line of sand molds and carefully poured molten metal into each mold.

IMG_5005

After the pouring ended, one of the workers answered questions from the onlookers. Then it was all over until the next pour.

I did enjoy my visit to Cosanti, although I wish there had been more educating happening. It was neat to see the bells being poured. (Who’s not impressed by a red-hot hole, a glowing crucible, and molten metal?) I would go back, but only because it’s free. IMG_4961

Cosanti is located at 6433 E Doubletree Ranch Road, Paradise Valley, Arizona.

I took all of the photos in this post.