Well well well,
what an insane time. I will start from the top.
With an insane amount of errands chores and other miscellany, I moved my way through Austin, beating down doors, returning dishes to their cabinetry, matching screws in hardware stores, duplicating discs, ignoring talk radio shows. A high-speed navigation of city life, done in fast-motion. And why with such velocity? I'd received 4 free tickets to teh Animal Collective show that evening in Marfa, home of Minimalist cowboys and caffeinated revelations by dozens of art tourists.
So I rushed about town, dealt with issues, concerns, and to-do lists, and hit the road West. Speeding on caffeine and freeway rushing by, I move from Hill Country to West Texas desert. Chihuahuan desert, more specifically. On the way, made dozens fo calls and messages to all friends fom home, and turned off the phone. The journey had begun.
Two or so hours from Marfa, insane lightning storm lit the desert-scape, five bolts landing together, rain and hail pelting the van. I drove on.
Arrived to the show, watched Animal Collective do their insane looped yelps, awash with harmony, reverb, and the occasional thumping drum. The Liberty Theatre turned into more of a rave scene than I'd envisioned, and on more than one occasion somebody mentioned "wishing they'd taken ecstasy." I wished the same at moments, but felt glad to have my wits and senses competely intact. I gulped beer instead and moved about the room, my bright orange pants practically lighting the way for me and eliciting comments from the locals. The girls dug them pants, boys scoffed.
After the show, ended up in a converted bus station, ate some fancy cheese and olives some nice strangers offered me, and warmed my hands next to a roaring fire. I slept in the van outside the "station."
Woke early the next morning, started ingesting insane gallons of coffee, washing down my egg burrito, reading a newly purchased profile of the great lyricists of the 20's and 30's -- Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, etc. Met the Marfa radio station operator, gave him music for spinning, picked up Will and Jordan and crew, and headed onward to Balmoreah, where we swam with the fishes and dove through bright blue waters. Continued North into New Mexico, ending at Jemez Springs, on the Jemez Indian Reservation, about 40 miles Northwest of Albuquerque, stopping only for the purchase of a pint of Kentucky's finest bourbon. Arriving at the springs, Will and I hopped out and passed the hiskey between us while Jordan slept.
A shiny SUV pulled up and out hopped a man clearly outfitted for an intense excursion through the mountains -- every inch of his body garbed with high priced Patagonia expedition gear. Edgar, his name. He claimed to know the path up to the hot springs, and would lead Will and I. He introduced two older ladies and fat man with a camcorder. I forget their names. We ascended to the springs.
Our intrepid guide led us immediately off the trail and we scaled a very steep dirt and rock surface. The ladies turned back, we continued. Hopped in the water, started more on the whiskey. The ladies arrived, shed their clothing and started talking about sensuality. It was very nauseating.
"Movement is sex, sex is movement. Everything is one. Everything is where is needs to be. Everything is perfect."
Hmm. Some cosmic slop. The fat man started asking us questions about the meaning of life. I told him I thoguht everybody was already dead, in that we're all dying and being reborn every second of our lives. He liked this and handed me a business card with some obscure references on it. Apparently we were to be part of his film.
And then: got drunk, then drunker, sloshing around the pool for nearly 6 hours, fended advances off from naked, older women with 4 children, yelled "Fuck You" at them repeatedly, stumbled back to our van, felt my head spinning, walked around the parking lot and accidentally kicked a dirty diaper.
Will had his talked off by our intrepid guide about his former life as a pill addict, going into severe detail about a month-long stint in his apartment which culminated in staring at a clock for a full day, watching the seconds tick away. Sounds vaguely depressing.
Woke the next morning, stretched my bones and led Jordan back to the spring. This time, several meth-heads had comandeered the hottest part of the pool. They all had missing teeth and severe cases of "meth mouth," a condition in which the teeth rot away to the consistency of silly putty, and eventually just fall out in your soup. Twas one man and tow women in the pool, and as we entered, one of the women asked if the man would "clean up the condoms." Cringe.
The man stood and revealed a rash running right up his ass. Mmmm. The girls seemed like the normal sad meth heads I'd seen in rural areas on a number of occasions, with skin pulled back across the face like thin paper over a skeleton, veins and tendons revealed in a neck that seems perpetually stretching.
A pile of beer cans and wine coolers lay scattered about the pool. Good times had been had, apparently. I never did see the condoms of which the women spoke. Perhaps floating in the water? We didn't stick around to see. I stood and hawked a loogie, and accidentally spit it on their towel. A large yellow loogie. Well, hopefully they were enjoying themselves so much that they would just shrug it off when they saw. Luckily they didn't see me do it, and I didn't draw it to their attention.
And then I realized they probably wouldn't see it, even though it was very large and stood out against the dark towel. Oh well.
We continued down the road, back through the mountains, past pines and creeks, stopped at some tourist trap cafe that kindly heated my canned chili in the microwave, sipped a gallon of watery coffee and continued towards Las Vegas, where Will and I were to play a show that evening in a record shop. Sped through NM, through Arizona, past the large red rocks and wide open sands, down through the cool canyons. Stopped at a welding shop on the AZ / NM border. The welding shop doubled as a hamburger stand; the proprietor, whose name I never caught, was an elderly Native American, a smiling Indian, sizzling ground beef in buns for hungry workers from all around. He finished his cooking and tried welding a latch to our van's back door; didn't work so well, though... he set the door in flames and melted the latch. I ended up using a metal plate spinning very fast to help fashion a new latch. Oh, and the door handle mechanism and lock inside the door were completely melted in a black goopy mess that stunk up the van for the remainder of our drive.
Crossed Hoover Dam in a 3 mile-long line, gazed at the monster of human progress and water control that has consumed some of America's best places, sped over the hills, and Las Vegas spilled out in front of us with millions of blinking blazing dots. What a strange city, with everything being a replica of some other part of the world -- replcias of Manhattan, the great Pyramids, Rio de Janeiro, a circus.
We headed over to the record shop, two hours late for our own show, and the massive Zia Records was completely empty, save for a few employees killing off the hours til closing. Will and I played a song-swap set, taking turns, one song at a time, while Jordan dubbed out the vocals with the hosue p.a.'s built-in effects. Bryan, a record shop employee, took us back to his apartment for some homemade chili and a free floor to crash. I had now eaten chili 5 straight meals.
Woke, drank coffee, sped onwards towards the great oasis, Los Angeles. Mavis had agreed we could crash on his floor, plenty of space, so we sped on with high hopes of spliff, sun, and beach. Battling insane Memorial Day traffic, we arrived to a particularly desolated strip of downtown L.A., the only person a sight a visibly tweaking / trembling man stumbling down the middle of the street. Will and I rolled a massive tire along the sidewalk until the tweaker approached. We ran inside to Mavis' den of art and industrial space. We visited the adjoining pornography studio and saw evidence of many successful shoots -- vibrators, dildos, video editing stations, a deconstructed mechanical sex doll. The head lady, who we met and was quite friendly, apparently has a PHD from Yale in philosophy. Hmmm.
Mavis himself has quite the pad. Huge industrial space with a dozen projects in mid-finish. High-priced scotch and wine flowing into cups as we made our way inside, cigarettes dangling from lips, flapping mouths discussing all matters and everything. Which brings me here.