Archive for the ‘East Jeus’ Category

Captain USA on the 4th of July

Word arrived today that Captain USA will be performing his latest and most spectacular stunt to date – The Flaming Burro of Freedom – here in Slab City (at or near The Range) on Independence Day. Despite the punishing summer heat of the low desert, masses will assemble to witness this unique and daring celebration of freedom of expression. In his own words,

Hello Friends! I have finally found a place where I can truly champion freedom Like only Capt USA can. I want to invite everyone I know to share my joy in finding it. I don’t expect many to join me because it truly is Hells Anvil for heat but there is a crystal clear cool canal running nearby for swimming in during the hottest part of the day. The following correspondence is with a revered slab city artist responsible for creating East Jesus which, if you’ve been to Slab City, you know, speaks for itself in capturing the mysterious fringe of freedom that whispers to us all when society seems to mean everything but. <snip>

The complete exchange between Captain USA and myself can be read here.

it’s official


Your Invitation to Erect the Mammoth, Etc.

(redirects you to Facebook, where you’ll have to log in, sign in, whatever. sorry. not my idea.)

Please take a moment to read the East Jesus survival guide if you plan on camping out. Athankew.

cosmos & the mammoth

Greetings, sports fans.

It’s about 105F outside now, but I still stir from within the air-conditioned confines of the East Jesus nerve net / radio shack / promotions office, just to go and once again have a look at Cosmos – the mesmerizing, elegant sculpture by Royce Carlson, on display here until it finds a new, permanent home with someone wealthier than myself. If I had the twenty grand, I’d buy it outright. I will be very sad to see it go. Contact Royce directly at <> if you happen to be interested.

The piece already has a bit of history and infamy. It was on display at Burning Man in 2004, and appeared in the movie Surrogates, starring Bruce Willis. It’s long been my dream to take sneaky advantage of the fact that I have lots of space virtually for free, and there are lots of large sculptures out there whose storage fees are slowly draining the coffers of the artists. Technically, the Transit Antenna bus was the first artwork to be added to the collection from the outside, but that’s in a class of its own – artwork, mobile home, museum and monument to itself, installation and guest house…. Cosmos is a *sculpture*, period.

Over on the “dark side” of the sculpture garden, where a more chaotic, post-apocalyptic sensibility and stories of The Fall of Western Civilization told in a dozen assemblages made of junk reign supreme, Joe Holliday’s Mammoth saw its resurrection – at least the first phase of it. With a skeleton crew of helpers working in the afternoon heat, the parts were unloaded, concrete footings were poured and the armature was assembled, awaiting a larger gathering of participants to hoist it up into place and finish its skin. After some seeing and sawing about whether or not music and festivities in honor of Mammoth’s erection would take place here, it’s beginning to look once again as if some sort of festival will indeed happen. In any case, all signs point to at least a final assembly and upright-making on June 19th.

Like much of Holliday’s art – installations, graphics and sculpture – the Mammoth is raw, aggressive, and brilliant in its visionary scope. Joe begins with abstract, ontological ideas within a conceptual framework, incorporating process and discovery and the ever-present limitations of whatever material happens to be on hand in the realization and representation of the idea. Accordingly, finished works are challenging, richly textured, and reveal density and complexity to the diligent observer. These photos is no way do the Mammoth justice – they are shown solely for their documentary value, and in a kind of surreal contrast to the final, standing sculpture. Proof we did something this weekend.

Mammoth is to become a permanent installation of the East Jesus sculpture garden.

Cosmos (by Royce Carlson) in motion from chasterus on Vimeo.

meet Captain USA

Living in the middle of nowhere, between a live bombing range and one of the world’s most spectacularly surreal and barren man-made disasters turned wildlife sanctuary, ensconced in an art compound made principally of garbage, has its advantages. For one, the boring cookie-cutter mundanes you don’t really want to see (I mean, you moved out to the middle of nowhere for a reason, right?) think you’re a weirdo and go away. And then the poeple you do want to meet, greet and get drunk with on occasion think you’re a weirdo and say to themselves, “Wow! A WEIRDO! One of us! One of us!“ People who make big ridiculous things out of metal, shredded tires or styrofoam. People who pose naked with guns and people who set themselves on fire. In my three-and-a-half years here, I’ve been lucky enough to attract some very interesting folks, some of whom have eventually contributed to the general weirdness of East Jesus in very positive ways. Today I received a missive from a gentleman who goes by the stage name of Captain USA.

No, I had never heard of him before, either. Note well: that’s pronounced “Captain OO-sa.”

Indulge me in my initial skepticism for a moment: Sounds kinda hokey, right? Like a cross between a poor man’s Evel Knievel, some lost middle-aged biker dreaming of Captain America (the Easy Rider one,) and the guy who still hasn’t gotten around to scraping the “Pride In Proudness” stickers off his car that have been there since 9/11. Well, sort of, but not really. He’s in on the joke. He is a master of the fine art of Not Taking One’s Self Too Seriously. Captain USA is a backyard superhero. He sets himself on fire and then jumps off his garage roof into a kiddie pool. Then he does the same thing, only on a motorcycle. All this, and rightly so, in the name of Freedom. Good stuff, highly compelling:

Now here’s the fun part, for all you East Jesus / Slab City fans:

Hello Sir! I love your art garden at Slab city. Been there 3 times. Love the desert ducks and the art cars especially. I was with art car camp at burning man last year and have been gratefully learning more and more about the art car community ever since. I have a proposition for you that I think could be one of the super duperest art car projects everr!

My name is Jimmy from Georgia aka Capt USA. One of my favorite forms of expression is thrilling stunts I perform as Capt USA celebrating freedom on the 4th of July. Each year my stunts get bigger and better and this year will be my greatest to date. My Nissan Pathfinder has 235000 miles on it. Hauled a trailer all the way to Cabo and back down the hard road along the Sea of Cortez. I call her El Burro, hence the title of my new stunt and art car project…The Flaming Burro of Freedom.

I want to haul the Burro out to slab city on July 2 and start hot gluing roman candles and barrels of fun fire works along both sides of the exterior, spray paint it red white and blue. Then on the 4th spray the exterior with just enough gasoline to light it up and set all the fire works off at once while a stunt driver drives it and I ride El Burro on top in the Capt USA costume. Sounds crazy and dangerous. It is. But I have done this kind of thing many times. Check out my video. It will be amazing and no one will get hurt.

I’m reaching out to you for help. Slab City is a community and I don’t want to barge in with my vision. I was hoping the stunt could help contribute to the freedom celebration that will already be taking place. I am hoping for your blessing, advice, and help to create the Flaming Burro of Freedom. I was thinking that maybe in return I could give you El Burro. She could be cleaned up after the stunt and turned in to a whole new creation. She still runs. Iam using her today to install Satellite Dishes for DirecTV.

Anyway, I hope this letter finds you happy and well. And once again, I love your art.

Jimmy from Georgia

Thanks, Jimmy! You’ll be hearing from me real soon.

Mammoth Erection CANCELLED

Don’t look at me. I read it somewhere on Facebook. Dated March oops May 28th. I’m puzzled. Oh, well. Royce is still bringing Cosmos out, though, and perhaps the Mammoth will make it out here another time.

Whatever the case may be, the installation of one (or two) sculptures fabricated in the outside world long before the inception of the East Jesus sculpture garden — whether or not they happen to be made of junk — is an auspicious occasion. And, I mean, it *is* hotter than a pistol out here in the summer…

That is all. As you were. Just wanted you to be the first to know.

Mammoth Erection – sneak preview

artist Joe Holliday w/ Mammoth

2010.06.01 – CANCELLED DUE TO I HAVE NO IDEA – original post below…


East Jesus is growing. Come help us saw our own legs off, lest we continue to grow. Or help us grow, and gnaw your own limbs off in envy.

The gyst of the matter is this: two large sculptures are being drawn by mule to the muddy banks of East Jesus, to be displayed in all their glory for the two or three “eccentric,” wayward visitors we receive every season. And, of course, for you. One is a full-scale replica of the now-extinct Mammuthus primigenius, or wolly mammoth to you Philistines. What’s a Philistine? Ask Iggy Pop. If he’s wearing a bonnet and stirring up a slow-cooked pot of beans with possum and spices in it. The other is Cosmic Steel’s magnum opus, Cosmos. Gosh darn, that almost rhymes. Or what do they call that… alliteration? Anyway, they will be erected here for your viewing and worshiping pleasure, until they are sold to the highest bidder. And when they’re gone, you’ll have the memories of having seen them, possibly even touched them, to share with your grandkids when we’re all driving Buicks to the moon.

Looks like there’ll be some other surprises of the artistic kind. Shhhhhh!

Cosmos, by Royce Carlson / Cosmic Steel

Um, and I think a couple of up-and-coming legends in their own time will be crooning their dulcet tones ‘neath the voodoo moon (in alphabetical order:)

Delta the Troubadour
DreadCrew of Oddwood
Fancy Space People
Grapes and Nuts

Insects Versus Robots
Last Round Down
Riz Orkestra
The Funderstorm
The Tleilaxu Music Machine

Weasels Exist

Like you, I had never heard of any of them until I spent a moment cruising the Great Information Superhighway and found that not only does each act boast its own lame MyFace or SpaceBook page, they are all *actually pretty good.* And today, that’s saying an awful lot. My personal favorite is Grapes and Nuts, who have the stupidest name for a band I’ve ever heard, but are surprisingly sophisticated in a prog-rock-jazz-self-asphyxiation kind of way. Last Round Down list themselves as hard-drinkin’ skunk country-bluegrass on Sterno, but forget to mention they sound an awful lot like the better UK drunkard ensembles like The Pogues and the Whiskey Priests. [As an aside, I’ve served as FOH mixer for both. The Whiskey Priests were total assholes.] I’d have expected DreadCrew of Oddwood to be an embarrassing hippy-RenFaire dilution of pirate bandoneon, but I just couldn’t navigate away from their webstream. Last on the list are the estimable Weasels Exist, another somewhat stupid name for a really amazing group. Honest. I could probably come up with something clever for every last one of these acts, but I’m running out of steam. The lineups at NIMBY (1.0) back in the day were rarely this good (unless the Extra Action Marching Band was involved.) And, of course, I will be exercising my rights as mayor and founder of East Jesus (Pop 1, Elev 75) and premier number one musical act no matter how much I may suck, and do the traditional Leonard Cohen gig: closing the show, playing depressing and beautiful acoustic songs long after all the druqks are gone, you’ve finished rioting and have long since gone to bed. The piano will be in tune, and when all the live musical talent has headed back home to Illinois, we will extend the pains and pleasures of listening with a Jandek marathon. Rumor has it Tom Waits will show up out of the blue, play a few songs, and disappear. Honestly, I have no idea if any or all of these acts will be performing during Mammoth Erection, but the list was passed on to me in good faith by someone who Knows Such Things and Who Shall Remain Nameless.

You may come and enjoy this godawful mess with us. But you must be prepared for very warm weather, as in three-digits-Fahrenheit and only as much shade as you bring yourself. We will have “sanitary facilities” for your convenience (and ours.) Bring everything else you think you might need or want, and take all your garbage out with you. FREE overnight camping available. Behave yourself. If you are an asshole, you will be asked to leave at gunpoint. I’ll be cooking up a survival guide of sorts that explains how to check your panties for scorpions before lifting them to crotch level, and such. Stay tuned.

Friday, June 18: pre-party music, heavy drinking, sunburned orgy
Saturday, June 19: The Real Deal. Worship the Mammoth, gaze upon Cosmos with awe and wonder, enjoy live musical performances, dwarf tossing, projections, UFO sightings / abductions, etc.
Sunday, June 20: Jandek marathon and warm beer for the survivors. Pack it in, pack it out.

dome, finished

The dome crew were unable to complete the bottom-up assembly of the dome due to its high apex and our collective lack of tall enough ladders. It was also ascertained that one of the vertices was the wrong length. For these reasons, and because I had trouble sleeping at night with an unfinished dome in the yard, I performed an experiment to see if one Charlie, solo, could dis- and re-assemble the whole thing from the top down without the use of ladders or scaffolding.

purdy, ain't it?

Dis-assembly was relatively easy. The errant vertex was found to be an A strut cut two inches too long, so correcting this was no problem: re-cut, pound flat, bend, drill. Re-assembly was possible and not terribly difficult, even upon the soft, uneven ground at this location. Using only a Hi-Lift farm jack, a 4′ length of 4×4, a small hammer, c-clamp, vise grips, open-end wrench and ratchet, I nailed this puppy together in about a day. A 3V dome is easy to understand in terms of vertex mapping – the A struts are always and only the radials of pentagons; the C struts are likewise the radials of (regular) hexagons, and the B struts “frame” both. Simply arranging the A, B and C vertices into (very carefully) sorted piles is enough; no need for color coding or banding for identification. I did, however, double-check the length of each piece before using.

Next: a 4V half-dome with a radius of perhaps 8′ for a sweat lodge. Back to the nifty calculator at…


Last weekend, Cheesy Bob and krewe descended upon East Jesus in vast numbers, bearing Girl Scout cookies, many gallons of homebrew, good cheer, firearms and dome-building tools and supplies. Everything needed to build three geodesic domes from scratch arrived on a single pickup truck pulling a small trailer: 10′ sticks of 1″ EMT, hardware, tools, generator, everything.

A portable geodesic dome factory

In between sips of American wheat beer and sangria, everyone took turns cutting, flanging, bending, drilling and fine-grinding the vertices. As soon as enough of them were available, assembly began.

Work began at 7am. Before 6pm, two domes stood complete and a third, by far the largest, was *almost* finished. But not for lack of effort; it turns out the apex is higher than any available ladders could reach. Just about that time, rain came down and continued all night and all day Sunday, which brought a cold, soggy end to things.

The East Jesus 5/8-3V Dome.

This is it. Mine. MINE! Hee hee. It’ll be here a while. I’m going to experiment with grapes and morning glories for natural shade, maybe a misting system to keep said vegetation happy…

On the other side of the sculpture garden, there were other Tower-related activities… note the new chair encrusted with doorstop springs hanging in the 2nd level and the new 3rd level deck and “railings.” Most of the tower crew arrived shortly before the rain, though, so less was accomplished there that we were hoping for, but still a good effort with plenty to show for it.

The Tower, as of this morning.

Thanks to everyone who came out and helped. This place is beginning to take on a mind of its own, and it’s because of so many people who truly get it.

words are easier…

…than photographs. at least when it comes to blogging via dialup speed…. harumph!

container two

Thanks to Joe & Lilly of Esparza Storage Containers, Bakersfield. Highly recommended!

Container Two drop-off from chasterus on Vimeo.

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