Tuesday, January 31, 2012

the dream team

 I'm a huge fan of radio and podcasts in general - I listen to them while I draw, while I run, while I cook...it's my grown-up equivalent of reading my comic books as I brushed my teeth (which I may or may not still do as well).
  So you can imagine my glee when I downloaded my Savage Lovecast this week and found the guest host was none other than Ira Glass, possibly the only voice I love more than Dan Savage.
 You can download the podcast here (episode 276).
  And, while you're at it, chase it with this week's This American Life.
  I was overwhelmed. And before I knew it, out popped the above illustration. SURPRISE.
In semi-related news, back in the day I had a yoga teacher at the Y that looked and sounded exactly like Dan Savage. This has inextricably linked the two in my head, for better or worse. Downward dog will never be the same.

Monday, January 30, 2012

and then we found salvation

  Over the weekend, Scott and I drove out to Palm Springs with a few friends.  On Saturday, ready for adventure after a night of fancy drinks and swimming in the darkness, we took a day trip to Salvation Mountain, a Technicolor pile of clay, rock, and hay that is Leonard Knight’s monument to his simple message of “god is love”. 

Salvation Mountain
 I’d never heard or seen anything about this bizarre desert landmark before, and now it’s all I can think about. To get to Niland, California, we drove on a one-lane highway that ran right by the Salton Sea, and through a handful of tiny towns where people moved in slow motion. The heat and the bright sunlight lit up abandoned houses and skeletons of old bars and hotels, lending a weird, post-apocalyptic feel to the afternoon.

Leonard's truck

 We pulled into the makeshift parking lot and stumbled through the mess of paint cans and old, gutted vehicles to reach the candy colored hill with religious messages and crawling stripes of paint. Once we reached the top, we circled back around and wandered through the makeshift museum.

interior of one room in the museum

found in a trailer on the site
our view from below

 Once we got back within reach of the internet, we watched some video clips of Leonard, who wasn’t at the mountain. After living out of his truck since the seventies, he was recently taken to a nursing care facility. Watching him speak, wide-eyed, about his tribute to his faith was heartbreaking.
 My favorite clip of Leonard is from Into the Wild, a 2007 film by Sean Penn. It's just a couple of minutes, but it captures the feeling surrounding this place. See it here.

(all photos by Scott and myself)