Art Aliens and Meth: Landers CA has it all!

As noted in previous posts, I love the American desert.  It’s vast, extreme, weird, beautiful and attracts nut-jobs from all corners of the country, which is a significant part of what makes it so fascinating.

Granted this was originally home to the American Indians and they don’t exactly fall into the personality archetype of “nut-job” but they found a massive 7 story rock near Landers California, (soon to become the unofficial meth capitol of the state) decided it was a sacred place and made it the location for all high level summit meetings of the chiefs.  Cut forward to 1947, a transplanted looney tune, George Van Tassel, an aircraft mechanic,  decided that if the aliens were going to be summoned, or just land on their own, Giant Rock was probably where they would do it. So naturally he dug out a living quarters UNDER the rock and held Transcendental Meditation meetings to get in touch with the little green men.  Before I move on I want to express my infinite gratitude to “L.A. GORTA GFK” for his creative addition to this natural beauty.  Asshole.

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 According to Van Tassel, the plan worked and the Venusians stopped by one day and picked him up for a joy ride in their UFO during which they shared all of their secrets on how to build a time machine and regenerate human tissues.  They kindly dropped him off back home and with the financial help of fellow wackadoo Howard Hughes, he built the Integratron as a place to further his goals of contacting aliens and saving mankind.  I have to say with compete sincerity that the interior of the structure is beautiful, and the engineering and craftsmanship is amazing.  As fate would have it, Van Tassel died a few weeks before the official opening but it still operates with slightly less lofty aspirations as an acoustic chamber where you can enjoy a “sound bath” of a woman playing an assortment of crystal bowls.

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From Giant Rock you drive a little ways east, past multiple black, cinderblock buildings surrounded by 14 foot fences with barbed wire and CCTV cameras pointed everywhere, and a few quaint little homes like the one pictured here, to get to the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Museum. I guess if I were going to spend 15 years building a 7.5 acre outdoor sculpture museum made of found objects, I might consider doing it near Landers, but then common sense would kick in and I would do it anywhere else.  It gets well over 125 degrees there in the summer!  But not Noah!

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Really the place is so weird that eventually the Air Force jets passing the sound barrier become pretty de rigueur and when you pass a small heard of dinosaurs standing menacingly by the roadside, you hardly notice it at all. At all.

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