Adventures in Armageddon.

This was an interesting rave to say the least. Just getting there was an adventure:

I left Phoenix at around noon Saturday. 140 miles out, my car breaks down and I have to tow it to this strange town called Quartzsite. Avoid this place at all cost if you're alone! Strange characters live there. By 5 pm, I finally found one mechanic that would work on my car. But first, he wants me to sit and listen to his life story and how he was chosen by God to be our savior. He's also pissed at God for not getting him laid for the last 5 years despite his high position in the divine ladder. He's got dirty blond hair, light blue eyes with unusually small pupils - remember Deliverence?

Each time I showed any impatience, he reminded me that he was my only hope of getting out of there and it was important that I heard what he had to say. I spent almost 8 agonizing hours listening to his paranoid visions of dog bones and alien figures coming out of his carpet and walls. All the while, he's got some Aryan Christian radio station blasting more paranoia into the dusty garage air. Every few minutes, they have some newsbreak report about Christ being sighted in some shopping mall. Or there is an emergency broadcast of some secret Jewish gorilla camp being discovered by some missionary family. With every new announcement, he jumps to his feet and motions me to stay quiet (as if I had been saying anything) so he can listen carefully to the important message and see if any of it is directed at him. All I could do was to gaze out the garage door, desperately looking for a sign of God for my own reasons.

He finally fixes the car (or so he claims) by 1:30 am and I get back on the road. I get to Indio (about 15 miles away from the party) and the car breaks down again. I have to let the engine cool, and then, I can drive again for a couple of miles before it dies again. I make it to the party by 4:30 am, one mile at a time. I see thousands of people leaving. Oh no! Something is wrong! This thing is supposed to go on until noon tomorrow.

I drive up the road and the cops are blocking it like the nazi army, shining their blinding spotlights into everyone's eyes. "What's up?" I ask. "No one can pass until 6:30 am!" Buzcut announces over my head (it's pitch dark and he's wearing reflective sunglasses). I am reminded of yet another movie: Cool Hand Luke. "The promoters oversold tickets and the place is overcrowded and the gates are closed." Obviously, what we have here is failure to communicate. I ask the top ass... I mean brass... if I could get inside now to photograph. He politely offers me a ride downtown in the back seat of his car. I politely refuse and run for the bushes. I hunker down back in the dark and wait along with others. There are a lot of people comming out to go to their cars. The cops won't tell them they can't go back in.

It's getting light and I can hear the music only a half a mile away. I see some people sneaking through the bushes. Fuck it! I grab my camera and take a short cut, commando style. I find the main gate, give my ticket to the security and calmly walk in.

This is in La Quinta Sculpture Park. It's really beautiful. Thousands of people are dancing everywhere. Hundreds of tents are set up throughout the park. There are 5 or six stages pumping house, jungle, hip hop and hardcore into the crisp air. There is a large lake in the middle. Sand pits. Grass as far as you can see. All kinds of consession stands and so on. They had a huge wall of monkey figures made with cut out car tires, a giant tent made with an old army parachute, giant walls of speakers painted in multiple colors, all surrounded by hundreds of sculptures permanently installed in the park. I heard there were around 38 thousand people there by 3 am the night before. The cops panicked and turned them back. They allowed only 3,000 people in. Almost that many had snuck in from all over the park walls. The majority, however, were turned back. There were people who had driven from as far Florida who couldn't get in. The promoters had indeed oversold and over advertised. I had missed most of the party. But, it was still rocking and rocking hard when I got there. By the time I left, around 9 or 10 am, three stages were still jamming away and despite the rising heat, people were still dancing and laughing even as they were gathering their tents and bags.

One thing I gotta say about the LA ravers: Despite all the bullshit the cops and promoters handed them, they all kept so dignified and peaceful. I was totally surprised and impressed with their attitude. They were a great mixed crowd. All nationalities, ages, colors, shapes and forms. It was almost like an interplanetary convention. Some of the younger guys had a self absorbed moodiness about them, but, the rest were almost all just genuine smiles.

On the way back, my car broke down again around the same town and I had to go and pay another visit to Jesus. I crashed on a couch outside his trailer for the nite. The next day, I just let him talk while I worked on the car myself. I didn't make it back home until late Monday. I was covered with three days of dust, oil and gasoline. A true survivor of Armageddon :)


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