The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘trailer park’

The Land Ark of Los Angeles

January 9, 2012 | by

The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City, California, is filled with objects that disorient as much as they delight. There’s the Deprong Mori, a bat that emits X-rays instead of sound waves and is thereby able to fly through solid objects. There’s the yelping, taxidermied head of the American gray fox, whose voice, upon further inspection, emanates from a small projection of a howling man that hovers over the fox’s unblinking eyeball. There’s a group of microscopes set up to display tiny images of vases and flowers composed of the scales from butterfly wings and a labyrinth of models depicting various superstitions and other pieces of folk wisdom, ranging from the curative properties of mouse pie to the importance of shrouding mirrors during thunderstorms. If you manage to locate the staircase to the second floor, you will be invited to take tea and contemplate detailed oil portraits of five of the Soviet space dogs.

While the Museum of Jurassic Technology, or MJT, might be described as a natural history museum, there is no cataloging to be done here, and no positivist truth about our world to be revealed. Whether or not the phenomena on display are, shall we say, verifiable is an open question. But the museum is far from a simple puzzle where truth can or should be cleanly separated from fiction. Read More »


Part 3: The Departure

October 26, 2011 | by

Poolside at the Beat Hotel. Photograph by Michael Childers.

A story in three parts. Previously: Part 1, The Amanuensis, and Part 2, The Offer.

After two months of twelve- to sixteen-hour days, and six-and-a-half-day weeks, I began to realize I’d misread the signs that led me to the Beat Hotel. The caretaker’s house did have the advertised citrus trees, pool, fireplace and view, and the Camaro—glowing, golden—was there, too. But I hadn’t spent a single night in the house. Instead, I collapsed in a room at the Beat, got up early and went back to work. The Camaro stayed in the driveway. Worse, my fantasy about living the writer’s life in the desert was precisely that: I hadn’t written a single page. Instead of breaking my writer’s block, Steve entombed it beneath an endless, proliferating series of tasks. Read More »


Part 2: The Offer

October 25, 2011 | by

Steve Lowe and the Mugwump. Photograph by Michael Childers.

A story in three parts. Previously: Part 1, The Amanuensis.

I met Steve the first time I stayed at the Lautner Motel, in August of 2000. I was in California to do research for a book about trailer parks, and there was an anarchist trailer park, a place called Slab City, in an abandoned military base about sixty miles south of Desert Hot Springs. I’d brought my girlfriend and wanted to stay somewhere nice to make up for the 120-degree temperatures, so we wound up at the Lautner. It was late when we finally arrived, but almost as soon as we’d gone inside and put our luggage down, Steve knocked on the door. Read More »