Sunday, May 20, 2007

Take me to your Integratron

The Times "T" magazine has a particularly nifty piece by Dizzyhead Ben on Joshua Tree. Some highlights:

The suburbs are encroaching — one long band creeps along Interstate 10 from the Pacific to Palm Springs, sending tendrils of tract housing north and south.

George Van Tassel, an aviation engineer, landed in the desert in 1947 at a place called Giant Rock in Landers, a sandbox of a town a few miles northwest of Joshua Tree. Six years later, a spacecraft arrived from Venus, according to Van Tassel, and took him aboard. The Venusians taught him how to make a machine that would extend the lifespan of living cells. He spent the rest of his days building it — an extraordinary domed structure that he called the Integratron. Van Tassel died in 1978.

This is not the bright desert of optimism, renewal, mythic self-invention. It’s the desert of cracked laughter, plans gone awry, the whimsy of eternity — all the old American pains abandoned to the sand.

And via Lacunae and the beautifully designed Electricity and Fruit: Awesome Tapes From Africa, which materializes at just the right time for me.* Ebullient and mysterious! (Check out this tape in particular.)

Also via E&F, this amazing artifact, featuring Telly Monster: "It sounds like the Muppets covering a Belle & Sebastian B-side. About shapes."

*I want to find out more about Ethiopian music—suggestions welcome!

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