Kip's Desert Book Club
Vermilion Sands - J.G. Ballard
july 6, 2015


Many thanks to Ken Sitz for suggesting the fantastic book of short stories by J.G. Ballard, Vermilion Sands, for our July 6th book club meeting. It will transport you to a futuristic desert resort community, where clouds are carved by sailplanes, sculptures sing, and mysterious women in long flowing dresses float silently in the dark. Equally impressive will be our meeting place, the Glass Outhouse gallery in Wonder Valley. Laurel and Frank are eagerly awaiting our arrival.

Drive 4 miles east of the town of 29 Palms on Highway 62 and turn right on Thunder Road, where you will see the "Book Club" sign and the gallery sign. The water tank painted to look like a giant Pepsi can is a good landmark to watch for too. If you pass the airport, turn around - you went too far.  Ladies, don't forget to wear your longest, flowiest dresses! Resort wear for gentlemen is highly recommended. I look forward to sharing this special book, and a cocktail with you on a warm summer evening. 

Monday, July 6, 2015, 7 PM
The Glass Outhouse
Wonder Valley, CA (see driving directions above)

This is the tenth meeting of Kip's Desert Book Club Learn more about this monthly gathering.

Far Enough Away
conversation and closing event for a vast furniture
june 20, 2015


Far Enough Away is a conversation about the concept of transposing the frontier, presented in conjunction with the final weekend of A Vast Furniture, an installation by Carmen Argote at Iron Age Road in Wonder Valley.

Looking at both proximity and distance from the center of development within the sprawling Los Angeles landscape at various points in time, the program will begin with West Hollywood of the 1920s, and follow a horizontal line eastward to El Monte of the 1950s and Wonder Valley of the 2000s. These three locations are brought together as places where radical ideas were afforded space to flourish, and as destinations for those seeking to be far enough away yet still close to the city of Los Angeles.

Speakers include Carribean Fragoza, Michael Ned Holte, and Stephanie Smith.  UPDATE (6/19/2015): Due to unforeseen circumstances, Stephanie Smith will be unable to join us. However, we are excited to announce that Reanna Alder has been added to the roster of Far Enough Away presenters!

Saturday, June 20, 2015, 7:30 pm
The Palms Restaurant and Saloon
83131 Amboy Road

Wonder Valley, CA

This program is held in conjunction with A Vast Furniture, an installation by Carmen Argote - closing this weekend at Iron Age Road! Be sure to check out the installation before heading to the Palms–the artist will be at the project site from 6-7 pm. (Be prepared for hot temperatures at the site. Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and a hat!)  Learn more about A Vast Furniture.

A Vast Furniture is presented by High Desert Test Sites and the MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House, and is organized by Anthony Carfello, Adam Peña, and Aurora Tang.


HDTS: Epicenter
october 9–12, 2015
green river, utah


Save the date for the next "big" High Desert Test Sites event, HDTS: EpicenterOctober 9–12, 2015!

Following the epic HDTS 2013 event, which took us on the road to Albuquerque, New Mexico, we are turning our focus in 2015 to the communities and contemporary art programs in rural Utah.  For our next event we will be partnering with Epicenter, a Green River-based organization founded in 2009 by a group of architects and designers, in the spirit of Samuel Mockbee's visionary Rural Studio. We are inspired by the energy and vision at Epicenter, and by the ways in which they provide resources to local residents through active involvement in their intimate community.  

HDTS: Epicenter will be a collaborative curation of 12 artists' projects, along with many regional points of interest and programs in diverse locations in and around the rural Utah community of Green River.  A list of participating artists will be announced this summer, and further information for traveling to the event will be released this fall.

A few facts about Green River:

  • Green River's backdrop, the Book Cliffs, which rise up to 1,000 feet high, is the largest continuous escarpment in the world at 240 miles long.
  • Green River is famous for its melons - up to 16 varieties are available from June through October.  The world's largest watermelon, a giant wooden watermelon slice on wheels, is also in town.
  • The 110-mile stretch between Green River and Salina, Utah, on Interstate-70 is the longest portion of interstate in the lower 48 states without services.

HDTS      Epicenter  

Kip's Desert Book Club
She's Got a Gun - Nancy Floyd
june 1, 2015


When I found out that photographer and author Nancy Floyd was going to be visiting Joshua Tree, I jumped at the chance to get her to visit our June 1st book club meeting with her book She's Got a Gun, about the history of women and firearms in America. Be sure to bring your most hair raising local stories involving guns–this discussion should be quite lively!  Nancy has been visiting Joshua Tree and Death Valley every year and can also fill us in on her latest desert based work.

We will be meeting on the patio of Steve and Mary Helen Tuttle's dome house in North Joshua Tree, so bring a folding chair if you have one. From downtown Joshua Tree, turn north on Sunburst, right on Golden, left on Border, keep your eyes out for Pole and Del Oro signs and turn right on Winters, with the street sign on the left hand side of the road and the large "Book Club" sign on your right. Drive 2 miles and turn right on Sunever. The dome is on the corner.  (I'll mark it with a sign so you can't miss it.) There is limited parking inside the fence, so do your best to park outside the compound–we'll squeeze you all in.

Monday, June 1, 2015, 7 PM
The Tuttle Residence
North Joshua Tree, CA (see driving directions above)

This is the ninth meeting of Kip's Desert Book Club Learn more about this monthly gathering.

Carmen Argote: A Vast Furniture - Opening Program
preparing for the weekend
saturday, may 23, 2015

Please join us for a tour, potluck, and overnight campout to welcome A Vast Furniture, an installation by Carmen Argote, to Wonder Valley!  Feast and sleep under the stars in the “Schindler House,” transposed to a remote destination in the Mojave Desert community of Wonder Valley.
Saturday, May 23, 2015
Beginning at 6:00 pm, with a guided tour at 7:00 pm
Iron Age Road, Wonder Valley
If you are planning on attending the A Vast Furniture opening program, please read this important information before you hit the road:
  • Arrive at the site before dark.  This event is taking place at High Desert Test Sites' most remote parcel, Iron Age Road in Wonder Valley (allow about 45 minutes to get from downtown Joshua Tree to the site.)  
  • Print out or write down driving directions before you hit the road.  Mobile GPS devices can be unreliable.  Directions: From Twentynine Palms continue east on 29 Palms Hwy. Drive forever (23 miles) and look for the sign for Ironage Road. Turn left onto the dirt road right after the sign for Ironage. Reset your odometer and drive 1.3 miles (look for a small HDTS sign on your right/the east side of the road). Park at the side of the road - be sure to leave enough room for cars to pass!  Walk about 500 feet east, following the wash.
  • Dress in layers.  Although the forecast predicts highs in the low/mid 80s, winds can pick up and temperatures can dip at night.  (The temperature in Wonder Valley is usually a few degrees warmer than Joshua Tree.)
  • Pack lots of food to share.  Saturday’s dinner will be a communal potluck, which means bring something to share for at least 4-6 persons (email us if you need suggestions– hearty salads, a pot of chili, and simple things you can eat with your hands always work well!)  Don't forget your favorite camping chair, picnic blankets, camping stove, plate/bowl/utensils for yourself.  We will have some tables and light refreshments on hand, but the rest is up to you!  (There are few services in Wonder Valley - the closest is The Palms Restaurant & Saloon (they cook up great homemade burgers and our favorite Sunday Breakfast–but call ahead to inquire about hours and food service, as sometimes they run out on busy weekends!)
  • No open fires.  We will have one central, contained campfire going–extra firewood is welcome!  
  • Fill up on fuel, water, food, and supplies before leaving Twentynine Palms.  There are no gas stations or convenience stores once you leave Twentynine Palms.  
  • Be smart.  Leave no trace.  Be respectful.  Be prepared.  Be aware of your surroundings.  And don’t hesitate to jump in and help out if you see someone who needs a hand.
  • Things you will probably want to bring: lots of food, water, a sleeping bag/tent if you are camping, a flashlight, a hat, sunscreen, trash bags for your refuse, sturdy shoes, camping chairs, picnic blankets, an ice chest, plates/bowls/utensils, driving directions, a map, firewood to share, and be sure to fill up on gas!

Learn more about A Vast Furniture: Installation by Carmen Argote.

A Vast Furniture is presented by the MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House and High Desert Test Sites, and is organized by Anthony Carfello, Adam Peña, and Aurora Tang.  Special thanks to Kip Fjeld, Stephanie Smith, and volunteer Cori Williams.