Taking the Waters
november 8-9, 2014

467 Zzyzx, 2012 (photo: Aurora Tang)

The desert, a place defined by its lack of water, has an especially rich and curious cultural relationship with it: for ritual, relief, renewal, and recreation.  In these arid lands, water has always been a premium - a sign of vitality and prosperity.  All water is healing water. 

Taking the Waters is a two-day search for water in the desert.  We will drive to and through some of the Mojave's finest oases, natural pools, hot springs, rivers, reservoirs, and retreat center and water park remains, and consider the cultural significance of water in the desert through a program of site-specific installations, performances, films, tours, and presentations. 

Sites include: China Ranch Date FarmDevils HoleTecopa Hot Springs, and Zzyzx (former site of Dr. Curtis Springer's mineral springs and current site of the CSU Desert Studies Center). 

Artists and presenters include: Korakrit ArunanondchaiMatthew Coolidge (The Center for Land Use Interpretation)Alyse EmdurRobert Fulton (CSU Desert Studies Center)Marc GanzglassEmilie HalpernSant KhalsaAlice KönitzNancy LupoErin Schneider, and Kim Stringfellow.

Taking the Waters is organized by HDTS managing director Aurora Tang.  Special thanks to Travis Brown.  This program is supported in part by a grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

 

 

466 Zzyzx Limo, 1968 (photo: courtesy Robert Fulton)

LOGISTICS, SCHEDULE, AND WHAT TO EXPECT  
(more details will be announced a week before the event)  

Taking the Waters will involve driving around in the desert, getting intimate access to super interesting and culturally significant locations, sharing a communal potluck meal, spending the night camping or in a local lodge, going the weekend without cell phone service, and viewing a curated selection of talks, artworks, videos, and performances.  We will be sharing more specifics the week before the event - but in the meantime we hope this will help you plan your weekend.  UPDATE (11/5/14): CLICK HERE FOR MORE IMPORTANT INFORMATION


Saturday, November 8, 2014

11:00 am - 4:00 pm:  Zzyzx (near Baker, CA)  Saturday
The Zzzyx grounds will be open from 11AM to 4:00PM on Saturday, with work on display by Alyse Emdur, Marc Ganzglass, and Sant Khalsa.  Stop by and explore the grounds of this former mineral springs retreat center on your own, or join us for one or more of the scheduled programs below (please note that some programs require advanced registration).

Note: No food will be for sale at Zzyzx. Please pack your own picnic lunch, or pick up something to eat before/after at the nearby town of Baker (home to the World’s Largest Thermometer, The Mad Greek Cafe, Alien Jerky, and more.)

11:00 am - 12:00 noon:  Tour of Zzyzx with Robert Fulton (Zzyzx)  Saturday
Sign up for a guided tour of Zzyzx with longtime Zzyzx CSU Desert Studies Center manager Robert Fulton. Rob will give us an insider's look into the fascinating history of Dr. Curtis Springer's 1954-74 mineral springs retreat center and how it later came to be the CSU Desert Studies Center.  $10 per person.  Space is limited.  RESERVATIONS  REQUIRED -  SIGN UP HERE. (Sold out!)

12:30 -1:30 pm:  Matthew Coolidge (The Center for Land Use Interpretation) (Zzyzx)  Saturday
Matthew Coolidge, director of the Center for Land Use Interpretation, will present a program about the lakes of the Mojave.

1:45 - 2:30 pm:  Erin Schneider (Zzyzx)  Saturday
Join Erin Schneider in the Zzyzx pool remains for a presentation on the role of water in Southern California’s utopian communities.

3:00 - 4:00 pm:  Tour of Zzyzx with Robert Fulton (Zzyzx)  Saturday
Sign up for a guided tour of Zzyzx with longtime Zzyzx CSU Desert Studies Center manager Robert Fulton. Rob will guide us through the fascinating history of Dr. Curtis Springer's 1954-74 mineral springs retreat center and how it came to be the CSU Desert Studies Center.  $10 per person.  Space is limited.  RESERVATIONS  REQUIRED - SIGN UP HERE. (Sold out!)


After Zzyzx, the event moves to the Tecopa Hot Springs area near the south end of Death Valley, about an hour drive from the town of Baker.  This is a fairly remote area with very few services and little-to-no cell phone reception - please fill up on fuel, food, and water in Baker.

We are working with our friends at China Ranch Date Farm to offer overnight camping accommodations at China Ranch for a sliding scale fee of $5-20 per person.  Space is limited.  RESERVATIONS REQUIRED - SIGN UP HERE

If you prefer indoor accommodations, there are a handful of rustic but comfortable lodging options in Tecopa Hot Springs (Delights Hot Springs Resort or Tecopa Hot Springs Resort) or nearby Shoshone (Shoshone Inn).  This is a busy time of the year, so book your room early!
 

4:00 -7:00 pm  Saturday
Drive to the Tecopa area, stock up on supplies in Baker, and set up camp/get settled in motel rooms. 

7:00 - 10:00 pm:  Potluck Dinner, Kim Stringfellow, and Screenings (China Ranch)  Saturday
Join us for a communal potluck dinner at scenic China Ranch!  Please bring something to share for at least 6 persons, as well as your favorite camping chair, picnic blankets, plate/bowl/utensils for yourself.  (We will have four tables and a grill on hand.)

Stick around after dinner for a presentation from Kim Stringfellow on the mysteries of Devils Hole, followed by a screening of Korakrit Arunanondchai's Letters to Chantri #1: The lady at the door / the gift that keeps on giving, and a late night screening of Robert Altman's Three Women, all under the stars at China Ranch.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

9:00 am - 4:00 pm:  China Ranch Date Farm and Tecopa Hot Springs  Sunday
Explore China Ranch Date Farm and the town of Tecopa Hot Springs, and view projects by Emilie Halpern (Delights Hot Springs Resort), Alice Könitz (Mud Hill Natural Pool), and Nancy Lupo (China Ranch Date Farm). 

2:30 pm:  Field Trip to Devils Hole with Kim Stringfellow  Sunday
Kim Stringfellow leads us on a field trip to Devils Hole, known for its pupfish, unexplained disappearances, and other mysteries.  We will be caravanning from China Ranch promptly at 2:30 pm.  (It should take a little over an hour to drive to Devils Hole.)  $5 per person.  Space is limited.  RESERVATIONS REQUIRED - SIGN UP HERE. (Sold out!)
 

Questions?  Please email us.  (We do our best to respond to emails as quickly as possible, but we have a very small staff and receive a high volume of inquiries, so it may take a few days for us to get back to you.)