On Saturday morning I only heard once before of the place we would sleep that night: California City. In between Death Valley and Los Angeles City, there is a town with a huge prison, an airstrip and Gloria’s Mexican restaurant named to queen Calafia ‘s paradise: California City.
Around 5 pm we hit the road to the Mohave; I was trying to succeed in my fourth day of the notorious Master Cleanse, and while driving trough the blue hour, I drank 12 onzes of maple syrup sweetened lemonade before we arrived at our host; Dennis Rudolph.
Dennis found himself a residency during the past Spring in California; he works and lives in the hangar next to the airstrip and sleeps in a reformed classroom trailer. The full moon just arose over the mountains when he welcomes us at the trailer. Using some bowls made from cut-a-half plastic bottles, one plate and a chile conserve, we prepare some fusion Brie quesadillas, some Mediterranean-Middle Eastern inspired toasts and burritos… The smell of a last minute cooking on the camping stove tortillas and beans weaken my determination to cleanse, so I went to sleep with a stomach full of cheese, wheat and beans infused by red wine.
It’s the first night since my arrival in September that I lay on a real matrass, and it feels as sleeping in the clouds, until my first meal in more than 72 hours starts to disrupt the dreams I am living. A midnight ride to the entrance of the airport on the concrete airstrip leads to the sanitary block, although it didn’t interrupt the dreams that would follow.
The next morning we drink coffee on the porch of the trailer: we sit on the metal doorsteps and chatting with Dennis in his plastic garden chair about living in California City. He just mentioned that he never get any unexpected visitor passing by, when a car drives in, and a gray-hair sixty-year-old looking man pops out. The friendly passenger names Allen; he has some cars stalled in front of Dennis trailer. Allen has a car restoration shop in Cal City and owns some of the old fashioned jalopies that he points out by name and brand. The property that Allen and Dennis sharing is from Fisher, a LAPD cop with big aspirations to make movie props. The courtyard exhibits some of his personal noble unfinished intentions; police cars, cockpits, jets, … and plenty of metal ware.
A few minutes after we met Allen, Marilyn comes out the car, the couple represents a real life Hollywood romance. Before a few years ago when they met again, they didn’t hear or see from each other for about 40 years. After their first date as teenagers, he never asked her out again, they both married and became single parents. Thanks to the almighty internet; Allen sent her an email after decades of radio silence. The story been told and she added that you never can forget the first love. It’s an adorable couple, unfolding themselves as open minded people from town interested in Dennis project. Dennis introduces them to his art work and shows Marilyn and Allen the tiles he made in the hangar. About 20 different images are displayed on the ground, each made of 4 tiles of kids who are smiling and looking at us. Most kids seem officially portrayed by the school photographer on a generic id frontal frame and looking straight and joyful to the lens of the camera. Dennis adopted the pictures from the internet; the kids been registered as missing California children. Marilyn engages with the imagery while Allen is fascinated by Dennis his work process and production. It appears to me that Allen and Marilyn are the first people from town, to create synergy between Dennis’ art and his inspiring surrounding environment.