I don’t mind being on a need to know basis and sometimes that’s where life leaves me. I had envisioned working on the car forest for the rest of my life or at least for longer than a year and a half. But life’s not over yet so maybe I’m talking too soon. I dreamed of building a facility in Goldfield at the End of the World for artists to have a quiet place to work. It’s quiet and the sky slides over dramatic there, day after day.
It’s the perfect town for an art retreat. There’s nothing much around to distract you from your work. Also the town features a centrality between Reno and Vegas and not much else! ;) I had dreamed of a place like this long before I ever met Rippie. I also had a long standing fascination for outsider artists from Reverend Howard Finster and Adolf Wolfi to Thunder Mountain, Salvation Mountain and Watts Tower. Later I learned of Henry Darger. These are people who “just do it.” They don’t work to get a degree or an artist rep and they don’t bother to research art history. They simply make weird art obsessively and generally don’t give a damn.
Before I ever lived there I had always said I’d be cremated so as to not be taking up dead space. I guess I consider my remains more important these days. So I decided I wanted to die in Goldfield. Well, be buried there anyway. That’s a big statement, I realize, but I meant it. The Graveyard is really memorable and it’s the kind of place focal for desert pilgrimages that weird art people of the future might love to make.
Maybe you’ve heard, but the town of Goldfield has an obsession with things that are dead. The town is all but dead and ekes out a simple flow of existence. It was once 20,000 people; now 200.
Constant is the barrage of stories from Goldfield’s past. Goldfield had once been something but was now basically nothing, and for that, we all loved the place. Mark Twain had probably been there, yes, you know, stayed there, got the scoop on some story, but he never lived there and President Teddy Roosevelt never visited. I wrote an article about the labor wars there in Goldfield in 1906. Roosevelt broke the union; dirty dealings. History.
Yes, I was President of the Chamber of Commerce. It was a kind of fluke really because the town seems to kind of regard the President of the Chamber as most towns would view their mayor (Goldfield is unincorporated) and I’m not a mayoral kind of guy. I wanted to stand on my own, yeah, be different, sure. I wanted to do that and just be there to help. I wanted to bring people to our town.
Our End of the World Party was not successful. On the same weekend, it was to help Goldfield Days and it ended up being a big disappointment. Oh well. We did get some media attention for the town out of it but not many campers showed up. It could have been something really big but it was not. It became the most famous party that didn’t really happen.
I never came out to Goldfield days. Instead I was playing host up at our place for the people that did show up and I’m told THAT was my big sin. Even though we brought bands to entertain at the town’s celebration, the next month the town decided they wanted to impeach me. So I didn’t let them fire me, I told them I’d step down so my Vice President would take over–less time wasted than trying to fight it. Now that I’m gone I believe the town feels better about my intentions.
Publicity -Car Forest & Goldfield
Las Vegas Review Journal, One’s a photo slideshow, then the Video (Funny. Sums up the relations in our lil’ town)
Las Vegas City Life (Press in Vegas)
Puhrump Valley Times ( Local(ish) Blurb About Goldfield Days)
Nicholas Rattigan’s blog (funny, personal story from a journalism student)
Vincent Cascio’s Black Hawk Virtual Media (REALLY Sumthin!)
Geolocation (where? exactly?)
Slurve Online Magazine (my article)
Photographer Ron Pinkerton’s Flickr (in the lightning and at NIGHT! WOW!)
Reno News & Review (A quick announcement for our party last August)
Nevada Matters RADIO Interview about Goldfield and the Car Forest with Sorg
Sorg’s Art Exhibition at Reno’s Truckee Meadows Community College (Comin’ up soon)
- Who Was MichaelMark Rippie? Part 2 (fishbowler.wordpress.com)
- Who Was Mark Rippie? (fishbowler.wordpress.com)