Fishbowler

I make art in strange places and blog about it.

Tag Archives: Goldfield Nevada

I Thought I Had Become A Goldfielder – Who Was Rippie, Part 3

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. 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. Sometimes it’s the end when you thought it was the beginning.

Cat's outta' the bag, I may as well tell ya', I'm in Reno. Next week I'm installing my show up at Truckee Meadows Community College and I'd really like everyone to see my new paintings. Being in Goldfield has given me the chance for some quiet time, which is what's needed most for painting and writing–every pro knows this. I'm thankful to the owner of the Car Forest for giving me the opportunity to stay there for a spell.

It’s the perfect town for an art retreat.  I had dreamed of a place like this. There’s nothing much around to distract you from your work and plus the town is centrally situated between the airports of Reno and Vegas, 4 hours from each.

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 the janitor and secret artist/novelist 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–no credentials needed. But we like raw don’t we?

Before I ever lived there I had always wanted to be cremated but once I was there I decided I wanted to be buried some day in Goldfield. It’s a destination. The Graveyard is very memorable and it’s the kind of focal place for desert pilgrimages that weird art people of the future might love to make. “Let’s trek across the U.S. to see the Car Forest and the grave of Sorg.”

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 minimal flow of existence. It was once almost 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 reason, we all love the place. An antique town. Mark Twain had probably been there, yes, 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 and Roosevelt had broken the union; dirty dealings. History and stories like this get distorted and re-purposed.

Picture 198

I was President of the Chamber of Commerce in 2012. It was a kind of fluke really because the town seems to regard the Chamber President kind of like a mayor (Goldfield is unincorporated) and I’m not a mayoral kind of guy. I just wanted to bring people to our town. I had proposed our new town motto “Least Touristy Destination in the West” but it wasn’t a hit. It seemed right to me because I hate touristy places. As a tourist it would have gotten my attention.

Our End of the World Party was not successful. It was on the same weekend as Goldfield Days, which has always had problems creating a draw, and it ended up being a big disappointment. Oh well, although we did get some major media attention from Vegas and Reno but not many campers showed up. Rippie burnt a bus that weekend but it became the most famous party that didn’t really happen. Not by my standards anyway.

Even though we brought bands to entertain at the town’s celebration, the next month the town decided they wanted to impeach me. I never came out to Goldfield days. Instead I was playing host up at our place for the handful of people that did show up and I’m told THAT was my big sin. I didn’t let them fire me and stepped down instead–less time and energy wasted than trying to fight each other. Now that I’m gone I believe the town feels better about my intentions in hindsight.

If Rippie taught me one thing, it is to quit while you’re ahead. That’s a rule of power. He seemed to know quite a few of these rules instinctively. I asked him when did our friendship end, Mark? August 17th, 2012, he replied. That was the day of our ill-fated End of the World party. He got his work out of us–Zak and me–and at that point, our friendship was through. Really strange the specificity of the situation. All the man knows is power-plays and he knew that we were no longer needed. He even had me thrown in jail for a whole week for check fraud before the sheriff’s office decided he was full of shit and they let me walk.

In certain ways Rippie was less full of shit than most people. He saw thru the bullshit of polite society. I respected his courage to let go of what’s generally accepted. Beyond the hillbilly I could see his defiance and a certain level of intelligence. There was generosity beneath the ego. He had a vision and for that reason I could look past the rough edges. He simply couldn’t hurt me.

But his ego betrayed him. What he despised about others kept him apart from them. Now that’s from a more conventional perspective like mine where collaboration is based on mutual respect and cooperation. Rippie liked to challenge. He only knew pressure.

He’s not nice but, well, who gives a fuck?

••••••••••••

Picture 197

Publicity -Car Forest & Goldfield

Wall Street Journal (link to come)
Huffington Post (link to come)
High Country News Article (link to come)
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)

Salt Lake City’s KSL video and interview
Vincent Cascio’s Black Hawk Virtual Media (3D, 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 (Spring of 2013)

Bus End World Poster

Related articles

Goldfield Labor Wars 1907

I illustrated this cover to go with my story, published in Harbinger Asylum

I illustrated this cover to go with my story, published in Harbinger Asylum

Wobblies Unite The Workers

The headline read “Anarchists Growing Bolder At Goldfield” -The Goldfield Sun, and the year was 1907. Goldfield was becoming a company town and the gold miners had their defense: their union.

Goldfield had been ripe for capitalists, politicians, rebels and anyone with unbridled ambition to take action and cause a ruckus. Goldfield was a clean slate, an open book in 1903. Small mines were about to start turning huge profits. By 1907 the town had grown into a substantial 24 hour town, the largest in Nevada. 20,000 residents lived here and the mines were being consolidated.

Vincent “The Saint” St. John was a professional agitator. With the backing of already famous agitator Big Bill Haywood, his union, the Industrial Workers of the World, the IWW or the “Wobblies”, believed in “One big union”.

In 1905, with their rallying cry “Workers of the World Unite”, the IWW split from the Western Federation of Miners. The WFM’s secretary-treasurer and Socialist William “Big Bill” Haywood opened the first IWW convention in Chicago, June 27th, 1905: “This is the Continental Congress of the working class. We are here to confederate the workers of this country into a working class movement that shall have for its purpose the emancipation of the working class from the slave bondage of capitalism.” Chicago hosted that inaugural IWW convention. In attendance were labor movement standouts Mother Jones and Eugene Debs.

Haywood went on.. “When the corporations and the capitalists understand that you are organized for the express purpose of placing the supervision of industry in the hands of those who do the work, you are going to be harassed and you are going to be subjected to every indignity and cruelty that their minds can invent.”

Laborers of America, especially in the West, were open to the idea of socialism, not state socialism but a socialism for the people: socialism “with its workboots on.”

Climbing out of mines, workers were being subjected to newly installed changing rooms at the mines to be used under observation to prevent “high grading” which is the term for stealing gold ore in their clothing and amongst tools. Until then, the act had been regarded lightly. Miners considered high grading to be a God-given perk of the job. After the banking scare that year, script (company store coupons), was being used to pay wages in lieu of cash.

St. John, the young, successful union agitator, who had earned a reputation for violence in the miners’ strike in Cripple Creek, Colorado, 1901, was now here in Goldfield. “..an organization which asks no quarter and will give none; whose battle cry is ‘an injury to one is an injury to all’; an organization which recognizes no division among  workers…”

Harry Jardin, a friend and cohort in St. John’s radical union, went on to bid, unsuccessfully, for the single Nevada congressional seat on the Socialist ticket in 1906. “Get an ax and use your ax at the system that makes slaves of you…” Jardin advised.

St. John and Jardin were among the union leaders indicted for conspiracy for the 1907 Preston-Smith murder trial, where in an act of self-defense, shot a restauranteur during a picketing dispute. Said St. John, “If they pack the jury to hang our men, we will pack hell full of them.” Many years after his death Morrie Preston was pardoned of this killing.

Later, the radical Big Bill Haywood put in his bid for Governor of Colorado while in jail. He had been detained for allegations of the murder of the Idaho Governor, Frank Steunenberg.

Wingfield Consolidates the Mines

All the miners knew was that mine owners like George Wingfield and Senator George Nixon, co-owners of The Goldfield Consolidated Mines Company, were impinging on their right to happiness. These mine owners were the same men who also happened to possess large financial interests in the banks. It was a national bank scare as shares were dropping. The union made demands.

Wingfield: “Compromise be damned. The Goldfield mines will stay closed down until hell freezes over before we open them to let a lot of anarchists tell us how to run our property.” He had the upper hand. Diamondfield Jack Davis, gunman/murderer, was Wingfield’s bodyguard. Wingfield also had the backing of the patriarchs in his newly formed Goldfield Business Men’s and Mine Owners Association.

On December 6th, President Teddy Roosevelt sent troops to Goldfield.

Subsequent to the troop occupation, wages dropped, unions were banned from Goldfield. The miner’s strike ended April 3rd, 1907. Their leaders had been taken out of commission.

Roosevelt eventually sent a presidential commission to investigate. Their findings were stated “The action of the mine operators warrants the belief that they had determined upon a reduction in wages and the refusal of employment to members of the WMF, but that they feared to take this course of action unless they had the protection of federal troops, and that they accordingly laid plans to secure such troops, and then put the programme into effect.”

There was rumored to be a bribe of $50,000 to Governor Sparks. Ida Crouch Hazlett -journalist -The Socialist: “Everything points to the fact that Governor Sparks was paid $50,000 for getting the troops in here. He is nothing but a drunken sot, as tough and disreputable as they make them, and nothing else could be expected.”

—————–bibliography—————

Goldfield -The Last Rush on the Western Frontier

-Sally Zanjani

The Ignoble Conspiracy -Radicalism On Trial In Nevada

-Sally Zanjani and Guy Louis Rocha

Radicalism In The Mountain West -1890-1920

-David R. Berman

A Fishbowler Window Cleans The System

This dispatch is from McDonald’s in one of the North Valleys, just off the highway.

The notion of sustainability, these days, involves a rejection of the huge systems that run everything. It’s an anti-corporatism creed. Globalization is a real thing: an objective, a directive, and it’s the game plan that our current First World system follows. We’re all familiar.

I did not come to write this at McDonald’s to be ironic; I came to lunch on a Big Mac. My “value meal” cost me $7.00 and the coke tastes nothing like Coke. There is an effeminate Hispanic teenager behind the counter who proudly greets with “Welcome to McDonald’s” the millisecond customers cross the threshold & this is crackin’ me up. He’s just happy to have a job, “Welcome to McDonald’s”.

We compromise. For time, for ease, for the bottom-line, we compromise. Toward small business owners & those–like me–self employed, we are to feel repentant for coming to a food chain like Mickie D’s. But I ask: Where else do I get to see the snide mechanical faces in front of Fox News cameras informing me of the patriotic acts of Americans in the face of Terrorism? “Welcome to McDonald’s.” This is what I’m being fed.

I did a quick window job this morning for a Facebook friend who lives a valley over. He had read my last blog post–”about a buck a window per side”–plus he’s been following my exploits online since I was fishbowling in LA so we had alot to talk about. He does politics locally, Neighborhood Advisory Board, plus he ran for City Council last time around–maybe the time before that as well.

Ed Hawkins is his name; you’d like him–ex-Marine, a grandfather. We got caught up on the state of Goldfield and my own little foray into politics, my stint as Chamber of Commerce President down there. We then traded small town stories. As I’ve said it before: Fuck Goldfield. It has that effect on ya’.

So yeah this globalizing system of Facebook is what brought us together. Here I am thinking local, walking the neighborhood with flyers, workin’ the follow ups and it’s been my online connections that have paid off better–for 3 weeks now! I do believe it’s time, though, to set a minimum price for windows, $40 sounds good.

A Selected View of Sorg Paintings from TMCC

I’m afraid this blog post is a bit disordered but it’s time to give you a preview of what you’d see at my exhibition at TMCC right now if you were there. Show’s on till March 23rd. I apologize for photo quality. I guess you’ll just have to go see them in person.
Yeah, I’ve been focusing more on landscapes and, obviously, cars sticking strangely out of the ground. I’m very interested in finding homes for these paintings so please get ahold of me. I’m including my price list for these paintings in case you’re curious. Email me if interested: bigfishbowler@gmail.com. God knows I wanna’ sell a painting to someone who’d like to own it.
As always, click an image to see it blown up.

 

Installing my exhibit today at TMCC

Crazy Sorg  I lead a charmed life. I know this. I’m here right now, just finished installing the show. I still have to install the text between some of the paintings. I love where it’s hanging. So many people walk through it was like Frogger, during the installation, going from one wall to the other between all the students and people. No, seriously. Inside I was taking pride in the skill with which I was maneuvering between them.

I’m including some before and after shots here.

It’s fifteen paintings and I’m not showing you most of them so maybe you’ll show up in person. We’re working on getting some press coverage up here.

Candace Nicole is the gallery curator.. her office is right near my display area. I come into her office and THERE I am on her wall! Haha.. I modeled for her years ago. Yes, nude, though my junk is not showing.

C’MON CANDACE! SHOW MY JUNK!

Opening is next Wed., the 6th @ 5pm. Hope to see you here!

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Sorg’s Back

Sorg's GhostReno, so markedly full of artists.. I wonder why that is. Creatives make a strong bond and the open flow of ideas is powerful here. In a word: optimism. Artistic life leads to optimism.

Goldfield? Not so much. There doesn’t seem to be much of that, there. Then again I didn’t move there to join a community. I moved there to be alone and apparently, it’s the same with everyone else there. As I said before, it’s a town of anti-socialists.

But yeah, I do still live in Goldfield, painting oils like a madman and writing.

It has become evident that working for a decade with the art community here in Reno has been an invaluable investment. People here know me from my past successes and in professional or creative relationships, that’s something that can be built upon, solidly.

I’ve put in the man hours. I’ve laid a good foundation. Since the days of Bleulion Gallery, the role I’ve filled is that of connector, promoter, publicist. I took on the role out of necessity–our necessity, as a member of Nevada’s art world and it seemed a natural position for me. People appreciate my commitment to the creative life.

Did assuming this role get in the way of my own art making? That’s a pivotal question. I can’t give a simple yes OR a no.

In an alternate procession of things, I would have just stuck to myself, developing in the vacuum that is an artist’s studio. That kind of scenario would have amounted to what originally attracted me to being an artist: solitary work. Socializing had never been my forté, or so I thought.

Eventually it was confirmed, what I was learning, and that is that the schmoozing, any blue chip artist will tell you, accounts for the largest percentage of time invested in laying down the tracks that lead to the palace of art world success.

There’s a speech I sometimes give to inspire artists toward developing a more collaborative spirit: “Me, Them & Us”. We evolve toward adulthood from the selfish & self centered perspective as if “I” am all there is–service me! Then we’re on to the independent phase, “I don’t need THEM!” But then, if we develop more fully, which some never do, we get to the stage of INTER dependence where judgmental competitiveness is left behind and we see the higher plane and the glory/grace of inter-connectedness.

So, did all this get in the way? No. I made the choice of collective involvement because I could see that doing my part in the community would help to advance alot of us, and not just me. As a consequence, I’d always belong to a community that would be supportive of my efforts too.

God knows I’ve tried to break away from this community but it always seems to suck me back in. I feel the love every time I come back to Reno and see a show populated by all my friends. They keep on going whether I’m here or not, which certainly seems to be the case with NadaDada, now in it’s 7th year!

See!!? Didn’t we tell you!?? NadaDada is its own beast–no one at the helm!

An ancient philosopher noticed two great desires of the human psyche: the need to belong and the need to stand out. Isn’t it ironic?

As any film maker can tell you, conflict is essential to good story telling.

Cat Sitting Fishbowler, Part 4

Day 3, Evening

8:30 PM, Nina Simone moans. 4 canvases here means dabs here & there and most interestingly, they’re all different genres it seems.
Mister White Whiskers wants out again. He just came in!
She wails sex like in the dark, Nina. Time for propane heat.
These moments can pass unnoticed as insignificant. Take note. Take heart. Godspeed.
Mark art from these; poetry or publication in abstract of the moment’s feeling. You Tube it, Tumber, Google + it. Sing out. Yell to the the mountain top and share it. We have this in common, that we can all put it in a certain perspective if we try. Make a story of it or a picture; maybe somethin’ in between. Whether it’s a story of your trip to the post office or laundry day, or leaning against the juke box last night. See the beauty (or horror) and share that.
Cooking the contents of a can: stir fry vegetables, cost $1.80. Looking forward to eating this.
To spruce it up I made it into Thai. Added a couple spoons of peanut butter and then garlic powder, garlic salt and black peppercorn ground in. Oh and coffee creamer- Irish cream.
It really is good.
For the last couple bites I’m adding more peanut butter. Ewwwwww.. THAT’S awesome! It’s chunky peanut butter. Not the first choice for my teeth, but tasty.
The vegetables are thin slices of carrot, watercress, bean sprouts and those lil’ corns cobs. Peanut butter is so nice with spice. It’s a dampening effect. Insulation. I tried to get  a pic of me eating it for you but the camera’s card was full AND battery’s dead!
I got the grooviest jazz goin’. Ornette Coleman from 1959.
Day 4, Morning
I should have emptied that card last night. Ornette put me to sleep after a few painting dabs. The fog this morning is killer. I’m about to go out & shoot. You gotta’ see this.
Digital frenzy. Went out in the ‘hood a bit. Historical documentation never ends. Atmosheric effects galore! The sun would come and go, filtered by these grounded clouds and consequently, the whole landscape would come and go too. I don’t know if I got many shots of the well lit moments but it’s mysterious how they become concealed so quickly.
Boesch Home, I’m told, was lived in by an old miner who was blind. He had laid a wire along the ground that he’d follow to get him to work & home every day.
This is the edge of the mining districk. One of the state’s longest continually running bars is over here. The Sante Fe is exactly the kind of place you’d expect; leather horse tools hang from the porch’s banisters.
Goldfield was so much more densely populated at one time. It’s hard to imagine.
When the lighting is right, I’ll have to get some shots of this cabin’s interior.
It’s that simple existence that’s become so foreign to us. I woke from my nap after shooting the Christmas Eve fog, thinkin’ about Mr. Boesch’s little place. I didn’t notice if any electricity had ever been connected. He wouldn’t really need lights except for visitors. Right across the street is the Sante Fe, though. Maybe he would have just taken them over there during a visit.
Seeing the stuffing come thru the walls puts things into perspective. I guess the miners would have worked during the winter. Temperature doesn’t change much down in the hole, I guess.
Mr. Boesch claimed he could feel the ore with gold in it. I believe the story is he was actually rich. He just preferred the simple life.

Cat Sitting Fishbowl Stint part 2 (photos)

Just a handful of images. I’m staying in this tiny camper till Christmas and I’m lovin’ it. Last night I just wrote and today I’m starting a couple canvases. I’m going to be updating you of this exciting time in my life. There’s no crapper, only a urinal.

As always, you can click on an image to see them blown up.

I walked down to our cafe for breakfast and some writing time. We’re glad it’s open again. No gas yet, just food. Nice atmosphere. Of course every time I go there I know everyone. It’s a bit much, actually, especially when I’ve just awakened and then had to brave the chilly wind with ice sickle tears at the corners of my eyes when I walk in. I finished letter to my mom and dad and then after breakfast, walked over to the post office to mail them off.. a little late.

I received a letter from a friend, Christmas card and commending me for what I’m doing in life. The letter was addressed “Chad Sorg, c/o Goldfield Chamber of Commerce, PO Box __________.. I’m not on the board of the Chamber any more, but the letter found me easily. The new reining President is Bobby Patterson, who happens to be my #1 choice for the job. He has my total support!

At home, our PO Box is 53, here in Goldfield, 89013 if you’d like to send something. Money’s always good too.. but yeah, our house is called End of the World, so just for fun, why don’tcha’ address it to that name next time, see if it gets to me.

I love the rust and the ruins and the joshua trees. More images to come, from my lil’ trailer hide away, especially once I get a painting done. Mr. White Whiskers likes the night life apparently. I worried about him all night till he finally knocked this morning just before dawn. He doesn’t seem to like salmon; what’s up with that!?? Our heater kicks ass!

And I JUST COULDN’T WAIT to show you this newest canvas..

Bus Burn Painting, Oil, 12 x 16

Cat Sitting Fishbowl Stint Starts NOW

I can’t believe I said yes to this like nothing at all. It is amazing how maliable I am; day before yesterday, I believe it was.

6:43 PM, Friday, End of the World, 12/21/12. Wow, that’s weird.

A guy I don’t know that well came to my place to ask if I wanted to cat sit in his trailer for a week or so. I said yes. Plain & simple, so here I am.

I cannot believe how simply he lives. He outdoes me, actually. No TV –that’s a start. No radio. NO COMPUTER! Apparently he drinks coffee but I haven’t found the coffee maker yet.

The food here is astounding-tiny collection. I’ll get to that later. Just a urinal; no pooping here unless I go gonzo (outside, I guess) or the rest stop. There’s TP here, shelf above the bed.

I just found his one porn mag.

I’m at the radio station at the moment to catch wireless and my show’s about to come on, I hope anyway. Last week it never seemed to come on the 2 times I tuned in to hear it. Told Carl to just air last week’s show. No prob. Gives me a week off anyway.

OH, here it is. www.KGFN.org RIGHT NOW! Tonight happens to be the “Lonely Episode, number 26, Audio Sorgfield”. It re-airs tonight @ 11 Pacific time. Otherwise, see the schedule on our page for the rest of the week.

Cat’s name is Mister White Whiskers. He was beside me this evening while I wrote this on a note pad. I hope his owner doesn’t mind me mentioning his porn mag. It’s very tame actually. Very moderate. I’m impressed by his austere life. He does have 2 vehicles though. I’m not judging.

Zak suggested, just tonight, that I fishbowl this residency. Just tonight he mentioned this as I was about to walk to the trailer to feed the cat. I actually hadn’t thought of it that way. While I’m here for the week I’m painting. Oils on canvas. Writing too it looks like. Yeah, I’m fishbowling this cat sitting trailer week.

As I said, I hadn’t planned on fishbowling here but what the hell. Pictures to come.

“I live in strange places and blog about it..” says my business card.

There’s a book on Mark Twain here. Dust cover’s mangled. I’m reading his assessment that multiple palm readers had divulged that he, according to his hand wrinkles, had no sense of humor. I would like to be so humorless myself.

Good night.

Lettering The Goldfield Consolidated Train

President of the Goldfield Historical Society has hired me to letter this train. It will eventually say Goldfield Consolidated Mines Company. George Wingfield and Senator George Nixon headed up that company.

I’m masking the letters onto the newly painted black surface and then an outline will be painted around it all. It’s a process. Stay tuned for more.

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