Welcome to day 3 of the Riding Dirty Photo Tour! Today’s hotspot is Slab City, a unique desert community on the margins of society. With no running water, no fees and no amenities, it’s “off the grid,” and seems like a natural place for outlaws. It’s part of Cole’s backstory in Riding Dirty. His family lived here when he was a teenager.
I visited Slab City in 2013, when I was writing Badlands, and I found it absolutely fascinating. The Dirty Eleven series is a spinoff of Badlands. This setting will play a larger role in Ace’s story.
In Riding Dirty, Cole takes Mia to Slab City to show her around. It’s about an hour from Indio, on the eastern side of the Salton Sea. They check out East Jesus, an outdoor art garden. Here are my photos of Slab City and East Jesus.
I wasn’t sure about snapping close-ups of people’s homes, so the first shot is from far away. You can click to enlarge. There are hundreds of trailers, many rows/streets and mini-communities within the larger space. We drove through around noon, so the photo quality isn’t the best. It was hot and dusty and dry.
These are all of East Jesus, a quirky outdoor art display. My photos don’t do them justice, but I was really blown away by some of the exhibits. The media is mostly recycled junk, and it’s definitely eclectic. It reminded me of German Expressionism, which I learned about in college. There might be a better name for this art style that I’m not familiar with. The theme seems to be a commentary on society’s wastefulness and consumerism. There are some weird sexual details, penises attached to robots, art within art. Interesting to study at close range. Not appropriate for children, perhaps, but there was only one piece I steered my girls away from.
Warning–the below image is disturbing (sexual violence).
I found this one pretty chilling. Mia sees a similar piece during her visit with Cole.
Hope you’re enjoying the tour! Our next stop is Bombay Beach.