Creative People Need to Create

Updated: May 13, 2021

Aftermath conducts a toast to the Everywhen team during the 2020 4th of July banquet at the Soirée.

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After a few months of justifying day-after-day of inebriated home life, a scheme was hatched: the Everywhen Shrine was pretty much complete… why not bring it to the desert? And while we’re there, let’s build a grand dining room, a la Dalí! Let’s do it at the yearly July camp-out! Unbeknownst to the Everywhen crew, this set into motion a series of unpredictable and escalating events.

Walter Alter, a self-described Heretic and an early evangelist of the Electric Universe Theory, puts away freshly-stained Lantern fins. (Not pictured: Walter smoking a cigar while staining)

With the inclusion of a few art installations, additional infrastructure, and a bigger camp footprint, there was something missing to round out what we all assumed was going to be the only trek to the playa for the year. If there was a place to eat, and a space to reflect, was there a place to cut loose and dance? To round out the camp accouterments, the crew called our angelic friend, who had expressed interest in creating a psychedelic acoustic experience: the Sound Garden.

So, the map was drawn, and the stage set. Crew drove in. Some flew in! We all convened at the usual GPS coordinates to rendezvous for our annual July vacation to the desert.

Landing on playa in the middle of a windy dust storm makes for an interesting survey! Bureaucracy and Walter try to keep from flying away as they orient the camp towards sunrise, as per tradition.
Everywhen Village, July 2020. The second night before Sound Garden and walk-in campers began to arrive. Days later, the crew would be helping pull the RV to the right from a patch of wet playa.

Art, when installed in an open desert, surrounded by lights and campers, attracts people. A lot of people. Our camp grew. And grew. Like moths to the flame. Soon there were so many cars parking on the front yard, Aftermath usurped the camp message board to begin issuing gag parking citations, which became just another camp attraction. Walkups generously donated cash for the portos. Food was shared, along with songs and stories by the fire pits at night. Art cars began arriving, and along with them impromptu dance stages. Some goats even showed up in an ambulance. Satellite camps began to form on the outskirts. Our art and small camp became the go-to destination. We brought “extra” toilets for our camp. Turned out it wasn’t enough… but do not ask why!

Towards the end of our trip, Mark drove up in his giant pickup, and stopped in front of the Everywhen camp’s shade. “I’m thinking about coming out again,” smirks Mark, speaking above the gurgling drone of the diesel engine. “I have a few tweaks to make to Sound Garden.”

“Again?” Bureaucracy asks, walking up to the truck, putting a hand over his eyes, shielding them from the noon sun.

Mark’s eyes beam. “How do you feel about coming back in September?” Bureaucracy shook his head in disbelief, looking at the large truck with his camp trappings strapped all over it, trailer in tow hauling the generators, speakers, shade and other equipment that was the Sound Garden. “That’s not even 2 months out! You’re crazy.”

“Just… think about it,” said Mark. “Let’s talk more when we get home.”

Instant Photographs of some of the campers, before they were gifted to them during the 4th of July potluck dinner. This time, Frank (top right) brought his flamethrower!

On breakdown day, as the playa is wont to do when a campmate states aloud that they’ve never experienced a good dust storm yet, a savage whiteout laid siege to the camp as Everywhen packed up for an early morning departure the next day. When the sun rose, the group loaded the last of our infrastructure, made one final sweep for garbage and spills, then headed to Bruno’s for a farewell breakfast before hitting the road and parting ways, for now.

Continue to the next story: Chapter 4: Another Playa Adventure?

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