I did a photo shoot the other day with one of my favorite photographers, Michael Maze (modelmayhem.com/1314093). We always create some seriously fucked-up shit when we collaborate…like the photo at left, which I call Power Tool.
Before our shoot, I went through my immense walk-in closet, which is chock-full of costumes and props, and came up with some crazy outfits for the shoot (when shooting with Maze, the weirder the better).
He hasn’t finished editing the photos yet, but he did send me the one to the right….in which I’m wearing a wig I bought at this fabulous drag queen wig shop on Hollywood Blvd., and an old-timey 1960s Day-Glo Jantzen bathing suit I bought at a thrift store in San Jose, CA one time about 15 years ago. I knew I hung onto it for a reason!
My plan is to wear that fucked-up ensemble to Wet Republic this summer, and freak out all the ‘roided out douchebags and plastic Vegas bimbos in their barely-there Ed Hardy bikinis. Fuck ’em all, I say!
Anyhoo, the next day I had planned another photo shoot with another one of my favorite photogs, Rising Phoenix Studios (modelmayhem.com/497602). This guy is a NUT — he is originally from Georgia, but grew up in Australia…so his nearly-incomprehensible accent is somewhere between Crocodile Dundee and Boomhauer from King of Hill. Hard to understand, but an awesome photographer!
I picked him up and drove him out to one of my favorite secret shooting locations, about an hour outside Vegas. Just between us, the place is called Cathedral Canyon… a shrine some guy built to his dead daughter in a little canyon out in the middle of nowhere.
Back in the day when he first built it, the canyon was fully wired and strung with colored lights. Religious statues filled the canyon, and an Astroturf-covered suspension bridge hung high overhead. People used to come out here for parties all the time…but the man died years ago, and the place has crumbled into a sort of creepy disrepair. PERFECT for shooting weird, artsy photos!
Unfortunately, the weather was UNSEASONABLY cold that day…which kinda put the kibosh on our shoot. It’s hard to look sexy and serene when you are buck-ass-naked, shivering and trying not to look at the snow-covered, fog-shrouded mountains in the distance!
Anyway, we got some bad-ass photos…and despite the miserable chill in the air, it was fun to get out of town and explore the desert a little. I’ve done my fair share of exploring these parts, and I know where a lot of really cool stuff is… but there are still a million interesting things to discover out there in the Mojave that I haven’t stumbled upon.
Case in point: after my shoot, I met up with a new friend who told me about the coolest adventure EVER! I can’t believe I never heard about this.
So apparently, back in 1942 there was a terrible plane crash on Mt. Potosi, northwest of Vegas near the little town of Goodsprings. The actress Carole Lombard was aboard the plane, and her husband, Hollywood legend Clark Gable, rushed to Goodsprings to drink in silent misery for three days at the Pioneer Saloon, awaiting word from the search-and-rescue teams.
Everyone onboard the DC-9 aircraft had perished in the crash, and Clark Gable eventually went back to Hollywood, heartbroken and despondent. But the Pioneer Saloon, which is still open for business, has become a sort of museum dedicated to the plane crash. If you go there, after ordering a beer you can read all kinds of articles and look at photos and memorabilia of all those involved in the crash.
The Pioneer Saloon is about 45 minutes south of Vegas via Interstate 15-South (turn off at Jean and head west). It’s a popular bike run, so you might see a lot of bikers out there. Aside from the bar, there’s not much to the town…just a bunch of rusted-out old buildings.
Anyway, this new friend of mine was out there one time, and the owner of the Pioneer Saloon mentioned that he would sure like to have one of the DC-9 engines from the crash site…and that he’d be willing to pay $5000 to anyone who could bring it to him!
Because the crash site is in a very rugged, inaccessible place atop Mt. Potosi, most of the wreckage is still sitting right where it landed on the day of the crash. Most (but not all) of the human remains have been removed, but for the most part the whole plane is still there, rusting away in the desert sun.
Now, there are no trail maps describing how to get there. There’s not even a real trail for some of the way! But hungry for the $5,000 bounty, my friend spend the next six Sundays hiking around those mountains, searching for the lost engine. Just when he had given up, on the sixth Sunday, he found the wreckage!
Unfortunately, the DC-9 engine weighed about 700 pounds…so he and his friend were only able to flip it over once in an attempt to roll it down the cliff. It was too heavy to move, and its location is so inaccessible that even the helicopter pilots he asked said they’d be unwilling to try and haul it out. They did recommend some badass Army helicopter pilots who might be able to do it…but their price would be pretty high, making the $5000 bounty not worth it.
Damn!! It sucks knowing there is an easy 5 grand sitting up on Mt. Potosi, waiting for anyone badass enough to get it. I can’t figure out a way to retrieve the engine myself, so I’ve given up and moved onto another related mystery at the site.
Apparently, Carole Lombard’s gold-and-diamond wedding ring was never recovered from the crash site! Somewhere in the wreckage, or in the surrounding desert, a beautiful vintage diamond ring awaits discovery. Wouldn’t that be AWESOME to find that ring???! I bet you could sell it for some serious coin!!
I can’t wait to get out to Mt. Potosi and start looking!!!!!