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Slab City Talent Show & Salvation Mountain/East Jesus Excursion

It's that time of the year again when we head out to The Salton Sea for a trip to Salvation Mountain and a visit to the Slab City Talent Show. Located 120 miles east of San Diego.

This will be a full day and we will return late in the evening.


If you are interested in camping out there for the weekend with others, here is info from the (San Diego) Hash House Harriers who do this annually. There is also a wealth of info in here. There is also a wealth of info in here including MAPS, driving directions and more:

Here's info and a link to photos from last year's trip:

Slab City Talent Show & Salvation Mountain Excursion - The San Diego Photography Collective (San Diego, CA) - Meetup


Slab City is an assemblage of mostly "recreational vehicles"; a community that formed on its own, without any apparent organizational force. Located at the site of a former military base, on the edge of the Chocolate Mountains, an active bombing range in the Imperial Valley, Slab City gets its name from the prevalence of concrete aprons--or slabs--at the site. A network of roadways and slabs accommodate a community of up to a few thousand occupants in the cooler winter months. The populace is comprised of all sorts, from "road warriors" living in buses that haven't moved in 20 years, to "snow-birders"-- retired folks who migrate to warmer climes in their RV's in the winter. This varied mixture of people get along and seem to enjoy the variety of attitudes at Slab City.

Salvation Mountain is a non-religious, man-made mountain of outsider art created by one man, Leonard Knight over a span of nearly 30 years:

East Jesus: Charles Russell, a talented artist and one of those guys who masked a mostly kindly nature with a humorously misanthropic exterior, found a spot just north of The Range, named it "East Jesus" in a nod to its remote location on the way to nowhere, and moved in. When he got there in 2006, his place was a depressing rust-strewn thicket of creosote, tamarisk, and broken glass. By the time Russell died this May of an unexpected heart attack in his mid-40s, it was a work of art.

Salvation Mountain - Official Website - Niland, California

Some videos from Slab City Talent Shows past:

Our American Life: Slab City Talent Show 2009

East Jesus: 'East Jesus' Desert Art Project In Peril | Commentary | SoCal Focus | KCET

We'll be carpooling there so you'll need to organize your ride with the members who are offering rides here. If you're driving, leave your message as to where you'll be leaving from, time, how many seats available (please update as it changes), etc. RIDERS WILL BE EXPECTED TO CHIP IN FOR FUEL COSTS.

If you're LOOKING for a ride, LEAVE A MESSAGE HERE or contact the drivers who are offering rides here.

We'll drive our respective carpools and meet at Bobby D's Pizza Plus at approximately 11:00. There you can say hello to Norma (the owner) and get some breakfast, lunch or a snack before we head over to the Mountain at 11:30-45. How long you stay for the day depends solely on your driver, so coordinate with them. The sunset is around 5:15 PM.

You can also pack your own food, snacks & drinks for the day (recommended).

More info will be added as we get closer.

Unfortunately, Leonard will not be at Salvation Mountain, as he's been placed in a care facility in El Cajon.

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  • Lloyd

    A long ride but the weather was great. Lots of interesting photo ops. Had a really nice time.

    January 27, 2013

  • Tom M.

    I'm working on a film series I call "People and Place", interviewing people in interesting places with interesting names, combining them with interesting images that show the beauty of the place, presenting an uplifting view of the human spirit in different locations, and how people and place interact. I'm just finishing a film from Elfin Forest, and would like to shoot some interviews at Slab City... there are certainly lots of interesting characters to interview! If anyone wants to help me with the shooting, I'd be happy to show folks what I know about shooting DSLR video with my Canon 5D Mk III, audio, etc. I could use some help getting folks to sign release documents, wrangle interviewees, perhaps holding reflectors, etc. I could also use b-roll footage (either video or still images) showing the beauty and funkiness of the area.

    This is just a no-budget fun project, by the way... so I can offer very prestigious film credits...

    1 · December 17, 2012

    • Tom M.

      sorry, I won't be able to make it this weekend... I'm not sure if I somehow got RSVP'd twice... hope everyone has a good time.

      January 26, 2013

  • Roy A.

    Oh cool...I just read Tom M's comment. Tom, I would love to help you out some time. Let me know the next time you want to shoot some more footage.

    I bet you will have a field day with the folks at Slab City.

    January 25, 2013

  • Roy A.

    I would love to go back there because there is so much to many angles and subject matter but I have a crammed weekend shooting.

    Oh well, next time.

    January 25, 2013

  • Dan C.

    Weather forecast for Niland CA on Saturday is sunny and 78 degrees with lows around 48 overnight. Bring layered clothing for the evening but you can dress light otherwise and don't forget the hat & sunglasses!

    January 22, 2013

  • Dan C.

    38 people signed up on the San Diego Photography Collective and 22 attending from the San Diego Urban Exploring Group, so there should be a big contingent from San Diego.

    January 20, 2013

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