Thursday, November 3, 2011

Desert Rat & Starlight Expedition

This evening I had an unexpected adventure. I headed out to Yucca Valley to the Hi Desert Nature Museum to see my friend Greg Bishop's talk on the legendary Desert Rat, Harry Oliver. A set designer nominated for Oscars during his years in early Hollywood, Oliver was a popular colorful character in the desert areas out near Palm Springs and Joshua Tree. His Golden Gulch frontier exhibit in Balboa Park for a past expo became the inspiration for Knott's Berry Farm's original amusement park, as well as influencing Walt Disney's vision of Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom. Oliver is well known for publishing the Desert Rat Scrap Book, several samples of which were on hand during Greg's presentation. It was truly quite interesting.

After Greg's talk, I noticed-- to my astonishment-- an original album and scrapbook of photos from the World Columbian Exposition, also known as the 1893 Chicago World's Fair! For those of you who have read the Lost Continent Library trilogy by Sesh Heri, you will recognize this historical event as the location of much of the first book. The 1893 fairgrounds are where Tesla and Twain, et al, depart for Mars aboard an airship. Sealed in a glass case, I am making arrangements to return to the museum to have an inside look at these relics and will do a post upon my return.

Following the museum activity, I joined Greg and his good friends, including Barbara Harris who gives unique tours in the desert areas, for dinner at Kimi's Sushi. The conversation led to a pleasantly unexpected trip to Giant Rock (near The Integratron) where we watched shooting stars and climbed a hill of quartz crystal. I made new friends and had a great evening.

If you enjoy the Old West, take a gander at Harry Oliver and his life, as well as the Desert Rat...

1 comment:

Greg said...

Kick ass night. Glad you stayed!