DESERT GOLD INTERVIEW : FRED ARMISEN

Fred Armisen, half of comedy duo ThunderAnt with Carrie Brownstein, has an impressive resume of comedic characters ranging from Brutus, “a monkey who has been having sex with a doctor,” to Manuel Ortiz, host of The Manuel Ortiz show on Television Dominicana where he “helps with whatever it is” his audience members are going through. Fred is extremely helpful. Tonight, he impersonates a DJ and horses around with Ms. Brownstein in the Amigo Room at Ace Hotel & Swim Club for Desert Gold.

What are some roadside attractions that have…attracted you? 

There’s a small family vacation/amusement park area north of Chicago called The Wisconsin Dells. It has these sort of homemade attractions, and one is called Robot World. It’s just a sweet place.

There’s also this amazing place (pictured with Fred above), an incredible record store/record label in Nashville. We visited a nearby record pressing plant nearby as well. Here’s xcess vinyl that’s stripped off and then used again for another pressing.

If you could be any highway or US route which would you be?

I’d be the 405 North.

If there was a highway named after you, where would it begin and end? Points between?

It would start in Baltimore, then circle out, then circle back, then out again, and back over and over, so that the highway resembled flower petals around the city. It would be the country’s only recreational highway.

Who is your ideal road trip mate, living or dead? (But this involves pretending they’re alive, not a corpse in your car.)

Boris Karloff.

Is that a pun? Also, what is your favorite song or band to listen to on a road trip? Do you have any songs you search the dials for? Be honest.

I search for Howard Stern if I’m in a rental with Sirius radio. And for music, dub is always nice for roadtrips. Yo La Tengo too. 

Best unexpectedly amazing thing you’ve seen on a roadtrip.

Nevada City, California.

(The Portlandia travel group.)


Brad Elterman joined us Artist in Residence for the first weekend of Desert Gold, fanning the flames of his several decades of party photography and bottling up a few drops of what makes this time of year so special to us.
Stay tuned for more on Nicholas Haggard, our resident photographer for DG Part Deux. You can also see the full schedule and get a room — we’ve got some very talented friends lined up every evening through the week.

Brad Elterman joined us Artist in Residence for the first weekend of Desert Gold, fanning the flames of his several decades of party photography and bottling up a few drops of what makes this time of year so special to us.

Stay tuned for more on Nicholas Haggard, our resident photographer for DG Part Deux. You can also see the full schedule and get a room — we’ve got some very talented friends lined up every evening through the week.


DESERT GOLD INTERVIEW : CARRIE BROWNSTEIN

Carrie Brownstein really requires no introduction. Early sightings include basement punk shows in Portland, OR with Sleater-Kinney and recent sightings include Portlandia and Wild Flag — both projects are taking off like rockets. Carrie DJs with co-pilot Fred Armisen Tuesday night for Desert Gold at Ace Hotel & Swim Club, and they’ll throw in some hijinks and group fun, so come ready.

What are some roadside attractions that have…attracted you? Along the lines of Ball of Yarn, BFI, Roswell, or any number of the lesser known or unknown pit stops or oddities along America’s shoulders?

Prairie Dog Town and Wall Drug. In the case of the former, I’d say it repulsed me more than attracted me. In fact, I am afraid to Google Prairie Dog Town because I really hope that it no longer exists. Basically, it’s an animal freak show with 5-legged cows and other oddities. It’s very squalid. In the gift shop is a pit of live snakes. The best case scenario is that one day the snakes will eat the owner. It’s a feel good movie waiting to happen, replete with an animal uprising. Wall Drug is one of those things wherein you’re beaten into submission via signage. Then you stop and it’s nothing and you move on.

If you could be any highway or US route which would you be?

I would want to be a logging road or some dusty stretch of road in the western part of the US.

If there was a highway named after you, where would it begin and end? Points between?

Probably the same answer as above, just somewhere quiet.

Who is your ideal road trip mate, living or dead?

My dog, Tobey. He has traveled with me across the country and back. He isn’t a great driver but he is easy to talk to and he lets me pick the music.

Favorite song or band to listen to on a road trip? Do you have any songs you search the dials for? Be honest.

Lately, I prefer podcasts like This American Life, Savage Love, Freakonomics Radio or Marc Maron’s WTF. I like listening to stories while I drive. If I’m listening to the radio, I’m never disappointed to stumble upon some late-night Sam Cooke or Otis Redding tunes; their songs always sound good under a starry sky.

Best unexpectedly amazing thing you’ve seen on a roadtrip.

Seeing a frozen Mississippi River is pretty surreal.


Photographer Henry Diltz has chronicled four decades of rock and roll history since his early days with the Modern Folk Quartet, using his rapport with the musicians that shaped modern music to capture candid, intimate portraits that affirm the humanity of the subjects including Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills & Nash, The Doors and Richard Pryor. His work is featured in the Ray-Ban Legendary Visions gallery in the yurts during Desert Gold: Roadside Attraction at Ace Hotel & Swim Club through Sunday, and next week as well, alongside the work of Storm Thorgerson and Barney Bubbles.
See the full line-up for Desert Gold and get a room.

Photographer Henry Diltz has chronicled four decades of rock and roll history since his early days with the Modern Folk Quartet, using his rapport with the musicians that shaped modern music to capture candid, intimate portraits that affirm the humanity of the subjects including Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills & Nash, The Doors and Richard Pryor. His work is featured in the Ray-Ban Legendary Visions gallery in the yurts during Desert Gold: Roadside Attraction at Ace Hotel & Swim Club through Sunday, and next week as well, alongside the work of Storm Thorgerson and Barney Bubbles.

See the full line-up for Desert Gold and get a room.


DESERT GOLD INTERVIEW : DAREK MAZZONE OF KEXP

Darek Mazzone is a coat of many colors. A DJ with 20 years notched on his belt, he’s a crown jewel at Seattle’s community radio station KEXP, is currently working some magic with Microsoft (top secret stuff) and Native Instruments, and he’s also partnering with Dubspot, a NYC-based electronic music production and DJ school whose aim is to get thousands of youngsters DJing from their labtops within the next year. His Balkan Beat Box is in-studio now at kexp.org — go have a listen.

Darek spins by the pool for Desert Gold at Ace Hotel & Swim Club tomorrow, Saturday from noon to 5pm with Kane Mathis and J Boogie. Read on for his most memorable road trip memories and musings, and we’ll see you by the pool.

What are some roadside attractions that have…attracted you? 

The fake and true to size Stonehenge on the Columbia. Dinosaur Town with the Volcano toilets.

If you could be any highway or US route which would you be?

Route 1 or Route 99.

If there was a highway named after you, where would it begin and end? Points between?

The beginning.

Who is your ideal road trip mate, living or dead?

Hunter S. Thompson or Jack Kerouac.

Favorite song or band to listen to on a road trip? Do you have any songs you search the dials for? Be honest.

Any good classic rawk. The Who, Zeppelin. I always turn up Radar Love especially on a long road trip.

Best unexpectedly amazing thing you’ve seen on a road trip.

Left my wallet at a cafe. Discovered it was missing 200 miles into the trip, turned around, went back to the cafe and it was still on the table.


Our April Impossible x Ace contest winners, Jessica Reinhardt, Jason Benning and Demian Jacob Mendes.
You can enter to win a two-night stay at Ace Hotel Palm Springs at our Desert Gold photo contest — enter your Ace x Impossible shots in the box by the turntable in the lobby through April 23, 2012. Runners up will get some cool stuff too, and all winners will get published on our blog thus gaining immortality and unending glory. If you’re still looking for a room, well, we have still have a couple. Get one here.
Ace x Impossible film can be found in your room and bought from the front desk while you’re staying with us. If you’re afar, order online and send us your shots anyways — we want to see em.

Our April Impossible x Ace contest winners, Jessica Reinhardt, Jason Benning and Demian Jacob Mendes.

You can enter to win a two-night stay at Ace Hotel Palm Springs at our Desert Gold photo contest — enter your Ace x Impossible shots in the box by the turntable in the lobby through April 23, 2012. Runners up will get some cool stuff too, and all winners will get published on our blog thus gaining immortality and unending glory. If you’re still looking for a room, well, we have still have a couple. Get one here.

Ace x Impossible film can be found in your room and bought from the front desk while you’re staying with us. If you’re afar, order online and send us your shots anyways — we want to see em.


Steven Harrington is painting a ginormous mural on the side of the Commune for Desert Gold 2012. Steven’s also taking a break from his pop-up shop with Generic Surplus, Roadside Attraction, to guest DJ Saturday night in the Amigo Room with Stronghold.
There’s still a handful of rooms available, but they’re going fast. See the full line-up and book a room.

Photo from Generic Surplus

Steven Harrington is painting a ginormous mural on the side of the Commune for Desert Gold 2012. Steven’s also taking a break from his pop-up shop with Generic Surplus, Roadside Attraction, to guest DJ Saturday night in the Amigo Room with Stronghold.

There’s still a handful of rooms available, but they’re going fast. See the full line-up and book a room.


Photo from Generic Surplus


Smoking in bed, sexual inhibition, canned meats and a planetary eclipse of bellbottoms and zippered skinny jeans — these comprise some of telling marks the 1970s left on our collective psyches. Brad Elterman saw all that and more — at the blushing age of 17, he started capturing the likenesses of Tinseltown’s most influential legends including Bob Dylan, Joan Jett, The Beatles, Jane Fonda, John Travolta and Peter Frampton.
We’re very happy that Brad will be our first Artist in Residence during the first weekend of Desert Gold: Roadside Attraction at Ace Hotel & Swim Club, resurrecting his Beverly Hills party shot skills poolside and late night in the Amigo Room and Commune. We’ll be posting his shots mid-week so you might just see yourself on this page very soon. See the full schedule here and catch some of the last remaining rooms here.

Smoking in bed, sexual inhibition, canned meats and a planetary eclipse of bellbottoms and zippered skinny jeans — these comprise some of telling marks the 1970s left on our collective psyches. Brad Elterman saw all that and more — at the blushing age of 17, he started capturing the likenesses of Tinseltown’s most influential legends including Bob Dylan, Joan Jett, The Beatles, Jane Fonda, John Travolta and Peter Frampton.

We’re very happy that Brad will be our first Artist in Residence during the first weekend of Desert Gold: Roadside Attraction at Ace Hotel & Swim Club, resurrecting his Beverly Hills party shot skills poolside and late night in the Amigo Room and Commune. We’ll be posting his shots mid-week so you might just see yourself on this page very soon. See the full schedule here and catch some of the last remaining rooms here.


DESERT GOLD INTERVIEW : AWESOME TAPES FROM AFRICA

Brian Shimkovitz is curator of Awesome Tapes from Africa — an outfit that formed out of a blog he ran for years posting, you guessed it, awesome tapes from Africa that he found while traveling. He now releases new LPs, CDs and MP3s from African artists and tours the world playing both his finds and his releases. The forthcoming release from Awesome Tapes From Africa is by a gentleman named Bola from Northern Ghana. He plays the kologo (a two-stringed lute), expanding a traditional style of praise singing and frenetic strumming into a minimal drum machine and synth-laden future sound. Check it out here.

Brian be spinning poolside this Friday at Desert Gold at Ace Hotel & Swim Club, and his marks the first in our “Roadside Attraction” interviews with Desert Gold luminaries — stay tuned for more, and eat your heart out in the meantime.

What are some roadside attractions unknown pit stops or oddities along America’s shoulders that have…attracted you?

I grew up in Chicago and my sister went to college in Kansas and Missouri so we used to drive around the Midwest a lot. I was always obsessed with the Elvis Is Alive museum, which is along the road between Kansas City and St Louis. Recently I was very attracted to (pleasantly fulfilled by) Andersen’s Split Pea Soup joint along the road between LA and SF. 50s diner meets Danish culture in coastal California was really bizarre.

If you could be any highway or US route which would you be? I-5? Route 69? Manlove Rd. in Rosemont, CA? (Technically not a highway.)

I’d be the Pacific Coast Highway around Big Sur. Best air ever, a seasonal view of elephant seals and an annual Philip Glass festival.

If there was a highway named after you, where would it begin and end? Points between?

It would start in the hills of southern Indiana and end in the swamps of Louisiana, passing through Vermont for maple syrup and Brooklyn for Jamaican food. Not an express route but lots of mountains, floral diversity and epic roadside gift shops.

Who is your ideal road trip mate, living or dead? (But this involves pretending they’re alive, not a corpse in your car.)

My ideal road trip mate is my dad because he sleeps most of the time and won’t ever comment on the music I play. He will stop to eat any time, any place.

Favorite song or band to listen to on a road trip? Do you have any songs you search the dials for? Be honest.

ABBA on the radio and Grateful Dead on the tape deck.

Best unexpectedly amazing thing you’ve seen on a road trip.

The Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD sounds really lame but it is mind-blowing! It’s a huge theater with a facade covered in murals and designs made of corn and corn cobs. Super intricate and surprisingly cool, classic small town American genius.


To see the full schedule for Desert Gold and to book a room, visit the DG HQ.


Welcome all ye wanderers and weirdos — Desert Gold lives again. This year, our pal Steve Harrington is putting together a pop-up shop in the Clubhouse that pays homage to road trips, curiosity shops and the forgotten places tucked along the long black river where all the magic happens. He’s also creating a gigantic mural on the side of the Commune and launching a capsule collection inspired by his chalk drawings scattered through the Joshua Tree desert, including a shoe in collaboration with Ace and Generic Surplus exclusively for the event, so if you show up with only a walking stick and a crazed look in your eye, we can at least outfit you with some kicks.
Stay tuned for more interviews with performers as well as our very special 2012 artists in residence.

Welcome all ye wanderers and weirdos — Desert Gold lives again. This year, our pal Steve Harrington is putting together a pop-up shop in the Clubhouse that pays homage to road trips, curiosity shops and the forgotten places tucked along the long black river where all the magic happens. He’s also creating a gigantic mural on the side of the Commune and launching a capsule collection inspired by his chalk drawings scattered through the Joshua Tree desert, including a shoe in collaboration with Ace and Generic Surplus exclusively for the event, so if you show up with only a walking stick and a crazed look in your eye, we can at least outfit you with some kicks.

Stay tuned for more interviews with performers as well as our very special 2012 artists in residence.


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