DESERT GOLD 2013 : ACE PALM SPRINGS

Every year during the big show in the Coachella Valley we host our own desert tent revival beneath the sungods and the San Jacintos. We call it Desert Gold and this year marks our Wood Anniversary. And though it started as a wee li’l sapling it’s growing up fast — with live music and a Rolling Record Store presented by Third Man Records, performances by Flying Lotus, Jeremy Sole and Benji B, parties by the Do-Over crew, KCRW, Warp Records, Boiler Room, jerk goodness and ackee by Miss Lily’s, live on-site recordings by the certified buckwilders at NPR and much celebration of life. We’ll keep you posted, but seriously the AC in these rooms is as cool as the water in our deep, deep pools and they can’t wait around forever.


Flying Lotus, Gaslamp Killer and Thom Yorke throwing down in the Commune at Ace Hotel & Swim Club for Desert Gold weekend deux.

Instagram by Gaslamp Killer

Flying Lotus, Gaslamp Killer and Thom Yorke throwing down in the Commune at Ace Hotel & Swim Club for Desert Gold weekend deux.

Instagram by Gaslamp Killer


Sunday night — the last evening of Desert Gold at Ace Palm Springs — we were host to a surprising and miraculous alignment of bright stars. Spector dazzled and shredded in King’s Highway under the stained glass eye of god, in preparation for Blood Orange's musical, spiritual and leather-jacketed gymnastics. For the final four tunes, Florence Welch floated to the fore and sang like an angel with Mr. Orange, including a cover of Greenday’s Hitchin a Ride and Kiss With a Fist. Noisey filmed it all. We watched with amorous tears in our eyes. And our pal Julie from TOAST watched like the wizard she is. Thanks to her and to the big love crowd that bore witness.











Photos by Iggy Gonzalez

Sunday night — the last evening of Desert Gold at Ace Palm Springs — we were host to a surprising and miraculous alignment of bright stars. Spector dazzled and shredded in King’s Highway under the stained glass eye of god, in preparation for Blood Orange's musical, spiritual and leather-jacketed gymnastics. For the final four tunes, Florence Welch floated to the fore and sang like an angel with Mr. Orange, including a cover of Greenday’s Hitchin a Ride and Kiss With a Fist. Noisey filmed it all. We watched with amorous tears in our eyes. And our pal Julie from TOAST watched like the wizard she is. Thanks to her and to the big love crowd that bore witness.

Photos by Iggy Gonzalez


Brad Elterman's Ace x Impossible slides from Desert Gold 2012. We also had a little contest both weekends for a stay at Ace and some other gifts from yours truly — stay tuned for those shots from the field.

Brad Elterman's Ace x Impossible slides from Desert Gold 2012. We also had a little contest both weekends for a stay at Ace and some other gifts from yours truly — stay tuned for those shots from the field.


DESERT GOLD INTERVIEW : ALEX PASTERNAK OF LEMONADE

Alex Pasternak grew up in Half Moon Bay, California playing punk and hardcore and jazz bass. He studied ethnomusicology and anti-boasts a repertoire of rare magic from all four corners of the planet including Turkish Cifteteli, North African Rai, samba-reggae and Folklorico, and he mixes it all with two-step, grime, kuduro and cumbia digital. He lives in Brooklyn, plays drums with Lemonade, has reigned over the decks in the lobby at Ace Hotel New York, and will be gracing us poolside tomorrow at Desert Gold, with a 5-piece Balkan brass band. Dude makes it happen.

Read on for more background on his degree from the School of Hard Knocks and advanced certification in Variegated Horizons & Shifting Sands. And we’ll see you tomorrow — see the schedule and get a room.

What are some roadside attractions that have…attracted you?

I really loved having a picnic at Shoshone Falls a few years ago on tour with Delorean. If you’re ever passing through Idaho, it’s a great relaxing stop.

Also, Tammy’s Truro Tavern in the middle of fucking nowhere Iowa is amazing Americana.

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

Highway 1. Eeeeaaaaasy. Called the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway in So-cal) though Hwy 1 is me. I was raised on it, literally, between San Francisco and Santa Cruz at a little cove named Martins Beach and have driven that road all my life. From Mendo down through Big Sur to Santa Barbara, I love it.

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

My best buddy Chris White. We’ve been taking road trips and surf trips together down the California coast since junior high. Headed to Mex with him this May to find some waves in Oaxaca and visit my sister in Mexico City.

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

My classic California road trip album is Neil Young’s “On the Beach.” Makes the sunset especially bright when cruisin down Hwy 1 and somehow ties my dad’s generation and mine together.

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

One time I lost the keys to our rental Mercedes Sprinter in Vancouver and freaked out, not knowing what to do. The ONLY spare was in SF and there was no way to make one in time to make a show in Minneapolis. I somehow convinced my little sister Anna to pick up the key for me in the Mission District and drive to the airport with hopes of sneaking it onto a plane to Vancouver. Years ago I worked for SkyWest Airlines and still know a few folks there. I called the gate and found someone I knew though to my dismay she said she was too busy to run outside of security to grab the key…. Desperate, I told my sister to ask someone near the ticket counter for an extreme favor. Not sure how but she got the key (and electronic clicker) through security with some baggage dude and onto a plane to vancouver with the flight attendant. I took a taxi to the airport, grabbed the key, cabbed back and we were on our way. Phew.


A sneak peak, literally and figuratively, at our Desert Gold 2012 shwag — a Canvas Bag, an Arrows Shirt and a Mountains Shirt — premiering at Ace Hotel & Swim Club this weekend and available on our online shop. Get a room and come trip the light fantastic with us.

A sneak peak, literally and figuratively, at our Desert Gold 2012 shwag — a Canvas Bag, an Arrows Shirt and a Mountains Shirt — premiering at Ace Hotel & Swim Club this weekend and available on our online shop. Get a room and come trip the light fantastic with us.


DESERT GOLD INTERVIEW : VANESSA WRUBLE OF OKAYAFRICA

Okayafrica editor Vanessa Wruble co-hosts a night of live music from the heart of Africa in the Amigo Room Saturday April 21 for Desert Gold. Seun Kuti and Egypt 80 present Chief Boima from Sierra Leone and Sinkane from Sudan, with Afro-futurist visuals by Just A Band from Kenya. See the full schedule and get a room.

Put some Okayafrica in your life long after the fires have cooled in the Amigo Room — check out their sick mixtape series, Africa in Your Earbuds, and tune into their video series, The Roots of…, where they trace artists’ DNA back to their real ancestral roots in Africa. So far, they’ve explored where ?uestlove, Q-Tip and Black Thought have come from on the continent. You can also catch them at The Roots Picnic in Philly in early June.

For now, take a little road trip with Vanessa. And we’ll see you Saturday night through the haze.

What are some roadside attractions that have…attracted you?

The Okayafrica team hasn’t traveled soooo much in the good ole US of A recently, but we’ve been wowed by plenty of roadside attractions on our various travels to the Bright Continent.

Some of these include: a gorilla orphanage and a metal church built by Gustave Eiffel (of Eiffel Tower fame) in Gabon, some unexpected child-manned checkpoints and roads covered by smashed mangoes during mango season in Sierra Leone, a hidden island full of magic and mermaids in Corisco, Equatorial Guinea, jungle-grown airplanes in Principé, flower farms in Sao Tome, and, one of our all-time faves, the Hot Sweet & Jumpy Relaxation House (a “ramping shop” – google it!).

Also don’t want to forget our favorite ride –- a “poda-poda” called “Destiny Is Unknown.” Holler.

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

It would go from Freetown, Sierra Leone, to Brooklyn, NY –- an overpass (longest bridge in the world?). How cool would that be???? Maybe we’d name it after our hot ride: “Destiny Is Unknown Overpass.”

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

Fela Kuti –- riding around in his speedos, smokin’ spliffs and raging against the machine –- what could be better? This is how we picture him…

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

The FOKN BOIS make us feel good n’ dirty, Bajah + the Dry Eye Crew gets us hyped, Just a Band puts us in an electro groove, and Fela Kuti gets our “yansh” shakin’. You can find alla them here.

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

A double rainbow. Kidding. Kind of.


Steven Harrington invented a pictorial language of symbols and runes for his collaborative capsule collection with Ace Hotel and Generic Surplus for this year’s Desert Gold: Roadside Attraction pop-up shop. Steven has constructed his vision of a roadside desert pit stop — a place evocative of the odd wonders that dot the blacktop in the wide open spaces, filled with original art and desert-celebratory wares.
The Teepee Tee, California Tee and Long-Sleeve Shirt, Painted Rock Tee, Iconography Tank, Harrington Bandana and Harrington Towel are available now on our online shop. The Borstal Shoe Collection is available for pre-order and available for shipping in early May.

Steven Harrington invented a pictorial language of symbols and runes for his collaborative capsule collection with Ace Hotel and Generic Surplus for this year’s Desert Gold: Roadside Attraction pop-up shop. Steven has constructed his vision of a roadside desert pit stop — a place evocative of the odd wonders that dot the blacktop in the wide open spaces, filled with original art and desert-celebratory wares.

The Teepee Tee, California Tee and Long-Sleeve Shirt, Painted Rock Tee, Iconography Tank, Harrington Bandana and Harrington Towel are available now on our online shop. The Borstal Shoe Collection is available for pre-order and available for shipping in early May.


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.)


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.


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