Hello Mr.

Essays   WEB EXCLUSIVE | TRAVEL | PHOTO   Nov 03, 2016

Desert Tripping

Ryan Fitzgibbon on the road <br>to Las Vegas with Cadillac

Earlier this year, I was invited to speak about Hello Mr. at the AIGA Design Conference on October 17 in Las Vegas. Having never been to Nevada, I wanted to make the most of this opportunity and explore the sites around Sin City. And, timing couldn’t have been more ideal following the launch of issue 08. So, I flew from NYC to LAX and hit the road in a Cadillac 2017 XT5 Crossover with a suitcase full of magazines and a 1988 Cannon AE-1, inherited from my late grandpa. My first destination was the Ace Hotel & Swim Club in my favorite gayborvillage, Palm Springs! Hot tip: Next time you’re in town, Drag Brunch at Ace Hotel is a Sunday must.

While planning this desert road trip, friends recommended The Integratron, claimed to be capable of “rejuvenation, anti-gravity, and time travel.” Located just north of Joshua Tree National Park, this acoustically perfect structure performs hour-long sound baths that transported me to the perfect frame of mind to explore the preserved land in the Mojave Desert.

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag

The next day, I hit the road again for the final five-hour drive to Las Vegas for the conference with my carpool karaoke playlist on full blast between practice runs of my speech. Between the epic sound system, an iced-coffee, and an outlet mall pit-spot to “stretch my legs,” I was raring and ready for Vegas. And then, about 20 miles away from the Mirage Hotel, the Seven Magic Mountains appeared like a true optical illusion on the side of Interstate 15. (Cut to me reaching to make sure I had an extra roll of film as I signaled for the exit.) The two-year installation by artist Ugo Rondinone couldn’t have been a better conclusion to this road trip. According to Ugo, “the location is physically and symbolically mid-way between the natural and the artificial: the mountain ranges and natural desert, and the constant flow of traffic between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.”

Listen to Desert Tripping now on Spotify

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