Room with a Keyboard


Our Man in Tver

The Ladies of Guadalupe



Like nearly everyone, I missed HDTS 2013, a contemporary-art road show that started Oct 12 in Joshua Tree CA (34°8’5.02″ N/116°18’47.04″ W) and ended Oct 19 in Albuquerque NM (35° 5′ 3″ N/106° 39′ 2″ W). Although already documented by participants and practically ancient history by most people’s standards, I want to retrace some of the proceedings anyway.

If you are joining me, stay where you are. Don’t block out a week of your busy schedule with spendy, complicated travel plans. Don’t worry about extra hydration, rattlesnakes or bathroom breaks. We are following in the footsteps via words.

Where were you in Oct 2013? The daily grind in sunny (and foggy) pinned down two wannabe HDTS 2013 attendees, partner Suzanne and me. America’s political class – strike what I wrote about not worrying about snakes! – was in a swivet over the Affordable Care Act and the Antideficiency Act. Mainstream moviegoers streamed to Gravity, during which, according to Richard Corliss of Time magazine, “a hailstorm of debris hurtles at you, as do a space traveler’s thoughts at the realization of being truly alone in the universe.” The art world at large was – oh, all over the map.

Although we are aiming for particular compass points, I can guarantee that our path will cross with past road trips and post-2013 ones.

Let’s assemble now at the publication prepared for the event. Our first stop, the cover, is a spartan map of the route, absent traditional cartographic iconography such place names and route numbers. Turning the page, we go thru thanks to supporters, the table of contents and an introduction, then arrive at a list of projects sorted alphabetically by artist. High-desert survival tips follow: be smart, leave no trace, bring cash, drive safely, avoid getting stuck in the sand, beware of snakes. My (self-imposed) quest to make a written survey of HDTS 2013 compels us to violate the “leave no trace” admonishment.

The guide is low tech, its b/w format reminiscent (intentionally, I believe) of “books” made on mimeograph machines in 1960s classrooms. Businesses too in that “simpler” era produced the same kinds of things. Earth’s population in 1969 was 3.6 billion, according to

(written in stages from March 2018 to ?)