Back in January of this year, I was kicking around Arizona after spending the holidays with my sister and her family in Flagstaff. Turns out, Arizona is a beautiful state. Who knew? I guess I always pictured flat, boring desert and saguaro cactus. There is plenty of cactus, for sure, but also beautiful mountains, stunning red-rock desert, cool-as-hell old mining towns, and deliciosa mexican food.
I’d heard of the Arcosanti, as I’m into learning about all things sustainable. If there could in fact be such a thing as a sustainable city, well, I’m all ears. Turns out, Soleri is a fascinating human being. Born in Italy, he came to the states in 1947 to study under famous architect and reputed autocratic hard-ass Frank Lloyd Wright, with mixed success. He settled in Scottsdale in 1956, and thus began the Arcosanti project.
Far be it from me to try to communicate Soleri’s visionary ideas, so if you’re interested in a brief and fascinating overview, I’d recommend the short collection of interviews, The Urban Ideal. It’s a quicky glimpse into the mind of a truly deep and compassionate thinker. And, if you’re interested in a mind blowing and very beautiful coffee table book full of his conceptual drawings, take a look at Arcology: The City in the Image of Man.
And, since we on the subject, here are few other things I loved in Az:
- The very quaint and charming, but not obnoxious and shee-shee, mining town of Jerome. Beautiful location, interesting history, and one of the best artists co-ops I’ve ever visited. Don’t miss it if you’re in Jerome.
- The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum outside of Tucson. I got photos. Tucson was pretty damn cool, too. I had a great time getting liquored up at a String Cheese Incident show there one night. I was the guy yelling “stop pandering to the crowd” after they mentioned Edward Abbey for literally the fortieth time. I like Ed’s books too, but c’mon. Good band though.
- The still semi-off-the-beaten and pre-fucked-up-by-tourism mining town of Bisbee, down near the Mexican border. My three favorite things about Bisbee? I’m so glad you asked.
- One, the Shady Dell RV Park, home of a multitude of lovingly restored, bad-ass vintage trailers (and one Chris Craft yacht), which they rent out at reasonable rates. I recommend the 12′ Crown, which is cozy as hell, and a great place to sit out a blizzard.
- Two, the cool little old-school diner right next store. Great breakfast, nice owner (I think his name mighta been Paul, but don’t quote me), interesting patrons, and very good pie.
- And three, that exceptionally cute woman I had a brief but lovely chat with in the diner one morning, before I had to head back home to go to work. Yet another example of work cramping my limited style. Talk about stupid shit. I can’t remember her name, but her cuteness and sartorial splendor, oh yes. Ain’t life just like that sometimes?
The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum
Anyway, that’s my babble for the evening. Go check out Arizona if you get a chance, but stay away from Phoenix if you can avoid it. Talk about a shithole.
Peace out, yo.