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Insider’s Guide to Joshua Tree, CA

Cody Montgomery, Joshua Tree local and Founder/Designer of conceptual clothing line TOTALLY BLOWN, takes us on a journey like no other through the majestic High Desert. Get ready for an adventure!

 

Shari Elf / Art Queen / World Famous Crochet Museum

Probably one of the quirkiest, most authentic places in the High Desert. Shari Elf is definitely the long-time reigning Art Queen specializing in funny screen-printed vintage pieces, original painting and the curation of the World Famous Crochet Museum.

61855 Highway 62 (Just east of the Joshua Tree Saloon) / Joshua Tree, California 92252

Crochet Museum
Noah Purifoy

Noah Purifoy

An outdoor desert sculpture park a few miles north of Joshua Tree with more than 100 works on 10 acres of the desert floor. It’s a great place to get inspired by desert junk, take crazy photos and make a donation to its preservation. Recently, the entire installation was transported to LACMA…so yeah…it’s pretty legit.

63030 Blair Lane / Joshua Tree, California 92252

 

A-Z West

Andrea Zittel is by far the most successful contemporary female artist in the High Desert, but also one of the sweetest. She has an artist residency during the cooler times of the year at her A-Z West facilities, where artists can stay for free in her minimally designed tiny living pods. Well worth a visit for anyone interested in moving and shacking up in the art world.

Because A-Z West is a private residence as well as the site of a full-time studio practice, visitors may not show up on A-Z West grounds unannounced or without an appointment under any circumstance. To find out more about visiting, email azwest@zittel.org.

Image via Lance Brewer

Living pod image by Nick Nemechek.
Stage set-up.

Furstworld

Bobby Furst is a High Desert legend and looks like one of the missing members of The Rolling Stones. He is also a talented sculptor and an extremely generous community member who has created a magical art scape of Quonset huts, trailers, and assemblage art. It’s a bit of a secret spot up by the National Park entrance in Joshua Tree. If you catch wind of a show, be sure not to miss the experience and donate generously.

8528 Desert Shadow Road / Joshua Tree, CA 92252

Image via joshuatreeonfilm.com

Sky Village Swap Meet

The most authentic high desert shopping experience around. Open every Saturday and Sunday in the AM. Wander around some super funky old stalls and tailgates, Dakota Bobs cowboy shop, the incredible Crystal Cave and the High Desert Test Sites stoop. It’s the real deal.

7028 Theater Road / Yucca Valley, California 92284 / 760.365.2104

Image via Mike S.

Sky Village Junk to Gems sign.
Interior of Integratron.

Integratron

Sound bath healing: another staple of the High Desert experience with an incredibly bizarre history if you’re open minded enough to go there. Schedule a quartz bowl healing session well in advance and be prepared to lay down for a while afterward for a deep reset. Then get directions to Giant Rock, the largest free standing boulder in north America that also ties intently with the backstory of the place.

2477 Belfield Blvd. / Landers, CA 92285 / 760.364.3126

Image via oliveadobe.net

Taylor Junction

One of the newest and best galleries in Joshua Tree hosting an impressive repertoire of great art and kickass musical acts. Definitely, the place to be on Art Walk every second Saturday of the month.

61732 29 Palms Hwy / Joshua Tree, California / 760.974.9165

Image via Taylor Junction

Taylor Junction courtyard.
Rack of clothes in The End.

The End

Owned and often operated by the fashion icon, Kime Buzzelli. Stop in for new and vintage designs specializing in women’s clothing and accessories. Can’t miss the amazing and colorful eyeball mural on the side of the building by one of my favorite contemporary female artists, Elena Stonaker. (Check out a full interview with Kime here.)

55872 29 Palms Hwy / Yucca Valley, California / 760.418.5536

BKB Ceramics

Local ceramicist Brian Bosworth, along with his wife Jamie, recently opened a beautiful and well-curated shop in downtown Joshua Tree featuring his minimal and earthy ceramics, as well as an assortment of other home goods and art books.

61705 Hwy 62 / Joshua Tree, CA 92252 / 760.821.3765

BKB Ceramics gift shop.
The Palms restaurant roadside sign.

The Palms

Truly a far out place. Easily the most authentic High Desert bar way out in Wonder Valley. Owned and operated by the Sibley family that also have a rocking band and host lots of fun weekend shows and festivals. They also have a great, old-fashioned brunch where you can expect to pay next to nothing to make up for the extra time in the car. Be sure to also check out their unattended bookstore across the street.

83131 Amboy Rd / Twentynine Palms, California / 760.361.2810

Image via Brian Bubonic

La Copine

One of the newest and best French restaurants in the High Desert, specializing in weekend brunches. Open Thursday-Friday. Everything is delicious and the decor is artistically modern. Get there before the weekend hits for more of a local scene and less of a wait.

848 Old Woman Springs Road / Yucca Valley, CA 92284

Woman holding a La Copine menu.
Paul McCartney playing at Pappy and Harriet’s.

Pappy and Harriet’s

Just about everyone and their brother have heard about it by now…but for good reason, as it is the quintessential High Desert music venue and historic saloon. In the heart of Pioneertown, expect wild west cowboy vibes meets contemporary music hipster scene with, sad to say, an ever diminishing local flavor replaced by an ever increasingly older and more boring crowd. But go there on Monday nights for the locally dominated open mic.

53688 Pioneertown Road / Pioneertown, CA 92268 / 760.365.5956

Image via LA Times

Frontier Cafe

Frontier Cafe is the new, cool coffee shop in town located in Old Town Yucca Valley. Grab a drink, order the vegetarian tartine, pop on a record, read a book, or catch some local musical talent mid-day on the weekends.

55844 Twentynine Palms Highway / Yucca Valley, CA 92284 / 760.365.4100

Image via Kevin V.

Leather sofas and bookshelf inside Frontier Cafe.
Sarah Harris and Cody Montgomery of TOTALLY BLOWN posing in front of a rack of their clothes.

ABOUT TOTALLY BLOWN 

TOTALLY BLOWN is a conceptual clothing company that distresses products with shotguns! The business is owned by Sarah Harris and Cody Montgomery and was founded in 2013. Cody came up with the concept after a mouse chewed holes in his T-shirt. What once was a boring, plain shirt suddenly became Cody’s new favorite piece. He was fascinated with this fact and started pondering new ways to put holes in clothing without getting more mice in his cabin…and one day it clicked. Quite literally!

"Years later, we are now pushing the limits of fashion combined with conceptual art to present 100% original objects that are utilitarian, beautiful and thought provoking. Through our work, we are encouraging people to think critically and see complicated issues from multiple perspectives, and how they relate to the bigger picture. We’ve created a simple logo with a + and – symbol inside a circle to encourage that concept beyond linguistic boundaries. We believe in unity. In coming together as a people of one."

"At the same time, TOTALLY BLOWN is sourcing and producing right here in the USA! We also distress, dye, bleach, sew and alter everything by hand and hire friends in our local community of Joshua Tree to help us along the way. It’s a lot of work…fighting a war (so to speak) against an army of clothing. But it is an endeavor that is so much more rewarding than just making something that looks cool. At Totally Blown we are challenging conventions…and that’s what keeps us going!"