Slab City is a community in the middle of the desert in California. It's completely off the grid - there are no police, no laws, and no one owns the land. As such, it's been described as 'the last free place in America'. I've been curious about this place for a while, as alternative lifestyles interest me. In September 2017 I finally had the chance to visit. Here is a bit of what I saw:
There are no signs to Slab City, but if you know where you're going, it's not hard to find.
One of the first pieces of art I saw. Art is everywhere.
A random home for abandoned teddy bears.
I heard there was a hostel, and so I followed the signs and planned to spend a night there. Unfortunately when I pulled up, I found out it was closed.
Thankfully I found this place instead - the California Ponderosa, which was across the street, and I semi-recognized the name from an AirBnb listing I saw a while ago. It's run by George and Jinxy, and thankfully they had space. This was my cabin for the night, it was very cosy! I highly recommend staying here if you ever visit, as George and Jinxy were both very welcoming.
Now that I had a place to stay, it was time to go exploring. My first stop was East Jesus, a recycled art sculpture garden. This place was absolutely amazing! I couldn't believe how detailed every single piece was.
This is probably the most well-known piece in East Jesus - Flip Kassidy's TV Wall.
He even included these remotes on chairs in front of the piece, loved it.
The sign reads, "Terrible psychiatric advice inside. 25 cents."
I also visited The Range, where every Saturday residents hold a talent show. I will definitely be back one Saturday night.
There is even a 24 hour library, run by Cornelius Vango. It was a pretty extensive library, for being in the middle of the desert. Cornelius also runs a YouTube channel about life in the Slabs.
This was Jorge's front lawn. I stopped to admire the signs and he came out to have a chat. It was very interesting to hear what brought him here and why he loves it.
This is a typical Slabber's camp.
The next morning Jinxy gave us (myself and the two other guests at the AirBnb) the grand tour of Slab City. She explained that the man who lives here built his two-storey house in a way that the wind flowing through keeps it cool all the time. For the middle of the desert, it was pretty luxurious inside!
Jinxy explained that Slab City used to be a World War II Marine base. It got its name from the concrete slabs that were left behind. This actually used to be the pool, but now it's a skate park.
On the outskirts of town there are many more military remnants. These cylinders were once used as water tanks and for waste management. These beautiful murals were done by Christina Angelina and Ease One.
Some more random art on the outskirts. These are bent up cars.
One last look at the Ponderosa before heading back out. Overall it was awesome to see this alternative way of living. You can pretty much do just about anything you want out here. It's an amazing place for artist to do art for art's sake. Like any city, it has it's troubles, but for the most part, Slabbers live and let live.