A Women’s Dinner in the Desert
The desert is where everything is compacted and expanded all at once, where an idea becomes a form. With an intention on empty sand space, we invited 80 creatively-minded women from Los Angeles and the desert to participate in a meal for women in the wash behind my house in Pioneertown. A Women’s Dinner in the Desert. I have been thinking a lot about social movements and the need to create unique languages to frame parts of society, and in that the need to isolate sometimes, to specify, to disengage. Food creates a space and a temporality, people need a journey sometimes. My friends Sarah and Kate and I designed and created some parts that when combined with amazing women, made a whole.
Women arrived from Los Angeles with homemade marmalade, readings about the landscape, poetry, and a performance that was all of us humming. In scuffed up boots and straw hats too, desert gear, an important choice. We asked everyone to bring something, to create a collective meal and forum for thought and action. A guiding question for the evening: what do we need from the desert?
There is an old stone house near the wash built with river stones. It is my favorite place in the desert, with its lava rock fireplace and teal ribbed dishware pieces scattered over the concrete floor. I guess it is now in BLM land because I always see off road vehicles go by, big jeeps with big wheels. Freedom for those kind of activities and freedom for a party for women. Land use!
The long white table in the wash- there is a truck stuck in the sand behind it, a desert problem. We walked out to dinner at sunset and served ourselves out of large enamel pots. Potato Tacos and Squash Tacos cooked by Sarah. Women talked and clumped by the desert willows, with lanterns. We made a place into a space. Maybe this is what a feminst practice looks like now, a subtle intention, a connection to nature with a modest pink framework.
Katie Bachler was our first HDTS Scout, and was in residence from 2012-2013.
The HDTS Scout Residency is dedicated to learning more about the people and places that make up our diverse and ever evolving community.
During Katie’s residency, visitors were invited to drop into the HDTS HQ, the Scout’s home base, to meet Katie, who could be found making maps, hosting conversations, and baking bread – in between her off-site adventures around town and out in the field.
Katie had a lot in store during her time here, including:
- a series of talks featuring local experts
- joining together to create a web of knowledge
- a research library and archive documenting the many spaces, places, plants, and people that make up this special region
- casual conversations with drop in visitors over tea
- site visits and field trips around town
Katie engaged the community by instigating map-making and rag-rug braiding workshops, the Scout’s Book Club, Art in the Environment classes for desert kids, casual conversations, site visits and field trips—all shared in her Scout’s blog, which serves as the foundation for her book.