Click through above to see our photo slideshow of the event.
On June 10th, Mary Jane University (MJU) High Dining hosted the Moonlit Moveable Feast at Furst World on the outskirts of Joshua Tree National Park. Furst World is Bobby Furst’s—one of the deserts most regarded artists— art studio and home that looks like an industrial alchemists compound. The sky above Furst World was a canvas, swished with a spectrum of pink and purple. Clouds textured the sky with sets of golden, contoured waves. Joshua Trees dotted the landscape with their distorted beauty, accentuating the mysticism native to California’s high desert.
An entry-way garden was filled with all kinds of wild art: old telephones, and rust-covered trumpets and brass instruments hanging from what once might’ve been a chandelier. Immediately to the left of the brass chandelier was a large pewter anvil with an eyeless doll head attached to the top, which looked like one of Sid’s evil toys from Toy Story (maybe that’s where Pixar lifted the idea?).
Furst’s quirky activist spirit pierced every corner of the grounds. Walking into the main event area was like walking into a wartime bunker on Mars (because everything in Joshua Tree feels like Mars). There were glass blowers creating intricate shapes using massive fire torches. On the wall adjacent to the glass blowers was the word “PEACE” written in huge block letters. Each letter is pieced together with thousands of empty bullet shells with the names of US soldiers who’ve died in Iraq and Afghanistan. The “piece for peace” is loaded with fiery political undertones; both an homage to those who’ve died for our country and the horrifying irony of how many die for peace.
Walking another 30 feet I was greeted by a man named Levi Strom standing behind a bar. “Hi there. Do you want a drink?,” he asked with smiling eyes.
Strom owns Awakened Topicals, a company that crafts whole plant tinctures and topicals . “We have a Bulleit Rye Whiskey and soda infused with 300 mg of THC-A,” he said, causing my heart to drop to my stomach. 300 mg of anything cannabis-related is terrifying. I think he sensed my hesitation because he instantly followed up with, “THC-A is un-activated THC meaning there are no psycho-active effects. It’s ideal for reducing inflammation, and releasing any tension created from stress. So it’ll make you feel relaxed light and happy.”
Sold. Strom handed me my cannabis-infused Bulliet cocktail garnished with a fan leaf, and I was off for the night. What’s interesting is that the drink didn’t taste like whiskey or cannabis. The tincture mixed with cocktail actually gave the drink more of a forest flavor, similar to the way gin tastes, but not nearly as harsh. After one sip, I realized I was going to want six more (at least).
The courtyard of Furst World extended into desert land. Nearest the patio was a coffee table with a bunch of gypsy-style throw-pillows around it for people to sit. A woman named Amanda sat behind the table leading a flower tasting. She passed around multiple joints for people to test and record what kind of cannabis they thought they were smoking. The joints were provided by Humboldt Brothers, a cultivation group that grows sun grown, organic flower in Humboldt (obviously) and have a certified reiki specialist on site to heal the plants during the various stages of cultivation.
Although herbal tastings are pretty damn magical, the rules were a little wonky. Or perhaps I was just painfully dopey from the THC-A cocktail and multiple hits of the test joints, but I had no idea what the rules were. I knew I was supposed to smoke the joint passed to me and mark on a piece of paper how I thought it smelled, tasted and felt. But the rules were more complex than that—I think. Regardless, I didn’t catch on to the rules after Amanda explained them to me (twice).
I excused myself from the table to walk-off my dopey confusion and wandered into what felt like an alchemists garage. “Dear George No War For Oil,” read a piece of art hanging on the wall. It was made of metal, and illuminated by an electric pink-orange light that lit up the words. Multiple clocks hung from the walls, giving the garage a “Mr. Toads Wild Ride” feel.
A siren sat at the front of the room on a platform called the MoonTripper Stage. Her named was Lynda Arnold. She was surrounded by an assortment of sound healing bowls and radiated a golden-white aura. She sang long, hypnotic licks over meditative sitar strings, making it hard not to drift off into trance state. Behind her were visuals of cannabis leaves melting into each other, glitching and fading into different colors.
I looked around at the people in the room, and some were totally transfixed with their eyelids peeled wide open. Others sat with their eyes closed, appearing to be in deep meditation. I, on the other hand, flailed around trying to battle the melting sensations I felt throughout my body. The notes of her etherial voice flashed behind my eyelids every time I blinked. If I didn’t leave the garage immediately, I was going to be stuck in there forever, lucidly living in the present and future simultaneously. I had to escape. Sirens from Greek mythology are real, and they live in Bobby Furst’s garage.
After peeling myself from the grips of the siren, it was time to eat. There were two dinners served—one during sunset and one for the moonrise. I sat for latter. Keiko Beatty, the hostess for the evening, passed around flower buds provided by Humming Bird Medicinals. Small pipes were provided at every place set alongside the utensils. 20 people sat at the long dinner table and began packing their bowls. Sound-bytes from conversations filled the atmosphere, as a collective cloud of smoke ascended into the sky.
Tea lights lit the outdoor dining area, but not enough to drown out the stars. The stargazers course consisted of kale salad, mushroom or rabbit ragu for the entrée and prickly pear granita for desert—all of which were medicated. According to Beatty, the dinner consisted of a maximum of 12mg of THC, which is the perfect amount to avoid becoming a zombie.
After dinner I aimlessly wandered into an Airstream RV that was parked near the flower tasting area. Inside the RV a woman was giving tarot readings. Sage, crystals and Santo Palo wood were placed on corner tables cleansing the space. The tarot reader was in the middle of an intense session. The woman the reader was speaking to looked stunned, as if sitting in front of an angel who was bestowing ancient wisdom upon her.
Across the way from the Airstream was a massive telescope designed to channel the vibrations of the moon. A man named Kyle Simon built it to mechanically rotate through the night sky. When particular navigational stars, planets, our moon or even sunlight are visible in the eyepiece, the light waves emitted are converted into sound through an array of optical receptors. When the telescope caught light, it emanated a low vibrational sound similar to a didgeridoo or a singing bowl.
Next to the massive telescope was a smaller one for us to use with an astronomer who seemed to know the sky the way the ancients did. The full moon was in Sagittarius that evening, and our solar system seemed more alive than ever. Shooting stars danced across the sky. Jupiter’s colors and the rings of Saturn radiated a celestial glow among the twinkling novas. Gazing into our vast galaxy reminded me of how small I am in this massive universe. My problems are trivial. Money is paper. Time, human connection and love are the only things that matter.
My mind and soul experienced a reset. The Moonlit Movable Feast was unlike anything I’ve experienced before. I left feeling like I’d spent the night floating in the cosmos among radiating souls. The next Moonlit Moveable Feast is scheduled for November 4th– the eve of the full moon– in Joshua Tree. Although summer sunsets in the desert are lighthearted and uplifting, nothing beats watching the soulful colors of autumn melt into a majestic blanket of stars.