Anthony Mehlhaff Photo—The Joe Blows

Anthony Mehlhaff Photo Column—The Joe Blows

Someone forgot the deadbolt on the fallout bunker lock, allowing these surf punk weirdos their first taste of sunshine in decades. Which way to The Ed Sullivan Show? We got some stars.

I kinda broke the rules for this photo and used two because it reminds me of a postcard. I kinda want to write, “Welcome to Boulevard, California. Let’s get weird!” One pic from both locations. Look at that tine! What a beaut.

California is the mecca for the strangest of the strange, the pinnacle of peculiar, whether you’re in Norcal, Socal or dab smack in the fucking middle of the state, small towns are vanishing into oblivion. One such town is the town of Boulevard, Calif. Squeezed into what was once a thriving tourist town just before the Mexican border is now an eerie relic with an amazing pizza joint and a hundred-year-old candy cottage. Just keep your big city politics conversations to ya damn self in this town where the number one employer is The California Border Patrol. And in post-Trump (hahahaha) era January, it is still a sore that bleeds red and burns like the fucking sun. Let’s just say it’s a town of itchy trigger fingers and nothing much ta do.

Slop ’em, up chop ’em up, and make ya Mom mop ’em up! Most bands say their coming for your head, but these Joe Blows boys bring their own guillotine.

I scouted this location a couple days before The Joe Blows shoot, bought ninety dollars worth of chocolate, had a calzone that transported me to Chicago, and got chased by several wild dogs. Yeah, it was love at first sight. I found so many places to shoot that the only real problem was choosing just one. Oh, and I brought doggy snacks for the stray hounds.

When I returned for the shoot, we all met bright and early at The Candy Cottage and I sold everyone on buying from the centuries-old desert lean-to and gave them the city slicker political chat advisory warning. We got our goodies and headed off to erect the guillotine at the crumbled hok above the dusty freeway.

After the device was assembled, the blood was gushed upon the blade and The Joe Blows got suited and booted. We snapped for thirty minutes before the sound of a single shot rang out from across the way. We were apparently being shot at and asked to leave the property. Like I said—itchin’ like the dickens. We rounded up our gear, snapped a couple more pics, and headed down back in to town for a pizza as big as my car hood. We dined outside as the locals snickered at our silly social distancing and germ cover ’em ups. Fuck ’em, I thought! Ha!

As the sun began to lurk across the hills, we managed to score one more location on a train graveyard and even got the blessing of the official dead train watch person. We pretended a train was coming, built a human pyramid, and snapped photos until darkness. And that was that. This photo shoot was a well-needed artistic adventure after a year of almost zero human interaction.