In the ground there lived a city. Leaving Las Vegas, indeed. CES still has a few hours to go, but I'm gone. And back in Los Angeles. When I have time to decompress and get the cobwebs out, I'll probably have more thoughts about the show, but for now the best I can focus on is the ride back.
The return trip from Las Vegas has never been a favorite, even though it's basically the same trip as the other direction, and even though it means leaving Las Vegas. I think the difference is that heading there is the start of an adventure (and getting to CES), so even the first minute of the long drive is part of that adventure, whereas the return trip means you can't wait to get home, and that's almost four hours away.
There's one thing that I do like on the return trip. (Mind you, it's there's going the other way, as well, but on the return, I appreciate it more, having something at least to look forward to in the middle of the desert.) And that's Jeremy's Market.
A long time ago, back in 1986, I did the unit publicity on a movie called, "The Hitcher." I believe it was even the first unit PR job I did. (Short definition: the unit publicist is the PR person assigned to the "unit," the film company, when it's in production.) It was a dismal, mean-spirited, little horror film that gained a passable enough reputation to get remade a few years ago, and flopped. It's reputation I believe came from two reasons -- director Robert Harmon, who did a respectable job, and MAINLY, the Australian cinematographer John Seale, who is a brilliant Oscar-winning cinematographer ("The English Patient," and nominations for "Cold Mountain, "Witness" and "Rain Main," and so many more wonderful films), who made the movie look universe's better than it deserved to be.
(How in the world did such a lousy project like "The Hitcher" get someone like John Seale? What happened is that John had just finished doing "Witness" for the same producers, and his next schedule film fell through, so he was going to return to Australia until his following movie started up. The producers said, "Hey, we've got a little movie starting, so rather than go all the way back to Australia for a couple months and then all the way back here, how about working on this one?" John stayed, and the film looked brilliant. And working with Robert Harmon, the two men worked a miracle.)
Anyway, the point of all this is that we filmed in the middle of the desert for a couple months, and one of those locations was -- Jeremy's Market. It's just north of the 10 Freeway, in the middle of nowhere. About 10 miles east of Yermo. (Or those who'd like a better reference, maybe 20 miles east of Barstow.) Alas, it's out of business now, but I'm amazed it lasted as long as it did. Really, there's nothing around. It probably stayed around by selling gas -- or because of people who had a desperate need for Twizzlers. About 10 years ago, they were still open, and so for old time's sake, I pulled off the freeway and stopped in. It was not a shock that they remembered the film -- though they were shocked to see someone who knew about it, let alone come in from the crew.
There's another film location nearby that we also shot at, so that's a treat to pass by, as well. It's a few miles west of Jeremy's Market, with a big sign still there that says, "EAT." They actually lasted until just a couple years ago (they had a pretty big gas station business), but sadly, they're out of business, too. It's always nice seeing them both -- sign posts that give me something to look forward to on the trek back -- but for whatever reason, I've always been more partial to Jeremy's Market. Who knows why at this point. Maybe it's just because it's easier to warm to a sign that says "Jeremy" rather than an "EAT."
Unless you're hungry. And more than Twizzlers.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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