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Trent Harris' Mondo Utah



Over the years, I've become a devotee of filmmaker/visionary Trent Harris' wild-goose "Mondo Utah" philosophy. ---

As I understand it, Utah has a demonstrated track record for bizarre and extreme behavior -- and so, for those whose tastes run to the quirky and offbeat, this is one of the greatest places on Earth to be an outsider. Utah becomes a magnet for those following the beat of a different ... well, glockenspiel or whatever. As strange people find themselves drawn to the strange things that happen here, it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle.

Harris has been posting a series of "Fling-a-Dings" -- videos of interest to Mondo Utah devotees. Here's one about "The Amazing Famous Roadside Geyser" -- as far as I can tell, about an attraction near Woodside in Emery County.

According to Harris, "This is, in fact, one of the only cold-water geysers in the world: Apparently, there is one here, one in Green River, one in California and one in Iraq!"

When I was a kid, our family drove past Woodside many times on road trips -- but we never stopped to see the geyser. Harris has a gift for opening our eyes to the extraordinary within the mundane. "A long time ago, this used to be quite a place. People used to stop here, and now the only people that watch the geyser are this cow. He's not even interested, now."

The site also contains footage from Naked Reality, one of my favorite Harris pieces. It involves the filmmaker's introspective exploration of oddities on the west desert missile range, ending with an existential crisis on the Salt Flats ("You know, there are times in a man's life when he has to say, 'How did I ever get here doing this?' And, uh, I think this is one of those times for me"). If I recall correctly, the first time I saw it was many years ago in Harris' downtown studio while I was interviewing him for a piece on Cement Ball of Earth, Heaven and Hell.

I remember it made me giggle at the time. I was very pleased to see Naked Reality again through the magic of the Intarweb, contained in the following two clips.

"Kinda makes you think."