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How I accidentally made a desert phone booth world famous, and the consequences its fame held for me, others, and the booth itself.
How I accidentally made a desert phone booth world famous, and the consequences its fame held for me, others, and the booth itself.
172 backers pledged $8,773 to help bring this project to life.

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[Update, Friday, 22 August: This week's episode of the NPR show Snap Judgment features a 17-1/2-minute story about The Mojave Phone Booth, in which I serve as your narrator. You can listen to it at http://www.npr.org/2014/08/22/342430204/the-mojave-phone-booth]

Adventures with the Mojave Phone Booth is a book that tells the tale of what can happen when one accidentally makes famous an isolated telephone booth sitting in the middle of the Mojave Desert--which I did, beginning in 1997.

I'm Doc, proprietor of one of the Internet's longest-running (and goofiest-looking) websites, Deuce of Clubs (deuceofclubs.com--originally under the aegis of another of Thee Ancient & Accepted Order of Websytes, Cardhouse.com). Deuce of Clubs has become familiar over the decades (yep--decades!) for any of a number of various nutty features and undertakings (Whip It!, the Herb Alpert Whipped Cream & Other Delights art car, Amy Grant's Mandible, Mountain Monograms, oobi, the wanderings of my statue of Wagner, and 5,000+ other pages of foolish delights). But Deuce of Clubs is most known as the home of the Mojave Phone Booth Project, inaugurated when I began obsessively dialing the number of a phone booth in the desert that I wasn't sure even existed until I eventually began visiting it in person.

After its inclusion on Deuce of Clubs, the Mojave Phone Booth's fame spread quickly, by means of just about every major world newspaper, TV network, and radio station, and its widely flung influence and inspiration was seen, for example, in a Paris art installation by Frank Gehry and Sophie Calle, in Italy's most popular comic, in David Letterman bits, in published interviews with J. G. Ballard, and even in the Ripley's Believe It or Not comic. The Mojave Phone Booth quickly came to have multitudes of admirers around the globe, to the extent that what had been almost certainly the world’s most isolated telephone booth would be transformed almost overnight into the world’s most popular telephone booth, becoming one of the first-ever Internet memes. It went viral before we ever thought of saying things like, "It went viral."

But the Mojave Phone Booth wasn't just a meme--it was a genuine, old-school telephone booth, minding its own business on a dirt trail out in a remote section of desert in between Barstow and Las Vegas, about 12-1/2 miles from the nearest paved road--until I happened across its existence and wrote about it on Deuce of Clubs. After that, I began visiting it, and after I began visiting, others began visiting it, and pretty soon people all over the world were having improbable conversations with each other via a hitherto forgotten telephone booth.

The Mojave Phone Booth Project was goofy, it was fun, and it altered lives--not only mine, and *mostly* for the good, except for the poor Booth itself: after almost three years’ worth of fun and nonsense shared by people around the globe, the Mojave Phone Booth staked its final claim to fame when it became the first (and probably only) Internet meme ever to be targeted for destruction by the United States Government.

Even now, almost fifteen years after its destruction, the Mojave Phone Booth lives on, continuing to inspire songs and films and comics and who knows what all. And now, with your help, there will be an entire book about it, telling the whole story (including parts of the story that have been as yet untold).

Risks and challenges

Adventures with the Mojave Phone Booth is currently in its third revision and is to be published in early 2015. The next step will be its editing, layout and design, and design and execution of its book cover (the cover on this page is one I did as a mockup), getting ISBNs (did you know they charge $125 each for ISBNs?), &c.

If this Kickstarter campaign goes beyond the goal amount, additional funds will go toward producing an audiobook version of Adventures with the Mojave Phone Booth, taking my Booth photos to a professional to try to salvage some for inclusion in the book (unfortunately, all of my photos, along with their negatives, were damaged by water a few years ago), and maybe even retiring a few of the debts incurred during the ten-year process of writing the book.

(Procedural note: I wanted to run this campaign using the Kickstarter account I use to contribute to Kickstarter campaigns (Doc D), but Amazon Payments doesn't allow P.O. boxes, and because the Post Office doesn't deliver mail in Bisbee, Arizona, a P.O. box is the only address I have for everything (including driver's license and bank account). So a great pal of mine offered to make this Kickstarter account for me.)

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    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    You'll receive good karma and +++ marks in the Akashic Record! More concretely, you'll receive updates on the project's progress (including advance notice when the book is available).

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    The above, plus thanks by name on both the book's official website and Facebook page.

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    All of the above, plus a copy of the e-book, in the format of your choice (Kindle, EPUB or PDF).

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    All of the above, plus I will include your name (and your url or Twitter handle, if you like) in the book's acknowledgements.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    All of the above, plus I will email you the first chapter of Adventures with the Mojave Phone Booth immediately.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    All of the above, plus a signed softcover copy of Adventures with the Mojave Phone Booth.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    All of the above, plus access to what I like to call the book's "DVD extras" (they're not on a DVD, of course, but you know what I mean). Each month, for 12 months, you will receive a full chapter, or an essay, or background information and other parts of the story that, purely for reasons of length, I was unable to include in the book.

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    All of the above, plus your choice of one of the following: 3 Mojave Phone Booth bookmarks, 2 Mojave Phone Booth stickers, or a Deuce of Clubs playing card featuring a stamped image designed by the author of Adventures with the Mojave Phone Booth.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    All of Rewards 1 through 7, plus all of Reward 9: that is, 3 Mojave Phone Booth bookmarks AND 2 Mojave Phone Booth stickers AND a Deuce of Clubs playing card featuring a stamped image designed by the author of Adventures with the Mojave Phone Booth.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    All of the above, plus a Mojave Phone Booth t-shirt, hand screen printed by the author.

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    Pledge $225 or more About $225

    All of the above, plus a genuine, by-definition-Limited-Edition, piece of the Mojave Phone Booth: namely, a chunk of the Mojave Phone Booth's glass (with certificate of authenticity signed by the author).

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    All of the above, plus you will be the first to read the mini-e-book follow-up to Adventures with the Mojave Phone Booth. You'll receive a copy of The Odd Manifesto, in the format of your choice (Kindle, EPUB or PDF).

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    All of the above, plus a 10-minute phone call with the author. We can pretend you're calling the Mojave Phone Booth, or vice versa. Or you can just ask me why I got so obsessed with a telephone booth. (I just happen to have written a book explaining that, but it's your phone call!) Whatever you like.

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    Pledge $2,990 or more About $2,990

    Super Golden Phone Booth Level! All of the above, plus a guided visit to the site of the Mojave Phone Booth, for you and up to two other people, led by the author. Meet me in Las Vegas, and I'll take you there in a comfortable, air-conditioned four-wheel-drive vehicle, telling you stories all the way there & back (unless you plead with me to stop). You'll see just how isolated a place this was for a phone booth to have stood. And if you want to spell out a personal message with rocks in the sand, I promise I won't tell anybody.

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Funding period

- (30 days)