The City of Absurdity   The City of Absurdity
On Location – Lost Highway


Visit the Lost Highway Hotel in Death Valley Junction, CA and the Madison House in the Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles, CA.

  The Lost Highway Hotel

Lost Highway Hotel On my trip to Death Valley in summer 1997 I stopped by the Lost Highway Hotel located in Death Valley Junction, one of the most magical places on earth – that's no exaggeration, it's understatement.

You find the filming location in California on Highway 127 between Shoshone and the Amargosa Valley, NV in a tiny little small desert town named Death Valley Junction. It's 84 miles northerly of Baker, CA - 110 miles to the west from Las Vegas, NV - 260 miles away from Los Angeles Downtown, and approx. 20 miles to the Death Valley Nat'l. Park East Entrance via Highway 190. This place is always worth a trip (ya know what kinda trip I'm talking about).
And there is not only the Lost Highway Hotel building, there's also a beautiful opera house, a bar and a real hotel named Amargosa Hotel where – according to the proprietor – „they're shooting movies all year long.“

Amargosa Opera House History: When Marta Becket, a New York dancer in her forties, had a flat tire in a lost town with a dead theater in the middle of the desert more than 25 years ago, she decided to stay there and settle down. A run-down decaying place in the middle of the desert became a magical town, filled with the pure beauty of a hot desert breeze and this fantastic kind of mood which may have always been there and might have been the reason for Marta Becket's decision in the first place. She renovated the theater, opened the curtains and played in the Amargosa Opera House – with or without an audience. Or let's say, she painted the audience on the walls, so there were always a lotta people appreciating her performances.

Now the building known as the Lost Highway Hotel is of course not named Lost Highway Hotel neither is it a hotel at all. It says Death Valley Junction on the building and if you look very closely on the painted letters you can still read the overpainted words LOST HIGHWAY HOTEL in the same font and color. The Death Valley Junction Building is locked and, as a matter of fact, decaying in- and outside. But its beauty is undenied.

Amargosa Hotel The interior Lost Highway Hotel scenes were shot in a different building right across the street which is a real hotel – the Amargosa Hotel. The proprietor told me they'd be shooting movies there all year long and on the two occasions I was there they were in fact shooting a movie. Don't ask me what movie that was. I asked and they told me the title and the name of the director but I forgot. It was a small budget independent movie production. The crew made a very relaxed impression, actors were hanging out on the beds in their hotel rooms and just being there seemed to be pretty cool.

down the hall Inside the Hotel, when I walked down the hall just like Fred Madison in Lost Highway, you know, knocking on that particular door and opened it, the room was NOT empty. But instead of Dick Laurent there was a horse-size DOG occupying the room standing right in the doorway and scared something people in such a situation usually refer to as shit out of me. So instead of punching the dog in the nose I decided to shut the door like a bolt of lightning hits a head and be continued

The Lost Highway Hotel Pictures
Death Valley Junction Building and Neighborhood, Amargosa Hotel, Amargosa Opera House.


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© Mike Hartmann