tv The Travel Show BBC News August 29, 2021 1:30pm-2:00pm BST
hello, this is bbc news with joanna gosling. the headlines... twenty years after being sent in, the last british troops have left afghanistan, the evacuation in the wake of the taliban taking charge is over. the effort has been frankly truly humbling to see the hours worked, you know, the exhaustion painted on people's faces. so we tried our best. president biden warns another attack on kabul airport is highly likely within the next 24—hours — as us forces prepare to leave. forecasters warn a storm approaching louisiana could be more powerful than hurricane katrina, which devastated new orleans 16 years ago. dilemma for doctors — a severe shortage of test tubes in the uk means patients needing urgent blood tests
could face delays. at the paralympics — great britain's hannah cockroft wins her third successive 100m gold. now on bbc news, on the travel show there's another chance to see the second part of rajan datar�*s epic railjourney across the united states. i'm on a coast—to—coast trek across the south of the usa, exploring the places that have grown up along the sunset limited train line. myjourney started in the unique port city of new orleans, and continued across from louisiana to texas, and one of america's most distinctive national parks. this is the rio grande. welcome to the border! this week, as i continue myjourney
along the rail route, but off the beaten track, i find out how close we came to the end of the world. three, two, one, release. you and i have just started something that we can't stop. and discover a wonderland conjured from the imagination of a groundbreaking artist. i literally microwaved a microwave while it is microwaving. i'm the only one in human history that has successfully pulled off this accomplishment. this is americana, but not as we know it. in the middle of the west texas desert, you can walk for miles and miles before you come across anything resembling a homestead, or civilisation. this is one of the most remote areas in the country.
and then, you come across this... i've got to be honest, that is the last thing i would imagine i would see in the middle of the desert. you can't actually buy anything here — it's an artwork — but that doesn't mean people don't come from miles to see it. like these two, who have driven eight hours from dallas. i think it is a really interesting social commentary on branding, and i think it's very ironic to have it here in the middle of the desert. and the fake prada boutique is just a foretaste. we are on the outskirts of an unusual oasis of art in the once anonymous ranch town of marfa, that began life as a railroad stop.
and marfa's transformation is largely down to the arrival in the 1970s of a leading artist from new york, the late donald judd. with this space and freedom he created one of the world's largest installations of contemporary art. that an artist from new york city at the height of his career left new york, he thought it was a harsh and glib environment that did not support artists or their art, and what he created has inspired this whole other group of artists, writers, film—makers, musicians to come and have a life here. the artists live and work at the museum, they have a studio space... jenny was one of those budding creative pilgrims, so impressed byjudd's work, she moved from new york to marfa with her young family. then there are these concrete
blocks, judd's first works here, met with bemusement by many locals. some of the jokes were they look like culverts or cattle pens, and there was scepticism at first, but the local people who have come and walked on these pieces have a sense of belovedness towards them. back in the town's main drag, i decide to get a local�*s point of view. this used to be a mechanic shop, and blacksmith shop. this lot, now it's a big art gallery and studio. but as i quickly discover, the saloon bar owner is not your average joe. this self—proclaimed cowboy out of the box is a bit of a southern dude,
and he knows it. you want a beer? i'd love a beer. tell me what's the story of this town? you've been here for more than 30 years? or the first time you came here was more than 30 years ago. how has it changed? marfa was just a small town, kind of dying, there were more mom—and—pop shops back then. and the thing that changed this town was what? it was art that changed the town. you could say it saved the town. marfa would never have had a restaurant, or new york or asian food, different types of food, things like that, we didn't have nice hotels. initially, it was a culture clash, and the locals weren't too keen on the new breed. they butted heads, they didn't like it, very prejudiced against one another,
and now they've learned to coexist, and it's getting better and better and will continue to get better and better. there seems to be a bit of a marfa effect. tai mitchell is now a feature film actor, and model. what kind of roles are you playing? all i can play is myself, i'm just myself, i play tai mitchell. and he seems to be having a ball doing just that. every weekend there is somebody from some different culture, continent, anywhere from the northern realm, south america, australia, asia, africa, europe, just everybody comes here, so i get my culture fix without ever having to leave home.
i think you could finish this game off in a moment. where did the black go? you sunk it. you were very polite, i didn't even notice i put the black down by mistake! time to leave the remote expanses of texas behind and continue west, through the arizona desert, following the train route. so here we are, tucson, arizona, one of those place names i've heard so often, but never thought i would actually visit. it owes its existence to the train line, which transformed this isolated frontier post into a major urban centre. and they are proud of their rail history here.
is that a bell? can i ring that? sure, go ahead. yeah? bell rings. wow, that is a slice of history. just in that noise, that sound. it's beautiful. but there's more to this area than meets the eye... this is a typical arizona landscape, vast desert and mountain ranges. but what the state is less famous for is something that could have changed the course of history in a momentous way, and it's right beneath my feet. an intercontinental ballistic missile complex, one of only two in the world open to the public.
now decommissioned, but for two decades, capable of delivering a nine megaton nuclear warhead to targets more than 10,000 kilometres away. that's 650 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on hiroshima. when we get to the bottom we will be about 35 feet underground, on what's considered level two. yvonne was a crew commander here in the 1980s. if you'll take a seat there. am i going to be in charge? i am going to sort of let you be in charge... she took me through a simulation of what would have happened if the president ordered a strike. after a complex series of checks and verifications, it all comes down to two people turning a key.
three, two, one, turn to the right. four, three, two, one, release. you and i have just started something that we can't stop. there is no oops button down here... it's quite chilling already, as you're talking about this, as those sirens and alarms go off. you just saw and heard everything that the crew would have seen and heard if they had ever been ordered to launch their missile. it's really kind of silent. three, two, one, turn, give it a turn when it is green. why do you let people in to witness the simulation? what's the purpose? this site is a national historic
landmark, and that designation is given only to historic sites that have so influenced the american psyche as to have had an impact on almost everyone in the united states. there's no way to call this missile back, there's no destruct package on the missile. it's that feeling in your gut, when we're going through the sequence, it's chilling, so cold war sites, they can drive the necessity for peace home almost better than anything else. yvonne leads me through the complex to get a look at the missile itself. this is the nerve centre of the missile site. all right, so we're going to be going inside the launch duct now and when we go in,
watch your head. 0k. and we're going to be standing directly underneath the missile here. that's incredible. it's so, so high up. 103 feet. 103 feet, and you can feel its power and, you know, in a scary kind of way. and have you ever talked to a counterpart of yours who was doing the same thing on the soviet union side? i've actually — yes, i've actually had the opportunity to meet one former soviet crew member. he came with his son to tour the museum. so they brought him into my office, just really nice guy, and as he was shaking my hand, he said "thanks for not launching". and i couldn't think of anything to say but "thank you for not launching". i mean, this was... it was just — we were both so grateful to have the opportunity
to meet each other, and in peace. and you are two human beings who personally could have easily have led to... right, either one of us. ..the destruction of the world. yes, either one of us. and on that apocalyptic note, i continue my exploration west, where the nightmare scenario of titan ii mutates into fantasy. crossing the arizona border into the californian desert, and where the hollywood dream for a select few became reality — palm springs, the home of classic americana. well, hello, ken. hello, welcome to palm springs! thank you so much. sheltered from the elements
by these enormous mountains, the town of palm springs became a desert playground for the rich and famous in the �*40s, �*50s and �*60s. they couldn't go anywhere in hollywood without having people photographing them and people wanting their autograph and... ken was part of this exclusive world as he ran a luxury resort catering for hollywood's millionaire celebrities. everybody in the film industry would come here because they had privacy, by and large. they built homes here, they bought homes here, and so that's where we got the movie economy and we had everybody from bob hope to sinatra, elizabeth taylor and all those people, they were all super nice and... so you met elizabeth taylor then? oh, yeah. elizabeth taylor was a sweetheart, yeah, she — and barbra streisand. by the mid �*60s, palm springs had
more swimming pools per capita than anywhere else in the world. but over the years, as more people were drawn to the glamour, palm springs lost its cachet and a new generation of dream—makers took over and none so original as ken's son. you're going to see — when you come to our carnival it'll become pretty apparent. it'll be pretty apparent, will it? 0k. oh, you won't miss it. here it is. wow! look at that! that is astonishing. welcome to the wacky world of kennyjunior. an artist whose work is now luring sightseers away from frank sinatra's old house around the corner to see
this fantastical creation instead. what do you think is more interesting, this place or frank sinatra's house? this. this place! laughs. kenny irwin junior�*s robots. ken senior likens his son's worked to michelangelo, and has become his proud patron. do you know what these mean? do they mean anything to you? well, everyone of them means is some — kenny has created a unique sculpture out of material that would be in a landfill. yeah. so he uses tons and tons of material that would be in a landfill. he's recycled and made it into great works of art. where is kenny? he's out here. kenny? where's kenny? uh! chuckles. he's behind you! kenny!
i think this is kenny. that's the man! this is astonishing. your father has told us a little bit about what's going on here but could you take me on a little tour? yeah, absolutely. yeah? fantastic. and you've made every single one of these pieces, obviously. yeah, made them all by myself. and over how many years? i've been working on my art for i'd say at least the last four decades, since i've been living and breathing. really? yeah, i was just born an artist. on these four acres of land, kenny has used 1000 tons of recycled stuff to create 350 works of art so far. here's the hockey bot. and what is that? it's made out of refrigerators. made out of refrigerators! yeah. right there's the robo bear, it's made out of an air—conditioning compressor, and that is santa's wagon up there. that is astonishing. what are the reindeer made of?
everything! basically everything is made of everything. is made of everything! yeah. and that is the what bunny? this is the mongolian easter bunny's mobile throne. i'm just reading this — this is one of the world's only two microwaved microwaves? that is correct. this is a genuine microwaved microwave. i literally microwaved a microwave while it was microwaving. i'm the only one in human history that's ever successfully pulled off this accomplishment. shall i ask a silly question. why? why not? both chuckle. again, it's a why not world in a why world and these are the kind of things that i do with my art. this why not attitude runs throughout kenny's work. he tells me he'll make art out of any unwanted item. it's a mind—boggling spectacle.
a mishmash of household items painted in bubblegum colours and a whole host of themes, some religious — kenny converted to islam while at college. this is the gorilla bod here and the look out, it's behind the gorilla bot. as this thing grew and grew and grew, and obviously it's very tall, and you are overlooking your neighbours�* houses and lawns. what do they think? well, i love it. they bring me stuff to make my art out of. this neighbour over here, well, he bought one of my microwave artworks — it's a microwaved laptop — for $1500. $1500? yeah, and he gratefully displays it in his living room and brags about it. and they're fans, every one of your neighbours fans of your work? they love my work. in fact, just about the entire town of palm springs knows about it. people come from germany, japan, the uae, france, india — all different places, telling me they came here just to see this. where do you think this fits in,
where you fit in, even, to contemporary america? i don't know where i could fit in. i don't think it fits in anywhere really to speak of. how we got men on the moon and how we'll get men on mars or people on mars isn't going to happen by how things fit in with other things, it's going to happen by how things that have been — never been done before is how it's gonna happen. at christmas, the whole place is lit up. and kenny has big plans for the future, too — he wants to build a 300 acre theme park based on his designs. he reckons once investors and engineers are on board, he could have it built in ten years. in the meantime, we will have to settle for a ride on this. i physically can't get in this! of course you can fit in there! you're not that big! i'm not that big at all. do you think grown—ups should be riding around in these, too? absolutely, there is no excuse not to.
kenny, there's only one problem, right? what, what's that? we are on this thing and there's no—one to turn it off. does that mean we are on this flight forever? well, in theory, that could happen. time to leave this garden of dreams behind and head westward to america's so—called city of dreams, los angeles. it's the final stop on the sunset limited train line, which i followed here all the way from new orleans. they call this one of the last great railway stations in the us and it marks one end of a line that created the hugely important artery carrying cargo and passenger traffic from coast to coast. and i tell you what,
it's absolutely beautiful. like a church. and this is one reason why so many people make the trip to the californian coastline — for its beautiful weather and beaches. this is it! finally! the pacific ocean! new orleans seems an eternity away. so with 2000 miles under my belt, having travelled coast to coast, i kind of realise it's difficult to talk about a single shared american dream when this country has become so diverse. travelling off the well—worn tourist trail, i've discovered such different communities, each with an independent spirit, colourful history
and a unique story to tell... all of which go towards what it means to be a modern american. hello there. we will have a look at the hurricane a little while but the weather in the uk by contrast is much, much quieter and we have seen cloudy skies coming across many parts of england. limiting the sunshine. cloudy across many parts of scotland as well, more cloud than we have had on saturday but the cloud is breaking up across central areas of scotland, that could come down into the lowlands. temperatures
reaching a pleasant 22 degrees under the cloud, 18 or 19 across eastern parts of scotland on the north—east of england. this evening we may see the cloud thinning and breaking a little bit but as the night goes on that cloud will push in again. it will low onto the hills of the pennines northwards so misty and murky there. temperatures in the double figures for the most part. no sign of any significant rain for the uk, most of it is across central parts of europe, that is all blocked off by this area of high pressure and that is going to be in charge of our weather. the winds could be a little bit stronger as we head into monday, a lot of cloud coming our way again. the sunnier skies are more likely to be across more sheltered areas, western parts of wales, south—western parts of england. some sunshine developing in central scotland. those temperatures peaking at 20 degrees, it could be a bit dull and damp in south—east scotland and the north—east of england. high pressure remains centred to the north—west of the uk,
around if the winds are flowing in of the north sea and that is picking up of the north sea and that is picking up the moisture. again the best sunshine will likely to get sunshine across more sheltered western areas, for many tuesday looks like it will be pretty cloudy. temperatures not impressive for this time of year. the weather in the uk very, very quiet, dominated by high pressure. a lot of cloud around and not good for that time of year. hurricane turn one has now left cuba and it is a very dangerous category for her game. the winds are 130 240 miles an hour and it is bearing down on the coast of louisiana. landfall is expected to be later on sunday local time. it is the storm surge that will be significant, it could be a five metre storm surge as well as
this is bbc news with the latest headlines... 20 years after being sent in — the last british troops have left afghanistan — the uk evacuation in the wake of the taliban taking charge is over. the effort has been frankly truly humbling to see. effort painted on people's faces. we tried our best. president biden warns another attack on kabul airport is "highly likely" within the next 24—hours — as us forces prepare to leave. forecasters warn a storm approaching louisiana could be more powerful than hurricane katrina which devastated new orleans 16 years ago. dilemma for doctors — a severe shortage of test tubes in the uk means patients needing urgent blood tests could face delays.