"From the moment I first set set foot in Bombay Beach, I was taken with the authenticity of its people, their resilience in the face of environmental hardship, and the amount of pride and love they've infused into their immediate surroundings.
I'm fortunate enough to have a profession that allows me to spend my time bending reality into experiential and immersive art. The opportunity to create something lasting and encourage others to do so in Bombay Beach is by far the most rewarding of any experience I have yet been involved with.
Bombay Beach and all of those who live within its grid have provided us with immeasurable joy, a level of artistic freedom that is unparalleled, and an emotional experience that will last a life time. We look forward to working with and for the town to make something they can continue to be proud of."
Stefan Ashkenazy, ruler of the ninth moon of Nanu Nanu, is a native Los Angeleno who, at the age of 17, escaped from a disciplinary academy to China. There, he received his BA from Fudan University in Shanghai (Majoring in Mandarin Chinese and Chinese Philosophy). After a brief stint back in the States (earning his BA from UCLA in East Asian Studies and learning Russian at the Defense Language Institute's MLA in Monterey), he went to work at Rostelsat- a division of The Russian Space Agency- in Moscow as an East Asia Specialist from 1999 to 2000. He stayed in Moscow for the next four years as Director of Special Operations for East and Central Asia at Loyd’s Aerospace Corp. In 2004, when the Clown-song called, he shifted his focus to Hospitality and Experiential Art, moving back to Los Angeles and buying an 80 room, rundown hotel in the middle of West Hollywood with his brother. The Petit Ermitage Hotel has since become a refuge for bon-vivantes, bohemians, and the occasional intergalactic space villain. Boasting hummingbird gardens, an expansive art collection, and eclectic rooftop bar and pool, the Petit is also home to multiple musical and burlesque residencies as well as immersive theater and dining events and even a pirate radio station consisting of music from live performances at the hotel and other personally curated selections. In 2009, Stefan founded the Cirque Gitane Member’s club, a private community comprised of dreamers from all over the globe who create for a living and who support the creative arts. In 2014, Stefan developed a nomadic traveling circus for Cirque's Gypsy Royalty. Premiering at Burning Man, highlights included the Pussycat Lounge (a post-apocalyptic strip club), puppet shows, and the hosting of a thousand strong funeral procession for (and with the ashes of) the psychedelic pioneer Timothy Leary. Stefan spends the rest of his energy distilling the elixir of Mexican Gods, masterminding urban mischief operations, and developing other experiential art. In 2016, he co-founded the Bombay Beach Biennale with Tao Ruspoli and Lily White.