You can find people that are up for whatever, even groups of people willing to try anything. But entire towns? For three days, Bud Light will be constructing the town of Whatever, USA, where those who are up for whatever may gather and the most awesome, amazing, and unusual of things will happen. Not unlike, in some ways, these five amazing places.
Slab City, CA
In the 1940s, Slab City was better known as Camp Dunlap, an artillery training ground for soldiers during World War II. Once that wrapped up, Camp Dunlap wasn’t just closed; it was torn down, all except the concrete slabs that once supported the buildings. The result is a vast field of concrete slabs that you can do pretty much anything legal with. Want to spend twenty years building one of the largest works of art in the world? Go for it. Start a utopian society for artists powered entirely by solar panels? Go nuts! It’s one of the strangest and most beautiful places in California, and we know, that’s saying something.
Towns that lose industry only have a handful of options; they can try and find a new industry, they can reinvent themselves as a bedroom community, they can reincorporate with another town, or, if you’re part of the leadership of Helen, GA, you can just say “Eh, let’s turn the whole place into a Bavarian village and see what happens.”
Which is, no kidding, exactly what Helen did in 1969. In fact, under the law, every building, even the fast food franchises, must resemble an authentic Bavarian village. It may be a strange way to save your small town, but hey, it worked: Helen has been a popular tourist destination ever since.
You know how every Western you’ve ever seen always seems to take place in the exact same town? That’s because a huge number of Westerns were shot in Pioneertown, which was built entirely for that purpose. In fact, the idea was that the town would be built and entire casts and film crews could live in the buildings during the shoot, so nobody had to drive home.
Over time, it stopped being a live-in movie set out in the desert and became an actual, full-fledged town that Western reenactors and others still show up in. Also, oddly enough, the local bowling alley happens to be the longest continually operating bowling alley in the United States.
You don’t generally associate the English countryside with people being willing to try anything, but the people of Cerne Abbas have a surprising light-hearted streak. First of all, they live next to the Cerne Abbas Giant, a monument to, er, somebody. It’s not really clear who, but at some point in the past, somebody decided Cerne Abbas could really use a giant naked guy built in a chalk on a hill, and it’s been there ever since.
This, of course, being a national monument and a part of Britain’s past, the people of Cerne Abbas… happily let Fox draw a giant Homer Simpson with a donut right next to their giant. Well played, people of Cerne Abbas.
The Fake Boardwalk of Brooklyn
Boardwalk Empire is a show that spares no expense to capture the grit and beauty of Roaring Twenties Atlantic City. You might have wondered, watching it, how they managed to create such a seemingly perfect replica of a moment in time using CGI.
Easy. They didn’t. Instead the show spent $5 million building a replica boardwalk set in Brooklyn for the show to shoot on, and once they’re done with it, they’re giving it to Brooklyn. Hey, who doesn’t want their own free boardwalk?
Up for whatever? Prove it by submitting a 10 second audition video at UpForWhatever.com for your chance to go.