Lords of Bakersfield
Noveltown • Paperback • 978-0977020904
Release date: October, 2005
Belardes’s vanity press novel, inspired by a phone call from historian John Arthur Maynard, has a strange cult following in Central California. Belardes has received weird emails (which he collects), been told strange cryptic messages, and been given warnings at book readings and over the phone by ex-Bakersfield Police Department cops. Once while a managing editor at ABC 23 a small town political figure called him up and told him that the “Lords of Bakersfield have moved to Taft!” Basically a lot of paranoia has been stirred up with the novel, which Belardes once mentioned while on Coast to Coast AM with George Noory. Swearing more than once to burn all remaining copies, his friends unfortunately won’t let him.
The Hollywood movie storms of 1977, where films like Star Wars and Close Encounters spawned a maelstrom of epic adventure and wonder for kids everywhere, also spawned another breed of child. Bitter, alienated, and lost in the punk-influenced beginnings of a feel-good era of disco-inflamed junkies, Joey Minstrel wanders Hollywood’s backyard where the Lords of Bakersfield prey on kids like him. The story is a fictitious account of Robert Mistriel and his involvement with the Lords of Bakersfield, an urban legend of the late 1970s and early 1980s where members of both the law and media killed for lust and power.
“Belardes weaves the fog of humanness into a novel of boyhood decay” —Tony Blanche
“The corruption of the San Joaquin from its stormy media center.” —Michael Forrest
“The cult classic on Bakersfield for years to come.” —Al Guevara
“…a wild-eyed conspiracy theorist.” —Robert Price, columnist, Bakersfield Californian
This disturbing five-minute short by Hectic Films won the “Cinema of the Lords” contest in 2006.