There was time when the Salton Sea, tucked into the southeast corner of California was known as the Riviera of the West —
a haven for jetsetters and vacationers.
It is now called one of America's worst ecological disasters: a fetid, stagnant, salty lake, coughing up dead fish and birds by the thousands. Yet a
few hardy eccentrics hang on to hope, including a roadside nudist
waving at passing European tourists, a man building a religious mountain out of mud and
paint, beer-loving Hungarian Revolutionary Hunky Daddy, and the real-estate ‘Ronald McDonald’ known simply as The Landman. Through their perceptions and
misperceptions, the strange history and unexpected beauty of the Salton Sea is revealed.
Accidentally created by an engineering error in 1905, reworked in the 50s as a world class vacation destination for the rich and famous, and then
suddenly abandoned after a series of hurricanes, floods, and fish die-offs, the Salton Sea has a bittersweet past. Congressman Sonny Bono was once
dedicated to saving the lake… until he went skiing one day.
While Plagues and Pleasures covers the economic, political, and environmental issues that face the sea, it more importantly offers up an offbeat
portrait of the eccentric and individualistic people who populate its shores. It is an epic western tale of fantastic real estate ventures and failed
boomtowns, inner-city gangs fleeing to white small town America, and the subjective notion of success and failure amidst the ruins of the past.
Hair-raising and hilarious, part history lesson, part cautionary tale and part portrait of one of the strangest communities you’ve ever seen, this is the
American Dream gone as stinky as a dead carp.
Narrated by the legendary independent film cult-icon John Waters.
Boise Centre on the Grove, Friday, September 30th at 9:30pm
The Flicks, Saturday, October 1st at 12:15pm