Tuesday, 27 November 2012

"Portraits and Voices of the Salton Sea" Events coming up in December!!!

Here is your chance to find out more about the Salton Sea and the people who live and/or work there! Curious to know more about the Salton Sea and what really goes on there? Live in San Diego County?Or in the Coachella Valley?

First up:

In the Del Mar Art Center on the 9th of December from 3-6pm:

A brief book reading at the beginning and then individual q&a and book signing! Refreshments will be served.


And the flyer:

The following day, Monday the 10th of December, brings me back to the Coachella Valley!

To the artist reception for a three person show at the Palm Desert Community Gallery for a show entitled "Portraits of the Desert" from 5.30pm-7pm.


Super excited about that as well!!

Refreshments will be served! Hope to see you there!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Sometimes speaking is better said through dancing

"Big Apple Activism" Nobody could have said it better than the people at Swing the Doc (https://www.facebook.com/swingthedoc - a soon to be awesome swing dance documentary. oh mygod i am so so excited!!!).  


Since I can't lindy at the Salton Sea, I decided to go and do my most favourite routine ever. Done a couple of Charlestons improvs, it was time for the "Big Apple".

Did have a prettier view to begin with, but the ground was dusty fluff and could't even do anything without sinking into it.

Why am I dancing? Because I love it. And I am out here as I love this area. And well not many other people who lindy hop out here. So it became a matter of taking things into my own hands and doing what I can.

It is to point out the tragedy that will be the Salton Sea, if the water levels are not maintained. The air would be laden with dust and dust clouds. Anyone dancing out there would not be able to breathe properly. In fact, the Imperial Valley, one of the valleys in which the Salton Sea is located already has a high percent of kids of asthma. It is always the most vulnerable that suffer. It does not have to be this way.

Though I welcome any dancer to come and do a routine/social/whatever with me on the shoreline of the Salton Sea.

Massive thank you to Nikki Santilli for showing me the Big Apple! An inspiration she is!!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Photos from the Annual Beach Clean-Up at the Salton Sea, Salton City site

This last Saturday, the 10th of November, was the official California Coastal Commission Beach Clean-Up event at the Salton Sea. There were two locations, here are photos taken at the Salton City location.

A lot was taken care of on the Saturday in the area at the Old Yacht Club in Salton City. The shoreline looks great! And we can be sure that all those items that had been littering the shoreline no longer pose a threat to the Sea as they have been removed.

But so much remains to be done. Living in windy conditions certainly helps spread the litter around that is not locked in and shut tight and indoors. As the winds here blow primarily out of the West, the areas near the Sea are most effected, at least here on the west side of the Sea.

On Friday night, I was given information by a Salton City resident, Andrew Lawrence, about another totally trashed site right by a bird sanctuary at the shoreline in Salton City.  Andrew and another participant, Ivan Soto, undertook to clean it as a last minute item on the agenda. The second site was in such bad shape that the cleaning for it continued into the Sunday.

A massive huge thanks to the following participants for getting their hands and knees dirty and coming out on a Saturday to pick up the litter, in particular those that made their way all the way from El Centro to Salton City - a 100 mile round trip.

Susan Millan, Richard Cordero III, Judith Cordero, Freddie Jiminez, Maria Valencia, Alexandra Corrales, Lila Limon, Ivan Soto (all from El Centro!), Rick Davis (site coordinator!), Olivia Alejandro, Maria C Perez, George Mohoff, Andrew Lawrence, Bob Brodie,  and Gerri Dunham.

Also: I wish to extend my thanks to Fredda Stephens, Park Ranger Extraordinaire, over at the Salton Sea State Recreation Area.  The three partipants who volunteered at the State Recreation Area are: 
Marcella Reinert Humberford, Larry Goodwin, Doug Kroll   
Thank you to all for making the effort.

Susan Millan is a wonderful teacher who bought out three of her students and I hope they enjoyed their day and learned a lot about the Salton Sea.

Total participants for the Salton Sea Clean-Up 2012: 18

Massive thank you to: Burrtec for the dumpsters and Dave at the Salton City Dump; Red Earth Casino for the bowl of home-made chips for the post clean-up food, Coachella Valley Water District for the Water; The Dome in Vista Del Mar for opening its doors to the hungry and tired volunteers and Terry Weiner at the Desert Protective Council for her help with promoting the event. 

Photo: S Millan

 Photo: S. Millan

The Clean Up Crew hard at work

Carmen and George at the dumpsters

A small section of the 25ft barbed wire fence

Only a very small section of what we found South Marina facing the Old Yacht Club looking east.

Olivia at the edge of that field.

At the other site near the Bird Santuary: Pre-clean up and Post...

 All Photos in the above section: A.Lawrence

Dumpster at the Old Yacht Club site. More was yet to be dumped!!

Weird items found: Poker Chip, a complete dresser in pieces, a couple of family photographs, one pair of men's underpants right at the shoreline (I wonder: did someone take a nudie dip and forget to put their underpants back on?), and... a dildo. And tires. So many tires. All over. The shoreline of the Salton Sea appears to be a prime target for people who dump tires.

Here an aerial shot - at this point one of the dumpsters had been taken already.

Photo below: S. Magdaleno

So: the decision has been reached to organise another Clean-Up for January or February.  Details to follow.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

The Portrait and Voice of Andrzej Pyrka in "Portraits and Voices of the Salton Sea"

Andrzej Pyrka

Andrzej, a friend of roughly 15 years, came to visit me in Salton City just recently for less than 24 hours. It was great to have him visit, as I do love having visitors and love showing people around the Sea and passing on what knowledge I have gained on this stunning and complex area. We did what we could in this brief time, which included a trip once all around the Sea, a stop at North Shore, the Salton Sea State Recreation Area, Salvation Mountain and the Wheels of Karma and War, the mudpots, Red Hill Marina, and driving along the shoreline just South of Sonny Bono. Unfortunately we had to hightail it after that (until the border patrol, where it was slowtailing it for some time) back to Salton City as he had to get back to LA that same evening.

After he left I wrote him asking whether he would like to participate by answering a few questions I had with regards to his visit to this area and he agreed. Here is the result. Thank you for taking your time for this interview!

*If you could please introduce yourself*

I am Andrzej Pyrka, was born in Poland, grew up in Germany, have lived in France, 
the US, Mexico and Belgium at some point in my life and now work in Singapore. 
Am a political scientist working for a consulting company and feel very passionate 
about traveling - especially to the hidden gems of the world, where you don't 
encounter busloads of other tourists.

*What were your first impressions? You had mentioned coming out here with 
contradicting views of the Salton Sea. Could you expand a little on that?*

Since I knew that you are enthusiastic about the region and I trust your judgment, 
it was not MY contradicting views that I came with. I was very much looking forward 
and expecting it to be nice after I had heard so many interesting things about the 
Sea. But it is true that the people that I told I was driving out to the Salton 
Sea were very divided in what they had to say about it. Some said it was a great 
and beautiful place, others would almost 'warn' me to come out here claiming that 
it was a boring and gloomy area and that it was not worth my time. It seems that 
among people living in LA the Salton Sea has a reputation of being the 
'end of the world', a godforsaken place that one should stay away from. People do 
not know much about the sea, but what they know - e.g. the military tests in the 
nearby mountains, the dead fish, the smell - scares them away.

*What was your favorite part? And your least favorite part?*

Interestingly, it's exactly this 'scary' and supposedly unattractive element about 
the Salton Sea that makes it so attractive and special to me - I remember arriving 
at the North Shore in the morning and looking across the Sea that was lying there 
peacefully in beautiful light and with Pelicans and Cranes creating a picturesque 
scenery. Such images one usually only gets to share with a huge number of other 
viewers, tourists, photographers. I was trying to think of comparable places I had 
been to earlier, that were as easily accessible and of similar beauty, for example 
a lake in the Austrian alps. On a Saturday morning, such a mountain lake would 
have been full with people, and it would have been virtually impossible to witness 
this solemn and sublime 'zen' atmosphere for the crowds running around. Since the 
Salton Sea seems to scare more people away than it attracts these days, the visitor
can experience unspoilt and almost unshared beauty.
The least favorite part is that all the beauty and special character of the place 
is tainted by the feeling of decay that is difficult to shake off.
Anywhere one looks and goes, there are abandoned buildings, foreclosed houses, 
stories about the Sea's former glory and alarming news about a disappearing lake. 
This of course is not very uplifting, and all this is difficult to forget while 
discovering the beauty of the place. It's like meeting a wonderful person and 
finding out that this person has been infected with an incurable disease that will 
soon lead to certain death.

*The Salton Sea has been in the news quite often recently due to the stench 
that reached LA. Even all the way in Germany, where you keep up with the news, it 
had made the magazines. Do you think that this has a positive or negative effect 
on the Salton Sea?*

The positive/negative depends a bit on what one think is best for the Salton Sea at 
the moment. If the focus is on waking up policy-makers so they get start taking 
action regarding the Sea's most pressing issues, I think recent global media 
attention is certainly great. Just imagine high-ranking Californian officials 
being asked by a delegation on visit from Germany what the matter was with that 
stinking sea and what was being done about it. The officials will certainly want 
to have a good response to that. If the goal is to attract tourists, I don't think 
recent media reports have done the Salton Sea good. With all the more famous 
tourist attractions across the US, nobody will reserve a weekend to drive out to a 
smelly place; at best such reports will draw 'urban explorers' to come to Salton, 
the type of people that get a kick out of discovering abandoned buildings and 
sites and doing sort of a 'forbidden tourism'.