Plagues & Pleasures on the Salton Sea
A feature documentary by Chris Metzler & Jeff Springer

DISCOUNTS FOR THIS SHOW: $5 for members of the Architecture League (use discount code ARCHI1) and the Park Slope Food Coop (use discount code COOP1) when buying tickets online. You must present your valid membership card at the door to gain admittance at this price.

Saturday, July 15th, 2006
8:30 - Live Music by Hero Park and
a slideshow by Dillon DeWaters (click for details)
9:00 - Showtime
TRT: 1:10:34

On the roof of The Old American Can Factory | DIRECTIONS
232 3rd Street @ 3rd Avenue, Gowanus, Brooklyn
In the event of rain the show is indoors at the same location.

SPECIAL NOTE: Capacity on the rooftop is limited to 200 people. In the event we sell out the roof in advance, we will be accepting walk-up patrons for our lovely courtyard. The best way to guarantee yourself a spot on the roof is to buy a ticket in advance.

Plagues & Pleasures on the Salton Sea
Once known as the "California Riviera", the Salton Sea 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 himself was once dedicated to saving the lake, until he went skiing one day¼

Now among the ruins of this man-made mistake, these few remaining people struggle to keep a remodelled version of the dream alive. However, this most unique community is now threatened by the nearby megalopolises of Los Angeles and San Diego, as they attempt to take the agricultural run-off that barely sustains the sea. The fate of this so-called ecological time bomb and the community that surrounds it remain uncertain, as the Salton Sea might just dry up.

While Plagues & Pleasures covers the historical, 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.

Press for Plagues & Pleasures on the Salton Sea:
"Jaunty and fun, with a cast of colorful locals who make the residents of Vernon, Florida seem normal."

"It's a winner. This odd, but accessible documentary is reminiscent of Errol Morris' early work¼ Metzler & Springer are no less talented."
     —Pitch Weekly

"The human heart is found in the oddball locals, as Metzler and Springer eschew the role of muckraking filmmakers, training their lens on the lake and letting it tell its calamitous and complicated tale."
     —Albuquerque Tribune

The film will be preceded by shorts:

Codices (Erika Suderburg | Los Angeles, CA | 4:04)
Gorgeous time-lapse photography and an imaginative sound design document the decay of civilizations and the eerie timelessness of forgotten monuments.

The Deadpool (Ryan Muir | Staten Island, NY | 9:06)
The Deadpool is a place in the New York City harbor where old boats go to die. Tugs, ferries, scooners and the like all find their final resting place here. Nearly forgotten are the men and women who worked on these ships and served on the water for many years, this is their story.

Hero Park: Originally from Staten Island, this trio have collaborated over the past 10 years on various recording projects, including Translucent Songs, Nautical Themes, Johnson, and the Snug Harbor Project. At times separated by many miles (working between such places as Arizona, Los Angeles, Staten Island and Brooklyn), they have managed to continue making thoughtful, melancholy, dissonant songs of love, death and living. This will be their debut show as Hero Park, which is: Dillon DeWaters on rhythm guitar and vocals; Jason Tribiano on guitar; and Robert Realmuto on computer/keyboards.

Visit them on MySpace,

Dillon DeWaters is a Fort Greene, Brooklyn-based photographer who photographed the deserts of Nevada, California, and Arizona extensively when living in Tempe for seven years. These haunting, cross-processed images of the Salton Sea were shot in 2003. His current body of work, Relative Strangers, focuses on Staten Island, Connecticut, and Georgia.