To skirt seriously cold weather on our way back home we headed to Death Valley California. I?m so glad we did, the high desert landscape is gorgeous, we soaked our bones in natural hot springs, and visited China Ranch, a thriving date farm in a remote backwater oasis. The highlight came at Death Valley Junction, a lost but not forgotten ghost town.
I recognized the white bleached buildings of the Amargosa Opera House from an
Emmy winning documentary Amargosa about Marta Beckett. Marta, a classically trained New York ballerina and her husband landed in this dusty desert outpost in 1967. For 50 years she singlehandedly restored an abandoned social hall into her beloved theatre and stage. Painstakingly she hand painted all the astonishing murals on the walls and ceilings. Renaissance style paintings of the audience she imagined would come to see her plays. She wrote and performed her own works on stage often to an empty house, she persevered. Her husband left her, she persevered. When no one came to see her performances, she persevered. After a bit of notoriety from the press and packed houses she persevered until her last performance at the age of 86 in 2012. Marta passed in 2017 a creative passionate spirit until the end.
We were lucky to catch a fabulous Native American concert by Steve Rushingwind and view the interior of this amazing landmark. ( woodstove and all ) Thank you Marta Becket your legacy lives on.