travel & art:: Death Valley Fantasy

Move over Michelangelo. In the remote California ghost town of Death Valley Junction stands the Amargosa Opera House, where for the past 33 years former New York dancer and artist Marta Becket has performed her own ballets in the small theater she spent seven years restoring and hand-painting with lively, colorful murals.

In 1967 Marta Beckett, a dancer and artist touring the US, got a flat tire in Death Valley, California and stumbled upon the abandoned Amargosa borax building & old run-down theatre. She purchased it the following year, eventually buying the town of Death Valley Junction in 1974. She created the Opera House, painting every inch of it with fantastical murals of medieval audiences, dancers and elaborate balconies and architectural dodads. There she gave performances, (dance, theatre, spoken word) every Saturday, sometimes to audiences of zero. But she didn't care because she had her "painted audience" to watch her!
I remember my sister telling me about this amazing theater that she had visited in the early 1970's - about the stunning murals that Marta painted and how Marta herself grew up in our own hometown of Niskayuna New York. After doing some research I found these fab photos of the theater which I find utterly incredible! The theater's centerpiece mural is of a King and Queen and when Marta performs, she is performing to them. Even now, at a young 82 years of age, this talented woman is still performing.

Watch her soon to be released documentary - Amargosa

If ever you are in Death Valley or near there, take the time to visit this unusual hotel and opera house. It is JUST COOL!

via the foo files

Other Related Posts


Dana said...

wow. the murals are gorgeous! I love the pictures.

kevin-avery said...

I enjoyed your post about Marta Becket.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her on two occasions, and wrote about her over at my blog MERE WORDS: