By Frances Allen
Do you think movies today are derivative, with little meaningful content, leaving you hungry for more? If so, the just announced partnership between the Palm Springs International Film Society and the Palm Springs Art Museum is sure to whet your appetite. These two organizations have combined to present Mark Cousins’ epic 15-hour “The History of Film: An Odyssey,”
This film covers the period from 1895 to 2000 and beyond, as it takes the viewer on a worldwide guided tour of the greatest movies ever made telling the story of international cinema through the history of cinematic. Because the film is 15 hours in length, (Who can hold their bladder that long?), the screenings will be shown over the course of eight consecutive weeks beginning Sunday, Sept. 9 at 2:00 p.m.. (All screenings except the one scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 15th at 2:00 p.m.) will take place on Sundays. Each 2 1/2-hour program features a brief introduction, followed by the screening of two one-hour installments of “The Story of Film: An Odyssey” and concludes with a guided discussion. The program will be presented at the Palm Springs Art Museum’s third floor lecture hall located at 101 Museum Drive in downtown Palm Springs.
Passes for the series are $75; but only $50 for International Film Society and Art Members. Tickets for individual screenings will be available on a space-permitting basis on the day of the screening. More information is available by calling (760) 322-2930.
Leonard Knight of Salvation Mountain
You don’t have to be crazy to live in the Desert, but it helps. However, even more than the right mental state, you need tenacity. This fact, and the swarm of low-energy earthquakes that shook up the Desert recently, brings to mind the story of Desert resident, Leonard Knight and Salvation Mountain, his creation of love on the barren, hard-scrabble ground outside the city of Niland, about 80 miles southeast of Palm Springs.
Knight’s mission in life was to spread the message that “God is Love,” and his way of spreading this message was by flying across the country in a balloon with those three words stitched on the craft’s gas bag.
However, Knight lasted longer than the fabric on his balloon did and when he landed in Niland – a location that certainly wouldn’t have been anyone’s first choice – the balloon was declared un-fit to fly any farther.
So Knight, who only planned to spend a week in Niland, decided to make a small reminder of his mission. Using half a bag of cement to start, he fashioned a small monument, which over the following three decades (he had decided to stay around Niland) grew into a more than that 50-foot pile of brightly-painted, garbage-dump items piled up against a now-dry riverbed. Any exposed space not painted was filled in with sand and cement.
Then, after nearly four years of work, the mountain collapsed into itself leaving just a heap of rubble on the desert floor. Knight thanked the Lord for showing him that the mountain wasn’t safe, and he vowed to start over, which he did with a vengeance.
Knight rebuilt his mountain over the next several years, this time using adobe mixed with straw to hold it all together. All the visual components of the mountain were still coated with paint of random colors; the more paint the better, as the paint slows down rain and wind erosion.
Knight’s construction philosophy: The more paint, the thicker the coat, the better and stronger it becomes. Knight did not ask for donations, but people came from all over to give him things … and paint, preferably acrylic. Estimates are that he has put well over 100,000 gallons of paint on his mountain.
Salvation Mountain, which has offered salvation to the many visitors, up to about 1,000 a week during the season, is itself in need of being saved. It has recently filed papers to be a nonprofit corporation, but the need for support now that Knight is no longer on scene is as urgent as ever, materials and labor. So, if you physically can’t help save Salvation Mountain, remember the next time you’re in a Home Depot: paint, preferably acrylic, any color. Or, for ways to help, visit Salvation Mountain’s Web site at www.salvationmountain.us.
Fantasy Springs Hosts Benefit For Well in the Desert
Need knows no season, and the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians and their Fantasy Springs Resort Casino located in Indio have recognized this fact with a special program featuring the music of Cole Porter on Sept. 19, benefiting The Cabazon Band of Mission Indians is a major supporter of Well in the Desert, which provides food to Coachella Valley. Tickets to the 7 p.m. benefit, titled “Red Hot and Cole,” are $40 and include a light buffet. All proceeds from the event go to Well in the Desert’s food programs, feeding more than 5,000 of the Valley’s hungry each month. They can be purchased at (800) 827-2946.