Death Valley Ballet
January 19, 2007 5:48 PM   Subscribe

posted by cortex at 5:56 PM on January 19, 2007

I happened to listen to a very brief segment about Marta on Radiolab yesterday. It's at about the 6 minute mark.
posted by Manjusri at 6:04 PM on January 19, 2007

When you are driving by there this is one of the most quirkiest, fascinating things to see.
posted by vacapinta at 6:23 PM on January 19, 2007

I remember seeing this on TV years back. Glad to see she's still at it!
posted by Smart Dalek at 7:17 PM on January 19, 2007

I've stayed at the hotel and seen the performance. It's worth doing, but to be honest a little spooky, and one is quick to get on out in the morning. Something about all those shouting faces painted on the wall...
posted by escabeche at 7:58 PM on January 19, 2007

It is very quirky. My grandmother and I saw her perform in 1994. There are lots of tourists in the area, and not a lot of entertainment choices, so the audience was full of Germans and Japanese. Nobody knew what to expect. The theater was decorated with a mural of an Elizabethan theater scene (painted by Marta herself). We were rivited to her dance because it is amazing that she could still perform, and we were cheering for her not to break a hip. Its whatever happened to baby Jane meets Northern Exposure. I was left with admiration for her for doing just what she wants.
posted by samsaunt at 8:02 PM on January 19, 2007

A math teacher I know told me of seeing Marta on his drive back to missouri after coming home from Vietnam. I figured it was just something I missed out on. Now I know I need to get back out there.
posted by notsnot at 8:22 PM on January 19, 2007

Flickr photos
posted by vacapinta at 8:57 PM on January 19, 2007

I'm not exactly sure why, but I found this remarkably beautiful and inspiring. Thanks for the post - and the Flickr photos.
posted by freebird at 9:04 PM on January 19, 2007

I had the pleasure of seeing the show a few years back. samsaunt has the best description I've seen: Baby Jane meets Northern Exposure pretty much sums it up. Maybe add a dash of Sunset Boulevard as well: Entertaining, quirky, but kind of creepy.

Marta's partner, Tom Willett was a highlight of the show. Apparently he had no formal acting training but the guy was a natural comedian. Sadly he passed away back in 2005 and it leaves me wondering what the show's like now.
posted by Opposite George at 9:16 PM on January 19, 2007

The opera house is in Death Valley Junction, which is not Death Valley. The valley is about 20 miles away and 2000 ft lower.
posted by antipasta_explosion at 10:18 PM on January 19, 2007

My mother bought a Marta Becket painting in Greenwich Village about 40 years ago. The family still has it. Just thought I'd mention it.
posted by QuietDesperation at 11:58 PM on January 19, 2007

Thanks for posting this. In the 1980s I used to go through that area a lot, but barely had money for food, let alone entertainment, so I never stopped in. What a surprise to find that the grand dame is still dancing in 2007, and I (at the moment only some 2,740 miles away) still have the opportunity.
posted by LeLiLo at 1:58 AM on January 20, 2007

This is fascinating, incredible. It's like the dream screenplay for a Wim Wenders movie. Thanks for this post, ohwhydididoit, and to vacapinta, too, for the Flickr set which really helped bring it to life. Amazing!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:57 AM on January 20, 2007

Wow, thanks vacapinta!

I'm fascinated, too. I want to go see her while she's still performing.
posted by owhydididoit at 9:42 AM on January 20, 2007

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