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Sender: Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Fri, 25 Jul 2008 14:18:24 -0700
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From: Richard Reineccius <[log in to unmask]>
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The LA Times news stories time out after 7 days, but their latest printed
story and
much more about Mono Lake can be found at the website of the folks who
rescued it, the
Save Mono Lake Committee:
There's a documentary called The Battle for Mono Lake (1998) available.

"Krakatoa: East of Java" -- If you stand at the edge of the lake and look
binoculars at the small mountain on the larger island, you'll see that much
of the face
is actually false, a Hollywood set-maker's fake surface hiding chambers from
where fake
lava was poured out of smoking holes as the top blew off the peak. Enlarged,
it served
as the set for the eruption in the South Pacific in 1883. I think a normal
tourist is
not permitted on the islands.
(According to North Dakota scholars, the 1883 Krakatoa event all by itself
caused a
global warming season that raised temps 1.2C degrees, the effect lasting 5
years before
the world's temp returned to "normal."  ( Twain
witnessed the unusual skies, but I don't recall if/what he wrote about

(The featured 1883 eruption was a piker, though, compared to the greater
(Krakatau) one of 535 A.D., which was credited in a PBS special with
bringing on the
Dark Ages, and at least partially causing the defeat and ouster of the Celts
Europe, among its other victims.
Find more in (

Mono Lake's watershed is the northernmost source of water for the Los
Angeles Aqueduct,
which stole much of the Sierra Nevada east slope water, subject of Roman
"Chinatown," but wasn't part of the filmscript. The lake today sits 34 feet
below its
level when LA started the grab. By court order, it will gain back 8 of

A minor film that featured Mono Lake was a feature-length art/narrative film
"Shoot the Whale," by San Francisco/Oakland filmmaker Philip Makanna. A
un-named man pursues a red-haired, attractive chimera-like female at Mono,
Valley, Hoover Dam and a range of great sand dunes in Nevada. The music &
satire group
East Bay Sharks kept popping up in all unusual spots, Mono included. I
played the
lonely man, and damned near drowned in that alkali lake during a storm while
rowing a
leaky boat to the island. The film, though entertaining and deep (at least
to Philip)
never found a distributor. It did have a lot of good footage of the lake and
islands. Film schools here and there bought prints, I believe.
From what the locals told us, the Hollywood people did so much damage during
Krakatoa shooting they wouldn't ever be invited back.

There must be other films and music videos that have used the gorgeous Mono
Now there's an almost live webcam, updated every 5 minutes, for those who
long for a
look at the lake, on the page. There is a Mono County film
commission that
should know of any other filming at the lake.

Richard R, in San Francisco.