9/6/2012 Coming soon: Chinatown and John Walton, Owens Lake, Water Wars at the Maturango
As summer edges closer and closer to September, our members filter back from field work, visiting friends and family, traveling, and roaming the mountains that define the borders of the Owens Valley. Whether you worked, wandered, or stayed close to home, we hope your summer went well.

Among returning friends, we're happy to announce that John Walton, a University of California, Davis research professor and the author of "Western Times and Water Wars," will be visiting the Owens Valley for two events this September. Mike Prather and the Eastern Sierra Audubon Society will also greet our avian friends for the annual Owens Lake Fall Big Day this August. Read on for details!

August 21, 2012-- Owens Lake Fall Big Day
Eastern Sierra Audubon Society
Location: Diaz Lake Parking lot in Lone Pine and Owens Lake
Time: Meet at 7:00 a.m.

The data that we gather will be used in the management of habitat and birds by LADWP, Audubon, State Lands Commission and CA DFG. Your commitment to Owens Lake in real terms is invaluable. Meet at 7:00 a.m. at the Diaz Lake parking lot. We will have a brief introduction and then get out on the lake in small groups. Car pooling is helpful, although not required. Roads are unpaved, but good. Bring a safety vest if you have one. We will provide them as well. For more information and to sign up, contact Mike Prather at 760-876-5807 or See for more information.

September 5, 2012--John Walton: Chinatown and the Owens Valley
Owens Valley Committee
Location: Lone Pine Film History Museum, 701 South Main Street, Lone Pine, CA
Time: 7:00-8:30 p.m.

Roman Polanski's 1974 film "Chinatown" is included on every list of the 100 (or 50) best movies. The film is based on the water wars between Los Angeles and Owens Valley in the early twentieth century, although Robert Towne's screen play takes many liberties with the historical facts, moving events to the late 1930s and casting the political conflict as a conspiracy and murder mystery. Nevertheless, "Chinatown" has come to be understood as the real history and that understanding, in turn, has influenced the citizen movement which has succeeded in reclaiming some of the valley's water and habitat. Professor Walton's talk will include clips from the film and will examine the film in historical context and the origins and consequences of "Chinatown."

September 6, 2012--John Walton: Western Times and Water Wars revisited, with a short presentation by the Owens Valley Committee
Maturango Museum Lecture Series
Location: Maturango Museum, 100 East Las Flores Ave, Ridgecrest, California
Time: Doors open at 7:00 p.m. and lecture begins at 7:30 p.m.

Professor Walton is the author of the 1993 book "Western Times and Water Wars," available from UC Press. UC Press describes "Western Times and Water Wars" as chronicling "more than a hundred years of tumultuous events in the history of California's Owens Valley. From the pioneer conquest of the native inhabitants to the infamous destruction of the valley's agrarian economy by water-hungry Los Angeles, this legendary setting is a microcosm of the development of the American West." A reviewer writing for "The Virginia Quarterly Review" described the book as "one of the half-dozen most important works in historical sociology by an American scholar."

Professor Walton will revisit his book on Owens Valley water wars as well as update us about some of the West's ongoing water fights, fracases, and bust-ups. Mark Bagley, Executive Director of the Owens Valley Committee (OVC), will introduce Professor Walton and make a short presentation about OVC's current work.

Contacts:    Phone: