Performance art with mules

DWP manager James Yannotta with Lauren Bon

DWP manager James Yannotta with Lauren Bon

100  Mules  Off  to  Good  Start

By  Charles  James

If  one  person  can  be  “stubborn  as  a  mule”,  how  stubborn  could  100  mules  be?  If  you  were  the  least  bit   curious,  you  might  have  found  out  on  Friday  at  the  L.A.  Aqueduct  Intake  in  Aberdeen.  That  would  be  if   you  could  find  it!  There  was  considerable  confusion  over  exactly  where  the  event  was  kicking  off,  with   many  people  confusing  the  Intake  with  Aberdeen  Station.

True Owens Valley sentiments were expressed too.

True Owens Valley sentiments were expressed too.

A  plaque  ceremony  at  the  Intake  was  followed  by  a  12:30  p.m.  departure  of  100  mules  managed  by   Roesers  of  McGee  Creek  Pack  Station  recruited  by  artist  Lauren  Bon  of  Metabolic  Studio  to   commemorate  the  100th  Anniversary  of  the  L.A.  Aqueduct,  which  first  opened  in  1913.        On  hand  were  a  number  of  dignitaries,  including  Inyo  County  Supervisors  Linda  Arcularius,  Mark   Tillemans,  and  Matt  Kingsley.  Los  Angeles  Deputy  Mayor  Doane  Lui  sitting  atop  his  mule  was  also   traveling  south  with  the  group.

Also  on  hand  was  Jim  Yannotta,  Manager  of  the  Los  Angeles  Department  of  Water  and  Power  Aqueduct.     According  to  a  spokeswoman  for  Bonn,  “The  DWP  could  not  have  been  more  cooperative.  Lauren  feels   that  they  genuinely  pulled  out  all  the  stops  to  help  us  make  this  presentation  a  success.”      Use  of  the  mules  to  symbolize  the  100th  Anniversary  of  the  Aqueduct  was  a  natural  choice.  Without  the   hundreds  of  mules  used  to  build  the  aqueduct,  it  is  unlikely  it  would  have  ever  been  built.  Stubbornness   has  also  been  a  common  hallmark  of  the  relationship  between  valley  residents  and  LADWP.

Traveling  all  the  way  to  Los  Angeles  took  some  serious  effort,  involving  some  serious  logistics.  To feed  and  water  mules  and  people  alone  would  have  been  a  challenge,  but  getting  all  of  the mules100 approvals  from   government  agencies  and  private  land  owners  to  traverse  the  240-­‐mile  trip  for  27  days  along  the  L.A.   Aqueduct  was  a  considerable  achievement  all  on  its  own.  Bon  hopes  the  performance  will  remind  Los   Angeles  residents  that  they  have  been  receiving  water  from  the  Owens  Valley  for  100  years.      Interested  readers  can  follow  the  100  Mules  Walking  the  Los  Angeles  Aqueduct  performance’s  progress   at  a  special  Facebook  online  site   https://www.facebook.com/OneHundredMulesWalkingtheLosAngelesAqueduct.

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Mongo The Idiot
Mongo The Idiot
9 years ago

I’d have to say that my favorite historical passage is one depicted in an old Inyo Register beneath an image of four children and their widowed mother. It reads… This woman’s husband, the father of this little family, broke under the strain of this valley’s water troubles, facing ruin for… Read more »

Ron Alexander
Ron Alexander
9 years ago

LADWP Aqueduct Manager Jim Yannotta told Eastern Sierra News at the plaque dedication ceremony of the 100th year anniversary of the LA aqueduct on October 18 that “We’ve been working in the Owens Valley here to protect the environment here and essentially it looks the same as it did a… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago
Reply to  Ron Alexander

I believe W.A. Chalfant and Will Rodgers and so many others who have documented the devastation of the Owens Valley. I knew Mary Gorman, the sister of the Watterson brothers who tried to fight the complete drain of water. She verified the destruction. Thank you, Ron Alexander for so eloquently… Read more »

"productiveness and charm"
"productiveness and charm"
9 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

DWP archaeologists uncover grim chapter in Owens Valley history Researchers believe that bullets, musket balls, cavalry uniform buttons and Native American artifacts found in Owens Lake point to the massacre of 35 Paiute Indians by settlers and soldiers in 1863. June 02, 2013|By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times LONE PINE,… Read more »

What comes around....
What comes around....
9 years ago
Reply to  Ron Alexander

Meanwhile, Lieut. Robert Daley, having returned from the Owens Valley, reported on conditions there: – December 3, 1863 “Sir: In accordance with orders from headquarters Department of the Pacific, I have the honor to make the following report relative to the Indians in Owen’s River Valley: I found Indian supplies… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
9 years ago

Art? Really? A political statement or a form of protest, even a means of educating the public I will buy, but this is emphatically not art. Where does such silliness come from?

Mongo The Idiot
Mongo The Idiot
9 years ago

This is a powerful ironic piece of art, it’s especially moving to see James Yannotta and Lauren Bon standing there together.
By the way; the Mules are absolutely beautiful!
I love the 100 blankets!
Best of luck on your journey!
Mongo

Michael Prather
Michael Prather
9 years ago

” Use of the mules to symbolize the 100th Anniversary of the Aqueduct was a natural choice. Without the hundreds of mules used to build the aqueduct, it is unlikely it would have ever been built. Stubbornness has also been a common hallmark of the relationship between valley residents and… Read more »

Charles James
Charles James
9 years ago

Michael, thank you for that very eloquent comment. James Thurber said, “Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.” Let’s hope that this very brilliant, creative and masterful performance by Lauren Bon has the effect of creating greater awareness of those of us… Read more »