Damnation is a documentary by Ben Knight and Travis Rummel that explores the way the building of dams across the United States has altered landscapes. In this short excerpt from the film they talk to Katie Lee, Hollywood starlet turned activist who ‘walked naked through Glen Canyon’.
Placed throughout the interview are a series of incredible photographs taken inside the canyon featuring an evocative Lee, which has now been flooded by the lake created when the dam was installed. Despite the passive photographs, Lee now in her 90s quite candidly tells the interviewer about Floyd Dominy who organised the canyon’s destruction “No I’ve never met him, I’d have cut his balls off if I’d have met him”.
As part of a small group of river runners, Katie joined other activists in documenting what was soon to be lost in a place she calls “better than Eden.” From some of the scenes visited during the film we can see why. Destroying an historic site such as this today would be unthinkable.
Two guys and me, it seemed to be a pattern, one of ’em being old enough almost be my father and Ted an old friend that I’ve known since I was in high school, and one’s a photographer and the other one knows the river very well, Frank. Just friends, none of this hanky-panky, nobody’s trying to get laid, we’re just all enchanted by what’s around us.
Katie Lee has a website (turn your volume down) where you can buy signed prints of her as the desert goddess amongst some of her other musical work.
One colour image that is shown, appears to show three tiny figures in a huge canyon. Of course now this is covered by water.
Finally, Lee was asked the question which only she will know the answer to:
“What was it like to walk naked through Glen Canyon?”
To which Lee responded:
“It was absolutely the most natural thing in the world”