Katie Lee, now 94 years old, may be seeing the edges of her considerable legacy as one of the Southwest’s most outspoken environmental activists and authors. She just returned from Colorado from a screening of award-winning film “DamNation.” The Ghosts of Dandy Crossing, her newest book, has just been published by Ken Sanders’ Dream Garden Press. And Hance Editions in Flagstaff has just released a special edition of a dozen black and white prints taken by Martin D. Koehler of a nude Katie at 37 years old in the canyons she so loved. No wonder Katie Lee is in a triple tizzy.
Glen Canyon Betrayed
Katie Lee is a remarkable woman. Ever since Glen Canyon was buried by Reservoir Powell, Katie Lee has sung, stomped, photographed, written about, fought to let the Colorado River run free. She has inspired many to reconsider the issue of dams, particularly the ‘deadbeat’ dams that are have become obsolete, and to consider the environmental damage they have spawned. The words “Dam Dams” is the license plate of her Prius.
Katie Lee makes audiences cry when she shows her photographs of the old Glen Canyon and describes what was lost. Her book Glen Canyon Betrayed is a paean to a place perhaps more beautiful than the Grand Canyon. She is one of the few writers I know that can weave you into the magic spell that these Southwest canyons create.
Naked Katie: Classic Portraits
The limited edition of black and white portraits of Katie Lee at 37 years old is now available from Hance Editions, http://katie-lee.hanceeditions.com/about-us.
Anyone who has ever hiked or boated with Katie in the wilderness knows she will shed her clothes as quickly as she possibly can, and not put them on again until she gets close to her car. In her words, “I have been” hiking freely and in tune with nature for at least half of those years. When I met Glen Canyon it was love at first sight— a place far from the inbred taboos of our society— closer to a dreamland than to reality. I have never posed as a model and am not doing so here…only doing what I always did in Glen Canyon— climbing, dancing, walking, touching, talking to the stone, swimming in the river, lying in the shallows, sliding down the falls, crawling through ruins, inching up crevasses, hanging from tree limbs, covering myself with mud, playing, singing, living with the canyon. I can always tell when a model is photographed in a place she’s never seen or experienced before; it’s in body language that can’t be hidden.”
A poster of a nude Katie in Glen Canyon hangs in the offices of Patagonia outdoor clothing. www.patagonia.com
The Films: “DamNation” and “Wrenched”
In 2014, two films show Katie being interviewed and singing about the loss of Glen Canyon—“Wrenched” and “DamNation.” The next showing will be at the Mountain Film Festival in Telluride, Colorado, May 24-27. Check the schedule around May 15: http://www.mountainfilm.org/festival/schedule
“DamNation” is about America’s lost and endangered rivers and the dams that block them from running free. Producers Travis Rummel and Matt Stoecker dub Katie Lee “The Grand Dame of Dam Busting.” Stoecker recently wrote Katie Lee a letter: “I just wanted … to say how thankful I am to you for all you do and for being the heart and soul of our film. Every time we show it, folks come up after and are just in awe of you and teary eyed about what happened to Glen Canyon. Your description, humor, and pure joy while immersed in that beautify place is inspiring a lot of people to take up the sledgehammer and get ready for battle.” www.Damnationfilm.com
Producer ML Lincoln’s film “Wrenched” is a gut-wrenching documentary about the community of activists that were inspired by the work of Edward Abbey, who wrote so eloquently about the lonesome and beautiful places of the Southwest. Abbey fought with his pen to preserve them against the desecration of industries that care only for the money they produce. Today, profits from pollution are virtually synonymous with big business. www.Wrenched-themovie.com Katie Lee sings and talks her way right into your heart in that film.