Plagues & Pleasures on the Salton Sea is a documentary film by Chris Metzler and Jeff Springer, with narration by John Waters and music by Friends of Dean Martinez. This offbeat and often humorous documentary tells the story of the accidental lake and environmental catastrophe known as the Salton Sea, located in the desert of Southern California, USA.
Once known as the "California Riviera", the Salton Sea is now called one of America's worst ecological disasters: a fetid, stagnant, salty lake, that coughs up dead fish and birds by the thousands in frequent die-offs that occur. However, amongst the ruins of this man-made mistake, a few remaining eccentrics (a roadside nudist, a religious folk artist, a Hungarian revolutionary, and real estate speculators) struggle to keep a remodeled version of the original Salton Sea dream alive.
The film shares these people's stories and their difficulties in keeping their unique community alive, as the nearby cities of Los Angeles and San Diego attempt to take the agricultural water run-off that barely sustains the Salton Sea. The film ultimately explores the historical, economic, political, and environmental issues that face the Salton Sea, while taking a closer look at the people who have chosen to live in what they see as a surreal paradise.