top of page


The Legendary Story of the Ballona Creek (2023)

Click here to see the reel for Ebb&Flow @ TheCreek Festival.

Book Cover: Japanese futon mattress vacuum bag.

Book: Christmas string lights, Adventure 16 sticker, plastic storage bin lids, plastic coffee cup lids, Philz Coffee Gusseted Foil Coffee Bags, black plastic trays, mylar Happy Birthday balloons, CDs, men's swim trunks, polyethylene foam sheet, Amazon bubble lined plastic bags, blue plastic container, chopping board, Bodhi Meditation non-woven polypropylene bag, refrigerator shelf, crimped curling ribbon.

All materials used in the making of this book was from items found in the house and in the neighborhood. (Yes, even the crimped curling ribbon from receiving gifts!) 2023.


The Legendary Story of the Ballona Creek

Created by Shoji Yamasaki

Written in collaboration with Heidi Duckler Dance, Ballona Creek Renaissance, and Heal the Bay.

For Heidi Duckler Dance: Ebb & Flow @ TheCreek



Once upon a time, in the bosom of the unceded ancestral lands of the Gabrieleno-Tongva, where it is originally and is still inhabited and cared for by the Native First Peoples of the region, lay 9-mile long Ballona Creek where sycamore and willow trees swayed, and El Segundo Blue Butterflies fluttered. As the city developed, they transformed the natural habitat into a massive storm drain, lining with rocks quarried from Catalina Island and applied with concrete and so many of the native flora and fauna have diminished since then. All the littered trash in the LA Basin would eventually make its way through the storm drain to the Ballona Creek and is now known to be the biggest polluter of Santa Monica Bay! Because of all the trash that flowed through the creek, it also became a place for sightings of mysterious entities called Trash Fairies that only appear when a group of kind-hearted souls gather in the Ballona Creek to clean up trash!

One day, in the middle of September, the Ballona Creek Renaissance and Heal the Bay decided to do a clean up day. Many volunteers gathered in the morning to make the Ballona Creek free of trash and invasive plants! They all signed a waiver and on the table was a piece of paper that read:

Creek Clean-up Safety Tips 

  • Make sure you have signed a liability waiver. 

  • Wear gloves and closed toe shoes at all times. 

  • Do not pick up dead animals or attempt to move an injured animal. 

  • Do not lift anything too heavy. 

  • Minors 14 and under must be supervised at all times by their parent or a legal guardian. 

  • Do not approach bird nests. If seen, please alert Creek captain and avoid the area. 

  • Be careful of rocky or unsafe terrain and do not go in any locations that appear to be unsafe. 

  • Be careful of muddy and slippery rocks along the banks of the creek. 

  • Be careful of the current and the water. Do not go in the water.

  • Be careful of syringes, hypodermic needles, sharp objects, waste materials, or anything of which you are not sure. If syringes are found, collect them separately and place them in the syringe box. 

  • Be mindful of homeless encampments and do not pick up their sites. 

  • Be careful of over-exertion, sunburn, heat exhaustion, and dehydration. When in doubt, come in early. It’s better to be safe than sorry. 

  • Stay with the group. 

  • Notify your area leader or Creek captain of any emergencies or accidents.


Everybody agreed and were ecstatic to enter the creek when suddenly, a group of trash fairies surrounded them, and they guided them down the creek on a magical tour where many of their friends celebrated their arrival with song and dance! 

After all was done, the Trash Fairies circled the audience under the bridge and disappeared into the creek.

And they lived happily ever after. 


bottom of page