Our sister organization, Diorama Room Arts has just made its, Tune in to Green – Exhibition Three live! The online show features 80-minutes of short films, under five minutes each, by artists who create in dialogue with nature. Artist statements and bios are also included. This show if full of color, music, and is decidedly rocky. The works include animation, 16mm film, and video. The trailer and rental link are below.
Featuring: Rachel Wagner – Columbus, Ohio; Jérémy Griffaud – Nice, France; Jay Roff-Garcia Venezuela & Austin, Texas; Anne-Katrin Speiss of New York, filming in Utah; Heidi Landau and Becky Mendizabal of Austin, filming in Utah; Stephanie Reid of Austin, filming in Bastrop; Jane Mast filming in Florida; Barbara and Dallas Rychener of Ohio filming in South Carolina; Lizzie Palumbo – Jeju Island, Republic of Korea; Asher Mains – Grenada, West Indies; Todd Rychener – Austin; gwen Charles – New Jersey; Anne Sophie Lorange – Norway; Dave Fields – Alaska; Roberto Turani – Milan filming in Tuscany and Lombardy; Florian Maricourt – France; Anna Bierler – Amsterdam; Elly Cho of New York and Seoul, filming in Thailand; Tina Šulc Resnik – Ljubljana, Slovenia; Wilson Kuzhur – Kerala, India; Salvatore Insana and Elisa Turco Liveri of Rome, filming in Cessalto; Deborah S. Phillips – Berlin; Emilie and Ralphe Crewe – Vancouver; Melissa Lockwood – Yavapai, Arizona; Maximilien Proctor – Berlin; gibberish – Los Angeles; Anna Berendsen – Geertruidenberg, The Netherlands; Laura Gillis – Toronto
There is a small fee to get a 72-hour streaming rental. However, starting your ad-free Vimeo account to view the show is free, and easy. Here’s how to get yours started: After you click the “Rent $7” button, it should ask you to Join or Log in. Enter your name, email address, and a password, then click “Join with email”. It will either log you in right away OR ask you to check your email for a message from them to confirm it’s really you.
Enjoy and please leave us a comment or like there after you watch it. Thanks!
Tune in to Green – Exhibition Two, features 60 fascinating minutes of video, animation, poetry, and sound created by 19 artists + supporting crew, whose practice is in dialogue with nature. Featuring: Jan Adamove filming in Slovakia and Croatia; Rachel Glasser, Stephanie Reid, Brooke Gassiot & Kate Csillagi, and Dane Rougeau – Austin, Texas; Mélissa Faivre, filming in Haarlem, Netherlands; Mateo Vargas filming in Costa Rica; Tamara Maksimović – Bosnia and Herzegovina; Manuel Rossi and Dario Ricciardi – Argentina; Jody Zellen – Los Angeles; Orsolya Gal – Romania; Linda Duvall filming in Treaty 6 Lands (Canada); Gwen Charles – New Jersey; Enrique Cabrera filming in Seattle; Muriel Montini and Calypso Debrot – France; Daniel Lofgren – New York.
There is a small fee to get a 72-hour streaming rental. However, starting your ad-free Vimeo account to view the show is free, and easy. Here’s how to get yours started: After you click the “Rent $7” button, it should ask you to Join or Log in. Enter your name, email address, and a password, then click “Join with email”. It will either log you in right away OR ask you to check your email for a message from them to confirm it’s really you.
Enjoy and please leave us a comment there after you watch it. Thanks!
Submissions for Exhibition Three are due by May 2nd at https://dioramaroom.com
Professional, semi-pro, and amateur video makers (even using cell phones on FHD mode) are encouraged to submit experimental, animated, vignette, and abstract films that create a dialogue between humans and nature, with a max. running time of 5-minutes.
There are still a couple of spots left for the second online exhibition of “Tune in to Green”. If you have a project that features nature and is 5 minutes or less, see the poster below. We have artist talks and help promote your work on social media. Some artists will also receive a small gift for helping us increase viewership. We assist those who have quality footage, but do not have editing tools, for example if you shot your footage in FHD on your cell phone. The call is open to all styles of film making – experimental, abstract, animated, and documentary all welcome. There is no entry fee. Our goal is to share our experiences in the out-of-doors during this time of social distancing.
Tune in to Green is a new series of video shorts created in 2020 and features experimental, animation, video poems, and high-quality footage by eight artists filming from Santa Fe, Austin, New Zealand, New York, and Canada. Stephanie Reid – Austin, TX; Fumihito Sugawara – Austin; Todd Rychener – Austin; Kathryn Alvarez – Vancouver Island; Beau Baco – NYC; Claudine Metrick – upstate NY; Jesse St. Louis and Samantha Andress – L.A./New Zealand; and Jane Sanders – Santa Fe. All videos 5 minutes or less. Total running time: 24 minutes
See the trailer or click the Rent $7.00 button below. This exhibition ended on February 22, 2021, so is no longer available to rent, but you can see a sampling of the works by watching the trailer below.
Submissions for the second online exhibition are due on February 8, 2021 at https://dioramaroom.com
Snap, crackle, popped pecan
Metal nutcracker on wheels
Grackles eat the crumbs
Haiku Flash Studios has just completed a poster, website, Vimeo, and Facebook pages for our new sister organization, Diorama Room, LLC, which may eventually become a non-profit and get a physical space if the online exhibitions are a success. Check it out:
Spending more time outside? Shooting some cool video? Spending more time in your film making studio? Submit your <5 minute shorts to the “Tune in to Green” online film series by November 8th! See the Call for Entry details at: https://dioramaroom.com
We were so fortunate to experience the NW with two weeks (Aug. 8th-22nd) of gorgeous weather and rain only happening at night. So many flowers were in bloom still and I was able to identify online, all of them but one. I met up with the Rycheners in Seattle, had a day there, we flew to Anchorage, rented an RV and rolled around Alaska. I went back to Washington to meet up with my dad for camping and the art opening where my latest studio work was being shown.
Sunset from the plane
Gray clouds close over
Orange sliver in the west
Like sleepy eyelids
Seagulls and a bald eagle. Sourdough bread and chowder sampler bread at Duke’s – seafood, clam, and lobster. A-Frame duplex covered in vibrant flowers. Monkey Puzzle Tree. Barnacle and black seaweed covered steps. Massive freight barge, heavy with train cars, floats slowly down the Puget Sound. Maple’s red seedpods. Salty air.
Museum of Pop Culture
I think this is going to be a museum about Jimi Hendrix. It definitely looks trippy on the outside. The music playing in the lobby is standard auto-tuned pop of the 2010’s. Nothing calls to me visually or sonically. We are pressed for time anyways, so $30 a ticket isn’t a price we are willing to pay to explore and see if anything else of interest is beyond the entryway.
Pike’s Place Market
Creamy yellow Golden Trout with pink lips and middle stripe; Three and a half to four ft. long chrome King Salmon; Two inch round, two ft. long king crab legs on ice; Bouquets galore – white lilies with lavender edging, silver painted branches, poppy seedpods, dahlias
snowy mountain tops
melting into river trails
heading into bays
Glenn Hwy. overpass overlooking pale ice blue stream frothing on the edges; Spruce broom rust in the tree tops kept tricking me into thinking there was a baby bear up there; After watching the roadside for hours, in hopes of spotting an animal, I say, “It’s time to see a moose! That’s my declaration.” A few minutes later, while getting something out of my backpack, Todd yells, “A moose!” By the time I jump over to the window, it is already far in the distance. All I can see through the screen obscuring my view is a flash of a fuzzy moose and horns silhouette. Rocks arranged on bare dirt hillsides with names and animal shapes. We stay the night at a small RV park next to a glacial mountainside. I realize a glacier and iceberg are not the same thing. The cliffs across the street are speckled white in a couple of places. Through binoculars we can see they are dall sheep.
We stop in a small town named Nenana. We take our photos under an “Alaska” sign / photo booth on the side of the street. Wander around looking at the buildings and I spot a second bald eagle suddenly flying above me. My lens isn’t long enough to capture a great shot of it, but cool anyways. We stop in for lunch at a quaint little restaurant for lunch and the waitress offers us a zucchini from her garden, which lasts us several meals because as I mentioned, it was Alaska-sized! On the way out the door, we notice a book with names and dates next to it. I had just read American Gods, so between Mr. Rychener’s comments and that, I remember it is guesses of when the ice on a nearby body of water will melt after wintertime. Like in the book, something heavy is probably sitting on it that can fall in to prove the date. The winning guess gets a cash prize.
Tanana River whirlpools
To see a video of these strange river vortexes, visit: https://vimeo.com/236171268
We hear strange insect / birdlike sounds from the trees then realize it was these tiny red squirrels: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFQKzsz1j7s Two tasty local beers: Kodiak Brown Ale with ballistic Grizzly Bear on the can + Moose Drool light ale. Long-lasting jewel toned sunset. Pattering of drizzle on leaves sounds like a rain stick.
Surprise “use-at-your-own-risk” canoes; “Snowball flowers” (Cotton sedge grass); Boggy, mosquito ridden landscape. Deliciously mild low bush cranberries for days. I can’t get enough of them.; We see some birds fly in and out of the trees. Mr. and Mrs. Rychener say they are gray jays, but I don’t get a good look. ; Fisherman’s catch of silver with purple striped trout
Reindeer (caribou) dogs roasted over an open fire; Misty morning on Moon Lake; Raven honking on top of a tree sounded like geese
On the road near Eielson AFB
Cliff side’s jagged edges make easy climbing ledges for spray painting who loves who and favorite sports teams. A pipeline, suspended up high, stretched alongside the pavement. Trance inducing, the trees go on and on…
Flocks of Canadian Geese fly over the RV park; In hope of bread, ducks swim towards a girl and her brother fishing in the pond. A young one gets entangled in the fishing line. The boy goes for scissors while Todd helps unstring its wing. My good buddy / neighbor / coworker on Jeju Island, S. Korea, Dave picks us up and takes us to local hangout, The Golden Eagle Saloon, for a mini party with him and a musician friend, Isaac, who I also knew on the island.
Afterwards, we pick up some of his fellow Shakespearean actors living in an artists’ camp in a birch forest. They are both from Wisconsin, where I was born, and one happened to be from the graduating high school class of my dad! Those trees are known to be home to flying squirrels. A prop rests at the base of the trees – a wooden cutout of a ship with a red wig hanging over the bow.
Dave drives us out about an hour away under a lovely sunset. We carefully watch for moose while singing 70’s and 80’s rock songs or listening to jazz and electronic music playing on the radio. Finally we arrive at Chena Hot Springs. I can’t say enough good things about the place. I would go there every day if I could. The springs are enclosed in boulders that you can stretch, sit, or climb on. There is a fountain you can sit under. A strong sprayer to pound your shoulders with. The water ranges from warm to as hot as it can get before scalding you. We would have stayed much longer had they not been closing for the night.
The next morning, another dear friend I met in S.Korea, Carey, picked me up and then we swung around to get Dave for breakfast at The Oasis. Crab meat eggs benedict and good company. If you ever need some good reading about Alaska before your trip, visit the site Carey writes for, http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/
On the road again
Abandoned four-story, igloo shaped hotel. Beverage business yard sign announcing, “Yes. We have Red Bull smoothies!” *BLECH* Yellow and blue painted metal sign for True Value Hardware on A-frame cabin with wooden sun and rays above its garage door and windows. There are stops along the way where we have to sit for about ten minutes as construction is underway. A stout little native woman holds a sign up in the road reminding us to stop, then eventually gets into a “pilot car” pickup truck and leads us out of the maintenance area.
Denali National Park and Preserve
Our first night is spent in an RV spot in the preserve. The next morning, while hiking along Savage Creek, we hear a sharp squeaking sound, almost like a dog toy, but can’t find its source. Camouflaged with the rocks are these little chinchilla looking rodents, which someone correctly guess it is a pika. Pika facts: In order to warn its neighbors under the rocks, pika scouts looking out from above will give off a sharp squeaking sound when predators, including humans are nearby. It’s a prairie dog! No, it’s a ground hog! No, it’s an Arctic ground squirrel. This large rodent is digging away and pulling out plant roots, chewing them up like pretzel sticks.
Pretty river flow: https://vimeo.com/236217656
The next night we stay outside of the preserve, but near Denali, at an RV park called the Grizzly Bear. Just before sundown, we walk to the river access across the highway…
In the resort next to the river, we hear from a gift shop cashier that she saw a mother moose and calf around 9:30PM. We decide to take a night drive in hopes of having the same luck. I spot a young one cross the road so Todd stops the RV to watch. Several other cars stop as well. People are getting out and taking photos, but we can’t see from where we are so we get out too. We move into a fairly close vantage point but with plenty of shrubbery between us and the mother moose there. We are growing uncomfortable though because one of the people is clearly getting too close and making the cow nervous. We tell her so, but she didn’t seem to either understand or care. A tour bus driver tells us that we should back away, so we leave.
Moose (and willow) facts: Although moose are in the deer family they are given bovine names (bull, cow, and calf). People who use all of the parts of a dead moose use the brain to tan its hides. Females have 24 hrs. to breed. If male smells the mating hormone, he will slowly approach female and rest his head on her rump. If she is receptive, they will proceed.
Several types of willow, which contains vitamin c and the pain relieving acid used in aspirin, grow in Alaska, but I never saw a weeping willow. Most likely because many animals, including the moose, like to eat it in abundance, so it never gets a chance to grow large. They eat 7-10 times a day because they require 50-60 lbs. of food per day. In order to be able to recover from the feasting, part of the year willow puts out a chemical that animals cannot digest. That is when they begin eating other things.
A dewlap is a flap of skin under the chin of a moose. Experts are uncertain what the purpose is, but our shuttle driver, Bard makes us laugh when he says, “Let’s get our dewlap pierced!” Bard said that more deaths happen per year by female moose attacks than by any other cause. Be careful not to get too close, especially to a baby moose because it’s mother is nearby. According to my dad, if their ears go back, they are likely to charge you.
Horseshoe Lake, a gorgeous emerald body of water in a valley. Although we haven’t had luck spotting a moose, we discover moose tracks. There are impressively cut beaver dams and gnawed fallen trees. Female mallards and ducklings splash about and fish. We see a lone fish that Todd recognizes as a Arctic grayling because of its large dorsal fin. We stop to take a photo together against the lush colors and a gray jay lands on a tree near where we are sitting, so we get a good look at it. It’s really cute!
This video shows a creek full of of sediment from melted glaciers. It is uninhabitable by fish or amphibians: https://vimeo.com/236218216
We visit a sled dog kennel where the dogs are so mellow I wonder if they are sedated. When it comes time to put on a show for us though, they go wild – barking and jumping in hopes they will be the ones picked to perform and get treats. The canines are still used to run sleds up to high parts of the mountains that are inaccessible to vehicles, but where park staff are stationed.
To see the show, visit: https://vimeo.com/236217730
6,000,000 acres; Denali Mountain means “the high, big, or great one” in Athabascan. It was named Mount McKinley because a Republican explorer and gold prospector wanted to celebrate the presidential nomination of William McKinley, who had never even been to the state. President Obama officially renamed the mountain in efforts to restore respect back to Native Americans. It was too cloudy to get a glimpse of its peak while we are there because it is the tallest one in North America, so this opportunity is rare. We see so many other gorgeous ranges on our shuttle tour though such as the impressive Sable Pass, Polychrome Mountains, Geode Mountain, and Eielson. When I try to pick up one moose horn at one of the stops I can’t. I start cracking up over how heavy it is. Needless to say, they are massive animals.
Other things we see on the shuttle are: homosapiens in brightly colored rain gear; low level strips of water weaving around the riverbed is called a braided river; random ring of red leaved plants on a hillside; male moose bones scattered in a field from wolf pack attack, and a weird “fairy portal” made of birch in the middle of a field. Shuttle bus stops for us to see a few willow ptarmigan, the state bird of Alaska. They are ground birds from the grouse family and are hunted as a food source by humans. The consensus online is that they taste like quail and/or chicken. Despite all the bear activity warning signs at the trail heads, luckily we never see one close up on our walks. Fortunately, we see several from a distance. There is a grizzly that appears to be frolicking, but we are told it is injured. Blond grizzly mamas and cub twins foraging for berries on the hillsides. When salmon season is over, they change their food source. It’s hard to imagine they can get enough berries for those big bodies. A lone female moose far in the distance. Caribou (reindeer), which I am uncertain as to the sex of because both females and males grow antlers.
Mice with a red stripe down back running around the park’s Wilderness and Visitor Centers. One hangs out under a hanging planter, as it’s being watered by someone on a ladder, so it can lap up the liquid draining onto the ground below. They scurry too fast for me to catch a photo and I can’t find one on the internet.
Driving back towards Anchorage
Vegetables get enormous because there is so many hours of sunlight. Supposedly it went down completely at 3 AM and rose again at 4 AM. A zucchini about 18″ long and 5″ wide on the bottom end is sitting on the counter of The Flying Squirrel Bakery Cafe, Talkeenta, AK. They offer birch syrup drinks, but I really just want a sample of it so I know what it tastes like. The lady behind the counter gives me a couple of drops in a spoon. It tastes almost like molasses, but not as heavy. We enjoy a delicious smoked salmon bagel sandwich. The trees surrounding the place are draped in a soft green moss that I haven’t seen anywhere else we’ve traveled to. In the woodland trail I spy a dark-eyed junco (slate colored subspecies).
We stop because Barbara sees a trumpeter swan couple in a pond. In the next RV park, Montana Creek, we park in for the evening, we go for a walk by a creek and see a school of fish close to the opposite shore, probably salmon, appearing to swim in place. They are most likely laying eggs in the rocks. A large, dying one is swimming alone on the shore we are standing on. Seagulls fly overhead. I occasionally hear one swoop down to try and pick one up or hear a fish jump. Todd and his dad part ways with me to eat, while I obsess over lovely lichen patches with my close-up filter while talking and singing aloud to invisible bears that could walk up at any time, especially if they smell fish. Lichen are not plants, but a symbiotic relationship between algae and fungi. They absorb minerals from the rocks, trees, and bones they attach to and create soil by expediting the decay of those hard surfaces. Some varieties are then eaten for their mineral and protein content by moose and caribou.
I traverse through most of the woods there and stumble across a tunnel window. Just after taking a picture, I small man, with a strong resemblance to a leprechaun in his plaid paddy cap, white hair and beard walks into the passageway, carrying a bundle under his arm, grumbling fiercely to himself. I scramble up the hill to the train tracks because a petite woman alone in the wilderness should be especially cautious. Todd said he was probably grumbling because there wasn’t enough gold under the rainbow. Later I see him in an RV near ours. He no longer sports a sweatshirt, but a long sleeved tee with suspenders. I see that he is Asian and his beard was merely speckled with white, but the darkness of the tunnel must have only allowed that to show through.
A wild berries of Alaska poster at one of the trail heads helped us recognize the abundant high bush cranberries there. We sampled some. One was too tart, one was awfully overripe, one was just right. Still, I preferred the low bush type that we had a few days before.
Musk ox farm in Palmer, AK. They are raised here in order to harvest the down under their hair. This ultra-soft fiber, qiviut (KIV-ee-OOT), is warmer and softer than sheep’s wool. When these animals are grown, they looked like giant long-haired guinea pigs (with horns). Highly durable and waterproof scarves and other items are made from qiviut. Just a shake will dispel all the water even from a rain soaked garment! Their astounding spiral nasal cavities allow the air to warm up before reaching their lungs, so that they can endure -80 degrees fahrenheit! Obviously, qiviut has helped them survive those temps too. Oomingmak, as the animals are known to native peoples of the area, have been around as long as the woolly mammoth and fossils of them have been seen as far south as Florida. If have ever been a fan of the Cocteau Twins, here is a lovely song, named after these sweet animals: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSKO2vDTfq4
has a bar called the Sleeping Lady where an art exhibit featuring work by living artists from Northwestern Native American tribes.
Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington, Denny Creek Campground
Dad picks me up after dark from the airport. He’s smaller than I remember. He says I am too. He says he shrank by two inches after he had spinal surgery. I don’t remember the conversation now, but I remember his is in a great mood and being funny. We haven’t seen each other in four years. I haven’t been to Washington in seven. We arrive in the forest after dark, but I can still see the massive trees. The sky is clear so I can finally see the stars! I don’t have a tripod with me, so I rest my camera on the ground supported by a flashlight.
In the morning, we eat sage sausage that he has made with fresh eggs. I take a walk by the creek (Denny) flowing through the park. It’s the prettiest creek I’ve ever seen. There are clear running waterfalls and pools along the trail. I become so engrossed there that I hardly even wander far from camp, but am gone for hours.
When I return Dad shows me his walking stick that he has hung feathers of Stellar’s Jay, woodpecker, and crow. He shows me a bone that is used to make an arrow shaft from a small tree branch. There are many robins but the light is too dim and they are moving too quickly for me to get a good shot. I did manage to get one of a hairy woodpecker. At night we make a campfire and act silly.
The next day we have breakfast, then head over to Columbia City neighborhood in Seattle, when I am participating in an art exhibit. To see images from that show, visit my other blog post: https://haikuflash.wordpress.com/2017/09/06/su-casa-es-mi-casa
My friend in Alaska, Dave, tells me to go to a diner in North Bend because it’s the one everyone hangs out at in the surreal murder mystery series Twin Peaks. We just happen to be staying 20 minutes from there, so plan to head over for breakfast, pie, and coffee. I have been watching Twin Peaks: The Return every Sunday, so am excited to be in one of the three-dimensional locations I have seen on the two-dimensional screen. We are greeted by a flashing open sign with a blue neon mug and red marquee lights above it representing steam rising from its hot liquid. I’m pretty sure it was in one of the episodes.
The props and memorabilia sprinkled throughout the place definitely lend to the feeling that the show is superimposed on top of the charming diner. I can see close up, the panoramic landscape painted in a strip along the entire wood paneled wall. My cup is emblazoned with the logo for Twede’s Cafe along with their slogan “The Home of Twin Peaks Cherry Pie and ‘A Damn Fine Cup of Coffee’.” A rectangular wooden sign with letters carved out and painted white: TWIN PEAKS Population 51, 201, sits on top of the pie case. A man, appearing to be the manager, sports a t-shirt with a Twin Peaks Sheriff Department decal on the back. To top it off, as we are leaving, we see an FBI Agent smoking out back with one of the waiters as a sun dog glows above us, just like in the intro scene of every Twin Peaks: The Return episode. In fact, that entire fictitious town, invented by David Lynch and Mark Frost, is situated in that area, including other regular scenes depicted in the show, the Snoqualmie Falls (named for a branch of the Salish tribe) and “Crying Man” mountain, Mount Si.
To see this gorgeous misty waterfall in action, visit: https://vimeo.com/236171694
After brunch and a walk to the aforementioned falls, we go hiking up to Franklin Falls, which feeds the creek running through our camp, Denny Creek. On the way up, we see many small trees growing from hollowed out dead tree trunks that have filled with dirt; cozy cabins; a tree trunk remnant that serves as a rocking bench, which I enjoy with a random little girl on the trail; a tree base that looks like a giant spring onion; and tiny black squirrels. It’s a sunny day, so at the apex we see many rainbows in its mist. The water is cool and fresh. Dad finds an arrowhead along the rocky shore. We see a young guy climbing the cliff side really fast like he is a billy goat. We walk off our Twede’s, so have room for grilled steak, compliments of dad’s friend who owns cattle and uses no hormones or antibiotics. Needless to say it was super flavorful and fresh.
The next morning, we are considering going into the city to meet with the Rychener’s to view the eclipse, but are worried about the traffic, which has been insane the past couple of days. Instead we drive out to the highway near the campground where we have a clear view of the sun. The peak of the eclipse is supposed to be at 10:20, but it is still pretty bright outside, which I am not expecting because I had already seen one in the 80’s that was much larger (lower in the sky because it was evening time) and probably closer to totality because it got much darker. It did cool down noticeably though. I try to capture a shot at 1/8000th of a second, ISO 100, and f32, but my lens isn’t very long and when I review the image, it doesn’t look like much…until I see it on my monitor! So pretty! Very different than the cell phone pix I take, which only show a tiny trace image of a crescent sun shape off to the side.
We enjoy lunch and a pint at my favorite Irish restaurant, Kell’s. They have the best soda bread and so many delicious seafood choices. It’s right on the wharf, so we stroll over to the aquarium, which was closing soon and cost too much for the amount of time we would have in there. Still, we get a good view of the water, boats, and gulls. We have some time to kill before heading to the airport, so we make our way to the Discovery Park lighthouse, West Point Light. The park is non-existent without getting a special permit first, so dad drops us off and comes back to get us later. The nostalgic looking building has been renovated and has been automated since 1985.
I don’t want to leave the wilderness to return to Austin traffic and heat, but I know that the bitter cold will catch up with the Northwest shortly after we leave. Luckily for them, they get the Northern Lights as consolation. We are too early to catch any. It isn’t dark enough. I hope to go back another time for their electric show and go to Valdez too, which is highly recommended by several people.
To see more photos from this trip, visit: https://haikuflash.photoshelter.com/gallery/Alaska/G0000nLeUEupIxYA/C0000wXadIR1Yr_g AND https://haikuflash.photoshelter.com/gallery/Washington-State/G0000lWJERtcV3d4/C0000wXadIR1Yr_g
chirping near window
What kind of night bird is that?
Wait! That’s a frog song.
wings spread, slender neck
curves slowly down then straightens
graceful heron dance
duck swims at high speed
frantic flapping and quacking
paddling bird dog chase
flew through window wings brush wrist
Granna died today
Raccoons raid campsites
Barking echoes in canyons
Boars grumble in the night
seikô udoku; kakô tôdoku (In summer, cultivate the fields; in winter, cultivate the mind.)
smell, taste, and hear snow
winter’s blood, water’s sleep dance
Warm windy sidewalk
Winter suddenly burst through
As I crossed the street
Green parrots sitting
Two by two four love birds kiss
Beak to beak on wire
I’m always surprised when I meet someone who has been here for several months and still hasn’t been to any of the nature spots, bar / music venues, or longstanding restaurants that give Austin deep character. I’ve lived here for 20 years, so I feel pretty qualified to write this post. Most of these eateries have well seasoned grills, which really comes through in the food as a seasoned iron skillet does. Finally, they are all pretty damn cheap with generous helpings. It’s sad to learn that people only know about what is a corporate chain, trendy, and/or posh here. Not that some of those places aren’t really great too, I’m all for innovation, but my favorite locally owned spots are so down-to-earth, funky, and friendly, like the heart of Austin. I hope you love it as much as I do. I haven’t put any sushi places here because in my opinion, any of our sushi restaurants are better than most places in the world with wide variety and unique rolls. Music and art shows are day by day, check the Chronicle, but I threw a few long standing venues in here always feature Austin’s best bands. Enjoy! P.S. Please share with your friends. Thanks!
Food and Drink
#1 All Time Favorite – Curra’s Grill Mother of Mex (not Tex-Mex) on Oltorf between I-35 and Congress. If the lot is full, park on Rebel St. This is one of the only places where I can order anything on the menu for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and feel as satisfied by it as my previous favorites. If you’re there for breakfast, you must get a Oaxacan (wa-ha-kan) coffee. Soft corn tortillas. Red corn tortillas. If you like smoky Scotches, get a Mezcal (smoky tequila) drink or try their avocado margaritas. Not many places serve those.
2 – Polvo’s on South 1st. I crave their salsa bar. Three types. All delicious. My fav is always the Goliath Burrito with fish, but any filling is delicious and includes squash and other veggies.
3 – Guero’s on South Congress near the river. Delicious raspberry puree margaritas. I usually either get the El Presidente Burrito, but sometimes a Sante Fe enchilada, which comes with a fried egg on top.
4 – Matt’s El Rancho on South Lamar. Really great patio if it’s not too hot. Food’s good too.
5 – Maria’s Taco Xpress on South Lamar. Migas breakfast taco is the bomb! The only place in town that serves chimichurra salsa at their bar. It’s the one that is made primarily of cilantro and chilis, not liquid like most salsa. Funky style old school Austin setting.
6 – El Alma on Barton Springs. The only place good enough to stay in business in the tricky spot. They even have a parking lot across the street now. My drink of choice is the Chilanga, an very orangy margarita with chili salt on the rim. I go in when I just want a happy hour drink and appetizer of their jack and shrimp tostaditos that come with a side of escabeche (ay-ska-bay-chay) which is picked veggies. I don’t even normally like that stuff, but theirs is special.
7 – Habana Cuban on South Congress. Best Cuban sandwich. Best tres leches cake (with cinnamon). Theirs is not too dry or too wet. Great mojitos with the option for mango or coconut rum. Little straw cabana booths outside for when the weather is nice.
*****Can you tell I’m a Southside girl 😉
8 – 888 Asian (Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese) Their wide noodles with seafood is my fav. The scallops are especially impressive for this price. I’ve tried friends’ plates and those almost made me wish I’d ordered what they had. Of course, family style is also an option. Open very late although there might be a line.
9 – IM Thai. Sunset Valley (SW Austin). Ok this is one is fairly new, but they have the best som tam of anywhere in Austin. I lived in Bangkok for two years, so am picky about Thai food. Get the one on their House Specials menu and share it with your friend. That one comes with marinated meats and sticky rice.
10 – Conan’s Pizza on Stassney. Not only do they serve great pizza, especially the thick, but this location has an antique piano that you might be lucky to be accompanied on or even get to play.
11 – Square Rut Kava Bar on South Congress. Direct from the South Pacific pure kava beverage in a coconut shell cup. Different strains for different effects. Talk to the bartender. If you are sensitive to bitter, drink slowly and get them add flavoring such as chocolate caramel. There’s one on the Northside too if you stay there.
12 – Maudies on South Lamar. Nachos baked on thick chips.
All over town:
1 – Taco Shack. El Nino breakfast tacos (If you can handle it!) egg, chorizo, pickled jalapenos and cheese.
2 – Trudy’s. Again, all good for breakfast, lunch, dinner. Even their mix and match 3-5 vegetarian dishes are sooo good, especially considering they aren’t a veggie restaurant. Best broccoli ever.
3 – Chi’Lantro’s trucks (ck Twitter for the location that day) or storefront on S. Lamar. Ok, these guys are new school, but local and started in a trailer. Bulgogi fries w/ special sauce. Sick! In a good way though.
4 – East Side King trucks and storefront on S. Lamar. Also pretty up and coming, but is my favorite since my favorite Thai restaurant, Spin closed down, which Sway on S. 1st is similar to. Everything on the ESK menus, which vary by location, is delicious and inexpensive.
Downtown / Central / Campus Area:
1 – Ruby’s BBQ. Off of Guadalupe on 29th. They smoke it there in the back. Rich red sauce and great sides. Shiner and other brews by the bottle.
2 – Spider House on Fruth St. coffee shop with cool patio full of funky vintage furniture and decor. Rust and time. Outdoor stage with regular shows. Their venue around the corner from their parking lot also has regular concerts where all my favorite bands play.
3 – Pubs: Fado’s Irish food and pub on 4th Street and around the corner from it AND Gingerman on Lavaca with over 50 beers on tap. I preferred their old building, but the new one is similar.
1 – El Azteca on E. 7th. Chipotle chicken
2 – Licha’s Cantina on E. 6th. Ok, pretty new establishment, but in a cute older house with patio covered in stencil art. One of the few places serving huitlacoche (hweet-la-co-chay), AKA corn truffle 🙂 Have you ever tried hibiscus flower quesadillas? Now is your chance! Wide selection of mezcal.
3 – Takoba on E.7th and Onion. Again, not really longstanding, but I have to rave about their mojito. They grind the mint up so you REALLY get the flavor of it. Smart. Delicious food. A little pricier than the others.
4 – El Chile on Manor Rd. Essentially the same as El Alma on the Southside.
5 – Mi Madres on Manor Rd. I heart their burritos with french fries inside. They are the only place that serves café de olla (cinnamon stick coffee in a clay mug).
6 – Hoover’s Southern Food on Manor Rd. I usually go here for New Year’s Eve to get my lucky black eyed peas. Lot’s of other delicious down home style offerings though.
7 – Blue Dahlia French Cuisine on E. 11th. In my opinion, moules et frites (mussels and fries) and ratatouille are their specialties. Pretty garden dining.
8 – Juan in a Million on E Cesar Chavez. Famous for their Don Juan breakfast taco. No one makes one like this. Semi mashed potato, cheese, egg, and crumbled crispy bacon.
1 – Fonda San Miguel. Gorgeous interior Mexican decor. You know colored tiles, old carved wood furniture, lots of plants. Wonderful food. Sunday brunch extravaganza.
2 – Korea House on Anderson Lane. Most generous variety of banchan (tiny appetizer bowls). A large menu of sushi options. If you want, you can take a table with a galbi grill in the center. There you can prepare the meats as is popular in Korea.
*Bonus: Terra Toys is super close in case you want to go in and play a bit.
3 – Din Ho on 183. Chinese spot with delicious seafood. BBQ pork on sticky buns. Dim Sum.
Veggie Heaven; Mother’s (still my favorite veggie burger in town); Casa de Luz – macrobiotic in a lovely setting; See Trudy’s write up above; Mr. Natural on South Lamar or E. Cesar Chavez
Music and Drinks
1 – Flamingo Cantina on 6th Street. The only place on Dirty 6th that I frequent regularly. World, Soul, and Reggae music in a funky space with great outside upper deck overlooking the stage.
2 – Sahara Lounge. Far NE. Worth the drive. Always bumpin’ world music. Latin, African, Jamaican, etc. etc. in a shack filled with old African instruments and jazz, reggae, and world music concert posters and photos. A large backyard including lots of picnic tables. Signature drink: Sahara Slant ginger and cinnamon buzz.
3 – Whip In on S.IH35 access road between Riverside and Oltorf. Vintage Indian decor in the stage area for local acts. Wooden booths. 2nd outside patio and stage. Beer and wine bar. Inexpensive home style Indian food.
4 – Continental Club / The Gallery (upstairs) AND C-Boys Heart and Soul both on South Congress. Always primo acts.
5 – Hole in the Wall on the Drag (Guadelupe across from UT campus). Many talented bands got their start here because the owners were willing to take a chance on them. Well known musicians have played here too though. Now East Side Kings, one of our best Thai food vendors, is sharing the space with them.
6 – Waterloo Records on South Lamar. I hadn’t added this at first bcz I thought it didn’t need to be mentioned. Then I heard someone say they were going to order a CD online of a local band bcz they didn’t know this longtime music vendor would have it. Call first. If they don’t have it, they will get it fast and call you. Support local. Four point five rows of vinyl. Lots of used CDs. Videos. Listening stations. In store mini concerts. Toys. Books. Gear. This place kicks ass.
7 – Book People on South Lamar. Ok some books are cheaper online, but spending time browsing a great book / magazine store like this is just plain old fun. It’s two stories. Coffee shop. Gifts and cards. In store author lectures / book signings.
8 – Elephant Room under Congress. Underground jazz bar. Always featuring great acts. Brannen Temple and Ephraim Owens are the ultra talented stars of this scene.
9 – Half Step on Rainey Street (South Central). Classy newish place in an old Rainey Street house with comfy booths. The bartenders put on an entertaining drink making show, sometimes those big square ice cubes. Kind of trendy drink menu, but low key. Great patio. Highly talented bands like improv funk / soul / jazz crew Canned Beets playing on Wednesday nights and teen blues act The Peterson Brothers on Thursdays.
10 – Russia House on E. 5th St. I haven’t eaten there yet, but I heard it’s good. I have sampled from their wall of flavored vodkas though. It’s like digging into a bag of Jelly Bellies. Name the flavor and they’ve infused their vodka jars. Bands play on some nights.
11 – Vortex Repertory Theater on E. Manor Rd. All original productions including fantasy, fairy tales, hip hop, sky dancers in this intimate space. The Butterfly Bar is attached. There is a courtyard of picnic tables to enjoy the weather and eat a meal from one of their trailers serving Italian and ?
12 – Skylark Lounge on Airport. East Austin Soul. Originale patio.
13 – Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon on Burnet. Feels like a country shack inside. Friendly staff. Tiny stage with talented country acts. Fiddlin’. Chicken Shit Bingo on some Sundays.
(besides Zilker Park, Botanical Garden, and Barton Springs)
1 – Mayfield Park is a centrally located. Lovely water ponds and peacocks amongst huge palm trees. There is a walking trail if you want to go down to the water.
*Bonus: Laguna Gloria is right there next to it. This is an old, well maintained villa converted into art museum. Walking trail to the left has my all time favorite climbing tree in the world! You will see it. There is a bench underneath to help petite people like me get up.
2 – Greenbelt secret mini waterfalls trail! The Greenbelt goes all around town as the name suggests, but I usually love to enter through parking lot of Retreat at Barton Creek Apts. on S. Lamar Blvd. Park in a visitors spot by the office / pool. To the right of those, you will see a space between the back and side buildings where a bamboo grove stands. To the left of the grove there is a trail going all the way down to the river. Very private.
3 – Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center in very Southwest Austin. Best in spring. Go up the tower to see the fields or walk around the gardens and trails. Vast blankets of color.
4 – McKinney Falls State Park is in near SE Austin.
5 – If you have time to get out of town, Enchanted Rock! Pink granite mounds. Ancient Native American sacred place. If you are sensitive, you can feel the magic. I love going around Thanksgiving when the leaves are turned. If you climb up the rock (it’s pretty steep, but if you have strong legs or a walking stick, you can do it!), you get a beautiful vista view of the autumn trees. It’s fun in the spring too though when the wildflowers are blooming. I’ve seen roadrunners and an armadillo there.
(besides downtown – Mexicarte, The Contemporary, The Blanton)
1 – Women & Their Work on Lavaca. Super cool and fun. A sidewall in foyer holds big square brochures of past exhibits for several years. Gift shop with local artisan jewelry, books, and unique gifts. Open Mon-Sat business hours.
2 – Canopy art complex on Springdale houses Big Medium, Co-Lab, Art.Science.Gallery, a coffee shop, high quality craftwork shops, and studios. Ck hours before going.
3 – Laguna Gloria (see Mayfield Park above)
4 – grayDUCK on E. Cesar Chavez. From what I’ve seen is always showing top quality Austin artist’s work.
5 – Dougherty Arts Center Gallery on Barton Springs. This humble place often gets overlooked because although it has been promised funding for a face lift after winning votes in the bond election twice, it has never gotten it. It has so much heart. Please drop in. Community or two person shows exhibit here. Always lovely. Check the theater schedule for performances.
Place to stay next time you’re in town in group of people
Contemporary architecture with Balinese decor. Fresh and gorgeous. Filled with quirky artwork. Lush gardens. Pool. Firepit. Screened in patio with swings. Super nice proprietor. Currently I am the groundskeeper here.
All images and text copyright © 2014 by Stephanie Reid
Those of you who have been following my blog for a while might remember that I have posted about cicadas as heralds of summer.
Here are new haiku written during a recent walk at the Colleyville Nature Preserve in North Texas.
Cool breeze and dirt path
Cicada belly up…still…
Summer is over
A dozen monarchs
Fuel up for their journey
South to Mexico
Single click thumbnails to enlarge and view as slideshow. All images copyright © 2014 by Stephanie Reid
All images copyright © 2014 by Stephanie Reid
The Transart Institute for Creative Research is a low residency school offering three Summer residencies in Berlin, two Winter residencies in New York City, and virtual meetups in between. My studies started in Berlin during this three-week residency, which was incredibly fast-paced, challenging, and rewarding. Workshops took place at Uferstudios in the Wedding district. The school is interdisciplinary, but more topical than technique based. It is expected that technique is already honed or can be self-guided. This allows the students to choose courses that they feel will help them expand the content of their praxis. PhD and MFA students attended the workshops together and work in a wide range of mediums, so that dancers, painters, sculptors, photographers, and others can grow from watching each others’ processes. At the bottom of this post, I have given an overview of the workshops I attended. I am primarily a photography and film maker, but I took classes on expanding the definition of sculpture, nature in the city, and film. My studio advisors was a performance artist / film maker. My research advisor was a photography curator / writer.
The classes typically ran from 9AM-6 PM, then students and staff reconvened at 7:00 for an hour and half presentation session. For these, the student body split into two rooms where three students gave a 15-minute overview of their work and goals for their studies, followed by a ten minute Q&A Session. In addition, each Friday morning, practicing professional artists and curators from around the world would give a 7-minute presentation of their work (Pecha Kucha). Afterwards, groups of eight students would go with one of the presenters to get feedback on their project plan.
On the weekends, gallery and studio tours, and vernissages of student exhibits around Berlin took place. To learn more about those events, see my other posts:
Michael Bowdidge’s, The World as Sculpture, course for MFA and Certificate students
Our instructor also teaches at the University of Glasgow. Inspired by the book The World as Sculpture: The Changing Status of Sculpture from the Renaissance to the Present Day by James Hall, Mr. Bowdidge exposed our class to methods of making our work more sculptural. The course was exciting and felt very productive. By default, we received a thorough survey of the history of sculpture. Not only did the professor bring examples for each discussion, but asked us to also bring images and physical work to enhance the conversation. The following examples of some of the reading assignments and activities we did in the four day course.
1) Discuss reading assignment : Sculpture and the sculptural by Erik Koed
2) Work with a partner to combine two objects together in as many ways possible. Photograph the different iterations. Several minutes into the exercise, classmate and dancer, Jeca Rodriguez suggested giving a theme to the juxtapositions such as to make one the oppressor and the other the oppressed. My partner Claire Elizabeth Barratt, also a dancer, and I came up with over 20 ways to combine her hand with my umbrella.
3) Bring an example of artwork that is not sculpture but has something sculptural about it. I brought the links to Gabriel Dawe’s string installations:
4) Select an artwork from the previous class discussion and make a piece inspired by it that is in some way sculptural.
Classmate Nethery Wylie shared Laleh Mehran’s installation Entropic Order http://www.lalehmehran.com/Entropic-Order, in which a programmed machine moves around a track on the ceiling, all the while, dragging a pendulum with it to draw traditional Islamic patterns in black “sand” on the floor. A motion detector senses people entering the room and moving about, which disrupts the action of the pendulum so that the perfection of its efforts is thwarted. Straight lines become wavy, shaky, and distorted. Therefore, this artwork functions as a way to comment on the futility of attempting to enforce a dogma, religious or not, because once human interaction comes into play, the static nature of “rules” is replaced by dynamic forces. It also reflects the instability of the Middle East.
I chose to do an exercise that was both subtractive and additive at the same time. I imagined adding spices commonly used in Persian cooking – paprika, cinnamon, and cumin to “draw” outlines to the negative space in the designs. Then using a piece of paper covered with double sided sticky graphics film to do a “rubbing”. What would hopefully remain on the adhesive tape would be an impression of the design from its sand and spices. The red and brown hues represent spilled blood of those who suffered within a turbulent and violent landscape. By transferring the image onto the graphics tape, the new image can also represent those who have migrated to flee the regime. They are only able to take a fraction of their culture with them. I have made sculptural work by using additive (spices), subtractive (taking away with the tape), and replicatative (a copy of the original design) steps. It was not unlike forming a sand mandala, and the same ideas of displacement and lost culture expressed in my response to her could be said for Tibetans and Native Americans who make sand drawings that are wiped away after their completion.
DAY TWO: Additive processes. Discussions of Modeling vs. Assembling.
1) Bring a sculptural artwork you have made but feel is not quite complete, then discuss how to make it more sculptural using modeling. I had previously made a set mixed CDs for a Leo friend in Los Angeles. I titled the compilations, The Moon and a Lantern for more mellow tracks and The Sun and a Lion for more upbeat tracks. The compilation titles were named specifically after the cover art illustrations I drew for them, using scribbled circles for the heavenly orbs and the origami folding line pattern for the object not seen in the drawing, but referenced in the title (lantern and lion). To see those images, visit: https://haikuflash.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Other-Illustration-and-Mixed-Media/G0000xdw0IFgWFaE/I0000qtO9L770Cqw/C00000PRsirHYLFo
Along the same lines, I created this illustration created for a world music compilation I also selected the songs for. I infer three-dimensionality by layering origami fold lines for a pine tree on top of the world map image. In response to the exercise, I stated that to make it more sculptural, I would fold (model) the illustration into its intended shape. The pine tree can then be set upon the circular song list that normally lies under the CD, to transform from packaging design to sculptural artwork.
2) Assemblage is a term used by curator William Seitz for a MOMA show in 1961, called “That Art of Assemblage”, featured works by Duchamp, Schwitters, Cornell and others who combined things like trinkets, household objects, newspaper clippings, and train tickets to create compositions, combined with or without traditional mediums like paint. Seitz felt the term was more descriptive than “collage” for that particular body of work.
Reading assignment: Assemblage by George Marcus and Erkan Saka.
Summary: Assemblage as a way to talk about chaos of modern world despite the daily structure which most of us live by. There are many possible ways to approach investigation into realms beyond clearly defined boundaries. Discourse on temporary societies, a self-reflective description of an object, or a stage in a process are all examples of how assemblage can be used to explain intangible concepts. The ability to materialize such abstract ideas has had an influence on areas outside of art such as anthropological research. Marcus and Saka credit the success of the integration of post-structuralist ideas into social sciences to analytically detailed writings by theorists Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. This essay goes on to quote several social scientists who discuss how their work has been influenced by the theories of Deleuze and Guattari.
Finally, the writing expresses urgency that assemblage be handled carefully as to not become too structural or it runs the risk of losing it’s ephemeral quality. It is noted that during our current phase of globalization and rapid technological advancements, which are creating new behaviors in society, assemblage has a great deal of material to refer to and in a unique way from its original use in the early to mid 20th century.
3) Create an artwork based on Guattari and Deleuze’s philosophy, sometimes called “assemblage theory”. In layman’s terms this process refers to the laying out, arranging, and piecing together of components. In theoretical terms these are called or coding, stratification, and territorialization. Many conceptual artists develop their works by decoding, then recoding / deterritorializing, then reterritorializing these relationships, so that the stratification of the subjects in the assemblage is likely to change. So there is an analysis of the aspects (coding) of each component in a relationship and how those aspects create categorization (territorializing) of the subjects, which in turn cause them to be organized (stratified) in such a way. The goal of a contemporary artist working inside this loosely knit framework is essentially to recontextualize the subjects and present them in a new way that opens up discussion about the previously coding, territory, and stratification of the subjects. By causing the audience to think about the new assemblage of components, it opens up the reality that what we thought to be static has other possible states of being and/or meaning.
For this exercise, I thought about the process of making and consuming coffee. The goal of coffee drinkers is to be more awake and sharp thinking. Therefore, I coffee stained a square piece of paper, making it reminiscent of an unbleached coffee filter, and folded it into a crystal/diamond shape. Further discussion was spurred regarding the fortune made by coffee moguls who do not practice fair trade and how the diamond is not “clear”. It is brown, or “muddy” representing the possible side effects of drinking coffee vs. other types of beverages such as matcha tea, herbal supplements, or physical practices which render us more alert such as yoga, improving our diets, or simply getting more sleep. It also speaks to sugar addiction, which is often the main reason people drink coffee – to get their dose of sugar and milk.
4) In the vein of Allan Kaprow’s 1967 installation “Yard”, which was a room of tires for people to interact with by jumping through, sitting on, standing on, or even throwing them, the class did a performative installation. First we each passed a piece of paper around that we had written one word that reminded us of the Transart summer residency, and then passed it to the person next to us until everyone had written their word on our paper. We chanted the following list in rounds during the performance: succinct, iconoclast, join, concepts, humid, tsunami, pleasure, becoming, awake, microcosm, fluid, flux, coffee, turnip, tinted, sprudel. To view the performance, visit: https://vimeo.com/106896282
DAY THREE: Subtractive processes. Carving, deleting (what this means in the digital vs. analog world), erasing
1) Inspired by Rauschenberg’s “Erased de Kooning” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGRNQER16Do), bring an artwork you have made and are willing to allow a fellow student to practice a subtractive technique on. After receiving each artwork, we parted for about 45 mins. then reconvened for our destructive surprise.
I built a diorama landscape study and my partner was the dancer, Jeca Rodriguez, who is originally from Puerto Rico. She turned my diorama into a performance! She was really nervous to do her idea, but I assured her whatever she wanted to do was okay. She took the assemblage outside and mangled it something fierce to make it look like her home after a hurricane. Then she had everyone take turns, like the community on her island, to try to repair a little bit at a time. It was really touching and even brought a tear to my eye.
Photos below taken by Michael Bowdidge.
The piece I was given to deconstruct was a silk scarf by artist, Dana Zurzolo, who silkscreens guns into clothing as a way to prompt conversations about guns in America. There are magazines and catalogues about guns with cover photos clearly intending to make them look “sexy”. I cutout machine gun spray shapes resembling those found in comic books, drew hearts, blood, and tears in glitter pens, then also cutout bullet holes in the heart. Because this clothing was meant to appeal to a woman, just as hot chicks with guns are supposed to make women feel empowered, or appeal to the violent urges of machismo in either sex, I changed the text about a school shooting that was printed on the scarf to read as if the atrocity was made by a woman. The text was also changed to draw attention to the language of guns and their reference to female body parts.
2) Inspired by John Cage’s 4”33, bring ‘nothing’ to class, but in a meaningful way that can be justified with regard to size / quantity / duration. The best example was someone shining a projector’s light on the screen with no image or text.
DAY FOUR: Replicative processes. Copying, casting, copying, sampling
1) Replicate something in the nearby surroundings.
2) Replicate another artist’s work without directly copying it. Taking a que from Lawrence Yuxweluptun’s painting below, I sketched a still from a scene in a short film I am making. In the video, my friend Laura is dancing in front of a graffiti wall, but in the drawing, I started to draw the graffiti on her body.
3) Reading: The Precession of Simulacra by Baudrillard, which gave the four phases of abstracting an original object as the reflection of a basic reality, the masking and/or perversion of a reality, the masking of the absence of a basic reality, and the absence of any relation to reality.
4) Work from an image/sound/clip/movement and find ways to replicate it which allow you to traverse or reference the four phases of simulacra. The scan of the image I created will not translate well here. There are aspects of the piece that are dependent on moving around it and reflective light that have to be experience in person.
Caroline Koebel’s, Wild Urbanity, course for MFA and Certificate students
Inspired by her sighting of wild foxes in Berlin, Ms. Koebel designed a course around combing art with nature in the city.
1) discussion of Joseph Bueys hare and wolf performances
2) viewing of the film “A Rabbit in Berlin”
3) readings from Darwin, da Vinci, and the thoroughly enjoyable The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature by David George Haskell
4) Tour of the archives of the Naturkundmuseum. Here are some of the horrifying and fascinating remnants from the days of when humans had no qualms with capturing vast numbers of animals for research. Seeing Charles Darwin’s signature in one of his journals; blown glass sculptures of medusozoa and other small flowery looking sea creatures; rooms of skulls, skeletons, horns, and taxidermied animals, in cardboard boxes, some with holes cut in the side so that stiff legs of a fast running feline can poke through; plastic bags of bats; weight lifting a fossilized dinosaur bone that must have been about 20 lbs. although only 1.5 ft; a 4 ft long narwhal tooth; a glass room displaying fish, snakes, and foxes preserved in jars of alcohol.
5) lectures by scientists who study the wild boar and fox population in Berlin. FUN FACTS! Some of the boars have been seen waiting at the traffic lights, for cars to stop, before crossing the street. They are notoriously difficult for hunters to find in the woods as well, but because the critters like to dig up people’s lawns for bugs, many have been shot down.
6) an excursion in the city to create work in response to nature found there. I’m a fan of all corvids, so admired these beautiful, monochromatic Hooded Crows since I arrived in Berlin.
Anna Faroqhi’s, Double Lens, film essay workshop for MFA and Certificate students
We weren’t sure if this class were going to be able to take place. Originally, the instructor was scheduled to be Harun Farocki, the prolific German filmmaker known for experimental documentary short films. Our course was cancelled when it was revealed that he had passed away. Then after a week or so delay, we were informed that his daughter, Anna who is also a filmmaker, would be teaching us in his stead. She informed us that The Hamburger Bahnhof Museum happened to have several of Harun’s politically charged films, Serious Games, Inextinguishable Fire, The Creators of the Shopping Worlds, and Workers Leaving the Factory, installed into an exhibition. Several of us went to view it as a way to learn more about him and to pay our respects.
2) Screening and discussion of several historial film essays: “Ghosts for Breakfast” by Hanz Richter; “11 Variations on Rain” by Joris Ivens; “Night and Fog” by Alain Resnais; “Les Mains Négatives” by Marguerite Duras; and “Serious Games” by Harun Farocki, the instructor’s recently deceased father.
3) Each student was given a line from the German Expressionist poet, Jakob van Hoddis, to film a 30 second to three minute clip to be edited together. Some lines are missing from the film or slightly altered to suit the artists. My line was, “Into the tender green of the trees”, which starts at 10:22 here: https://vimeo.com/106867894
In the Morning
A strong wind sprang upwards,
Opens the bloody gates of iron heaven,
Beats on the towers.
Brightly ringing loud and sinuous over the brazen plane of the city.
The sooty morning sun. Thundering trains on dams.
Golden angel-ploughs plow through the clouds.
Strong wind over the pale city.
Steamboats and cranes awaken by the dirty, flowing stream.
The bells of the weathered cathedral beat sullenly.
You see many women and girls going to work.
In the pale light. Wild from the night. Their skirts flutter.
Limbs made for love.
Into the machine and tedious labor.
Look into the tender light.
Into the tender green of the trees.
Listen! The sparrow is crying out.
And outside, in the wild fields,
larks are singing.
In my mind, the Enchanted Forest will forever be the heart and soul of Austin, a secret landscape in the middle of South Austin where artists, musicians, dancers, teachers, and mind explorers from all over the world have come to commune for over a decade. I remembered entering the forest in the fall of 2005, in response to their spray-painted-sign-on-a-sheet calling for help with the annual Haunted Trail event. Halloween is my favorite holiday and I’d been itching to be an actor in a haunted house for years. I’m always the one in the front of my line, blocking and dodging demons so my screaming friends can get by, so I figured I’d be good at scaring people, too.
I’d just moved to South Lamar and the Enchanted Forest, Zilker, Flipnotics, and my workplace, the Dougherty Art School were all within an easy bike ride away. My rent was $399 including giant community gardens in the courtyards. So, I rolled over there on my imitation BMX from the junkyard and took them up on their friendly invitation. The volunteers had convened inside a patio and I recognized some people I knew. Baruzula, a legendary Austin fire spinner, textile, and body artist and Johnny Slug, another well known character in town, who was a DJ at my favorite early 90’s industrial and electronic music club, Ohms. Hurricane Katrina had just brought many refugees to Austin and several street performers and musicians from New Orleans were staying at the forest in tents. I imagine this made the environment even more circus-like and stimulating than it already was. Plus, a Cajun cook was ready and willing to prepare delicious food for everyone!
For the next few weeks we prepared to freak people out. The event ran for a few weekends and I got to be four different characters. Some of the highlights were as follows. Imagine walking through a pitch black tunnel in the Forest at night, someone may or may not jump out at you, but either way you rush to get back into the moonlight. When you emerge, a path leads you to stepping stones over the stream towards a shack where a country woman is rocking herself on the porch. As you get closer, you see shelves of apothecary jars containing formaldehyde and creepy looking things, bones, claws, and innards. She stands up and you can see it is a man disguised in a straw bonnet and dress, sharpening two large knife blades together, beckoning you, blood curdling wailing and pleas for help come from behind the shack. As he/she walks towards you with the knives and you scurry down the path, from the direction you are heading, a shirtless man with piercings and scarification covering his chest and a white haired, twisted faced mask starts his chainsaw chases you shrieking down the path…You stroll along and catch your breath as you walk upon an alter attached to a tree in the middle of the path. A shelf is nailed to the tree to hold voodoo baby dolls, dead roses, and other manner of eerie accoutréments. The two trees flanking the alter tree hold two scarecrows. Beyond the trees is another wooden shack. Reluctantly you creep towards the building as the path goes through the entrance door and out the exit door, which you can see from where you stand. Suddenly a deep growling voice calls you by name and demands to know, “What are you doing here?!!!” You hear, “Get off of my property!” as one of the scarecrows leaps from the tree and continues to angrily berate you as it edges you into the dark tiny house. A bathtub full of blood awaits and a reanimated corpse of a girl emerges. You jump to the other side of the room and slink towards the exit as she beseeches you with outstretched dripping bloody arms and hands to come closer and bring her favorite toy with you. She cries like a dead-eyed doll as you leave without appeasing her. You soon encounter a John Wayne Gacy look-alike in a black light illuminated tent spray painted with fluorescent obscenities. You block out what happens inside and emerge feeling as if your consciousness has just blacked out temporarily. You almost forget you are on a haunted trail until you come upon a skeletal witch doctor with shrunken heads, toadstools, and a steamy cauldron that she wants you to stir. She seems harmless enough so you allow her to coax you into assisting her. She tells you story but never finishes because in mid-sentence the cauldron tips over to reveal a heathen man grabbing at your ankles to pull you into his pit of despair. They both cackle and curse as you get away by running across a metal bridge passing over the creek. When you are halfway across, a troll bangs on the underside of it with a hammer, which almost give you a heart attack! Just as you cross over, a human sized raven jumps out from behind a tree, croaking menacingly at you for waking it up. It practically pushed you out of it’s territory and you see the exit is near, but one last dreamy surprise awaits you before you make it to the end…A stilt-walker in large billed bird mask tries to envelop you in its shroud so you can never leave.
It was the best haunted production I’ve ever seen and it was a total blast. I never knew I could do those things with my voice. I scared myself a little as I played a tortured girl behind the shack, the scarecrow, undead girl in the tub, and raven.
Halloween parties were hosted for days. Shows consisted of fire, hula hoop, and Butoh style dancing. A suspension ritual from a high tree was undertaken by the Cajun cook. Vaudeville musicians and jugglers in black and white stripes made us laugh. DJs spun as we danced under the stars in our costumes…til the next event…
Art Outside, the festival now held in Apache Pass, Texas was started right there at the Enchanted Forest on Oltorf. In the spring, the spooky took a backseat the fresh ideas and collaborative efforts of artists all over town. Installations, bands, and food sampling were sprinkled throughout the woods for guests to enjoy in the dappled sunlight. At night, mysterious Baruzaland shadow puppet shows were presented on a giant screen with live instrumental accompaniment. Afterwards a lively dance party broke out as, The Emeralds, a rambunctious surf punk outfit who were visiting from Japan, rocked the stage.
I only experienced the Forest for a short while, but those were my favorite months in Austin. The Enchanted Forest was the last bastion of free spirits in our beloved town before it became what I see it as now, a pretty big city. Shortly after my time in the Forest, I ran off to Paris with one of the French NOLA refugees and then to live in Asia for three years. When I returned to Austin, it was shockingly different than it had been in the past 15 years I had lived here. It took me a very long time to find a full time job, despite knowing people all over town, and rent prices were unfathomable to me. I considered going back overseas, but my family of friends are here and I didn’t want to lose touch with my home for any longer than I already had. I made the decision to tough it out because although it’s getting more crowded and expensive, the arts are still alive here. Culture and nature are still valued. It just doesn’t feel as loose and free-spirited…especially now that the Enchanted Forest must close its gates. We fear for the trees and the water there. We are sad that the wildflowers will lose yet another patch of soil to grow as it wills. The birds will still be able to perch in the heritage oaks though. It would be illegal for the new owners to cut down hundreds of years old trees in Austin. (See https://www.austintreeexperts.com/blog/austin-heritage-tree-ordinanace/)
Since I returned from my sojourn, friends of the Forest, including myself, met with city officials, trade members, and community spokespeople, to try to come up with a plan to continue hosting events without getting fined by the city for code violations of this or that sort. The expense of readying it was too much and the property taxes got too high. The most generous proprietor, Albert tried to find a non-profit or community organization to purchase the land, but none could pay a price to sustain him and his family. He has grandchildren now and is planning to start a small farm just a short drive out of town. Eventually he agreed to sell it to developers, who could afford to pay the price he needed for his next chapter. So despite the loss, we are happy that his lovely family’s future is still bright.
And so it goes…I spent the evening of the last Enchanted Forest Easter in this gem of a green space. To allow the forest creatures to convene in the forest one last time, the Forest family threw a big Easter party. I didn’t arrive until nearly sundown, as bunnies are wont to do, but I could tell from the crushed cascarones and confetti strewn about everywhere, that it had been a huge success. Rowdy children wanted to smash watermelon rabbits as if they were pumpkins. Adults lolled around on a bright AstroTurf blanket pleased with the perfect temperature and absence of mosquitoes. I said goodbye to old friend wishing it a positive future as I wandered through with Himalayan protection incense, ring
Now the hardest part comes. Even those who don’t live in the Forest, but are sensitive to its presence, will have a grieving period as bulldozers and concrete take it over. For those who do live there, it must be agonizing. I see in their eyes that they are still trying to release it, some with more ease than others. We have to get used to the fact that Austin will never be the same as it was pre-2006. Many of the people, such as artists, craftspeople, restaurant workers, and gardeners, who made this city appealing to the people who moved here in the past 1-5 years, are getting pushed further and further away from the center. Rents are just too high now. Wages are not getting higher congruently. Many jobs for artists are now being done with free labor known as the unpaid internship. We are not able to make a living in our fields as easily as we were able to before. However, there is a lot of talk lately by the city and grassroots organizations about getting more affordable housing for artists and musicians, initiating rent control, and putting regulations on unpaid internships because what will Austin become if we can’t live here anymore?
This is a call to all who value community, culture, art, music, poetry, nature, health, and good food to be sure you are nurturing those treasures as often as possible. Teach people, who are not familiar with their value, to open themselves up. Welcome them. Show them there is a way to be free. Let the spirit of the Enchanted Forest infiltrate the city, so that the healing powers of creativity and authenticity rule the great city of Austin, Texas y’all!
These floral art pieces were created from plants I grew in my garden. They were meant to accompany the photo scrolls I created earlier this year, but nature has it’s own timing, no matter how well we try to schedule things.
They are inspired by amazing floral artists around the world, who showcase their work
in the compilation http://www.floralannual.com/
Trying to break free
Chicharra braces itself
Fence and a hard place
Chicharra’s third eye
Glows in the afternoon sun
Rebirth of summer
…at Butler Park and the Dougherty Art School.
To see the student’s shadow puppet shows, visit:
If you haven’t donated to the Bastrop State Park fund yet and are still interested in doing so,
I have just finished a photo book of images taken this spring and summer. 50% of the profits will go to benefit the park.
There are two sizes – 10×8 and 13×11. The prices range from about $55-$110
In addition, I have completed a book to benefit the flood victims in Thailand.
To preview all of my books, visit: http://www.blurb.com/search/site_search?search=Stephanie+Reid
2012 Calendars can be viewed at: http://haikuflash.photoshelter.com/gallery/Calendars/G0000F7ElBrHzGdY/
To purchase a calendar, click on its cover image (the one with a spiral binding in the photo).
Thank you for your interest.