The Humboldt Folklife Festival picked, strummed, hooted and harmonized all the live-long day at the free concert finale at Dell'Arte International on Saturday, July 18. This was the 37th annual event, featuring everything from highland pipes to washboards and banjos. Photographer Mark McKenna caught the shows, the crowds and the music spilling into the streets.
Hey readers — every year we ask you to whip out your smart phone, pack up your DSLR or dust off that old 35mm camera to frame and snap some photos that scream “Humboldt.”
That time has come again, and this year we’re asking you to go out (or in) and capture Humboldt’s best styles. That means the people, rides, pets or designs that exemplify that certain North Coast je ne sais quoi. Wetsuits, Carhartts, dreadlocks, skinny jeans, sequins, plaid — we want to see Humboldt chic, whether or not it’s really, you know, chic.
Whether it’s you spending hours putting together an ensemble, or that friend we each have that always looks effortlessly cool, grab a camera, pose somewhere pretty and do your best Annie Leibovitz. Street fashion’s cool too — but we need names for the models, so no snickering submissions.
Submit your high-resolution JPEGs, along with your name, phone number, and the name of your model (if applicable), to email@example.com. Your pictures have to be fresh, meaning taken since the contest began on June 16, so include the date and time the photo shoot took place. Also, no Photoshop, Instagram-y filters or other tampering. You have until 11:59 p.m. on July 13, so don’t dilly dally.
Journal favorites have a chance at being published in a future issue and claiming more than $200 in gift certificates to local stores and restaurants, so get out there and find the people that make Humboldt look good, or, at least, look Humboldt.
Check out our past photo contest spreads here and here.
1. It's not what it used to be. This according to veteran biker Craig "Sundog" Barnette, who pulled a sour face at the paltry array of bikes in front of the bars in Garberville. "There used to be hogs up and down this street. Now it's a ghost town." Nonetheless, local bartenders said they made a fair amount in tips. Last year, the Run coincided with the Garberville Rodeo Parade, resulting in some panicky horses. This year, the leather chaps crowd will be coming into town as the leather jacket sets leaves.
2. Bikers are a friendly bunch. If you're looking for brawls, you're better off at home watching Sons of Anarchy. It was a sunshiny Southern Humboldt Day in Piercy, and the majority of the black-clad revelers were talking gear, slapping backs and catching up. Cries of "Hey man, how have you been!" were common. In one overheard exchange, two friends realized they had gotten drunken tattoos together four Runs past. ("I woke up with a tattoo on my ass and I couldn't remember who had been with me. It was you!") Down on the river bar, one man helped another out of a wheelchair and onto the back of an idling hog. The bluffs across the water amplified the noise of gunning engines, making a sound like a thunderclap.
Were you looking for the Mestizos Califas? Because they're right here.
3. Weed use is much more blatant now. This according to a hospitality volunteer backstage, who said when he worked the event 15 years ago, people were "sneakier" about toking up. "Harley riders, you know, they're doctors and lawyers. They used to be more concerned about how they'd be perceived. But weed's going to be legal soon. It's way different." The volunteer then knocked his $400 bong off the table, breaking its stem.
Backstage hospitality. Butts on the left, roaches to the right.
4. Some things you can merch ... like Hells Angels brand gear, Crazy Bitch brand T-shirts, even cheap highs in the infamous "nitrous alley," where tattooed men filled yellow and red balloons for wobbly party folk. Counterculture evidently equals plenty of cash. The wet T-shirt contest was rumored to have brought in $4,000.
Warrant prepares to rock.
5.... and some things you can't. As darkness fell over the Eel, '80s superstar glam-metal band Warrant took the stage. A brief spatter of mic checks preceded an epic bout of mic-twirls as lead singer Robert Mason strutted his way through "Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich," his feathery coif of long blond hair following him like a flag in full wind. The crowd went crazy, screaming along to the band's most recognizable hit, "Cherry Pie." A trim, tan older woman wearing nothing but a pair of leather shorts shook her teacup-sized breasts in time. Most of the crowd was overcome with rock n' roll frenzy, but two dour young men watched the show unimpressed. One shouted something to the other that got lost in the sound of the wailing guitar. "WHAT?" asked his friend. The shouted reply came, "I SAID, NOT ENOUGH TITS THIS YEAR!"
Sure, it’s not technically summer yet, but this year’s overcast skies remind us of the Humboldt coastal summers of our youth.
If you’re like us, the permafog has you longing for the sunny embrace of Blue Lake. But you’ve been burned before: throw on your trunks, hop on the bike, the promise of cold beer on your tongue and — damn, it’s cold and cloudy in Blue Lake, too. For years the solution was to call Stardough's (guilty) or another Blue Lake business for a quick weather assessment.
Now there’s an even easier (and less disruptive) solution: The Blue Lake Sun Cam.
The Moonshine Banditos capsize shortly after entering Humboldt Bay during the second day of the 2015 Kinetic Grand Championship.
Things got downright damp Sunday, as the Kinetic Sculpture Race's second day began with the ever feared water entry. Some sculptures launched, where others merely wobbled and tipped, before a lively crowd near Eureka's Wharfinger Building. The first waves of racers are expected to approach the finish line on Ferndale's Main Street at about 1 p.m. today, so if you're still itching to catch a piece of the race up close and personal, it's not too late. Check out our Kinetic Primer here for tips on what today's final leg of the race will bring. In the meantime, here's a look back at Day Two's angst-inducing water entry, courtesy of Journal contributors Mark Larson and Mark McKenna.
Steampunk Shark chomps its jaws for the crowd and the glory.
The 47th annual Kinetic Grand Championship is underway, with dozens of teams traversing 40 miles of asphalt, sand and water in pursuit of the glory. A trio of Journal contributors — photographers Alexander Woodard, Mark McKenna and Mark Larson — are following the madness. Here's some of what they've shared so far... and be sure to check back early next week when we'll package the best images from the three-day race.
The Blue Oyster Cult nears the starting line on the Arcata Plaza at the Kinetic Grand Championship 2014.
“Kinetics is for everyone,” according to the official rules for Humboldt’s human-powered sculpture race, and Rule A reads, “Amusement is the gift we give and get, so all KGC participants, volunteers, spectators, and innocent bystanders must try their best to have FUN at all times.”
This preview guide to the 47th annual Kinetic Grand Championship was prepared for spectators and innocent bystanders with Rule A in mind. It contains our advice on how to have fun and where to best watch the Kinetic action during the three-day race. Be sure to get a copy of the Kinetic Rules and a race maps before you start your weekend. (Follow the hyperlinks for PDFs of both.)
Photo courtesy Patrick Magee's 'Primal Rage" Kickstarter site
That foot looks familiar ...
First there’s just cheery bird-chirp amid the sunshine. Then deep breathing, and the video camera takes us into the dark forest. Heavy, deliberate footsteps, crunching sticks, more breathing, menacing music, towering redwood silhouettes that interrupt sprays of light, a few ferns glowing bright … and the beast, walking quickly, then loping, splashing through a creek, then breaking into an all-out sprint! Away from you? At you? Aghhhhhh!
So much for hunting for Bigfoot. Because, he seems to be hunting you. Or someone.
This is a scene from a trailer for a new, indie Bigfoot movie in the making, Primal Rage: The Legend of Oh-Mah. It’s “a love project” of director Patrick Magee, says Humboldt-Del Norte Film Commission’s Cassandra Hesseltine. Magee’s the genius behind the special effects in some major movies, including Spiderman, Jurassic Park III and Artificial Intelligence. The film crew’s been filming this week, and wraps up next week, on private land amid second-growth redwood forest near Crescent City (too many old-growth restrictions on state or national park land, says Hesseltine). Hesseltine recently saw some of the action, and says the main character of the film — Bigfoot — is an animatronic creation of Magee’s that is truly impressive.
“It breathes, and there are different things the face can do,” she says. “The special effects were just crazy. They looked real. I believed what I was watching.”
Magee spent six years creating the Bigfoot suit and co-writing the script with Jay Lee, who's also the cinematographer and editor. On the Stan Winston School of Character Arts webpage for Primal, Magee calls the project a life-long dream, a “character-based Bigfoot thriller, as Bigfoot has never been seen before. It's PREDATOR meets FIRST BLOOD meets PUMPKINHEAD, with this re-envisioning of the Bigfoot legends.”
It’s a serious Bigfoot movie, he writes, with none of those modern visual effects but rather “a man in a creature suit, gruesome kills, make-up driven characters, animatronics, self-mechanized masks, armor and more.” It involves “survival, action, horror, love and characters that the audience will truly care about.” Yeah, he implies, CGI can just step aside, because his film brings us back to the days of “GOOD, PRACTICAL, monster-movies. We want to bring the trend of REAL monsters, REAL effects and REAL characters back to an audience who is yearning [for] them.”
He’s most proud of the “ultimate Bigfoot suit” (outta the way, cheeseball Bigfoot hoaxters with your modified gorilla suits and wooden feet): “Every little detail, from sculpted toe-prints to the nose hairs individually punched into the face were thought out and executed to perfection. With a team of mold-makers, casters, fabricators, hair punchers and mechanics at my side, I sculpted and painted every inch of the suit.”
As for the story: A wife picks up her husband when he gets out of prison, which is “deep in the forest” of Northern California, and they get attacked by a sadistic, warped Oh-Mah (“Bigfoot” in an unspecified Native American language). Fun, ahem, ensues. And terror.
Magee calls it a strong story with strong characters. “Bigfoot is a strong character,” he says in one of his videos promoting the film to potential Kickstarter donors. “This is an intelligent, stealthy, thinking being, and so it’s all character-driven. … The location is a character in itself.”
Yes, it is. With dark, spooky, lovely trees. And shadows. And bright splashes of light.
You can watch the trailer here and read a synopsis of the story on Magee's Kickstarter site. And, check out Magee's video about making the suit and plans to shoot on the North Coast below.
The equivalent of a photo album of multiple generations of family members could be found among the body art on this person (who chose not to share his full name). He was helping staff one of the many tattoo booths at the Inked Hearts Tattoo Expo in the Sapphire Palace at the Blue Lake Casino on Feb. 8.
As I entered the Inked Hearts Tattoo Expo, I was immediately struck by buzzing of tattoo guns and the unusual sight of many people lying passively on tables, receiving their latest ink.
I enjoyed my visit to the sixth annual tattoo expo held in the Blue Lake Casino’s Sapphire Palace on Feb. 8, partly because it makes me feel closer to our daughter Hillary, a tattoo artist living in Brooklyn. She’s the product of Arcata High School and an expensive art school education.
But mostly I enjoy the social scene at this event because I get a chance to talk to the tattoo artists — who come from all over the country to attend — as well as to meet those present who choose to get inked. The attendees are a visual overload of wide ranging body types, displaying a mix of standard “flash” to original tattoo designs located on a variety of body parts.
Humboldt County’s most famous fire-spewing octopus is at it again, having traveled into the Rockies to flame it up at Colorado’s Telluride Fire Festival.
El Pulpo Mecanico, the 26-foot-tall brainchild of local artist Duane Flatmo is one of the festival’s headliners and, with the event dubbings itself a “community celebration of excellence in interactive fire arts,” it seems a perfect fit.
To read El Pulpo’s full story, including how much work it takes to ship that thing hundreds of mile for an event, see the Journal’s prior story here. For more on the festival, check its website here.
And, if you’re in the camp that believes the only good octopus is the edible kind, give Jennifer Fumiko Cahill’s recipe a try.