Art

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Bigfootin'

Posted By on Thu, May 4, 2017 at 4:00 PM

The crowds lined up to meet the Bigfoot hunters at the fest. - CHRISTIAN PENNINGTON
  • Christian Pennington
  • The crowds lined up to meet the Bigfoot hunters at the fest.

Did you see something up in Willow Creek on Saturday? Bigfoot's stomping grounds were the site of a tribute to our hirsute local hero in Veteran's Park. The cast of Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot, including homegrown hunter James "Bobo" Fay, showed up to sign autographs, swap stories and film the festivities.
Elvis of the Bigfoot world Bob Gimlin, who shot the famous 1967 Patterson-Gimlin footage of an unidentified and very furry subject in our neck of the woods, was also on hand.

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Friday, April 28, 2017

First Contact: Steven Paul Judd's Moving Pictures

Posted By on Fri, Apr 28, 2017 at 2:47 PM

FROM STEVEN PAUL JUDD'S "FIRST CONTACT."
  • From Steven Paul Judd's "First Contact."
When Kiowa-Choctaw artist Steven Paul Judd was a child, growing up on Indian reservations in Oklahoma and Mississippi, he contracted polio and had to go to the hospital. There, by his own account, he “saw TV for the first time.” It made a big impression.

As luck would have it, the TV movie that was playing happened to be The Wizard of Oz. Specifically, it was the scene where Dorothy steps out of monochrome Kansas and into the technicolor splendor of Oz. To hear Judd tell it, having this be your first-ever experience of television was a hyper-accelerated transition from black-and-white moving images into color that basically recapitulated the whole 20th century development of the moving-picture medium in a matter of dizzying minutes. This was an epiphanic exposure — a baptism into TV by fire that left the artist’s world view illuminated and rearranged.

Judd told this story to a packed house at Humboldt State University on Wednesday during a talk he gave as part of HSU’s Native Pathways speaker series. Judd, who lives in Oklahoma and Los Angeles, is a screenwriter, artist and independent filmmaker; he has also recently co-written a novel. His videos tell short, funny stories set in native families and communities, both on and off the reservation. The stories he wants to tell have the simplicity and clarity of folktales, with the reference points updated for contemporary audiences.
FROM STEVEN PAUL JUDD'S "SHHH."
  • From Steven Paul Judd's "Shhh."

The rapid initiation into TV described above seems to have prompted a series of questions: What did it mean to be Indian and be immersed in pop culture? What did it mean to be Kiowa and Choctaw and also be a diehard fan of all things having to do with superheroes and science fiction? These queries continue to propel the artist’s investigations.

In his talk, Judd explained that he hadn’t seen a lot of Indians on TV while he was growing up. In fact, he recalled exactly three. There was Iron Eyes Cody, famous from a 1971 anti-littering PSA, who let a single tear fall from his eye when he gazed upon the white man’s litterbug ways (and who was actually Sicilian). There was Jay Silverheels, who played Tonto in The Lone Ranger. And then there was Erik Estrada, from the 1977-83 series CHiPs. While Estrada is not actually Native either, Judd said he was willing to accord the actor who played Officer Frank “Ponch” Poncharello honorary status: “He’s not a Native person, but I thought he looked like one of my uncles, who watched CHiPs too.”

All of these Indian role models, Judd explained, had their merits, but when it came to authenticity they lacked a certain je ne sais quoi. He decided to start shooting videos, making photo collages and writing screenplays in order to make the Native characters he wanted to see appear onscreen.
His photo collages feature mash-up images created by juxtaposing historical photographs of Indians from the late 19th and early 20th century with anachronistic characters from late 20th century movies and TV. In one still, the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man looms alarmingly behind a row of teepees decorated with traditional paintings. A replica “ledger drawing” made in homage to the narrative line drawings created by Plains Indians from the 1860s through the 1920s features warrior figures whose regalia owes more to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles than it does to traditional indigenous forms.


Many of the videos involve stop-action animation. In “Round Dance” an artist’s articulated wooden model and a robot call forth assorted action figures that drum and form a moving circle, each toy prompting separate pangs of pop culture deja vu. Ewoks and Storm Troopers stomp through the frame. The command to “be a good Indian” echoes through space, followed by a polite request to turn your phone off.

You can see more of Judd’s videos, including “First Contact,” “Neil Discovers the Moon” and “Search for the World’s Best Indian Taco,” here.





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Monday, March 20, 2017

Logging On

Posted By on Mon, Mar 20, 2017 at 2:31 PM

HSU Soils and Range Management major Sierra Berry, of Sacramento, handled her end of a two-person crosscut saw in the Lumberjack & Jill Show on Friday. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • HSU Soils and Range Management major Sierra Berry, of Sacramento, handled her end of a two-person crosscut saw in the Lumberjack & Jill Show on Friday.

Redwood Acres Fairgrounds transformed into the 79th annual Redwood Region Logging Conference in Eureka this weekend. The sounds of saw mills and chainsaw carvers at work and the whistle of a vintage steam railroad engine keep a large crowd moving among the massive equipment and logging displays. Also available were historic displays, a wildlife show, a college-student Lumberjack & Jill competition, and a line-up of massive logging trucks in the new Show 'N Shine competition. This year's theme was "Growing Forests, Families and our Future." See the slideshow below for highlights.

HSU Soils and Range Management major Sierra Berry, of Sacramento, handled her end of a two-person crosscut saw in the Lumberjack & Jill Show on Friday. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • HSU Soils and Range Management major Sierra Berry, of Sacramento, handled her end of a two-person crosscut saw in the Lumberjack & Jill Show on Friday.
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Monday, February 13, 2017

The Real 'Dude' Doesn't Roll

Posted By on Mon, Feb 13, 2017 at 4:00 PM

Karen Smith bowls her second shot in the round as the title character from The Big Lebowski, 'The Dude,' on Friday, Feb. 10. - SAM ARMANINO
  • SAM ARMANINO
  • Karen Smith bowls her second shot in the round as the title character from The Big Lebowski, 'The Dude,' on Friday, Feb. 10.

Karen Smith held up a dark green bowling ball. She lined up her last second shot to get a spare. She walked to the line and released the ball, it barreled down the lane leaning left and nailing the last pin to get the spare.

“I saw this event come up and I said ‘dude’ I gotta go,” Smith said, holding a white Russian cocktail in her right hand, the signature drink of "the Dude."

Smith attended the LeBOWLski event with her daughter, Laurel Osborn, dressed up as the Dude and Walter from the movie The Big Lebowski

While Osborn and her mother were having a good time bowling. The real Dude, Jeff Dowd, was sitting at the bar surrounded by a handful of people. He was wearing a brightly colored patched jacket and sat very relaxed. 

“I have never been here before,” Jeff ‘The Dude’ Dowd said. “I have only driven through but I never stopped.” 

Jeff Dowd, the man who inspired Jeff Bridges' character in The Big Lebowski, was promoting a musical about the marijuana industry, Mary Jane: A Musical Potumentary. Dowd did not bowl at all during the event that lasted from 7:30 to midnight.

Jeff 'The Dude' Dowd, the man who inspired the famous character from The Big Lebowski, promotes the musical Mary Jane. - SAM ARMANINO
  • SAM ARMANINO
  • Jeff 'The Dude' Dowd, the man who inspired the famous character from The Big Lebowski, promotes the musical Mary Jane.

“I am not that good at bowling,” Dowd said. “And ‘The Dude’ never bowls in the movie.” 

Karen Smith and her daughter holding up their score card from the the LeBOWLski event at the E&O bowling alley. - SAM ARMANINO
  • SAM ARMANINO
  • Karen Smith and her daughter holding up their score card from the the LeBOWLski event at the E&O bowling alley.

About three lanes to the left of Dowd, Karen Smith and her daughter bowled. Smith wore a tan cardigan and her daughter wore a dark green military jacket. Smith’s favorite character from The Big Lebowski is Jesus, the Dude's purple track-suited opponent. “I found the pants but I couldn’t get the rest of it,” Smith said. 

Osborn's favorite character was Maude Lebowski, the artsy daughter of the wealthy Lebowski, but she had a hard time trying to find a costume so she dressed as Walter, the Dude's Vietnam veteran friend. That would have to abide.

The night came to a close with the announcement of the costume competition winner. Amber Cook, who dressed as Maude Lebowski, wore a thick fur coat as she held a piece of paper that read, “The Dude bestows upon you the title of best costume.” 

Jeff "The Dude" Dowd, the man who inspired the famous character from The Big Lebowski, promotes the new musical Mary Jane. - SAM ARMANINO
  • SAM ARMANINO
  • Jeff "The Dude" Dowd, the man who inspired the famous character from The Big Lebowski, promotes the new musical Mary Jane.
Kitt Roberts, a student at College of the Redwoods, bowling at the LeBOWLski bowling night. - SAM ARMANINO
  • SAM ARMANINO
  • Kitt Roberts, a student at College of the Redwoods, bowling at the LeBOWLski bowling night.
Attendees brought a cake that read, "STFU Donny," a line from the movie The Big Lebowski. - SAM ARMANINO
  • SAM ARMANINO
  • Attendees brought a cake that read, "STFU Donny," a line from the movie The Big Lebowski.

via GIPHY


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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Erica Botkin’s Mail Art Valentines

Posted By on Sun, Feb 12, 2017 at 12:07 PM

A card from Erica Botkin's series of satirical Valentine cards. - COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
  • Courtesy of the artist
  • A card from Erica Botkin's series of satirical Valentine cards.

Erica Botkin’s long-running mail art valentine project involves the artist posing for pin-up photographs to be sent through the mail as valentines. The photos feature Botkin posing seductively in attitudes ranging from corny to kittenish to risqué. The dose of zany running through it all testifies subtly to Eureka native Botkin’s affinity for deep Humboldt funk and pop esoterica. Botkin, who received her MFA in photography at the University of Texas at Austin, currently teaches photography at College of the Redwoods. (Full disclosure: We are pals and colleagues.) Her Valentines have become an awaited annual rite for quite a few, both in Humboldt and in parts abroad. But they have remained underground until now.

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Monday, February 6, 2017

Ink(ed) Well

Posted By on Mon, Feb 6, 2017 at 11:36 AM

Christian Madrigal, of Modesto, was in for hours of artwork on his chest on Saturday by Izzy of Foundation Tattoo of Modesto. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • Christian Madrigal, of Modesto, was in for hours of artwork on his chest on Saturday by Izzy of Foundation Tattoo of Modesto.

Updating an old expression, there's no explaining taste in food or love — or in choice of tattoo design. Evidence of the wide range of tattoo design choices was on ample display at the eighth annual Inked Hearts Tattoo Expo at the Blue Lake Casino's Sapphire Palace this past weekend, Feb. 2-5.

Some 30 booths filled with tattoo artists did a steady business with appointments and walk-ins. It appeared that there were more local artists than in past years, along with a some new faces, including Liz Venom from Australia.

The expo included live music, a mix of vendors and a variety of contests. Stevie Di'Luxe, of Eureka, was chosen as Miss Inked Hearts of 2017 on Friday evening. In other award news, Megan Franklin of Springfield, Missouri chose an image of Meeko, her miniature Australian cattle dog, to be added to her thigh by Liz Cook of Rebel Muse Tattoo in Dallas and it won Best of Show on Sunday.

Full disclosure: My daughter Hillary is a gifted tattoo artist who lives and works in Brooklyn. Attending the Inked Hearts Expo year after year and getting to know so many of the artists and repeat attendees has helped me better understand and appreciate her career choice. And no, I don't have any tattoos – my mom won't let me get one.

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Friday, February 3, 2017

Outside Angle

Posted By on Fri, Feb 3, 2017 at 2:21 PM

FROM THE TBW WEBSITE
  • From the TBW website

If you've been wondering how that book of photographs of Humboldt County by Curran Hatleberg turned out, it's now available from TBW Books. You might remember Hatleberg, who has an MFA from Yale University, first came to our county to do some trimming (hey, Yale costs) and later taught photography at College of the Redwoods, during which time he shot the local scenery and the locals. According to Juxtapoz Magazine, "The culmination of Hateberg’s findings has recently been compiled into a beautifully edited publication," with 47 color plates for $45 (signed copies available for $300).

Mind you, these are not exactly beauty shots of Eureka and an argument can be made against their potentially exploitive nature, since the subjects of the photos are largely poor and/or rural. A very Vice-y article by Vice didn't assuage those fears. Some of the images (a sampling of which can be seen in this slideshow) are stunning but still leave lingering questions about the photographer's scrutinizing gaze, especially bound in the rich red cloth and gold foil stamp that promo copy says invites wear and recalls the Gold Rush. From another angle, these high-end touches smack of the packaging and consumption of one class for another.
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Monday, October 3, 2016

Inside and Outside the Lines

Posted By on Mon, Oct 3, 2016 at 4:48 PM

Work in progress. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • Work in progress.

Saturday's annual Pastels on the Plaza event, benefiting North Coast Children's Services, brought out artists, dabblers and kids of all ages to draw and view vibrant sidewalk masterpieces. The Arcata Plaza was ringed with sponsored squares and rainbow-stained fingers. Photographer Mark McKenna was on the plaza (and up on the firetruck ladder) getting shots of the art and artists before it all washed away. 




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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

All Species, All the Time

Posted By on Tue, Sep 20, 2016 at 12:38 PM

Local puppet master James Hildebrandt, of Arcata, led the All Species Parade with an avian creation. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • Local puppet master James Hildebrandt, of Arcata, led the All Species Parade with an avian creation.
The Same Old People's 43rd annual North Country Fair continued on Sunday with a large crowd gathered to watch the All Species Parade. It featured the Arcata Playhouse’s large and small creatures and a wide mix of puppets and other life forms marching twice around the plaza. Attendees also checked out performances by local bands and dancers, along with a large array of food, jewelry and clothing vendors.
Two new additions to the festival this year included a zero-waste kids’ craft zone sponsored by SCRAP Humboldt and a Wellness Row of information tents featuring community health information, tea samples, massage and yoga.


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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Samba and Sunshine

Posted By on Sun, Sep 18, 2016 at 4:00 PM

Belly dancers performed in the Samba Parade and the Ya Habibi Dance Company danced later on the plaza lawn at the North Country Fair on Saturday. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • Belly dancers performed in the Samba Parade and the Ya Habibi Dance Company danced later on the plaza lawn at the North Country Fair on Saturday.

The two-day 43rd annual North Country Fair got off to a bright start on a warm, sunny Saturday on the Arcata Plaza. Organized by the Same Old People since 1974, the zero-waste, family-friendly festival features 170 art and craft vendors, three music and entertainment stages, local food booths and activities for children. Members of Trillium Dance and Samba da Alegria led a lively Samba Parade in the afternoon. Add a little rhythm and shine to your day with the slideshow below.

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