In this week's installment of odd news happenings: Advice on talking with aliens, cheating to win a bass fishing tournament and the magic of the Livestock Power Mill.
And other stories from around the alt newspaper world.
First off, Village Voice Media (they own really big weekly papers in Phoenix, New York and pretty much everywhere) announced its underwriting the ACLU of Arizona's forthcoming litigation against Senate Bill 1070, that awful anti-immigration law the state just passed. You can help.
Two years ago, a police officer in a Brooklyn precinct became gravely concerned about how the public was being served. To document his concerns, he began carrying around a digital sound recorder, secretly recording his colleagues and superiors.
Gambit Weekly, the excellent alt in New Orleans, covers the tragic oil spill off the city's shores with a special report.
The Nashville Scene, meanwhile, writes about the forgotten victims of the current floods down south: the homeless.
On the lighter side, David Lipsky talks about his new book on late writer David Foster Wallace with the Pittsburgh City Paper.
The Austin Chronicle goes onto the set of a favorite TV show here in the Indy newsroom, Friday Night Lights, just before the new season premieres on NBC tonight. (Side note: Last year, Erika Fredrickson profiled Ron Fitzgerald, who has ties to Missoula and writes for the show.)
This First Friday we’re going skateboarding. The Badlander hosts the Montana Skatepark Association’s fifth annual On Deck auction, which showcases really edgy, cool, sometimes funny, often stunning art made on skateboard decks. You’ll recognize some of the names of our own local artists and get an introduction to other regional and nationwide artists, too. The live viewing and bidding starts around 5 PM and the event is one of the few that continues on long after other First Friday venues shut their doors. Even if you don’t end up bidding, watching people competitively bid on skateboard art is pretty entertaining. [Skateboard art below by Dan Kral].
Sometime during the evening we’ll stop in at Allegra Printing and Imaging (111 W. Broadway) to check out longtime Missoula artist Steve LaRance’s newest oil paintings titled Motor Oils. It’s been a while since LaRance has showed his work. Longtime Missoula residents will remember his quirky Western themed art—eggs and bacon, spurs and cowboy hats—all rendered in deep, vivid colors. Plus his Absolut Montana lithograph with a bottle of vodka flanked by a flyfishing fly and cowboy boots, among other Western images. His new work delves into Western culture but this time with roadside scenes generally including older cars and hot rods.
Finally, if you walk around downtown enough, you’ll probably end up face-to-face with the colorfully clothed facilitators and volunteers of Turning the Wheel, an intergenerational dance and theater group. We’re not sure exactly what performance art they’ll be creating, but since it's called "Seeds in the Streets," we think it has something to do with Spring. Let’s hope they can channel some good weather.
Regular Indy film critic and local filmmaker Andy Smetanka recently finished a series of commercials for us.
In case you haven't seen one while watching reruns of "Two and a Half Men," you can catch the spots right here. And, if you're looking for a fun game to play, arts editor Erika Fredrickson has a free hardcover copy of Unfinished Desires by Gail Goodwin for the person who correctly identifies the most Missoula "personalities" featured in the ads.
In late March, U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy of Missoula rebuffed the U.S. Forest Service's approval of the Rock Creek Mine in the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness southwest of Libby. On Tuesday, Molloy filed his full, 124-page opinion (PDF) in the case.
Madama Butterfly was my first opera. I was living in the dorms at Lewis & Clark College and a guy two doors down got opera tickets from his dad for his birthday—enough for our entire dorm floor to go. We were amateurs, but by the time we'd downed a few beers, gotten all dressed up and climbed onto the bus headed for the Hampton Opera Center, we were ready to be as classy as they come.
Not that we achieved any such thing, but it didn't matter anyway. I forgot about our motley crew by the second act. And by the time "Addio Fiorito Asil" began I was pretty hooked on the performance. Maybe not enough to go see an opera for another few years, but at least enough that the story and music stayed with me, popping up in the lulls between the punk rock soundtrack of my life.
Written in 1904, Puccini's Madama Butterfly tells the story of Cio Cio San, a Japanese woman in love with an American Naval officer named Pinkerton. It's the most popular, most performed opera to date, and in August the Montana Lyric Opera (who did a semi-staged production of Verdi's Rigoletto last year) will produce a fully-staged production of it, which means you'll get the whole experience: full orchestra, fancy costumes and a cast of professional singers.
The performance runs August 11 and August 13 at 7 PM nightly, and August 15 at 5:30 PM. Early bird tickets are on sale now through June 1 for $15-35. Beginning June 2, tickets will go up to $19-39. Purchase tickets at www.MTOpera.org or call 406-541-9233.
Find Rob Brezsny's Free Will Astrology online, every Tuesday, two days before it hits the Indy's printed pages.
ARIES (March 21-April 19): Hip-hop music definitely needs to include more tuba playing. I think that's what's missing from it. Likewise, the sport of skateboarding would benefit from having more dogs and monkeys that can master its complexities; the state of journalism could be improved by including more babies as reporters; and you Aries folks would significantly upgrade your life by learning how to play the game of cricket. (If you believe everything I just said, you'll be equally gullible when a little voice in your head tries to convince you to seek out things you don't really need or adopt behavior that doesn't suit you.)
The journalism world has taken some pretty heavy hits over the last few years, but the fact that computers can now spit out full sports stories and make real, live, cigar-smoking sportswriters irrelevant is truly troubling.
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, software programmers at Narrative Science in Evanston, Ill., developed a way for computers to write full sports stories based solely on stats from the game. It's already being used by the Big Ten Network and Fox Cable.
"It's considerably less expensive for us to go this route than for us to try to have our own beat reporters at each one of these games," says Michael Calderon, Big Ten's director of new media. "In fact, it would be logistically impossible for us to do that."
In this week's installment of odd news happenings: playoff hockey murder, robbery with a hypodermic needle and teachers sending student papers to be graded in India.
Curses, Foiled Again
Federal authorities charged Gregory Giusti, 48, with making at least 48 threatening phone calls to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during a seven-week period. According to an affidavit supporting the charges, Giusti used an Internet phone service called Magic Jack to make the calls, declaring during one to Pelosi’s San Francisco district office that “the number I’m calling from is untraceable, so if you’re trying to trace it, have fun.” Authorities promptly traced the call to Giusti.
Following his initial court appearance, during which he wept but made no statement, Giusti’s mother, Eleanor Giusti, 83, blamed Fox News for radicalizing her son, whose criminal record includes evading train fare.
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