Montana sculptor and jeweler Heyoka Merrifield once made an eagle necklace that not only hung around the neck of Joni Mitchell, but was featured in the Martin Scorsese’s film, The Last Waltz. He made a custom necklace for George Harrison of a dark horse that pulls the chariot of a Hindu deity and he designed another necklace for Bob Dylan featuring a lyre as a symbol of Orpheus, the Greek God of music. The list of celebrities goes on and on: Neil Diamond, Michael Jackson, Cher.
But Merrifield’s story isn’t just about serving up spiritual art to the rich and famous. Even though he went to college for contemporary art, he’s spent the last 20 years in Montana rediscovering the idea of sacred art through his native heritage. Sundancing with the Muse is a film about the Bitterroot resident whose inspiration stems from near death experience, Greek Goddesses, spiritual dance and wild animals. Directed by local artist and cinematographer Jason Gutzmer, it was just accepted for Utah’s Red Rocks Film Festival and is airing on PBS. Check out the trailer here:
The Bitterroot premier of Sundancing with the Muse coincides with a benefit for the Garden of 1000 Buddhas, recently profiled in the New York Times. The film screens at the Hamilton Performing Arts Center (217 Daly Ave.) tonight, Friday, Nov. 12, at 7 PM. $15/$10 children 14 and under or $12 advance/$8 children advance tickets available at the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, Chapter One Bookstore, Bella, Flower Happy, and all Farmers State Bank branches. Children 5 and under view for free.
Yesterday saw yet another intriguing development in the debate over ExxonMobil's contentious Kearl Module Transportation Project (KMTP) as a new coalition of 13 Idaho- and Montana-based organizations announced its support for the big rigs. The Drive Our Economy task force touted the KMTP as a boon for economic activity in both states, claiming ExxonMobil's Alberta-bound tar sands mining modules would bring in an estimated $80 million. Pat Richardson, Clearwater County President of the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation, issued the following on behalf of the task force:
Idaho farmers and businesses rely heavily on our roadways to move our products and to keep Idahoans employed. That’s why the Drive Our Economy task force includes such a wide range of area business groups, agriculture groups, and interests. We’re working to ensure that our businesses can continue to freely use local roadways. Outsiders like the Natural Resources Defense Council are using scare tactics around these "mega-loads" to drown out a productive discussion about what’s best for Idaho and effectively take this debate out of local hands.
Even a quick glance at the list of participating organizations is enough to raise eyebrows; among Drive Our Economy's members are the Montana Chamber of Commerce, the Montana Coal Council and the Montana Business Leadership Council. Not necessarily surprising when you consider the task force's message that Idaho and Montana highways "cultivate tourism, provide access to global markets for farmers and ranchers, support regional military facilities and foster the continued growth of vital industries like mining and energy," but still worrisome considering the clout these organizations have. With the Montana Department of Transportation as yet undecided on issuing ExxonMobil the required high-and-wide permits, the emergence of such a weighty conglomerate of advocates could have a profound impact on the outcome of this debate.
Find Rob Brezsny's "Free Will Astrology" online, every Wednesday, one day before it hits the Indy's printed pages.
ARIES (March 21-April 19): Where I live, 35 percent of all high school students confess (or brag) that they have engaged in binge drinking, which is defined as imbibing five or more alcoholic drinks in a two-hour period. According to my reading of the omens, your inner teenager may soon be longing to flirt with that kind of intense and total release. Can I talk him or her out of it? As much as I sympathize with the younger you's need to escape the numbing effects of the daily grind, I'm asking the adult you to step in and assert your authority. Try to find a more constructive approach to liberation.
In this week's installment: A kinder parking ticket, a memorable wedding dance and Wal-Mart crimes.
Curses, Foiled Again
After Dustin Matthew Marshall, 20, tried on a pair of jeans at a Wal-Mart store in Gallatin, Tenn., and walked out without paying, police identified him because he left his old jeans behind, along with his wallet.
Police spotted a thief leaving a Wal-Mart store in Alliance, Ohio, and gave chase but lost him. Less than an hour later, dispatchers received a call from a man reporting that a friend called to say he’d been hiding in a dumpster behind a Wal-Mart when a trash truck emptied the dumpster and began compacting him. “He had been compacted several times,” an officer said after police located and rescued suspect James Michael Brienzo, 37. “He was just begging us to empty the truck.”
This weekend calls for a beer that leads us into the chilly months without ignoring the sunny, golden-leaved weather. It's time for changing seasons and time for new ingredients when we give you this week's happiest hour at the Big Sky Brewery.
What’s new: After five years of sticking to the tried-and-true formula, Big Sky Brewery has changed its recipe for Powder Hound. The new brew is lighter and much more bitter, with a blend that includes—if you want to get geeky about it—Hallertau, Palisade and Amarillo hops. Also, it’s much stronger now, with a 7.2 percent alcohol-by-volume (ABV), up from its former 6.2 percent.
There's art, and then there's the art of finding the art. Don't know what we mean? With so many places to go for the First Friday art walk, it's not hard to get exhausted from trying to coordinate where to go next. Get a plan, man. You can always check out the First Friday blog to plot your strategy. But just in case you've only got an hour to spare, here are three must-see art happenings.
1. Artist Amber Bushnell will be out on the sidewalks of downtown, somewhere on Higgins, Broadway and Pattee, between 6:30 and 9 p.m. Sound a bit sketchy? A little cloak-and-dagger? That’s what makes a mobile art show so intriguing. Bushnell’s exhibit I Am: A Self Portrait & Mobile Installation includes illustrations and animation that might make you question: which is the artist, and which is the art? You decide.
2. You know how furniture places are perpetually doing clearance sales? Well, art clearances are not a dime a dozen, so maybe you should check this out. Local artist Marc Moss is clearing out his studio so he can start afresh, which means if you head down to Sushi Hana (403 N Higgins Ave.) you might get some sweet deals on collages and assemblage made from rusty metal, reclaimed glass and wire. Also, 15 percent of proceeds go to the Missoula Food Bank, so you can do some good in a couple of different ways. All under the influence of sake.
3. A Povarello fundraiser called “Starving Artists for The Pov” kicks off at the Badlander (208 Ryman) with performances by the Open Field Artists, speakers like Mayor Engen and new state Rep. Ellie Hill, a fashion show and live music by rapper Pallas Athena, DJ Kris Moon and Americana punk band Bird’s Mile Home, among others. Peruse visual art by the likes of Hanna Hannan, Abe Coley and Ladypajama, who, by the way, if you haven’t heard, are people to know in the local art scene. Time to get cultured. 5 p.m. to 8 pm free but accepting donations of blankets, winter coats, toiletries (specifically razor blades, denture adhesive), or socks. From 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. the cost goes up to $5, or $3 if you donate any of the suggested items above.
Fallout from Tuesday continues, although the end of one of Montana's more popular political blogs isn't directly tied to the midterms.
Left in the West, which most recently was mentioned in Time magazine, is the long-time blogosphere home of Matt Singer and, more recently, Jay Stevens (who was the original founder of another popular political blog, 4&20 blackbirds). Well, on Wednesday, Stevens announced he's done with the blogging game; he'd been contemplating the change for months. And on Thursday, Singer, a political organizer who recently accepted a new position in Portland, Ore., said his own farewell.
"My guess is that this site will effectively turn into a ghost town," wrote Singer. "But there's lot of other talented writers in this state to pick up the slack.
The Indy profiled Singer and Stevens (and other progressive bloggers) back in 2006 when they were making an impact on the Tester/Burns race. As numerous other blogs popped up and contributed to the overall political discussion in Montana, LiTW persevered and remained a top destination. To Stevens and Singer's credit, they worked hard to keep the content consistent and insightful. Most importantly to fans and critics alike, they weren't anonymous.
It's a shame to see them go.
Find Rob Brezsny's "Free Will Astrology" online, every Wednesday, one day before it hits the Indy's printed pages.
ARIES (March 21-April 19): In Marcel Proust's novel In Search of Lost Time, one of the characters makes a vulgar observation about the odd attractions that sometimes come over us human beings: "Anyone who falls in love with a dog's behind will mistake it for a rose." It's my duty to point out that the opposite occurs, too. People may think a marvelous thing is worthless, and dislike it or ignore it as a result. Van Gogh's paintings, for example: He sold only one while he was alive, although today his work is regarded as extraordinarily beautiful. My advice to you, Aries, is to avoid both of these errors in the coming week.
Government nerds looking to follow today's election results need not wait for Jill and Mark, or battle the crowd at the Union Club, or constantly refresh 20 different websites looking for the latest numbers.
Let's make this easy:
The Secretary of State's enhanced election night reporting service features immediate results by county and precinct. It's easy, quick, clean and straight from the source. Look for the first update at 8 p.m.
Have you scored your free "I Voted" sticker yet? I have. It was a little lonely inside my polling place — no lines, lots of available parking spaces, little enthusiasm. Yet I was the 93rd person to cast my ballot, so I guess at least 90 others felt the pull of democracy on an overcast midterm Election Day.
This year's local races, we're told, don't seem to have the same pull as others in recent memory. Maybe. But they're still important, and races in other states are surely worth watching.
Assuming you've already read the Indy's election coverage over the last month or so — like our endorsements of the initiatives, our story about Dennis McDonald and a horse named Rowboat, the race in HD 92 and Alex Sakariassen's cover story about young Montana Republicans — here's a look at how other alternative newspapers are covering Election Day:
The Village Voice pleads with California to legalize marijuana. In an open letter to Californians, Foster Kamer writes, "the real bottom line is that we are stressed. These are stressful times! And you would be leading a weary, industrious nation eager to Get Things Done into the future as one that can also relax a little."
OC Weekly tries to cut through the smoke and report on the initiative's chances of passing.
The Boston Phoenix explains "The utter lunacy of the 2010 election cycle — backstabbing, demon sheep, witches — seemed to lend itself to the [slash fiction] genre." The headline of the story: "Gay Tea Party Witch Sex." The lead image is what you see above.
Perhaps more helpful from the Phoenix: A couch potato's guide to following today's key races.
Salt Lake City Weekly profiles queer elephants.
Las Vegas Weekly isn't sure it matters whether Sen. Harry Reid — or anyone else for that matter — wins today. "We're doomed," the paper declares.
The Stranger takes a different stance. Here's how the Seattle paper opens its election guide:
Glenn Beck says you're not going to vote this year. Bill O'Reilly says you don't have the guts. Sarah Palin says you're going to toss that ballot straight into your socialist recycling bin. And Christine O'Donnell says masturbation is a sin and she's not a witch and she's you and you're not going to vote.
Here's why they say you're not going to vote: because the Republicans are unstoppable. They're going to take the House and the Senate and the pennant and the Oscar and the Emmy and the cake. And they know this because they heard it—and said it—in the echo chamber that is Fox News.
And they're wrong.
If you think they're wrong, and still haven't voted, step away from the computer and cast your ballot before 8 p.m. tonight. Check your registration status and find your polling place with the Secretary of State's My Voter Page site or, if you've already mailed your ballot, check its status here.
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