Yep, we're looking to get in a little trouble tonight. That's why we dedicate this week's Happiest Hour to Missoula's oldest dive bar: The Oxford Saloon.
A bill moving through the Montana Legislature could result in severe underfunding of state parks and fishing access sites.
Senate Bill 13, sponsored by Rep. John Brenden, R-Scobey, proposes that a person who registers a vehicle may elect to pay $25, rather than elect not to pay $4, for state parks and fishing sites. On Tuesday the Senate Finance and Claims Committee passed the bill by a vote of 11-7, and it now heads to the Senate floor.
The Missoula Colony won't be the same. Playwright James McLure, who has contributed to the summer gathering for writers over the past decade and a half, passed away yesterday morning. Greg Johnson, Montana Repertory Theatre's artistic director sent us this eulogy:
...The world lost one of its finest writers. James McLure a playwright, poet and friend who twenty years ago adopted Montana as his artistic home succumbed to cancer. For fifteen years Jim contributed to The Missoula Colony: The Montana Repertory Theatre’s “gathering of artists in support of the writers craft”. Each year Jim provided a play for us to read, each year a unique, often funny, always well crafted and always heartfelt play would arrive in the Rep office for our consideration and for a decade and a half we took him up on it. He is the only playwright to have contributed to the Colony in every year of its existence. This is in and of itself a remarkable achievement. But when you consider the depth, variety and breadth of his work it approaches miraculous. This is what the Colony is all about, providing a space for creativity to flourish and Jim was our poster man. From plays about movie stars, to cops and criminals, to a brilliant adaptation of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, Jim’s insight, talent, love of language and sheer humanity inspired not only us who loved him but a whole new generation of writers who came to appreciate his gentle tutelage and beguiling insight to their work. No one who met Jim came away from a conversation or interaction with him less than richer for it.
He was a true southern gentleman; quick of wit, sharply satirical, highly intelligent with a deep personal loyalty to those he loved. I was one of the lucky ones. He shone his light on me and I am the better man for it. He was a rare friend and we will not see his like again and we will miss him terribly and live on in the remembrance of his loving brilliance.
The Montana Repertory Theatre
The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival announced its competition winners last night, as well as the awards screening schedule. The list:
FEATURE FILM COMPETITION :
The Best Feature prize was awarded to Thomas
Burstyn's THIS WAY OF LIFE, a story of one family's struggles and
success at forging a simple life based around horses, hunting, and
being together. Jurors Kate Pearson and Ian McCluskey noted that
"despite being evicted from their home, having their horses stolen,
and their subsistence lifestyle counter to the forward pressure of
modernity, this family demonstrates genuine perseverance and
commitment to each other. With candid personal interviews, lots of
gorgeous scenery, the filmmakers create an authentic portrait of a
marginal, and marginalized, way of life, that has, at its center, a
real heartbeat of human love."
FEATURE FILM, ARTISTIC VISION AWARD
Judges Kate Pearson and Ian McCluskey chose STEAM OF LIFE for the
Feature Film Artistic Vision award. They herald the film as a masterpiece,
"from the tender opening scene between husband and wife who have
bathed each other in their sauna for 51 years, the audience knows they
are in for a very special treat. This documentary, directed by Joonas
Berghall and Mika Hotakainen, takes viewers into the small confines of
saunas to reveal sad men, old men, fathers and sons. It is a film simple in concept,
elegant in execution, and haunting for the emotional depth of raw
human experience. With an ebb and flow like the water on the sauna
rocks, this film breathes with a life all its own."
This week the Indy takes a look at the Montana Legislature's debate over a terminally ill patient's right to request life-ending medication from a physician. The news is changing fast; just this afternoon the Senate rejected a motion by Sen. Greg Hinkle, R-Thompson, to blast his aid in dying ban out of committee. But with Montana poised to become the third state in the country to pass a Death with Dignity Act—provided Sen. Anders Blewett, D-Great Falls, is successful in blasting his own bill onto the Senate floor—the discussion remains as important as ever.
One of the individuals anxiously awaiting a decision from the state is Wade Nelson, a Thompson Falls resident who has taught in a number of Montana schools including Missoula's own Sentinel High School. Nelson spoke with the Independent last week about his five-year battle with cancer, and the fact that when his health begins to fail five to seven years from now he hopes the decision to end his life in peace will be his to make. But Nelson isn't the gloom-and-doom type. He's a painter with a real flair for landscapes. You can catch his work early next year at two one-man shows in Montana: the Hockaday Museum of Art in Kalispell, and the Holter Museum in Helena.
We can't keep up. This week's issue of the Indy covers, in a number of different ways, the circus that is the Montana Capitol (elephants being the main attraction). The spectacle continues to startle.
Find Rob Brezsny's "Free Will Astrology" online, every Wednesday, one day before it hits the Indy's printed pages. Except for this week, because we forgot.
ARIES (March 21-April 19): “There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls,” said comedian George Carlin. “There are mornings when your dreams are more real and important than your waking life,” says my favorite dream worker. “There are times when the doctor isn’t feeling well, and only his patient can cure him,” says I. Now it so happens, Aries, that in the upcoming week, your life is likely to pass through an alternate reality where all three of the above conditions will prevail—as well as other similar variants and mutations.
Today an ornery Gov. Brian Schweitzer sent a letter to Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar notifying the department of big changes to the way Montana will manage wolves going forward. The directives give state wildlife managers and ranchers much more leeway in how they handle problem packs. Here's the letter:
Last week we covered how Missoula City Councilwoman Lyn Hellegaard had worked with Rep. Gordon Hendrick, R-Superior, to severely narrow how special tax districts can be created, and what they can be used for.
It didn't work. On Tuesday, the House Local Government Committee voted to table House Bill 304.
Local government policy wonks may also be interested to know that a proposal to make it more difficult for counties to implement interim zoning is headed to the House floor. House Bill 366, sponsored by Rep. Matthew Rosendale, R-Glendive, passed the House Local Government Committee on Tuesday by a vote of 13-7.
Today The New York Times calls out U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, and yesterday state Rep. Bob Wagner, R-Harrison, appeared on CNN with Anderson Cooper to discuss his birther bill. The latter is awkward and sad. You can watch it here:
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