Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Missoula filmmaker creates a buzz with Isabella Rossellini

Posted By on Tue, Jun 19, 2012 at 11:25 AM

Andy Smetanka continues to add impressive credits to his film resume. The filmmaker, animator and artist has already made music videos with The Decemberists and contributed to Guy Maddin's films. Most recently, he collaborated with Italian actress and model Isabella Rossellini (Blue Velvet, Death Becomes Her) for a series of educational shorts about bees, and they are now available online.

Made for Burt's Bees, the films feature "Burt" (Rossellini) talking with the worker bees, the drone bee, and queen bee about Colony Collapse Disorder and other threats. Smetanka's silhouette animation is featured in each. All three videos are available on the Burt's website, along with a slideshow that includes Smetanka working alongside Rossellini.

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If you're interested in Smetanka's work, he's recently completed a major Kickstarter campaign to make a documentary about World War I titled And We Were Young.

You can watch a teaser for that upcoming project online, or check out plenty of other stuff on either Vimeo or YouTube.

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The Rockies Today, June 19

Posted By on Tue, Jun 19, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Interior Department approves 1,300 gas wells in Eastern Utah
The Southern Utah Wilderness Association said that it planned to appeal Monday's decision that would allow Gasco to drill more than 1,300 natural gas wells 3,600 acres on West Tavaputs in Eastern Utah.
Salt Lake Tribune; June 19

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Monday, June 18, 2012

The Rockies Today, June 18

Posted By on Mon, Jun 18, 2012 at 10:40 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Judge issues temporary injunction on grazing in Idaho national forest
U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill issued a temporary injunction last Wednesday that will keep sheep off three grazing allotments in the Payette National Forest this year.
The Republic (AP); June 14

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Extra, extra: In Other News, online

Posted By on Mon, Jun 18, 2012 at 9:00 AM

In this week's installment, Ouija boards prove useful after all.

Curses, Foiled Again
A man walked into a Chicago bank carrying a bag and told the teller he had a bomb. Police said he ordered the teller to stuff the bag with cash, then, when the bag was full, the robber left without taking it. (Chicago Tribune)

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Publisher's Note

In the newspaper business, the next issue matters most

Posted on Fri, Jun 15, 2012 at 1:58 PM

In the newspaper business, nothing stays the same. We remake the Indy every week. And there's nothing certain about the week after that. We make our preparations and hope we rise to whatever the occasion demands.

Last week, our preparations led to the end of our long, productive relationship with political columnist George Ochenski. George was a favorite of disaffected Montanans because he derided all those in power with equal contempt. He's had a prominent presence in our pages over the years, and many will miss his voice in the paper.

We're searching for new voices now who'll bring a vital, topical tone to our pages, and who will connect with readers in original, compelling ways. But our approach to publishing a great newspaper will never change. It's focused on telling engaging stories about the people of Missoula and Montana. It's about vivid detail, incisive analysis, and lively writing. When we do our job right, we all come to know our neighbors a little better, and we get a better idea of the complexities we confront trying to live together in a modern community.

Of course, there's no telling what we're going to be writing or you're going to be reading next week, or next year, or beyond. We'll be here, though, with our ears to the ground and our notebooks in hand, waiting for life to unfold so we can capture a vibrant sliver of it for you.

Missoula Summer Carnival

Posted By on Fri, Jun 15, 2012 at 12:55 PM

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Didn't see the posters? It's because they're hanging on people's walls, instead of flyer-boards around town.

"Guess we shouldn't have done such good art," Darla Torrez says.

The second annual Summer Carnival is raising the big tent Saturday afternoon at Caras Park. Starting at noon, Missoula's favorite festival space will be home to entertainers, food and drink of all sorts. "We're basically taking over the park," says Darla, organizer and all-around ring-leader.

This year takes on a dustbowl theme, like a sketchy bootleg carnival pulls into town (don't worry, there won't be actual pick-pockets) and disappears as quickly as it came. They've got it all: ring-toss, balloon darts, storytellers, an obstacle course, a duck pond and prizes all housed in colorful hand-built booths. Vendors include local beers, lemonade, cotton candy, Big Dipper, and The Clove — a new bike-powered pizza stand.

It's not just last year's carnival redux. This year there are three main events to be seen from the bleachers, and the food is outsourced, not laboriously home-cooked.

First up are the Rainbow Trolls, with showings at noon at 2. It's a kid-oriented interactive show featuring members of the Missoula Children's Theater.

At 4 there's the Shaneca Show, where Broadway veteran, Missoula native and dance extraordinaire Shaneca Adams takes parts of his one-man show from the Orpheus Theater in NYC and mixes it with a comedy routine and a cast of a dozen.

Finally there's The Merry Pranksters Variety Show, which comes at a time Darla says, "We're pretty much encouraging people to get their kids and grandmas out of there." Starting at 8, the vaudeville-style show will feature a play, comedy, burlesque, marionettes, and members of the Symbiotic Circus and the Cigarette Girls. At the same time the game booths will get turned into peep shows! So seriously, hide your grandma.

Prove you earn your Keep Missoula Weird bumper sticker and head down to the park Saturday.

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Baucus, Messina and "one of the most homophobic ads in American history"

Posted By on Fri, Jun 15, 2012 at 12:10 PM

Salon columnist and former Montana political strategist David Sirota asks some pointed questions in a piece titled "Obama chief's anti-gay secret." The story involves an infamous 2002 political campaign ad that focused on U.S. Senate candidate Mike Taylor's history with a cosmetics business. Taylor was running against Max Baucus, and Jim Messina was working as Baucus' chief of staff. Sirota deems the spot in question "one of the most homophobic ads in American history." It's something Baucus has long claimed he had nothing to do with.

Jim Messina
  • Jim Messina
But in a new profile of Messina, who now works as President Obama's campaign manager, Baucus points to the ad as an example of Messina's willingness to do anything to win elections. Baucus is quoted as saying:

“Jim is tough. I’ll never forget when he showed me that ad. We were in Bozeman in a motel. The curtains were drawn. He said, ‘Max, what do you think?’ They were afraid I wasn’t going to like it. I loved it!”

Sirota connects the dots and is incredulous.

First and foremost, it shows that only a few years ago, a leading Democratic U.S. Senator — one who voted for the odious “Defense of Marriage Act” and who is up for reelection in 2014 — was happily cheering on homophobic demagoguery.

Additionally, it raises questions about whether both a sitting senator and President Obama’s campaign manager blatantly flouted campaign laws about coordinating independent expenditures from party committees — laws that are designed to prevent candidates from circumventing campaign fundraising laws and airing ads with unregulated soft money.

Read the full column at Salon. Watch the ad in question on YouTube. And learn more about Sirota, who worked for Brian Schweitzer during his gubernatorial campaign, at his website.

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The Rockies Today, June 15

Posted By on Fri, Jun 15, 2012 at 10:29 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Opponents of wolf hunts in Idaho, Montana end appeals
Wildlife and environmental groups that lost two previous challenges of the decision to remove wolves from the federal endangered species list, which led to Montana and Wyoming opening up wolf hunts, declined to pursue further appeals.
Idaho Statesman (AP); June 15

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Guide to local glamping

Posted By on Thu, Jun 14, 2012 at 11:40 AM

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You might be wondering: What the heck is "glamping"?

It's luxury camping and something I'm guessing the average reader of this blog cares almost nothing about. This has always been more of a used-gear backcountry crowd than one interested in, say, room tent service.

But here's something you may find interesting: GoGlamping.net, an online directory of luxury campsites, has all of eight U.S. locations listed and half are located in our neck of the woods. That makes our region the heart of haute adventures.

Here's who made the list from our area:

The Resort at Paws Up, about 30 minutes east of Missoula
Features: "This luxury camping experience features The Last Best Bed®, fine linens, art on the walls and, yes, electricity." There's a video if you want to see more.

Bar W Guest Ranch, near Whitefish
Features: "Both tents are adorned with a queen size bed, full sized futon, private porch, kitchenette and chic Western décor ... daily housekeeping services."

Yellowstone Under Canvas, West Yellowstone
Features: "14 spacious cabin-style furnished safari tents ... 4 deluxe safari tents with private bathrooms"

River Dance Lodge in Kooskia, Idaho
Features: "King-sized beds and bathing in antique iron-claw bathtubs warmed by propane."

Nightly rates for these spots run anywhere from $89 to $715, with Paws Up on the high end. So, you know, if you're still making summer plans ...

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The Rockies Today, June 14

Posted By on Thu, Jun 14, 2012 at 10:20 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Idaho snowmobilers' study finds caribou decision cost state $26 million
A study commissioned by the Idaho State Snowmobile Association tracked the economic effects of the 2005 decision that limited trail grooming in Northern Idaho forests to keep snowmobiles out of alpine forests and meadows that provide habitat for woodland caribou, and found that the decision cost the economy $26 million in lost revenue.
Spokane Spokesman-Review; June 14

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