Amy Martin's second take on her musical Reserve and Green packed the house Sunday night, the chairs spilling over the choir risers and into stage right. The music was spot-on, so many voices harmoniously chilling. It ended up exploring coming-of-age-after-armageddon a little more than the end of the world itself, as character building took over and a poignant new direction became apparent. Can't wait to see part three.
The Missoula Stories Project (part one) was a blast. I won't name a favorite, but Floating to the M was full of laughs, time warps, mermaids and a violin-playing bear in a canoe — "don't you just love MIssoula?" The second installment comes this afternoon at 3. It's five plays for $5, what could possibly go wrong? If you have to work, just tell your boss you're doing research on the town you live in; it's certainly not far from the truth.
Missed Connections, by local Larke Schuldberg, was uproarious. Imagine Mallrats via Craigslist, or Closer with brevity. "It's a romantic comedy where everybody gets herpes," as the playwright put it after the reading. Four distinct and well-casted characters upped the ante as the audience was taken to a world of absurd, vulgar and hilarious cruelty.
Tonight's reading comes from New Jersey's William Mastrosimone, recipient of the first McLure award. It's given in honor of James McLure, who died last year. McLure was a mainstay at Missoula Colony, workshopping 15 straight plays at the annual gathering. Mastrosimone's Oblivion goes on at 8.
After a day of rest on Wednesday, be sure to check local Lily Gladstone (remember her from Frybread Queen?) and her play Traps on Thursday afternoon and Character by Robert Caisley in the evening. Print out the full schedule for a full run-down.
Indy intern Brooks Johnson is blogging throughout Missoula Colony 17 with reviews and previews of the action. Check out his first installment, Act I, and be on the lookout for Act Three on Thursday.
Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.
Farmers in N. Idaho blame releases from Montana dam for damaged crops
Heavy rains and seepage caused by extended high river flows in the Kootenai River due to continuing releases from the Libby Dam in Montana are being cited by farmers in the Kootenai River valley in Idaho for ruining their crops.
Coeur d'Alene Press; July 17
On my way to the Hammer Nutrition Missoula XC at Marshall Mountain on Saturday, I caught the shuttle from a temporary parking lot up to the action. In the shuttle along with me and my kids were two other families and a couple teenage girls. The driver, Jed Dennison, who is also one of the Missoula XC organizers, slowed down as we made our way up the road and said, "Well, if it isn't the man of the hour."
Schultz didn't disappoint during the main event. He led the race from start to finish, defending his title despite a bum shoulder. His Subaru-Trek teammate, Heather Irmiger, won the women's elite race earlier in the day.
At the end of the race, Schultz was mobbed by friends, family, fans and media for autographs, photos, high-fives and interviews. He even put on one of the thick black mustaches handed out before the race in honor of his steezy look earlier in the season. Sure enough, I happened to notice the two screaming girls from the shuttle in the crowd to greet Schultz. He apologized for being a little wet as one stepped in for a photo. "It's mostly water," he said, but before he finished the explanation she had already slipped in under his arm for the shot.UPDATE: We've added a slideshow of Sam's winning race By Indy photographer Chad Harder.
Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.
Ranchers haul their cattle to drought sales
Lack of winter moisture, little spring rains and summer's blistering heat have taken a toll on pastures and hay crops, forcing ranchers to reduce their herds, and at sale barns such as in Torrington, Wyo., the number of cattle sold each week has increased fivefold.
New York Times; July 16
This week, we learn that having sex with a teddy bear in public isn't a good idea—unless, perhaps, it's part of a summer blockbuster.
Curses, Foiled Again
After pleading guilty to robbery and agreeing to undergo drug rehab to avoid prison in Oregon, James Tindell fled the state. Officials located him, thanks to postings on his Facebook page. “Catch me if you can,” he taunted, followed by “I’m in Alabama.” He also posted a sonogram of his unborn son that showed the name of the Alabama hospital where it was taken. After Tindell was arrested and returned to Multnomah County, Judge Eric J. Bloch sentenced him to 2-1/2 years in prison and ordered him to reimburse the state the $2,600 it cost to fly him back. “The way we found out where James Tindell was, was through Facebook,” deputy district attorney Michael Schmidt said. “And it’s not because we were super sleuths.” (Portland’s The Oregonian)
Provincial information officer Maynardo Valdez was accused of gross misconduct and dishonesty after he closed his office in Nueva Ecija without permission and didn’t respond to calls and texts from his superiors for four days. Officials who tried contacting him through his Facebook account saw pictures of him attending a high school reunion at an island resort. Philippine Information Agency chief Jose Fabia alleged that Valdez also neglected his other duties, such as producing daily reports and surveying the sentiments of people in the province. (Associated Press)
Johnny Depp and I have quite a bit in common. Besides an abiding love for Winona Ryder, we both are fans of the procreant 20th century folk musician Woody Guthrie, a man who purportedly wrote over 1,000 songs.
Unfortunately, Mr. Depp, the actor, not me, the writer, has begun the task of editing Guthrie’s unpublished Dustbowl-era novel written nigh on 60 years ago. Why this sudden interest in Guthrie, a man known as much for agitation as he is for his socialist leanings and predilection for sexual adventure? July 14 would have been his 100th birthday.
So it would seem a celebration is in order and that’s what musician Chris Sand has in mind for the Woody Guthrie 100th Birthday Bash at the Union Hall. Sand supposes that “Guthrie is America: Whitman, Twain and all that encapsulates what is good and artistic and makes [America] colorful.”
The bash celebrates all things Guthrie, including his second wife’s vocation as a dancer (she and Guthrie met while she was choreographing dances to some of his tunes). The Bare Bait Dance Co. performs pieces inspired by rural life during the Depression era, while actor Jeff Medley explores the poetry of Guthrie’s writing with a recitation of some of the populist musician’s work. Portland, Ore.’s Fast Rattler provides an authentic taste of down home protest music. Their style swings from rough and rowdy bootstompers to glum tales about the folly of man. Brendan Phillips, the son of the late musician and union organizer Utah Phillips, performs in the group and shares a similar storytelling bent.
Chris Sands & the Big MT perform country-folk. Some may know Sand as the “Rappin’ Cowboy,” a moniker that is self-explanatory. A documentary about Sand, Roll Out, Cowboy, which was shown at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, has its official DVD release at the bash as well.
If Guthrie were alive today, what would he think of our country? Obviously, he would be unimpressed with our international war-mongering and the greedy ways of the Wall Street financial system and, musically, he might be moved to gripe about the Top-40 tunes that suggest money is the root of all happiness. Yet there is an air of protest in this country, both in the Occupy movement and in the Tea Party movement as well. The average person doesn’t know what exactly is wrong, but wants something done about it. Sand would say our collective malaise and the desire for artists and others to take it to the streets and speak collectively of the country’s ills is proof that “the essence of Woody is more alive than ever.”
WHAT: Woody Guthrie 100th Birthday Bash
WHO: Fast Rattler, Dear Sister Killdeer, Chris Sand & the Big MT, Bare Bait Dance Co., Jeff Medly and Jennifer Combe
WHEN: Fri., July 13, at 8 PM
WHERE: Union Hall, 208 E. Main St. (above the Union Club)
HOW MUCH: $5-$15 sliding scale
In addition to 10 long and 8 short plays, there are a few workshops aimed at honing your writing Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Between now and Act 2, you should catch the event's two musicals, Cathy Capp's The Dirty Old Lady Show and Amy Martin's Reserve & Green. Monday will start the Missoula Stories Project at 3 p.m., featuring four short local-flavor plays and Larke Schuldberg's Missed Connection at 8. For tickets and more info call 243-6809 and don't miss the full schedule here.
Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.
Montana adds trapping to wolf hunting season
On Thursday, the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission voted to add trapping to the state's wolf hunt and raised the per-hunter limit for wolves to three.
Helena Independent Record; July 13
Last month, Republican Congressman Denny Rehberg appeared at a gathering of the conservative policy advocacy group The Ripon Society to talk immigration, economic growth and healthcare alongside GOP senate candidates from Arizona, Nevada and North Dakota. Rehberg took the opportunity to riff about his 2012 “full-body-contact” senate bid against Democratic incumbent Jon Tester, the most dramatic moments of which are playing out in television ads across the state. “We’ve literally bought all the [broadcast ad] time from now until November,” Rehberg said. “The good news is it only costs $130,000 a week in Montana.”
TV viewers have seen a lot of Tester and Rehberg since then. Here’s the latest rundown of ads from Montana’s 2012 senate race.
David Boone won second place as Best Local Musician for Best of Missoula this year. And his new project, DAWNS, won second for Best New Band. We recently wrote about why you should be paying attention to this young, prolific artist. One of those reasons: his artful, locally produced music videos. Check out his remake of the video for the DAWNS song "Taillights." And catch him playing with first place winners Tom Catmull & the Clerics at the Best of Missoula party at Caras Park between 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. tonight.
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