Friday, February 24, 2012

Big Sky Documentary Film Festival announces winners

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 8:50 AM

The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival announced its winning films early this morning, and weekend screening times for the honorees. So, without further ado, the envelope please ...

Feature Film Competition: Chasing Ice, directed by Jeff Orlowski.
Word from the jurors: "Through a patient and thoughtful filmmaking approach, the director vividly captures the power and awe of the glaciers falling apart. As they recede into the ocean, the glaciers cry out, warning us of the peril that our planet is in."

  • Blue Rinse
Short Film Competition: Blue Rinse, directed by Matt Leigh
Word from the jurors: "a sweet observational film set in a Dublin hair salon." They also awarded an Artistic Vision Award to Kudzu Vine by Josh Gibson.

Mini-Doc Competition: Mr. Smith's Peach Seeds, directed by Stewart Copeland.
Word from the jurors: "beautifully realized portrait of Tennessee folk artist Roger Smith."

Big Sky Award: The Lookout, directed by Brian Bolster
In addition, Audrey Hall's film about portrait artist Hugh Wilson received an Artistic Excellence Award.

Here's the weekend screening schedule:

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Dennis Washington stores his speedboat on his enormous yacht

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 8:30 AM


The city of San Diego is amazed by the presence of Missoula billionaire Dennis Washington's boat. Oh, it's not just a boat, but one of the world's largest yachts.

Washington's affinity for large water vessels has been well covered. He oversaw the design of the Attessa IV himself, spending approximately 40 months "ripping it apart and rebuilding it to his painstaking—and hypercritical—specifications," wrote Forbes in October. "For three and a half years a crew of 224, including ten engineers, have toiled full-time—an estimated 1 million man-hours. In addition to adding the fifth floor, Washington extended the bow by 12 feet and stern by 20 feet, built a 12-seat theater and replaced four staterooms with a gym, spa and massage room."

Washington refused to say how much he spent on the renovation, but the boat is now worth $300 million. According to Forbes, only three other yachts — ones owned by David Geffen, Paul Allen and Evgeny Shvidler — are longer than Washington's.

Anyway, the boat recently docked in San Diego and was such an attraction that the city's Fox affiliate spent a segment talking about it. Reporter Jaime Chambers speaks with wide-eyed onlookers, circles the vessel and scores an impromptu on-board interview with the yacht's captain. You can also see some still photographs of the inside, including that full spa. Chambers ends the story noting that, in addition to the helicopter landing pad, the Attessa IV is big enough to hold Washington's speedboat.

Watch the Fox video here (it can't be embedded) or read more about the boat in Forbes. And a h/t to @BoyceDan who first posted the Fox story on Twitter.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

BSDFF Review: The Bus

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 1:20 PM

Local filmmaker Damon Ristau debuts his latest project, The Bus, tonight at 7:30 at the Wilma. Local audiences should already be familiar with Ristau's work, from his years as festival director for the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival and his feature film, The Best Bar in America. It's why tonight's screening is already generating buzz.

  • The Bus

You can read about the making of the film, or if you missed it in last week's printed paper, here's the Indy's review:

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The Rockies Today, Feb. 23

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 10:20 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Editor's note: Headwaters News is now Mountain West News.

U.S. Supreme Court ruling on riverbed rents sends case back to Montana
The unanimous decision rendered by the U.S. Supreme Court that overturned a Montana Supreme Court decision that said PPL Montana owed the state millions of dollars in rent for the riverbeds on which the utility's hydroelectric dams sit isn't the final word on the dispute, as the ruling sends the case back to Montana to determine if the stretches of the Missouri, Madison and Clark Fork rivers meet the court's defined standard of navigable.
Helena Independent Record;

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Boots with the fur: The Indy's Jason McMackin feels the T-Pain

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 1:34 PM

Last night I had two musical choices: see one of Missoula’s most-promising bands, Stellarondo, live score a film or join hundreds upon hundreds of underdressed, over-painted teenaged girls at the Adams Center for the final night of the Snowstorm Music Tour, with co-headliners Gym Class Heroes and T-Pain.

In fact, there was no choice. I had to see Tallahassee Pain do what he do.


Beginning around 4:30 in the afternoon, a line began to form in front of the Adams Center box office. The crowd of 200 stood in the cold drizzle. many who were literally dressed in "Apple Bottom jeans and the boots with the fur." Some sported tight skirts and shirts that had soaked through plenty. The doors would not open for an hour. The most pleasing sight was that of the dads dressed in tracksuits and flannel, standing guard over their daughters, keeping the flat-brimmed ball cap boys at bay, looking tough by looking like they didn’t care.

Once inside, it was pretty obvious that getting to the show three hours early was unnecessary for those kids. The floor was only half-full and any kid could have shimmied on up to the front. Grieves & Budo started off the night with a refrain that would be heard all night: “How you feeling Missoula?” Turns out Missoula was feeling good. I also learned that we, Missoula, are “some crazy motherfuckers,” “the best crowd of the tour,” and “way more beautiful than the ugly mofos in Billings.”

Well, no crud.

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From Missoula to Manhattan: Andres exhibit receives praise

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 11:40 AM

Missoula native and University of Montana graduate Holly Andres has a new photography exhibit in New York, and international critics are taking notice.

Holly Andres
  • Holly Andres

The Wall Street Journal called it "vividly cinematic" and ran a Q&A about the shooter's creative process. International photo blog Le Lettre "found the tension between the photos of the children and their lightness and spontaneity and the photos of the adults with their deliberateness and sense of purpose to be intriguing and engaging." Oregon Public Broadcasting (Andres now lives in Portland) called each image "a snapshot of a lively scene, almost like a still frame captured right out of a movie."

Andres' work is intensely personal, and much of it traces back to her childhood in Missoula as the youngest of 10 children.

“When I look back at my childhood, it was filled with a lot of joy and also some dysfunction and pain, but I think we can all relate to that,” Andres told the Indy in 2008, on the eve of her debut at the Missoula Art Museum. “With this series, I was interested in conveying some of the secretive and dark elements of childhood, but also convey that it’s ultimately survivor-able.”

The same themes appear in her latest work, titled "The Fall of Spring Hill." Andres describes the series as "an incident from a summer church camp in which a child injures himself by falling from a dilapidated wooden play structure and the mothers' fierce reaction to deconstruct it in retribution."

Holly Andres
  • Holly Andres

She told the Wall Street Journal it's "derived from a distant but poignant early childhood memory."

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The Rockies Today, Feb. 22

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 10:19 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Headwaters News.

U.S. Supreme Court sides with PPL Montana in riverbed rental case
The U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision today that overturned a Montana Supreme Court decision that said PPL Montana owed the state millions of dollars for rent on the riverbeds on which the utility's hydroelectric dams sit.; Feb. 22

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"The world's dirtiest oil"

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 9:40 AM

Lots of media coverage over the last year has focused on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would run from Alberta's tar sands, south through Montana, and all the way to the Gulf Coast. We hear about the vigorous protests against a giant pipeline, the political implications of its approval or rejection, the promised jobs along the route, and so on, but very rarely does anyone take a step back and focus on the root of the issue: the tar sands themselves.

Canadian photographer Garth Lenz is currently touring an exhibit titled "The True Cost of Oil: Canada's Tar Sands and the The Last Great Forest."The collection of images offers a striking look at the tar sands, as well as the immediate surrounding area it's affecting. For instance, the tailings ponds alone are visible from space and comprise the largest toxic impoundments on the planet; Lenz's aerial shot shows just a portion of them. They're part of the reason Alberta's oil is known as "the world's dirtiest."

You can view Lenz's images on his website, or see his emotional speech at a recent TEDx conference in Victoria. The speech lasts 17 minutes but explains the scale of what's happening in Alberta, and why Lenz is so invested.

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Your future, a little early

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 9:00 AM

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): I invite you to identify all the things in your life that you really don’t need any more: gadgets that have become outdated, clothes that no longer feel like you, once-exciting music and books and art works that no longer mean what they once did. Don’t stop there. Pinpoint the people who have let you down, the places that lower your vitality, and the activities that have become boring or artificial. Finally, Aries, figure out the traditions that no longer move you, the behavior patterns that no longer serve you, and the compulsive thoughts that have a freaky life of their own. Got all that? Dump at least some of them.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lake County law enforcement officers sue colleagues in federal court

Posted By on Tue, Feb 21, 2012 at 12:17 PM

For months a handful of law enforcement officers in Lake County have been denying allegations of misconduct. Now they’ll be defending themselves in court.

The plaintiffs: Ben Woods, Terry Leonard, Levi Read, Steve Kendley, and Mike Gehl
  • The plaintiffs: Ben Woods, Terry Leonard, Levi Read, Steve Kendley, and Mike Gehl

Five current and former officers in the Lake County Sheriff’s Department filed a lawsuit in federal court today (PDF) alleging that four of their colleagues, including the sheriff and undersheriff, retaliated against them for bringing forward evidence of wrongdoing within the department, ranging from a deputy’s lies about serving as a U.S. Marine to several officers’ involvement in a poaching group known as the “Coyote Club.”

The plaintiffs—Detective Mike Gehl, Detective Steve Kendley, former Deputy Terry Leonard, Deputy Levi Read and Deputy Ben Woods—have been “reprimanded in their employment, have suffered demotions, have been denied promotions, and have been subjected to a hostile work environment by the leadership of the Lake County Sheriff’s Department because of the exercise of their First Amendment constitutional rights as well as the exercise of their duty as Montana Peace Officers,” the lawsuit states.

The plaintiffs claim that the defendants—Sheriff Jay Doyle, Undersheriff Dan Yonkin, and officers Mike Sargeant and Dan Duryee—“have formed and continue to operate an organization of officers the purpose of which is to engage in illegal activities and the covering up of such illegal activities by retaliation against officers who ‘don’t go along’ with this group.”

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