Monday, July 23, 2012

The Rockies Today, July 23

Posted By on Mon, Jul 23, 2012 at 10:28 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

U. of Wyoming wildfire study challenges USFS's policy
The University of Wyoming's study of wildfires in Colorado, Oregon and Arizona dating back to the mid-1800's found that forests in those states were more dense than previously believed, and that high-severity wildfires occurred as often in the past as they do now, a finding that raises concerns that the current policy of fuel reduction activities in Western forests may actually increase the severity of wildfires.
Reno Gazette-Journal (AP); July 21

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Extra, extra: In Other News, online

Posted By on Mon, Jul 23, 2012 at 9:31 AM

This week, we learn that the Loch Ness monster is real, because that's what they teach in school.

Curses, Foiled Again
A 24-year-old New York man who tried to steal merchandise from a Virginia Wal-Mart store was thwarted when employees retrieved the merchandise before he got out the door. According to Loudoun County sheriff’s official Liz Mills, the man fled to a waiting pickup truck, got behind the wheel and started to drive away with his 46-year-old passenger, but the truck’s muffler “dislodged.” When the driver got out to fix it, the passenger got behind the wheel “and drove the truck forward at the request of the New Yorker and struck him.” Mills added he was hospitalized “in serious condition.” He wasn’t charged, however, because Wal-Mart declined to prosecute, but police arrested the passenger, Robert V. Lyons, 46, for reckless driving. (The Huffington Post)

A 42-year-old woman, who police in Lynn, Mass., reported was being “chased frantically” by a man wielding a large kitchen knife, sought safety by running into the police station, where she “quickly began to cower.” The man followed her and raised the knife above her head while punching her. Officer Raymond Therrien said he grabbed the man’s arm and “delivered several knee strikes to his midsection” until he dropped the knife. Police filed multiple charges against Constantine Greven, 40. (Lynn’s The Daily Item)

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Missoula never had a chance

Posted By on Fri, Jul 20, 2012 at 1:15 PM

We're talking about flags, people.

Helena flag
  • Helena flag
It's not something you think of very often, if ever, but when a group called the North American Vexillological Association, better known as NAVA, releases a list of the top American city flags, and Helena and Billings make the list, and Missoula isn't anywhere to be seen, all of a sudden you start thinking about freakin' flags.

Helena's is pretty cool. The Billings one? Meh. D.C. won, which is a nice consolation prize considering the whole "taxation without representation" thing. I'm also fond of the Madison, Wis., flag and the Oakland, Calif., flag and the Seattle flag.

All of this is well and good, but where's Missoula? How come the Garden City didn't make the cut?

D.C. flag
  • D.C. flag
We don't have a flag.

An email to the city's public information/communications director, Ginny Merriam, confirms this tragic fact. We hang Old Glory and the state flag in Council Chambers. But no Missoula flag.

We never had a chance in the NAVA rankings.

Topeka flag
  • Topeka flag
So let me be the first to say, I'm not standing for it. I call on all those local illustrators and graphic designers out there. I think Josh Quick could do something infinitely better than the St. Petersburg pelican (ranked No. 23). Courtney Blazon would kick the tush of Topeka (No. 46). The Indy's production crew could take seven shots of J├Ąger, work a full week and still design something that looks better than the one from Spokane (No. 111). What about the folks from Statriot? Their flag would be Monfuckintastic.

I'm just naming a few. Someone has to have an idea that would capture Missoula's spirit, put us on NAVA's radar, and, quite literally, allow us to proudly wave our flag.

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The Rockies Today, July 20

Posted By on Fri, Jul 20, 2012 at 10:35 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

110 Montanans sign up for wolf trapping classes
Just hours after Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks began taking names of people interested in taking the classes necessary to get certified to participate in the state's first wolf trapping season, 110 people had signed up.
Ravalli Republic; July 20

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Missoula Colony 17: Act 3

Posted By on Thu, Jul 19, 2012 at 6:00 PM

In which we delight in the final days of our artistic gathering and bid good luck and farewell to our cast of emerging and established writers alike.

Part two of the Missoula Stories Project on Tuesday was stacked with drama and punctuated by an understanding of what it takes to live, love, win and fail in Missoula, as Montana Rep Artistic Director Greg Johnson puts it. Josh Wagner's Bleach Bone was a chilling old-style western set in familiar places, while Kate Morris' Everybody in Missoula Says I Love You touched on leaving and returning, waiting and wondering, moving on or giving up. The funny bone came from Floating, a four-character raft trip down the Clark Fork that showed the "down-and-dirty side" of Missoula (which actually is in Montana) through a roofing boss, his wife and his renters. The PBR was an excellent touch.

From left, Ali Tabibnejad, Nick Pavelich and producer Salina Chaitlin in the staged reading of Kate Morris' short play Everybody in Missoula Says I Love You.
  • Photo by Brooks Johnson
  • From left, Ali Tabibnejad, Nick Pavelich and producer Salina Chaitlin in the staged reading of Kate Morris' short play "Everybody in Missoula Says I Love You."

Craig Menteer and Nichole Pellant at the end of Mischa Jakupcaks play

Later that night the tone got serious.

Montana Rep Artistic Director Greg Johnson, left, chats with acclaimed playwright and screenwriter William Mastrosimone during the feedback session following the staged reading of his new play,
  • Photo by Brooks Johnson
  • Montana Rep Artistic Director Greg Johnson, left, chats with acclaimed playwright and screenwriter William Mastrosimone during the feedback session following the staged reading of his new play, "Oblivion."
Oblivion was such an involved experience I could see plenty of audience members on the edge of their seats for the last half hour at least. It was long and there are parts that give to real staging (like the eerie bass guitar signaling withdrawl) but there was some extraordinary acting that brought out the real-to-life characters of William Mastrosimone's autobiographical piece. He said in the feedback session (following every show) that the story, the imagery, gives more to film than the stage and may end up taking it in that direction. Let's hope so: this is a story that needs telling.

Just now the Colony witnessed Lily Gladstone and Joeseph Grady's Traps, a generational story told in an exciting new format with an immersive Medicine Wheel set that encourages participation or movement at the very least. It's a crows-eye look into modern Indian life and the strengths and weaknesses there, with all the bright anthropomorphic imagery you can imagine.

Tonight at 8, don't miss Character by Robert Caisley, whose work Colony producer Salina Chatlain calls "funny and cerebral."

And there are only four shows left after that, two Friday and two Saturday. It's an incredible experience to actually be on the stage with your back to the empty red seats watching the infant form of a written piece of art learn to walk. Read about all of the artists here, and print out the full schedule for the remainder of Colony, featuring readings by Christinane and Marcus Olson, Melissa Ross, Jay Kettering and a hard-hitting closer by WIlliam Missouri Downs Friday and Saturday at 3 and 8 p.m. To all ye Colonists: we'll see you next year.

Indy intern Brooks Johnson blogged throughout Missoula Colony 17 with reviews and previews of the action. Check out his first installment, Act I, and Tuesday's Act II.

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CBS drama based on UM grad's short story renewed for second season

Posted By on Thu, Jul 19, 2012 at 11:05 AM

Many months ago Indy arts editor Erika Fredrickson called my attention to a new CBS prime-time drama based on a short story written by a graduate of UM's creative writing program. We'd kicked around the idea of a story, but then it got put aside for other local arts stories and we — or at least I — forgot about it. That's kinda funny because the show in question is called "Unforgettable."

CBS announced late last month the show would be renewed for a second season. It will continue to follow protagonist Carrie Wells (Poppy Montgomery), a detective with a medical condition called hyperthymesia. That means she remembers everything, a helpful trick for someone processing crime scenes. "Unforgettable" follows the same formula as fellow CBS crime shows like "CSI" and "NCIS," except for the whole hyperthymesia thing.

Det. Wells is almost exactly the same character introduced in J. Robert Lennon's short story, The Rememberer. Lennon, who started teaching at Cornell after earning his MFA at UM, wrote the story for an anthology of modern-day superheros. He never let his literary agent know about it, so he was surprised when someone from Sony Pictures called him about using the character.

“It was totally unexpected, and certainly bizarre to see my name on the show," Lennon told The Cornell Daily Sun.

Despite having his name attached to the show, Lennon, who is the author of six novels and short story collections, has nothing to do with the production. Frankly, that could be a good thing. Before being renewed a few weeks ago, CBS originally canceled "Unforgettable." And the second season isn't scheduled to air in the fall, but during the typically slow summer months a year from now.

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The Rockies Today, July 19

Posted By on Thu, Jul 19, 2012 at 10:54 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Montana electric co-ops warn federal upgrades could raise rates
The U.S. Energy Department's plan to upgrade the federal government's pieces of transmission lines and other components of the nation's electrical grid, beginning with the 15-state Western Area Power Administration prompted concerns from Montana's electric cooperatives that such upgrades will raise prices for their customers.
Billings Gazette; July 19

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Indy presents Youth Lagoon

Posted on Wed, Jul 18, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Three things to know in advance of tonight's show at the Top Hat.

1. Trevor Powers is the man behind Youth Lagoon. He does everything by himself, creating what's been described as "addictive" electronic pop with a "sweet and summery" vibe. Pitchfork scored the debut album a high 8.4 and called it "compulsively listenable music that explodes at just the right moments." Powers says he was influenced by listening to his parents' old folk albums. By the way, he also looks like he's 12. (He's really in his early 20s.)

2. His musical taste (Stevie Nicks, baby) tells you a little more about where Youth Lagoon is coming from. Speaking of where Powers comes from, he started writing songs while studying at Boise State.

3. You know we're linking to a song called "Montana." (Where was this during the whole Rocky Votolato thing?) Here's the powerful video:

Tickets for tonight's show run $14/$12 advance, with a $5 surcharge for those aged 18-20. 10 p.m., Top Hat

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The Rockies Today, July 18

Posted By on Wed, Jul 18, 2012 at 10:53 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Seasonal wildland firefighters can now get federal health insurance
Seasonal wildland firefighters had gathered 125,000 signatures on a petition requesting that they be allowed to buy into federal health insurance plans while working, and on Tuesday, President Barack Obama announced that an estimated 8,000 temporary firefighters would be allowed to do so.
Flathead Beacon (AP); July 17

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Your future, a little early

Posted By on Wed, Jul 18, 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): Acro-Yoga is a relatively new physical discipline. According to a description I read on a flyer in Santa Cruz, it "blends the spiritual wisdom of yoga, the loving kindness of massage, and the dynamic power of acrobatics." I'd love to see you work on creating a comparable hybrid in the coming months, Aries — some practice or system or approach that would allow you to weave together your various specialties into a synergetic whole. Start brainstorming about that impossible dream now, and soon it won't seem so impossible.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Unless you grow your own or buy the heirloom variety at farmer's markets, you probably eat a lot of tasteless tomatoes. Blame it on industrial-scale farming and supermarket chains. They've bred tomatoes to be homogenous and bland — easy to ship and pretty to look at. But there's a sign of hope: A team of scientists at the University of Florida is researching what makes tomatoes taste delicious, and is working to bring those types back into mainstream availability. I think the task you have ahead of you in the coming weeks is metaphorically similar, Taurus. You should see what you can to do restore lost flavor, color, and soulfulness. Opt for earthy idiosyncrasies over fake and boring perfection.

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