Tuesday, January 31, 2006

BALLADEERS AND SINGERS AT BBHC IN APRIL: This year’s Cowboy Songs & Range Ballads event is devoted to “Rhythms of the Range: Music of the Northern Rockies and Northwest Plains.” It will be held at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody on April 7-9. According to a press release, the program “salutes the cowboy songwriters and poets who have captured the spirit, beauty, humor, and stories of the West in their poems and songs. It inspires exploration and enjoyment of Western music and spoken verse -- oral traditions that enrich Western ranching and rural life.” Featured performers include the Bar-J Wranglers of Wilson, Stephanie Davis, and Wylie and the Wild West.
Monday, January 30, 2006

WyoPoets will hold its annual workshop April 22 in Gillette. Workshop presenter is Laramie's Robert Roripaugh, Wyoming poet laureate emeritus and a former member of Wyoming Writers, Inc. His most recent book is "The Ranch: Wyoming Poems," from University of Wyoming. FMI: Connie Brewer at 307-682-9724, cbrewer@vcn.com; or Midge Farmer at 307-682-3488.

Friday, January 27, 2006

ACTOR’S MISSION PLANS FIVE PLAYS IN 2006: This comes from Mike Jeffrey in Rock Springs: The Actors' Mission has reorganized its board, in the process becoming more directed toward the community. We have established a "season" of five plays in 2006. Our upcoming production is called “Terms of Surrender.” It was written and directed by our co-founder Sharon Dolan and is set in 1945 Rock Springs at the Union Pacific Train Depot. “Terms of Surrender” features the talents of Mission regular Donovan Rawlings as Connor, a cowboy there to witness the arrival of his dead son on the train. The body is delivered by the Sergeant, played by Roy Hansen. Dave the ticket agent is played by Kirsten Mundschenk. Both are Mission regulars. Interaction is moderated by Emily, Dave's sister, played by newcomer Nina Kessner. Other actors include Mike Jeffery and newcomers Jasmine Weaver, Michelle Maser and John Mundschenk. The play explores Rock Springs history and the value of the UP during World War II. We have secured the use of the Rock Springs Depot for the entire run, Feb. 10, 11, 17 and 18. Performances will begin at 7 p.m. except for the 18th, which will start at 4 p.m. Our traditional and noteworthy soup will be served an hour before each performance. Admission is free; donations are gladly accepted. Mike adds that The Actor’s Mission is also looking for a new home because its downtown space has structural damage. If you have any ideas, contact Mike Jeffery at m_t_jeff@yahoo.com or 307-382-5377.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Billings YMCA Writer’s Voice presents “First Thursday,” an evening of poetry and music by WYO Poet Laureate David Romtvedt, at 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 2, at the Yellowstone Art Museum, 401 N. 27th, Billings, Mont. Tickets are $7; Y and museum members get in free. David’s new book is “Some Church” from Milkweed Editions. FMI: 406-248-1685 ext. 234.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006
“O” LIKES RIVER WRITING JOURNEYS: Page Lambert's River Writing Journeys for Women were featured in the January issue of Oprah's O Magazine as "One of the Top Six Great All-Girl Getaways of the Year!" In addition to her regular trips, Page also will host two "workshops on the river" in conjunction with the June 2006 "Voices of the West" Aspen Summer Words Festival in Aspen, Colo. On July 15-20, Page will join director/poet James Navé, and screenwriter/editor Allegra Huston at the 2006 Taos Writing Salon in Taos, N.M. This six-day adventure “offers writers at all levels an opportunity to energize and deepen their practice. Inspired by the salons of early 20th-century Paris and bohemian America, the Writing Salon is a creative exploration in which writers come together to enjoy inspiring conversations, beautiful surroundings, good food, and informal, stimulating workshops.” Page’s session will focus on “Turning the World, and our Work, Upside-Down and Inside-Out: Exploring Perspective.” The Taos Writing Salon is held at the historic San Geronimo Lodge. Page lived on a ranch near Sundance, Wyo., for many years and is a recipient of a WAC creative writing fellowship. She now lives outside Golden, Colo.
Monday, January 23, 2006
“LOSING LUSK” DEBUTS AT SUNDANCE: Filmmaker Vance Malone grew up in Glenrock, Wyoming, and now lives in Portland, Ore. His newest film, “Losing Lusk,” is based on the life of Lusk native Ty Baker and debuted last Friday at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. Vance and Ty didn’t discover their WYO roots until after they’d been friends for awhile. Vance tells it this way: “When I heard Ty was headed home for his 10-year high school reunion, I couldn’t resist trailing along with my camera to document the event. We arrived in Lusk, and I was acutely struck by the pervasive feeling that the town was eroding — discarded storefronts and neglected homes stood as a fading reminder of the vibrant childhood Ty was there to celebrate.” He describes the film as a “short, experimental documentary with a personal, impressionistic narrative that comments on the notion of big box retailers, globalization, and the death of rural communities.” Sundance will host two more screenings of “Losing Lusk” this week: Wednesday, Jan. 25, 11:30 a.m. at the Prospector Square Theatre, and Friday, Jan. 27, 3 p.m., at the Holiday Village Cinema II, both in Park City.
Friday, January 20, 2006

“JENTEL PRESENTS” FEB. 7: Current residents at the Jentel Artist Residency Program in Banner will be featured in a free public event, “Jentel Presents,” at Davis Gallery, 32 North Main, Sheridan, on Tuesday, Feb. 7 , from 6-7:30 p.m. This community outreach program features slide presentations and readings by the visual artists and writers at Jentel. They include Tony Brusate, Lexington, Ky.; Anne de Marcken, Oysterville, Wash.; Nancy Fleischman, Orland Park, Ill.; Pat Hanson, Portland, Ore.; Joyce Koskenmaki, Hancock, Mich.; and Leslie Walker Noell, Asheville, N.C.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

NEW PILL COULD SPELL THE END OF POETRY: What if there was a pill that could blunt, even erase, bad memories? Sounds a bit sci-fi, but researchers think they have discovered a drug that can dampen the effects of rape, torture, even war traumas that can lead to Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). In an AP story by Marilynn Marchione reprinted in the Marine Corps Times, studies using the drug Propranolol “on 19 longtime PTSD sufferers has provided early encouraging results, Canadian and Harvard University researchers report.” It is in a class of drugs called beta blockers and “is the one most able to cross the blood-brain barrier and get to where stress hormones are wreaking havoc. It already is widely used to treat high blood pressure and is being tested for stage fright.” Some experts wonder that if the drug were given to combat veterans in Iraq before the bad memories form, they could avoid later bouts with PTSD. It could also cause a new set of problems. During stress, the body releases adrenaline and other “fight or flight” hormones that help write memories into the ‘hard drive’ of the brain. Soldiers “need to be able to run and to fight,” said Dr. Roger Pitman, a Harvard University psychiatrist who lead and early study on the drug. He said you could take the soldiers "behind the lines for a couple of days, then you could give it to them after a traumatic event, or before they’re sent home. Some critics also suggest that rape victims would be less able to testify against attackers if their memories were blunted. Other objections have been raised. A few years ago, chairman Leon Kass of the President’s Council on Bioethics heard a briefing on the drug and went a little nuts, announcing that painful memories serve a purpose and are part of the human experience. Not to mention they are key to the creative life of writers, artists, and performers. If Propranolol becomes popular, we could experience a drastic shortage of poetry, which could lead to a huge decline in the GNAP – the Gross National Angst Product. We might be blissful in our forgetfulness, but poorer for it, too.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

POETRY IS YOUR FRIEND: As of Jan. 17, six teachers have signed up their classes to take part in the Poetry Out Loud recitation competition. They are Megan Oteri, language arts teacher at Attention Homes, Cheyenne; Susie Tilton-Chiovaro, drama teacher at Burlington H.S.; Mary Odenbach, language arts teacher at Kaycee School; Leslie Shinaver, who teaches language arts at Swift Creek learning Center in Afton; Karl Sutton, creative writing/language arts teacher at Pathfinder H.S. in Lander; and Michael Starks, speech/debate guru at Cheyenne East. It’s interesting to note that three of these are alternative schools, that is, places where students go who have experienced a bit of drama during their educational careers. In my experience, they are extremely creative teens, although they’ve mostly been creative in stirring up trouble. I speak as a parent of one of them, although he now is safely out of his teens and working in the desert. A talented writer, too. Poetry Out Loud is shaping up to be a neat experience for everyone involved. Teachers can enter through Jan. 30. Participants (in grades 9-12) will memorize three poems and compete school-wide and then statewide at the final in Cheyenne in April. The WYO winner gets a cash prize and an expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to match wits with peers from around the U.S. WAC staffers Mike Shay and Camellia el-Antably are your WAC contacts. Call Mike at 307-777-5234 or Camellia at 777-5305. Find a printable Poetry Out Loud form on the WAC web site.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

LYN DALEBOUT LAUNCHES 2006 LIBRARY SERIES: On Tuesday, January 24, 7-8 p.m., Lyn Dalebout will be featured in Teton County Public Library's Writers Showcase in Jackson. She will read poetry from "Earth Is the Book," a work in progress, as well as "Out of the Flames," her first book of poems. The event takes place in the library's Ordway Auditorium and is free and open to the public. In a press release, Lyn says that she hopes participants come away from her poetry reading "with a deeper desire to listen to their own creative muses, to be inspired to take time to uncover their own wealth of insight, and to listen more deeply to the natural world." She is at work on four writing projects: "Earth Is the Book," a children's book, a prose poem book, and a book on writing entitled "The Vigor of Listening." She also teaches writing workshops, writes a column for Delicious Living magazine, and is a sidereal astrologist. Her work can was included in the anthologies "Leaning into the Wind" and "Stories from the Wild." He articles have appeared in Women Outside, Heron Dance, Northern Lights, and Caldera. Lyn has performed the work of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman for audiotapes, and says that she was “honored to be the voice of Mardy Murie's writings” in the film "Arctic Dance." In 1992, she and Connie Wieneke launched the popular open-mike night Moose Readings at Dornan's bar and restaurant. The library's next Writers Showcase will be held March 21. FMI: Juli Smith, 733-2164 ext. 229; jsmith@will.state.wy.us.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

PRESENTERS SET FOR WWI CONFERENCE: David Romtvedt, Margaret Coel, and Jamie Lee will be presenters at the annual conference for Wyoming Writers, Inc., June 2-4 in Rock Springs. Conference info should be up on the WWI web site very soon, according to webmaster Susan Vittitow. Members are urged to sign up by April 1 for the conference book signing by calling Kelly at 307-382-8488 or e-mailing her at earthimpressions@juno.com.

Friday, January 13, 2006

BREWER EARNS HUMANITIES AWARD: Utah Poet Laureate Ken Brewer has often traveled to Wyoming for readings, workshops, and presentations. Last June he was a presenter at the Wyoming Writers, Inc., conference in Cheyenne. I was at that conference, and one of the diehards who stayed through the entire open mic reading on Friday night. Ken was there, too, an appreciate audience member and, as usual, staying late. He has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and is not doing well. I hope that he’s cheered by the news that the Utah Humanities Council has selected him to receive the 2006 Distinguished Humanities Award “for a lifetime of championing public humanities programs through his devotion to teaching literature and poetry, his service as Utah's Poet Laureate, and his personal writing.” The award will be presented at the Human Ties Celebration on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 5 p.m., at the State Office Building Auditorium in Salt Lake City. The ceremony and reception are free and open to the public. Then, at 7 p.m., a dinner will be held at Memorial House in Memory Grove to honor the nine awardees, and they will have an opportunity to speak about their work. Because of Ken’s declining health, his wife, Bobbie, will take his place, and Ken plans to ask a friend to accept the award on his behalf. The dinner will be held at Memorial House in Memory Grove, beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets for the dinner are $40. FMI: Maria Torres at torres@utahhumanities.org.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Wyoming State Museum in Cheyenne will be hosting a book signing and lecture on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 7 p.m. for the book Molesworth: The Pioneer of Western Design by Terry Winchell of Jackson. FMI: Beth Miller, 307-777-5320.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

ANGELA DAVIS SPEAKS AT UW: From a University of Wyoming press release: Longtime political activist Angela Davis will speak during the fifth annual Martin Luther King Jr. March and Days of Dialogue Jan. 16-20 at UW in Laramie. Davis's free lecture, "Art, Education, Activism: Beyond Rhetoric to Action," will be Wednesday, Jan. 18, at 7 p.m., in the Wyoming Union Yellowstone Ballroom. Davis has been active as a student, teacher, writer, scholar and organizer and has published on race, class and gender. She is a professor in the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. In 1994, she was appointed as the UC Presidential Chair in African American and Feminist Studies. She is a member of the Prison Activist Resource Center advisory board and focuses on exposing racism in the U.S. prison system. Her articles and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. She is the author of several books: Angela Davis: An Autobiography; Women, Race, and Class; Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude 'Ma' Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday; and The Angela Y. Davis Reader.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

COWBOY UP, NEVADA STYLE: The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering will be held Jan. 28-Feb. 4 at the Western Folklife Center, the Convention Center, and other venues in Elko, Nevada. It’s a “celebration of life in the rural West, featuring the contemporary and traditional arts that arise from lives lived caring for land and livestock, fixing fences and raising families. Poetry, music, stories, gear, film, photography, food – all contribute to the texture of an event that has become an annual ritual for thousands of people who value the people and cultures that live and work in the West.” Featured are Montana’s Waddie Mitchell, the Renato Borghetti Band (Brazilian gaúcho musicians), Colorado’s Laurie Wagner Buyer, Wyoming’s Chuck Larsen and Jesse Smith, Raphael Christy’s one-man show about Charlie M. Russell, Ian Tyson, and poets of the deep-sea fisherman tradition of the northwest U.S.

Monday, January 09, 2006

SEND US THE WORD ON CULTURAL TRUST: Milward Simpson, recently the WAC manager and now director of Wyoming Cultural Resources, urges the state’s residents to give him input on a draft copy of the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund rules and regulations. Milward serves on the WCTF board which drafted the new rules during the past few months. Word has it that the Trust will be able to give grants for needs that are not being met by the WAC or any other arts and humanities organization. Those may include grants for basic operating support, stabilization, endowments, and/or capital construction. This is a great opportunity for literary organizations to get in their two cents worth before the WCTF guidelines assume their final shape. It may also be a good way for volunteer-run orgs to request staffing support (full- or part-time), funds for renting or buying a building, or multi-year grants for programs and events. The WCTF could bring stability to literary festivals, writing workshops, small presses, and bookfests. You can see the proposed rules and regs at the State Parks and Cultural Resources website. You can send your written responses to Cultural Trust Fund Board, Attn: Milward Simpson, 2301 Central Avenue, Cheyenne, Wyoming 82002. Or call Milward at 307-777-7637.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

BOOKFEST UPDATE: Here are the writers who thus far have committed to present at the Equality State Book Festival Oct. 19-21 in Casper: Mark Spragg, Annie Proulx, Candy Moulton, Lori Van Pelt, Tim Sandlin, Bob Roripaugh, Lee Ann Roripaugh, Linda Hasselstrom, Elaine Alphin, Zak Pullen, Todd Strasser, Nancy Curtis, Eugene Gagliano, C.J. Box, Craig Allen Johnson, John D. Nesbitt, Geoff O’Gara, and Tom Rea. This list doesn’t include the names of the UW creative writing faculty that will teach workshops for the Casper College Literary Conference on Oct. 19-20, as that line-up has not been finalized. The literary conference is being held as part of the bookfest, and will include a reading by the Wyoming Arts Council poetry fellowship judge and the three fellowship winners. This is the 20th anniversary of the conference, and the fourth year that WAC has teamed up with CC, the CC Foundation, and ARTCORE to conduct the conference. Other bookfest events will be held in downtown Casper businesses, the Nicolaysen Art Museum, the Natrona County Public Library, and the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center. Events will be free, although workshop participants will pay a fee. Vendors will pay a fee to showcase their wares on Saturday at (we hope) the Nic. The Equality State Book Festival planning committee is working with the school district to schedule appearances by several writers and illustrators, as well as a celebrity guest. Stay tuned for further developments.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

ALL THE WORLD’S A (POETRY) STAGE: An article by Christina Patterson in the 12/29/05 The Independent (online edition) carries the headline "How poetry is losing its elitist image." Patterson contends that public slams and jams, a country-wide poetry read-off (with a prize of 10,000 pounds), and interactive web sites are making poetry more accessible. While the article focuses on England, it reflects U.S. trends. Patterson writes some great lines about the “long-standing distinction between poetry in performance and performance poetry.” She continues: “For many poets, the very word performance conjures up chilling images of being forced to prance about a stage while some grim-faced Arts Council lackey sits ticking boxes about access and making literature groovy. The words performance poetry are even worse. That's for the ranters, the hipsters who roar their rhyming rubbish or deliver it Jack Dee deadpan, in a desperate attempt to bridge the (usually rather large) gap between poetry and stand-up. Page poets, as the performance crowd dub them, prefer to call it a reading. Performance poets think readings are for the bearded, be-corduroyed, bespectacled crowd who shamble on stage and then mumble into their beer.” A note to Ms. Patterson: I, for one, resent the term “grim-faced Arts Council lackey.” At poetry inquisitions, I always wear a Cheshire grin.

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