Monday, February 29, 2016

High an' Mighty Airs

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On weekends instead of watching sports my Dad would get out a music stand (with libretto) and a baton and with the volume rattling the windows conduct one of Wagner's operas. It wasn't until we returned to The States a month before my tenth birthday that I heard anything besides classical. Wahnfried is the name of Richard Wagner's home in Bayreuth, Bavaria. It means Madness Free. I was born in Nurnberg.

RED MEAT is an independent, alternative comic strip begun in late 1989. It has appeared in over 160 alternative weeklies, magazines and college newspapers both in the US and abroad. Since 1996, it has been available for reading on the web.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Amargosa Opera House - Death Valley Junction

There was someone on my tail as we went into the dog-leg that's Death Valley Junction. In the middle of the "elbow" I pulled into a driveway to get out of her way and found myself in front of the Amargosa Opera House.

The artist, dancer and choreographer, Marta Becket, came here from New York in 1967 and danced until age 85. She's 91 and sometimes attends the Sunday matinee. It was only Tuesday so we had time to prepare. We began with the tour. ($5.00 --  check it out!)

While waiting we toured Death Valley. On Sunday after the performance we (Eggbert & I) learned Jenna McClintock began her studies at the age of 14 with the founder of a Bay Area dance company. Now, at the age of 30, she's threatening to retire. Once you see these videos you'll see she's stopping at the top of her game.

Bailar, an original creation by Ms. McClintock...

And one by Marta Becket...

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Odour

Everyone's heard about Death Valley's wildflowers so it was with high expectations that I began the descent down the 13-mile (21 km) hill from Hell's Gate. It was the smell, the odour that alerted me I had arrived. Too dark to see (my night vision is limited to all things greater than a Mini-Cooper), it wafted on the evening breeze with an indescribable pungency. But there was something about the traffic flow: everyone going the other way, that led me to believe there were no campspots...and I turned around.

The next morning a couple from the Bay Area eager for news flagged me down. I related my experience and we parted on gleeful terms, each practically quivering with anticipation.

As I rounded the previous night's curve and then the flats along the river I kept raising Mr. Nose to the breeze. But naught was there. I could only surmise it had been a phenomenon of the evening.

When I reached the bottom I walked across the salt-encrusted "marsh" to the Amargosa (Spanish for bitter) River.

About two-thirds of the way down

The "marsh" and environs are stinkless. Even the dirt lacks a smell. 
"Muz be duh heat," he surmisaled. But dem flowerz wuz sumpin' else!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Beatty Castle

It's discoveries like the Dawson Castle that add enjoyment to my travels. It overlooks Beatty, Nevada, on the road to Death Valley.

Todd Dawson and his youngest son, Dakota were hard at it when I pulled up. Todd said it's been sixteen years and no one is gonna call *him* a quitter. 


Notice the stone work

We talked about how in any project as you go along you see ways to improve on your idea. Such is the case for Todd. Contrary to what people might think, he acknowledged it *hasn't* kept him out of trouble. 


In his spare time he builds houses for the nearby National Park (Death Valley).

That's Todd & Son

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Kindness of Strangers

The time I hitchhiked to visit friends on the Bruce Peninsula northwest of Toronto (in January), they gave me a gallon of water to bathe with. They had a cistern in their kitchen (they'd felled the trees and built the log cabin themselves) that collected snow melt from the roof and although there was plenty of snow I guess water was hard to come by.

Since then I've become extravagant. But when I realized I'd left Las Vegas (it was a tad distracting) without water and was now ensconced somewhere on the edge of Charleston Peak Wilderness, I knew I was gonna have to make due.

It'd been four days since a bath so I did the bird thing and came out, if not sparkling, confident someone could be downwind and not wonder if something had died. So when the rancher stopped to see how I was doing I was  up to the challenge. Still, I was surprised when I asked about water and he invited me up. 

The road followed the dry wash for about three miles 

before climbing up into a small valley complete with it's own lake with ducks, child-size paddle boats, a pier and comfortable-looking chairs nestled under the shady oaks; a true idyll.

The two houses were modest, the horses were sleek and healthy in the generous pasture. 

He said the water wasn't the best in the world, but it tastes it to me...a bit like snow melt. And now, with ten gallons, I can do my feet!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Hozhoni Gallery, Flagstaff - Outsider Art

A MUST SEE whenever in Flagstaff is the Hozhoni Gallery. The artists, referred to as clients, have developmental disabilities so the work is bonafide outsider.
Open Saturday 10 - 4. But they'll glady open it for you if you go to the main office and ask. The low prices add to the delight. The Cat is $25.00.

2133 N Walgreen Street
Flagstaff, AZ 86004
Ph: 928-526-7944

The Mask is almost two feet tall and about a foot wide.
It's Thunder Spirit by Edward Haswood

The Cat is about two and a half feet long and nearly a foot tall

Each doll is about ten inches tall

These three assemblages were about five inches long and almost as tall

Mask by Miranda Delgai


Mission Statement
The Hozhoni Foundation provides individualized residential, vocational, and educational services primarily for people with developmental disabilities. 

Our goal is to enhance quality of life, self-sufficiency, dignity and self- respect of the individuals we serve. We provide opportunities for education and interaction within the community to heighten awareness and understanding of people with disabilities.

My purchases - Four Popcorn Tiles by Tammy Smith

Friday, February 5, 2016

I've Made It

One of the ways I know I've "made it" is by how easily I can be distracted. I've left enough times now to recognize the time of departure, 1:00 p.m., as the "normal" time. And even with my head out the window, tongue flapping in the backdraft (evidence of schizophrenia since I'm *supposed* to be a cat-person) the first thing I do is look for an excuse to stop. So it was with eager anticipation that I exited at Laguna Pueblo forty miles west of Albert's Turkey. 

Dominic yawned as he allowed, "It's winter, but it's ending soon." Traffic slows so much during the cold months it's hard to stay awake. He'd had to lay off his auntie and take to making their world-famous fry bread himself. "But," he assured me, "it's the same recipe." His friends, whose lively discussions have, in the past leant a Center a hub-of-the-universe feel, were, he added, off making money.

While I explored the new acquisitions, we talked about the challenges of finding one's way around the new round-about and how the Pueblo won't allow any more signage (if you write and complain they might change their minds). 

The store is a decades-old family enterprise and most of the items are by local artists. I bought one each of the micro-kachinas, the larger one being less than an inch and a half tall. The mask on a stand next to the figure (the plastic box is 3/4 of an inch square) comes off the stand and can be "worn" by the figure. The detail and workmanship are exquisite. There were only a few left so if you're in the neighborhood, now's the time. The larger ones are $44 and some change and the boxed ones are $34+. 

All Kachinas by Mac Hanch of Yah-Ta-Hey, New Mexico

And tonite, the peace and quiet of a remote campsite. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Dutch in Suriname

In spite of the limitations of Google Translate, I've been enjoying these folk's travels. They may be among the few included in the Adventure section of the Expedition Portal.

There's also a link to this (original) song in the post above.