Kiitella Mountain Medallions: American Alpine Club ~ Hall of Mountaineering Excellence

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Danika Gilbert and dear friend Indigo

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At the American Alpine Club 2018 Excellence in Climbing Celebration, Hall of Mountaineering Excellence inductees were celebrated and presented with Kiitella-made custom steel mountain medallions. Congratulations to: Danika Gilbert (always exciting to see a friend receive an award!), David Roberts and Doug Chabot. The design: a steel cutout of the American Mountaineering Museum logo, polished Kiitella-style, framing a metal printed AMM logo, and completed with strong 5mm accessory cord.

What are those knucklehead trump disciples going to do about his cruel policy, his cold heart, his lack of empathy?

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John Moore may have lost the midterm elections for the Republican Party and badly damaged the reelection prospects of President Trump. Moore is the Getty Images photographer who snapped a viral picture of a crying 2-year-old Honduran girl at the U.S.-Mexico border. It’s not clear whether the girl was separated from her mother, and, in fact, she had just been set on the ground so her mother could be searched. The details, though, are unimportant. The picture, in effect, was of Trump — his cruel policy, his cold heart, his lack of empathy.

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Christo’s Latest Work Weighs 650 Tons. And It Floats.

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Christo’s temporary floating sculpture “The London Mastaba,” made from thousands of stacked oil barrels, on the Serpentine lake in Hyde Park, London, on June 15.Credit David Azia for The New York Times

By Farah Nayeri

LONDON — Wearing a hard hat and a cargo jacket, the artist Christo stood on a platform looking over the Serpentine lake one April morning and watched his latest creation come to life. As ducks glided across the water, men in orange jumpsuits began assembling the installation, a crane hovering above their heads.

The London Mastaba,” Christo’s first major outdoor work in Britain, is now floating (through Sept. 23) in the middle of the lake in Hyde Park. A trapezoidal pyramid of 7,506 painted and horizontally stacked barrels, it’s 66 feet tall — as tall as the Sphinx in Egypt — and weighs roughly 650 tons. Named after a flat-roofed structure with sloping sides that originated some 6,000 years ago in Mesopotamia (the word “mastaba” means “bench” in Arabic), it’s a test for a mastaba roughly eight times as high that Christo hopes to put up in the desert in Abu Dhabi.

Christo in front of his work on June 15. “The London Mastaba” is temporary but the artist hopes to build a larger, permanent version in Abu Dhabi.Credit David Azia for The New York Times

 

This is less ambitious than past projects by the Bulgarian-born Christo, 83, and his wife Jeanne-Claude, who died in 2009. These included extending a 25-mile fence across parts of Northern California, as well as wrapping fabric around a bridge in Paris, the Pont Neuf, and around Berlin’s Reichstag building.

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Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue playing at the Sherbino Sunday evening…

We met Gal and the Revue in New Orleans at the 2005 Jazz Fest.  We liked them so much we had them come out to play for our wedding party the summer of 07… What a fine band and nice people…  If you weren’t at our fiesta at the Western Hotel that summer or know nothing about Gal and the Revue come on out to the Sherbino this coming Sunday … you won’t be disappointed, they’re a great dance band and Gal has a really fine voice…

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Sunday, June 24th. Doors and bar at 6:30 pm, Music at 7:00 pm. $12 in advance, $15 at the door..

The Sherbino is excited to welcome back, Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue, for a night of wonderful live music promoting their new album release, “Lost and Found”.

Buy Advance Tickets HERE!

Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue were at the vanguard of New Orleans’ now-thriving country scene when they formed over a decade ago, and they’ve remained in a league of their own ever since. Combining evocative songwriting, impeccable musicianship, and a twinge of punk sensibility to boot, their infectious Western swing energy has earned them their place in the upper echelon of local favorites and helped grow an avid fan-base of two-steppers around the world.

“The Gal” is Vanessa Niemann, an Appalachian-born songstress who has lent her powerful voice and magnetic stage presence to various musical projects in New Orleans and around the country. Upright bassist/musical director David Brouillette, who hails from small-town Louisiana, co-leads the band and provides the backbone for their hard-swinging rhythm. Over the years, they’ve counted among their ranks some of the finest musicians in the region. Their current roster boasts guitarists Gregory Good and Izzy Zaidman along with drummer Rose Cangelosi.

Last year alone found them touring out to Colorado, up the East Coast and into Detroit plus their monthly trips out to Texas for a residency at The White Horse in Austin. This vigorous touring schedule, however, doesn’t prevent the Honky Tonk Revue from remaining 100% native to their hometown. You can find them raising a ruckus at local dance halls, festivals, and watering holes any day of the week. They know the ins and outs of the country canon and can even get folks swinging to an unexpected pop cover or two. Above all, vivid songwriting is one of the group’s great strengths. Their rollicking foot-stompers and poignant Crescent City tributes alike crackle with an authentic country spirit.

Armed with this kind of versatility and an ever-growing body of original material, they put on a show that never gets old and delights rowdy dancers and buttoned-down diners alike. New Orleans may be most closely associated with jazz and brass, but Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue prove that the city celebrates its musical diversity with enthusiasm.

Listen to Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue here!

Posted in Music

“Coco,” a Story About Borders and Love, Is a Definitive Movie for This Moment ~ The New Yorker

By Jia Tolentino ~ June 16, 2018

 

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Coco” is a movie about borders more than anything—the beauty in their porousness, the absolute pain produced when a border locks you away from your family.

Photograph Courtesy Pixar

 

In the weeks since that viewing, “Coco” love has continued to spread among my demographic—thanks, in part, to the movie’s release on Netflix in May. “Coco” is unlike any film I can think of: it presents death as a life-affirming inevitability; its story line about grudges and abandonment makes you feel less alone. The protagonist, Miguel, is a twelve-year-old boy in the fictional Mexican town of Santa Cecilia—named for the patron saint of musicians—and he is trying to get out from under the shadow of his great-great-grandfather, who left his family to pursue a career as a musician. His wife, the ferocious Mamá Imelda, was left to take care of their young daughter, Coco. She instituted a permanent household ban on music and started making shoes.

We meet Coco as an old woman. Her daughter, Miguel’s grandmother, now runs the family and its shoemaking business with an iron chancla. Earnest, sweet Miguel teaches himself to play the guitar in the attic, watching and re-watching tapes of the bygone star Ernesto de la Cruz. On the Day of the Dead, he accidentally shatters a framed photograph on the family ofrenda, then spots a hidden detail in the picture, one that makes him suspect that his wayward ancestor was in fact de la Cruz himself. He sprints to the town mausoleum, hoping to borrow de la Cruz’s guitar and prove the value of music to his family. Instead, the guitar turns Miguel invisible, and whisks him across a skybridge covered in thick, soft marigold petals that glow like lava. He falls to his knees in the petals, and then looks up to see a grand floating metropolis, confetti-colored in the darkness: the Land of the Dead.

The second and third acts of the movie are mostly set in this city of jubilant sugar-skull skeletons, where you exist only as long as you are remembered by the living. (You can cross over to the living world on the Day of the Dead, but only if your photo is on display.) Miguel joins up with a raggedy show-biz hustler named Héctor, who’s desperate to get his picture back up on an ofrenda, and who says he can bring Miguel to de la Cruz. Héctor lives in a waterfront shantytown filled with people who are about to be forgotten; at one point, he begs a guitar for Miguel off an ill-tempered cowboy named Chicharrón, who vanishes as soon as Héctor finishes singing an old dirty song.

Eventually, Miguel realizes that Héctor is his real ancestor, and the movie sprints to a conclusion that’s as skillfully engineered to produce waterworks as the montage at the beginning of “Up.” But until the end, “Coco” is mostly, wonderfully, a mess of conflict and disappointment and sadness. Héctor seems to have failed everyone who takes a chance on him. Miguel’s face, painted in skeleton camouflage, often droops as if he were a sad little black-and-white dog. “Coco” is animated by sweetness, but this sweetness is subterranean, bursting through mostly in tiny details: the way that both Mamá Imelda and Miguel’s grandmother brandish shoes when they’re angry; or how the daffy Xolo dog that accompanies Miguel on his adventure is named Dante; or how the skeletons return to their city through the Day of the Dead’s efficient T.S.A. system, declaring the churros and beer that their families gave them for their journey home.

~~~  MAS  ~~~

In Japan, Haiku on the Rocks

24Japan4-superJumbo.jpgMatsuyama Castle, one of Japan’s 12 original castles. Credit Ko Sasaki for The New York Times

Welcome to the world of the haiku bar trail. Matsuyama, Japan, is celebrating its 19th-century haiku poet, Masaoka Shiki, who coined the term haiku, with related events.

 

By Adam H. Graham

On a cold and rainy night earlier this year, I found myself at Hoyaken, a matchbook-size bar in Matsuyama, a city in the southwest corner of Shikoku, the least visited of Japan’s four main islands.

 

In Shikoku dialect, Hoyaken means “but anyway,” and there at the bar, chopsticks rested on a perfectly still peanut shell, while sake and literary conversation flowed. The bar’s owners, husband and wife Tomoko and Satoshi Kadoya, talked to me about their favorite poets, both Japanese and American. But haiku was never far from their minds.

Hoyaken is stocked with magazines and bilingual glossaries of “kigo,” haiku words used to connote the season like cicada for summer, scarecrow for autumn and the winter-blooming camellia. It is an ideal setting to write these 17-syllable seasonal poems using the classic 5-7-5 syllable stanzas or to drop the syllable form altogether and go freestyle as most haiku enthusiasts do these days.

 

A haiku-inspired cocktail at Riff Bar in Matsuyama.Credit Ko Sasaki for The New York Times

 

Welcome to the haiku bar trail.

Matsuyama, Shikoku’s biggest and liveliest city is known for its 19th-century haiku poet, Masaoka Shiki, one of Japan’s four haiku masters. Shiki coined the term haiku.

This year, to celebrate Shiki’s 150th birthday, the city launched a program of haiku-related events, including a recent haiku photo contest, a haiku sensory trail where you can experience the hourly chimes and dancing figurines of the Botchan Karakuri wind-up clock or the scent of incense at Ishite-Ji temple, and the haiku bar trail, where you can hone your haiku techniques while nursing a boozy concoction inspired by your own verse.

The idea of the haiku bars comes from the Matsuyama resident Kim Changhee, a haiku writer, illustrator and editor of Haiku Magazine’s 100-Year Haiku Plan.

“New Orleans has its jazz bars, so Matsuyama should have haiku bars,” he said in terms as simple as a haiku itself.

Dogo Onsen, a neighborhood known for its ancient hot baths. Credit Ko Sasaki for The New York Times

 

Three bars have joined the haiku trail so far and a few hotels in nearby Dogo Onsen, an outlying neighborhood known for its ancient hot baths, are expected to join in 2018. At each location, visitors are expected to write their own haiku. Haiku pen names are given for free and it’s 900 Yen (about $8) to experience a haiku-inspired cocktail. I tried my hand last winter at Bar Caravan, a now-defunct bar in the city center.

Instead of a drink, the bespectacled bartender Chieko gave me a pen and paper. I wrote on it:

“1,000 cold grays

at Dogo Park, until

Kawasemi blue!”

I handed it to the bartender. She read it, looking puzzled, then exclaimed “Ah, Kawasemi!” Kawasemi is Japanese for the colorful kingfisher bird. She scurried away and returned, smiling with a martini glass filled with the unmistakable crystalline blue Curaçao liquor and vodka. By day, Chieko is a member of a jazz haiku group, but by night she pours spirits in exchange for verse. She now serves haiku cocktails at Riff Bar, a few blocks from Hoyaken.

Haiku cocktails run the gamut — some are subtle and emphasize local liqueurs made in Shikoku’s Ehime Prefecture, known for its unique varietals of citrus like iyokan, mikan and even yuzu, while others feature technicolor concoctions using Midori and Curaçao. (Unless you love those syrupy spirits, be careful which colors you wax poetic about.)

Haiku boxes are found around historic sites and parks in Matsuyama for visitors to pen their own haiku and deposit it. Credit Ko Sasaki for The New York Times

In addition to experiencing the haiku bars, I dropped by a haiku jazz bar called Monk with a group of haiku writers where we listened to the all-female Japanese jazz quintet Ladybird. I also spent a few days exploring the city’s haiku trail, stopping to write additional verse at some of the 93 haiku boxes (including 10 new ones) around the city’s historic sites and parks, like hilly Dogo Park, with its ponds, cherry trees and Shinto-shrine lined trails. It was there that I spent a gray afternoon bird-watching for Kawasemi, the common kingfisher who would later inspire my haiku.

Haiku boxes can be found at the 7th-century hilltop Hōgon-ji Temple, at an ice-cream stand on the trail along the 400-year-old stone walls outside Matsuyama Castle, one of Japan’s 12 original castles, and outside the famed Dogo Onsen, a vintage bathhouse that inspired Studio Ghibli’sanime classic Spirited Away. At each box, there’s a pen and paper for visitors to compose haiku and deposit it in a drop-box where it will later be collected.

Every two months, the best Japanese haiku are chosen and presented in the local newspaper, Ehime Shinbun. The best haiku by foreign enthusiasts like myself are only selected once a year. A man and his kingfisher can dream.

 

By day, Chieko is a member of a jazz haiku group, by night she pours spirits in exchange for verseCredit Ko Sasaki for The New York Times