Write-Up #4 Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center – Divide, CO http://wolfeducation.org/
We traveled to the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center in Divide, CO to see the wolves feed and learn about the common practices found in the US that further reduce the wolf population. We were introduced to the enclosures by warning of not to touch the 600 volt fences, and told that young children should be monitored, as well as parents. We stopped at 8 enclosures, (each but the fox and one wolf enclosure) containing two of each animal, both male and female. We learned that very few wolves are on the endangered species list, so many states have adopted a shoot on sight policy, which means this should change quickly as wolf populations are dwindling rapidly. We also learned about how many of the wolves came to the privately-owned sanctuary, mostly from cross-breeding and abandonment, all sad stories. Although Colorado does allow breeding of wolves, the local animal shelters are taught that any animals with wolf lines are to be euthanized immediately. We got to see all of the canines (wolves of different types, foxes, and coyotes) eat and play and we were rewarded with a group howl at the end of the tour (my favorite part). The Wolf shop boasted of photographs of the wolves, each in their element, as well as bottled wolf “hair”, which to me was strange and gross. The art in the shop was a display of items, dropped in the enclosures and “passed” through the wolves before being pieced together and displayed on the walls – very interesting. Most included expensive watches and sunglasses, barely recognizable after being processed. I must say that I learned a great deal about wolves and how they are mistreated by humans and often disregarded as dangerous, but basically just greatly misunderstood. Although the wolves are not domesticated, they respond with love to the volunteers and jump and play with the people as though they are in a den together. I also learned that wolves’ mouths are 5x’s cleaner than a dog’s mouth, as they eat their prey (and food) whole, complete with bones to scrub the teeth and the pelt to polish the teeth. I learned that there are many different interpretations of art, one being wolf hair, and that art cannot be restricted to my definition of what I think it should be. As a naturist, I felt deeply connected and even got quite emotional upon hearing the stories of the struggles that the species endure. I feel like I have opened my eyes to what art can and cannot be, and that many of the volunteers consider their time and their relationships with the wolves an artistic experience.
Art Exhibit at The Mason Jar Restaurant and Gallery in Manitou Springs, CO
Today I was referred to “The Mason Jar” in a town we are staying at in Colorado Springs, CO. We arrived to eat and were led to another part of the restaurant to see a local artist, known only as “Emily”. Emily makes quilted squares of various textures and colors and puts them together to create larger images that are beautiful works of art. We saw several examples, all framed and mounted for sale ranging from $200-600 each. My two favorites, both untitled, were a stunning baby grand piano surrounded with purple pastel-colored flowers, and an Arizona Vista, also surrounded with flowers, but in earthy tones. Unfortunately, I don’t know a thing about the artist since they have nothing posted about her, but I did speak with the owner, Tim, and learned that it is a family-owned restaurant, promoting the local artists of Manitou Springs. Personally, I would love to meet the artist and would welcome the “Piano” in my home, even at $495 since I think it is absolutely beautiful and unique. I walked away from the artist’s work with much appreciation for her designs. If I equate her work to Graphic Design, I can say her art is much like pixelated designs, taking each pixel (quilt square), one at a time to create a beautiful picture when viewed from afar. Although the medium is unique and often associated with gray haired old ladies, this work was inspiring and fresh and I loved the contrast of a stereo-typed medium with a contemporary work of art.
Performance – Movie: Cryptic, interview with the director and producer John Weiner
April 13, 2012
The producer, writer and director of the movie Cryptic came by CSUSM today to discuss his motivation in making the movie Cryptic, as well as discuss his future plans and what he has been up to lately. We started the interview by discussing Mr. Weiner’s motivation for making the movie. Mr. Weiner, was impressed by the sense of community and mystery found in the famous Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life (1946). He discussed why the sense of time was so appealing to him and how he also loved the idea of manipulating time, also found in the movie Time After Time(). He let us know that the movie was originally intended to be a stronger religious movie, and that Frank Capra had been worried that without the religion, it would appeal to atheists (which Mr. Weiner is), but went ahead anyway. Mr. Weiner took several scenes from Capra’s movie as inspiration for his movie Cryptic(2009), to include the time shift found in George saving his brother in the ice and the subsequent effect that had on the whole town.
The movie itself, was fragmented so the cuts that we were shown just added to the fragmentation and feeling of disorientation. Since we didn’t get to see the entire film in context, it is hard to review the film itself, but the passions behind Mr. Weiner’s ideas were certainly exciting.
I came away from this event thinking of what a contradiction Mr. Weiner seems to be. He had discussed the feeling of belonging and community that drew him to It’s a Wonderful Life, however, he also discussed how as an atheist, the religious aspects didn’t affect him negatively, they seemed to inspire him. He also discussed how he had spent the last year promoting one of Anne Rice’s novels based on an angel’s quest, and trying to pitch it to the studios as a series. I guess it’s just me, but I don’t think as a Christian I would be promoting any anti-God anything, but then again, that’s just me. I did appreciate how much passion he had for creating a movie based on the tweaking of time, as I also loved both movies that inspired him, and would be very interested in seeing what his next adventure holds. I like how he took something that he enjoyed and made it his own, which makes me think twice about the seed of creativity that I feel when I see something interesting. I always want to branch off in a completely different way, but as I am learning through this class and through Mr. Weiner’s work, replication is the greatest form of flattery. I learned how difficult it is to co-write something when both writers have completely different visions. I did enjoy the presentation and would have loved to actually screen the entire movie so I would understand Mr. Weiner better.
Performance – A New York Heartbeat/Film (Pre-release)
February 1, 2012
Escher Holloway, Rachel Brosnahan and Eric Roberts
This was a screening of a film that has yet to be released so the version we saw was a rough cut that hadn’t been Foleyd yet. The film stars Escher Holloway, Rachel Brosnahan and Eric Roberts, set in NY in the 50’s. The director & writer, stunt coordinator, and Producer were present in the theatre and after the movie, welcomed all comments and criticisms of the movie. The movie itself, although a rough cut, was dubbed well and the story was interesting if not cliché. The acting was both good and passible, depending on the character, and the romantic tension between the two main leads was missing, or maybe just stiff? I didn’t feel it, but I did like the story. I can’t really elaborate on specifics since it was a screening, but you can find the synopsis here at Imdb http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1692478/. We were happy to be able to experience the movie as a class and the cast and crew were genuinely interested in what we had to say. After the show, the class was invited to ask questions about the movie and then ask career questions to the actors. The stunt coordinator explained that he learned how to set himself on fire in various ways before becoming an actual stunt man in the movies. The whole experience was rewarding and it was nice to see the movie before it was released. We were invited to leave our information with the crew with the promise that we would be invited to the finished film upon release. I walked away knowing how difficult it is to see the vision of a movie come to fruition on the big screen. The numerous technical aspects of film are an enormous responsibility for those involved and even a well-financed movie may struggle to be seen. There wasn’t anything specific in the viewing that would influence my artwork. I have great respect for the crew and their vision and most importantly, how open they were to learning what we, as viewers, thought about their movie.