Archive for July, 2013

  • Roundabout: Slade Graves returns to art again & again

    Jul 31, 13 • ndemarino • 5enses, Portfolio3,684 CommentsRead More »

    By James Dungeon “I love when it starts, and I love when it ends.” That’s Slade Graves. She’s talking about painting, but the sentiment probably runs deeper. Let’s stick with painting for now. “It’s usually from large to small, but I’m not a formula person,” Graves says waving at a nearby work-in-progress in a storage unit-come-art studio in Prescott. A troupe of performers entertain the canvas. There’s a tall, ethereal woman (the description fits Graves equally well) and a handful of circus performers — a clown, an organ grinder, and a small, central figure drawn in meticulous detail void of paint. “Sometimes I see a color, like that green up there, and that’s where it starts,” Graves continues, this time gesturing toward a smear of green mostly on a wall-mounted canvas, a dab on the wall. “Sometimes it’s words or scribbles. … It’s always different.” Graves’ subjects are figurative but far from simple. Colors and textures are nuanced — skeletal sketches protrude through all but the heartiest folds of paint — but they’re cast in broad, bold juxtapositions. Classic stories and compositions abound. There are religious riffs and fairy tales; there are golden ratios and Möbius strip flows. Too pretentious? (Yup.) Graves’ art looks like the way people describe dreams:  a throng of the familiar and the unexpected, of the infuriatingly vague and the infuriatingly specific. It’s haunting. “I’m always

  • Air & Space Per Diem: The science of space

    Jul 30, 13 • ndemarino • 5enses, Guide4 CommentsRead More »

    Gravity is an inescapable facet of life on Earth. Flora and fauna have developed in tandem with it, but, while scientists can quantify and describe its effects, the mechanism that facilitates “action at a distance” remains a mystery. If you manage to escape the Earth’s roughly 9.8-meter-per-second-squared pull, though, you’ll gain a new perspective on things. With variable and zero gravity some activities are easier, some are harder, and some are just different. We know this because of a handful of brave pilots and astronauts (and test(y) animals) who’ve braved extreme conditions and returned to tell about it. Some of these effects are discernible on an airplane, but many require a literally extra-terrestrial experience. Want to know what it’s like to be in space? Science has you covered. The information in this guide is just a smattering of highlights from numerous scientific studies and papers on the topic. (Incidentally, Mary Roaches’ “Packing for Mars” is a wonderful primer. Make sure to read the footnotes.) Details and caveats have been omitted for the sake of clarity, conciseness, and, in some cases, caprice. You experience the world through sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. Why not flex those five senses to experience space?   Sight The majesty of space —second-hand knowledge for all but a tiny percentage of people alive today — isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Reports of headaches,

  • Perceivings: The instantaneousness of bad

    Jul 30, 13 • ndemarino • 5enses, Alan Dean Foster's PerceivingsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Alan Dean Foster We live in an age when some folks desperately seek to avoid knowledge. Indeed, they actively work to escape from its very presence. They’re not hermits. They enjoy the company of others, are perfectly sociable, work normal jobs, and have relatively ordinary daily lives. But they can’t stand, or can’t cope with, or just desperately desire to avoid the flood, the tsunami of information with which our contemporary society is inundated 24-7. There’s even a name for it. Epistemophobia. Fear of knowledge. Foremost among these poor souls are the many who refuse to watch television news or read any news-related media such as newspapers (you remember those—an ancient means of communication that utilized ink sprayed on fragments of bleached dead trees), magazines, or worst of all, the Internet. These folks refuse to allow daily news into their daily lives because it’s all so damn depressing, downbeat, and demoralizing. To those suffering from epistemophobia, the world is going to hell in a handbasket and, as far as they’re concerned, they want to encounter as little about it as possible. But, you know what? Overall, the world is actually in much better shape than it’s ever been. There are no major wars raging between blocks of nations; famine is an occasional instead of daily fact of life in increasingly isolated parts of the world; a great many debilitating

  • Brain Food: Food & spice

    Jul 30, 13 • ndemarino • 5enses, Brain Food21 CommentsRead More »

    By Jimmy Polinori The 2013 cold and flu season is upon us. Kids will be back in school shortly sharing glue, crayons, pencils, books, bathrooms, and, inevitably, germs. Maintaining health while those around us sneeze and sniffle is a challenge we all face every year. Fending off the cold and flu virus requires that you extract as much immune boosting nutrition from your diet as possible. I was ever so lucky to be blessed with a weakened immune system from birth. Through trial and error, I can attest to the benefits of loading up on the foods and spices that are proven to strengthen the immune system and that pack the biggest nutritional punch. Of course, avoiding processed foods, grains, and sugar will prove paramount in your efforts to strengthen your immune system. However, you can do even more by incorporating foods all year round that are loaded with specific immune boosting nutrients. Outlined below and based on my research of multiple scientific studies is what I consider to be the absolute best foods you can eat to help protect yourself this season. This, by all means, is not an exhaustive listing, but it’s quite comprehensive. 1. Unpasteurized grass-fed organic milk: Raw organic milk from grass-fed cows contains beneficial bacteria that prime your immune system. Although raw milk availability is limited in the U.S. depending on where you live, you

  • Outdoor Outings: A fungi-filled forest

    By Jill Craig Somewhere in the forest, a round tan ball the size of a half-dollar is pushing through the leaf litter. Encouraged by monsoonal moisture, this fungal ball’s arms open into a star. Then they expand exposing a small white pouch to the sky to welcome rain that, in turn,  releases spores. These spores travel with the wind and rain until they find a suitable soil home t0 create a new community. The ball is called an Earthstar because it looks like a star — a very small one, mind you — that’s fallen from the sky. Earthstars are actually the fruiting body of an underground network of fungi called mycorrhizae. When conditions are ripe, the network reproduces. Odd as it may same, this network is extremely important to the health and well-being of the forest. Basically, the roots of plants and trees have agreed to work together with mycorrhizae. The fungus, with its widespread network, attaches to roots and helps secure moisture and nutrients in the soil that plants can access. In turn, plants produce sugars via photosynthesis that travel to their roots and are absorbed by fungi. It’s a pretty good deal for both parties. Earthstars are great fun. When you find one, take it home and try letting it dry out then re-wetting it. You can find earthstars year-round, but they’re most common after periods of

  • News From the Wilds: August

    Jul 30, 13 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the WildsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris Many of our woody plant species bear seeds now — from delicious Chokecherries to the small, nutrition-packed acorns of our various oaks — while herbaceous plants grow and bloom, most of whom didn’t appear in the spring. This is the time of plenty for many birds and mammals as insects proliferate — from the moths and midges to the peak of the dragonflies and the first glimmerings of cicada song. Our most water-dependent creatures, such as snails and mushrooms, appear now, species rarely associated with the desert Southwest. Arizona is home to at least 200 species of native snail, most of whom are completely unstudied. You can see them consuming riverside vegetation during this wet season. Our species of fungi number in the thousands (just in Arizona!) and, likewise, are substantially unstudied. From brittlegills to puffballs to earthstars, they present a bewildering diversity from now until fall. Their fruiting bodies are the only part of a mushroom we typically take note of, but this is a small part of the organism: The real fungus is a network of filamentous mycorrhizae who interlace (and often enrich) the soil. In fact, the largest organism on Earth is thought to be a single mushroom in Oregon who’s 2,400 acres in size. Butterflies, moths, beetles, dragonflies, and damselflies are prolific during this monsoonal season. Many of the butterfly species out now

  • Outside the Frame: Once an Artist …

    Jul 30, 13 • ndemarino • 5enses, Outside the FrameNo CommentsRead More »

    Sadira DeMarino Melody McConaughy. I know her.  McConaughy has been a vibrant, enthusiastic member of the Prescott community for more than 19 years. She’s closely involved with Arts Prescott Gallery and ’Tis Art Center & Gallery’s STEPS program — a free after-school art education program for children. This comes as no surprise: McConaughy was formally a professional educator who taught every grade before high school and was principal. McConaughy minored in art in college. She laughs as she talks about being an artist at heart but needing a backup plan. In an isolated area in California, McConaughy brought her love of art into the classroom and was also an art education speaker, consultant, and mentor teacher. Today, she realizes it was her lifelong passion for art and her drive to be an artist that gave her an advantage at a time when there were fewer women in administrative positions. In Prescott, McConaughy finds herself fortunate to be in a gallery with 24 people who are grounded and part of the community she now calls home. Then & now Walking into her detached home studio, McConaughy stopped to show me a pin that she found in the desert of the small California town where she used to live. It’s a small, rectangular piece of metal, worn and old, but it glows with a life of its own. McConaughy says it’s been

  • The Absurd Naturalist: Thoughts on chewing

    By Gene Twaronite (Personal Note: My deepest sympathy to the families of the 19 firefighters who gave their lives protecting our community, and to the Prescott Fire Department, whose members risk so much to keep us safe.) ***** We humans are enthralled by the eating exploits of other species. We watch with wonder the bulge of a large fish gliding downstream through a heron’s gullet or the lump of a toad being squeezed through a garter snake’s pencil-thick body. Yet daily, within our very homes, we can observe feats of eating no less wondrous. Indeed, as I sit at the breakfast table this morning and watch my young niece being fed by her mother, I am amazed that such creatures as children (forgive me, Nicole) continue being born. Not that Nicole’s behavior is any worse than that of any other little girl or boy — and certainly no worse than her mother at that age. Never having had any offspring, I tend to watch this game of life from the position of a detached observer. But the creature before me is far more absorbing than a giant python swallowing a pig or a blue whale swilling krill. I realize that it is me I am watching in this real life nature drama. So, this is what it’s like growing up — taking entire slices of bread that your mother has

  • An alien gathering: Notes from the 2013 Roswell UFO Festival

    Jul 30, 13 • ndemarino • 5enses, Event, Feature, Photo Gallery3,523 CommentsRead More »

    Illustration, photos, & story by Dale O’Dell In 1947 something fell out of the sky and crashed near Roswell, New Mexico. It may’ve been an alien spacecraft, a weather balloon, or nothing at all, but its effect on the community was profound. That alleged UFO crash spawned an urban legend — and an economic boom — for Roswell. And so, 66 years after the whatever-it-was was hauled off and the alien bodies were put into deep-freeze, I arrived at the 2013 Roswell UFO Festival. Every Fourth of July weekend, the town holds its annual UFO festival. Main Street is shut down, the portable concert stage is set up, the vendors fill the street. Attendees are treated to costume contests, parades, and all sorts of alien-themed silliness. People come from all over the world to mix with morbidly obese Americans dressed as grey aliens and sweat in the 100-degree heat of the New Mexico Desert. A real heatstroke-hoot. Better drink some more alien juice and stay hydrated. The first event I attended was the alien pet costume contest held on the Civic Center lawn. Everybody loves seeing little dogs parade around in costumes that, while embarrassing to other dogs, make humans laugh. Name a better opportunity to spray paint Fido green and display the poor critter in front of 400 similarly dressed humans. The most appropriate dog to dress up in

  • Script Notes: Bully for you

    By Helen Stephenson Sometimes it takes a whole lot of forces to bring something good to fruition. That’s exactly what happened when a group of volunteers, many in the mental health profession, decided to bring the documentary film “Bully”and Kirk Smalley, one of the subjects of the doc, to Prescott. In 2010, Smalley lost his son Ty to suicide after he was bullied at school. Ty was just 11-years-old. Since then, Smalley has devoted his life to stopping bullying and youth suicide. He’s told Ty’s story at more than 500 schools and has spoken to more than 100,000 students, teachers, and school administrators. He created an anti-bullying organization called Stand for the Silent the goal of which is “to inspire students to be the change they want in their schools.” He’s vowed to fight bullying every chance he gets. “I have a pretty big purpose in life right now,” Smalley says. “I’m not going to stop. I’ll fight bullying wherever it’s found. Schools. Workplace. I’m not going to quit until bullying does.” Smalley will be in Prescott Thursday and Friday, Aug. 29 and 30, speaking at schools in Chino Valley, Prescott Valley, and Prescott. At 6 p.m. Friday, “Bully” screens at The Elks Theatre and Performing Arts Center. The Elks’ new owners have kindly donated the use of the theater for this important event. Smalley will be on hand to

Celebrating art and science in Greater Prescott.

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