Archive for January, 2014

  • Paper trails: Annie Alexander harnesses a cellulosic medium

    Jan 31, 14 • ndemarino • 5enses, Portfolio21 CommentsRead More »

    By Robert Blood It’s tempting to paint artistic innovation as an immaculate singularity — a eureka flash in which inspiration pops into physical reality. But, assuredly, most such moments are preceded and followed by countless hours of toiling, teasing, and tweaking. And (this is the part nobody bothers to tell you) innovations don’t come with presentation instructions or marketing plans. Whether they trickle in or arrive in a downpour, innovations can leave you reeling in their wake. Such is the gleeful plight of Prescott-based artist Annie Alexander. For the past dozen years she’s crafted handmade paper, a product that, though precious and essential, is often regarded as a raw material, not a finished work of art. “Finding people who are patrons of paper is difficult,” Alexander said. “It’s people who are scrapbooking, it’s people who are doing calligraphy, and it’s people who are doing wedding invitations.” But Alexander knew paper could be so much more. It could challenge and enrich people’s experience of light, texture, nature, and motion — if only she could just figure out a way to recontextualize it. So, for the past two years, she’s been tinkering and toying, warping the pragmatic dimension of the paper itself, and exploring larger formats. “One day, I realized that I’ve got dozens of these 8-foot banners lying around,” Alexander said. “I had to ask myself, ‘What the hell am

  • We’re all furries at heart (even the bald guys)

    Jan 31, 14 • ndemarino • 5enses, Alan Dean Foster's Perceivings16 CommentsRead More »

    By Alan Dean Foster Some of us wear fur. Thanks to changing mores (as opposed to charging more, which has always influenced who wears fur), even more of us wear fake fur. Then there’s Stalking Cat. Stalking Cat’s real name was Dennis Avner. I met Dennis a couple of times at “furry” conventions. Dennis held the world record for “most permanent transformations to look like an animal.” Specifically, a tiger. Fourteen surgical procedures plus makeup gave him prominent canines, bulging cheeks, broad stripes, flattened nostrils, and much more. While he tended to alternately amaze and freak out non-furries, representatives of primitive societies would have understood immediately what he was all about. Namely, trying to partake of animal, non-human characteristics that we admire and can ourselves aspire to possess only in our imagination. That’s why we dress up as animals for Halloween and office parties and costume balls. Dennis died a little over a year ago. There was a melancholy about him that only manifested itself in quiet, private conversation. He was honestly sorry he wasn’t born a tiger. While he was not alone in wishing this (as others might prefer to be an eagle, or a lion, or a gazelle), he went further than nearly anyone I know in striving to meet his goal. But no amount of plastic surgery could transform the human inside him. Why do we do

  • Odd one out: The science of exceptions

    Jan 31, 14 • ndemarino • 5enses, Guide22 CommentsRead More »

    February is a month of exceptions. All months have at least one full moon … except certain Februaries. All months begin and end on different days of the week … except certain Februaries. And all months straddle five seven-day weeks … except certain Februaries. These anomalies are easy to explain, but they still appear in violation of the rules responsible for establishing them — namely, those of the Gregorian calendar. So too in life, sombunall seemingly bizarre phenomena are actually extrapolations of the conditions under which they were established. In other cases, unexplainable occurrences are often indications that you’re using the wrong models to assess them. That’s how exceptions drive exploration and innovation. Want to make sense of life’s little Februaries? Science has you covered. The information in this guide was gleefully garnered from scientific studies and data. It reflects generalizations, and, in some cases, generalizations about generalizations. Take exception to that? You can track down the original research using the information here. You experience the world through sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. Why not single out your five senses to explore exceptions?     Sight Although it’s been proven that women are better at discriminating among colors than men, both sexes see the same world through the same colored lenses. That’s because we’ve all got similar sets of cones —  photoreceptors in the back of our eyes —

  • News From the Wilds: February

    Jan 31, 14 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the WildsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris Most years, February in the Central Highlands of Arizona is still a quiet time when mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, and plants remain quiescent, waiting for the combined cues of increased day length and higher temperatures to end their winter diapause and begin searching for mates and food. But in all years, the first glimmerings of Spring’s vivacity begin this month in the deserts and the chaparral of our region. Over the next several months, awakenings in the lowlands reach a deafening roar, flowing up the slopes and into the highest mountains, carpeting the whole of the Central Highlands with flowers, warblers, and butterflies. But for now, the uplands remain relatively quiet, leaving the naturalist to search for hints of spring. Bird migrations begin to pick up steam now as overwintering species from the far north, such as Northern Goshawk and Townsend’s Solitaire, begin the months-long journey that ultimately ends in their breeding grounds as far north as the Arctic Circle. Other species migrate through our region to points nearer to the north, and the last of the migrants include the neotropical migrant warblers who have spent the winter in the rainforests and dry forests of Central America, and will breed and nest here. The overwintering waterfowl on Willow and Watson lakes, as well as the many smaller bodies of water, begin trickling out of our region over

  • Sketchbook

    Jan 31, 14 • ndemarino • 4rt Page, 5enses1 CommentRead More »


  • (e)Motions: Dance class seeks seniors

    Jan 31, 14 • ndemarino • 5enses, Outside the Frame16 CommentsRead More »

    By Sadira DeMarino Do you see certain groups of people working together successfully more often than others? What do they have in common? Mutual respect and understanding. Well, thanks to a dance course taught by Delisa Myles and Breanna Rogers, you’ll be able to see two seemingly unlikely community groups come together this spring. The “Choreography in the Community” class has been taught six times through Prescott College, the first being in 2000. This is the second time that Myles and Rogers are collaborating on the class. If you’ve been following the local dance scene, you may’ve seen these two dance together before. They’ve been choreographing and performing in pieces for five years together in and around Prescott. This upcoming class and performance combines men and women 60 years or older who register through Prescott College, where Myles teaches, and high school-age youth from Spring Ridge Academy — a therapeutic boarding school where Rogers works as a dance and yoga teacher.   Worlds apart, together Recently, I was lucky enough to sit down with Myles and Rogers and talk with them about the “Choreography in Community” project. I asked them why they come back to this project again and again. It’s the “intergenerational qualities of this project,” Myles said. “It is rare to find these two groups working together and they are usually interacting with their own age groups.” They

  • Imagining aliens

    By Gene Twaronite I think one of my neighbors is an alien. He works nights, though, so I’ve never actually seen him. He drives an old beat-up Volkswagen bug with dark tinted windows, which is exactly what an alien would drive to avoid detection. According to local gossip, he hates football and never watches TV. Some say he doesn’t eat meat. I realize this is circumstantial, and he could be just another weirdo. But then how do I explain what I saw through his window? Now mind you, I’m not a peeping Tom. I was just walking past his house one night and noticed the shade was up in a back room from which light blazed into the neighborhood as if daring me to look inside. So I did.  The room was filled with table-high beds of soil over which hung rows of grow lamps suspended from the ceiling. Poking out of the soil were weird-looking plants that looked like a cross between an artichoke and a pitcher plant. Attached to each of them was a plastic tube running up to a bottle filled with red liquid. It was like they were being fed intravenously with … . Well, if that isn’t proof I don’t know what is. Of course, there’s also a teensy possibility that I might have imagined this. The night before, I had watched one of my

  • Release the hounds

    Jan 31, 14 • ndemarino • 5enses, FeatureNo CommentsRead More »

    By Dale O’Dell A couple of months ago I made a big mistake: I posted a comment on someone’s political Facebook post. Although my comment was factually correct, it led to hateful and venomous comments by trolls who insulted my parentage, demanded I leave the country, and even called for my death. It got so bad the person who’d originally made the post removed it and sent me a personal apology. We both agreed that any more social media postings by either of us would be limited to pictures of kittens and puppies. Although it blew over without any physical violence, it really shook me up. I was still thinking about it the next day when I was out running errands in my car. While sitting at a stoplight I noticed a bumper sticker on the car in front of me. It read, “Lord, help me to be the person my dog thinks I am.” Ha! I’ve seen that one before and it’s a good goal for all of us. Since humans have proven themselves to be absolute failures as leaders and have thoroughly and completely screwed up government, perhaps it’s time to hand it over to dogs? How much worse could it be? Liberalism would mean extra treats. Conservatism would be conservation of energy while napping in the sun. Healthcare would mean that everybody gets to keep their veterinarian

  • Bought the pharm

    Jan 31, 14 • ndemarino • 5enses, FeatureNo CommentsRead More »

    By James Dungeon [Editor’s note: What follows are excerpts from a conversation between the reporter and Scott Mies and Al Lodwick, authors of “Murder or Pestle?”] DUNGEON: How do you pitch your book to potential readers? LODWICK: It’s mystery with a pharmacist that’s the hero. How often do you see that? I also push that one of the main characters is Vietnamese. MIES: Prescott, Prescott, Prescott. That’s what I keep hyping. I also tell people it’s a fun read, but it’s not a beach read; it’s a rainy day read. DUNGEON: Where did the idea for the story come from? LODWICK: I’ve had the idea for the story for about 10 years and never did anything with it. One night, we were watching a meaningless football game and Scott said, “This is boring. Why don’t you tell me a story.” I told him the idea and he said we ought to write it up. We didn’t really know each other then; our wives were friends and we were hanging out in his man cave. I wanted to write a story but could never put it together into a book. He wanted to put together a book but he needed a story. MIES: As far as the logistics and trials and tribulations go, we got along and respected each other’s talents. Because Al was a pharmacist, a lot of what he

  • A recipe for seduction

    Jan 31, 14 • ndemarino • 5enses, Brain Food15 CommentsRead More »

    By Jimmy Polinori — The Culinary Composer Lovers who want to get into the mood for Valentine’s Day know that aphrodisiacs can help spice things up after dinner. An aphrodisiac, as we use the term today, is something that inspires lust. Aphrodisiac recipes have been cooked up throughout the world for millennia. In Europe, up to the 18th century, many recipes were based on the theories of the Roman physician Galen, who wrote that foods worked as aphrodisiacs if they were “warm and moist.” Galen’s theories were not the only basis for concocting aphrodisiacs. Mandrake root was eaten as an aphrodisiac and as a cure for female infertility because the forked root was supposed to resemble a woman’s thighs. This was based on an arcane philosophy called the “doctrine of signatures.” Oysters may have come to be known as an aphrodisiac only by their resemblance to female genitals. Few old medical texts listed oysters as an aphrodisiac, although literary allusions to that use are plentiful. And though it is true that physicians and scientists have expressed their theories on passion igniting cuisine throughout history, the heaviest influence comes from Greek mythology. Aphrodite, from whose name, of course, “aphrodisiac” is derived, was thought to have held sparrows sacred. The ancient Greeks thought sparrows were especially lustful, so they would consume the brains as an aphrodisiac. Thankfully, more palatable aphrodisiacs have been

Celebrating art and science in Greater Prescott.

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