Archive for January, 2015

  • If you build it …: Milagro Arts Center poised to open doors, minds

    Jan 2, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Portfolio3,393 CommentsRead More »

    By Robert Blood “Some people have asked if it’s a studio space rental,” said Ty Fitzmorris in a recently renovated building on Marina Street. “It’s not, not really.” Fitzmorris — the man behind The Raven, Peregrine Book Co., and, most recently, Gray Dog Guitars — is running a tad late after finishing up some other business. He’s got a litany of other things to attend to, but is surprisingly eager to stand still and discuss Big Ideas for an hour on a Saturday evening in December. “A few other people have asked if it’s a gallery space,” he continued. “Maybe we’ll have one down the line, in a couple of years, but that’s not its primary purpose, either.” Fitzmorris is trying his hand at something new: a nonprofit community arts and environmental space called the Milagro Arts Center. Despite a year-and-a-half-old website with tons of pictures and explanations, it’s been hard for some people to wrap their heads around what it actually entails. There are plenty of stories about what the space is and how it came to be, but it’s ultimately the stories of what’s created there that will matter. Ironically, if all goes well, Milagro’s cofounder will be content to simply fire up some ceramics of his own. Unto that end, here’s the what, who, where, when, why, and how behind the Milagro Arts Center.   What The

  • Whatever you do, don’t Bach down

    Jan 2, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Alan Dean Foster's Perceivings4,457 CommentsRead More »

    By Alan Dean Foster As a lover of many kinds of music, from gamelan to guitar, from taiko to kazoo, the artificial gulf that continues to separate “popular” music from classical music has always bothered me. And by classical, I don’t mean The Beatles or Led Zeppelin. What’s ironic is that pop musicians have always embraced classical music, and a surprising number of today’s pop composers have had some classical training. On the other hand, the classical music establishment prefers to dwell in a terrible funk (we’ll talk about funk another time). It desperately craves the adoration, attention, and income that pop produces while simultaneously decrying most popular music as a mere shadow of what “real” music ought to be. None of which stops “serious” orchestras and serious musicians from making a good part of their income playing in Pops concerts every year. For many serious classical musicians, Pops series are a bit like the drunken uncle no one in the family really wants to discuss. He’s part of the family, and he paid for that vacation in the Bahamas last year, so we have to tolerate him. But we gossip about him behind his back and secretly wish he’d just go off on a permanent bender while leaving us the money. This particular conundrum is less acidic than it used to be, though. Perhaps because so many orchestras drift

  • News From the Wilds: January 2015

    Jan 2, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the Wilds3,870 CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris January in the Central Highlands is when the long quiet of winter reaches its coldest and snowiest, as storms bluster and howl, pushing plants and animals to the limits of their strength. The frigid days, however, are often interspersed with sunny, cold days that skitter with bursts of bird and mammal activity. Every plant and animal has a set of strategies for making it through this time of scant resources and dangerous temperatures. Pregnant female Black Bears hibernate in underground dens. Bobcats, Coyotes, and deer grow thicker coats and subtly re-route blood flow away from their skin and extremities. Ground squirrels, chipmunks, and Beavers settle into the well-stocked dens that they’ve been provisioning for months. Insects and herbaceous plants have evolved so that only their eggs and seeds overwinter, while trees decrease photosynthesis either by dropping leaves or by insulating them with thicker coatings and alter their chemistry by increasing lipid content and membrane permeability to decrease risk of frost damage. In many cases these adaptations, both physiological and behavioral, are remarkably complex. But the glimmers of the coming spring continue as well. Some animals are “planting their seeds” for the coming year, including the Black Bears and River Otters, both of whom are giving birth. Many of our wind-pollinated trees are in flower, during this time when the broad leaves of deciduous trees have been dropped,

  • Living in Agaveland

    Jan 2, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly Enough3,956 CommentsRead More »

    By Gene Twaronite I very much doubt if Carl Linnaeus ever planted an agave in his life. He was a Swedish taxonomist who in 1753 chose the name for this genus from a Greek word meaning admirable or noble. If he had planted one, the Greek word for pain or some choice obscenity would have come to mind instead. It is hard to plant an agave without getting jabbed once or twice by a terminal spine. This is the rigid, ridiculously sharp spine found at the leaf tips of most agaves. On some species, such as Agave salmiana, it is a long and gracefully recurved, eye-gouging thing of beauty. Some species also have a steroid compound on the surface of the spine that enhances the stabbing pain. Agaves are like that. The late Howard Scott Gentry, taxonomic wizard of this genus, referred to the general range where agaves can be found as Agaveland, as if it were some kind of mythical kingdom. Armed with sharp teeth, the spiraling rosettes do seem to occupy their rocky posts like guardians of a distant realm. There are 200-250 species of agaves occupying the drier sites of virtually every kind of habitat, from sea level to over 8,000 feet, throughout much of the arid Western U.S., Mexico, and Central America, as well as the West Indies. The teeth and spines are supposedly there to

  • Oddly Enough: January 2015

    Jan 2, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly Enough20 CommentsRead More »

    By Russell Miller Garfish can reach lengths of 10 feet and weigh more than 300 pounds. They feed on nearly any animal they can catch, including waterfowl. So tough are their scales that early people used them for arrowheads and spear tips. Typically found in freshwater, this unique animal can thrive in marine waters as well. The gar’s fertilized eggs are poisonous to humans, birds, and other animals. Young garfish are hatched with suction cups on their noses that enable them to attach themselves to plants while they use up their generous yolk sac. ODDLY ENOUGH … Though this fish has gills, it can supplement its oxygen supply by going to the water’s surface and filling its swim bladder with air. The bladder then acts as a lung to help this ancient fish survive in oxygen depleted pools. ***** The Piddock is a type of shelled animal that mechanically bores into solid rock by moving its hinged shells back and forth like a kind of drill. Once it has burrowed into the stone it can take its food particles from the sea during high tide. ODDLY ENOUGH … The Piddock often destroys the strength of the boulders or cliffs that it inhabits. This causes them to collapse, destroying their own homes. ***** Russell Miller is an illustrator, cartoonist, writer, bagpiper, motorcycle enthusiast, and reference librarian. Currently, he illustrates books for

  • Keep your nose, devices clean: A few new habits could keep your tech (& other loved ones) clean

    By Paolo Chlebecek So, now that you’ve got all those shiny new gadgets, how do you keep them clean and protect them? Let’s discuss. With all of the literal viruses and bacteria spreading these days, it pays to keep things as clean as reasonably possible. According to multiples studies, remote controls, keyboards, and cell phones are among the dirtiest things we can touch. In fact, those items are dirtier than your toilet seat. The reason is that phones are generally warm and, like TV remotes, they have many crevices for bacteria to hide in. A recent study in the United Kingdom even found that some cell phones can be Staphlyococcus (aka Staph) bacteria breeding grounds, which can lead to everything from skin infections all the way to meningitis. Knowing this, can you mitigate or at least lessen germ effects? Yes — in several ways, in fact.   Wash your hands often. Yep, we have heard this often, but it’s the simplest way to keep yourself and the devices you touch clean. As long as you are good about washing with hot water and soap for at least 30 seconds.   Use antibacterial wipes. As long as you’re careful and avoid sensitive areas such as buttons, most varieties of antibacterial wipes will get your devices clean. Just make sure the wipes aren’t especially moist. And, again, avoid flooding the crevices around

  • There’s no time like the present: … except for maybe 1915

    Jan 2, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Feature18 CommentsRead More »

    By Markoff Chaney By now, you’re probably sick of holidays and those inevitable (and inevitably redundant and/or boring) “Year in Review” and “Top Stories of the Year” articles. Don’t pretend you’ve kept up with the papers. You’ve probably started the New Year with a stack of old news that would make the Collyer brothers balk. Instead of recapping recent events, let’s look toward the future … by looking back a century. Here’s a highly partial, by-no-means complete list of famous, infamous, or otherwise noteworthy 100-year anniversaries to ponder in 2015. In January, 1915 … • Jan. 12: The House of Representatives rejected a proposal to give women the right to vote. • Jan. 19: Georges Claude got the patent for the device that makes neon advertisements possible. • Jan. 25: Alexander Graham Bell called his former assistant Thomas A. Watson on the first coast-to-coast long distance call. • Jan. 26: Congress established Rocky Mountain National Park. In February, 1915 … • Feb. 27: Typhoid Mary infected 25 people while working as a cook at New York’s Sloane Hospital for Women. She was quarantined for life on March 27. In March, 1915 … • This month: A plague of locusts broke out in Palestine that lasts through October. • March 3: The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, the predecessor of NASA, was founded. • March 19: Pluto was photographed for the

  • How much is that doggie in the window?

    Jan 2, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, FeatureNo CommentsRead More »

    By Jacy Lee At some point in every writer’s life, they will pen something that is disliked or disagreed with by someone. This article will probably raise the ire of about half of the people who read my articles (that’s 11 new enemies for me). This one pertains to the role of dogs in the antique world. Not to say that cats, horses, birds or Himalayan Snow Leopards are not represented in antiques culture, but the prolificacy of dogs is unquestionable. Besides, what do you get when spell  “cat” backwards? For the sake of reaching the general public, this article will focus on the dog’s appearance in the Western world. Most people are probably not interested in a 3,500-year-old Babylonian statue with the head of a dog and the body of eroded sandstone. Besides, there are many iconic depictions of Canis Familiaris in the last two centuries in America. Certainly one of the most widely recognized dogs in America was Nipper. Nipper and Little Nipper were the trademarks of RCA – Victor. In the early 20th century, record players, or victrolas, prided themselves on their amazing ability to recreate the human voice. The depiction of Nipper, a bull terrier, sitting patiently near a victrola, was meant to convey the image of him being fooled into listening to what he believed was his master’s voice. One hundred years prior to Nipper,

  • Nun, the wiser

    By Helen Stephenson “Riveting, original and breathtakingly accomplished on every level, “Ida” would be a masterpiece in any era, in any country.” — Godfrey Cheshire, RogerEbert.Com “Ida” is Poland’s entry into this year’s Oscar race for Best Foreign Film. The movie is shaping up to be a favorite, featured on many short lists from critics across the country. The Prescott Film Festival features the film at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17 at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for students. The film, which takes place in 1960s Poland, is about a young novitiate nun who, on the verge of taking her vows, discovers a dark family secret dating from the terrible years of the Nazi occupation. An orphan brought up in a convent, she is preparing to become a nun. But, before she takes her vows, the Mother Superior insists she first visit her sole living relative. Naïve, innocent Anna soon finds herself in the presence of her Aunt Wanda, a worldly and cynical Communist Party insider, who shocks her with the declaration that her real name is Ida and her Jewish parents were murdered during the Nazi occupation. Kimberly Gadett writes of the film: “‘Ida’ should be required viewing for all budding filmmakers. Rather than relying on any preceding work that had been driven by the written word, director Pawel Pawlikowski and

  • Have cards, will travel: Street magician Josh Balt works his magic on Prescott

    Jan 2, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Feature18 CommentsRead More »

    By James Dungeon [Editor’s note: The following interview was culled from conversations between the reporter and Josh Balt, a traveling street magician.] How did you get started performing magic? My older brother did a magic trick for me. He had this book and I learned from that. It was exciting. I dropped out of high school and … it’s a long story, but I started looking at what came afterword, and got fed up with the whole system. So, I went on tour with a magician whose stage name is Reza. I ran spotlight for him. He gave me the technique I needed. Apprenticing with a magician is pretty common. I learned under him, and he got me a bunch of corporate events. That’s a big deal when you’re a younger magician. So, I was living out in the Black Hills, rock climbing all the time, and started doing magic on the street. Then I met this girl and we traveled through South America — from Mexico all the way through Panama, — for three months. I was, maybe 20. I did magic everywhere, and not for money, but because I wanted to give back to the community. If we stayed in a place for a length of time, I might put up posters and do a paid show the last day we were there, but otherwise I just did

Celebrating art and science in Greater Prescott.

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