Archive for June, 2015

  • Brushwork: Robin Lieske (reluctantly, triumphantly) embraces a new medium

    Jun 5, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Portfolio3,370 CommentsRead More »

    By James Dungeon She’d put it off for nearly 55 years. But,after resettling in Prescott around 2006, printmaker Robin Lieske finally picked up a paintbrush. “It was time to do painting,” Lieske said. “I’d put it off long enough.” Her introduction to the medium wasn’t exactly encouraging, though. “It felt like somebody had amputated my arm from the elbow down and just stuck a stick in it,” she said. Over the decades, the physicality of printmaking had taken its toll on her, but Lieske wasn’t ready to hang up the proverbial palette. Painting was supposed to herald her artistic rebirth. Instead, the lodestone had proven to be millstone. “Truthfully?” Lieske said. “I hated painting.”   Life & art The middle child of five, Lieske grew up in Minneapolis mesmerized by the works of Goya, Michelangelo, and Velázquez in her parents’ Met Museum of Art books. She started drawing as a child, but decided to pursue the sciences rather than the liberal arts when she enrolled in Prescott College in 1971. “I didn’t last long, though,” Lieske said. “All I wanted to do was draw.” While she was there, she was inspired by Western photographer Jay Dusard, whom she cited as her first graphic arts teacher. Lieske dropped out but stayed in the area for about seven years. During this period, she met her now husband-of-40-some years, Bill, started a family,

  • Formless factor: Redesigning the design of design

    Jun 5, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Alan Dean Foster's Perceivings4,105 CommentsRead More »

    By Alan Dean Foster Here’s the problem with the design of consumer products these days: They’re not designed by consumers. They’re conceived by engineers and professional “designers.” I doubt the word “utility” ever enters into the process. Take vacuum cleaners. Allow me, for a moment, to be slightly chauvinistic. Want to bet how many vacuum cleaners are designed by women? What, no takers? The engineers who design vacuum cleaners are obsessed with two things: suction power and how their device will stack up at the next international industrial design awards. How many of the builders and sellers do you think have actually tried to utilize their devices to clean up, say, cat litter? Those wonderful rotating brushes they seem so fond of and can’t seem to kick? Spit cat litter all over the room. Try vacuuming the stuff up and you find yourself making tiny field goals all over the house. In contrast, someone who actually has to use the dang thing in real life wants the following. As much silence as possible. A cord that will reach all the way across an average living room or den (cordless upright vacs don’t count because they’re not even powerful enough to kick those kitty litter field goals). Something without 23 filters that don’t have to be fine enough to snag Ebola: just household dust. Enough external padding so that you can

  • News From the Wilds: June 2015

    Jun 5, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the Wilds2,243 CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris June, in most years, can be a pretty tough time in the Central Highlands. It is reliably the driest month, with nearly two out of five years receiving no precipitation at all, and most others receiving only the most minute amounts. If there is any rain, it comes at the end of the month with the first of the monsoonal storms. In fact, the drought of June is critical in bringing the rains of July, as the hot, dry air in the Sonoran Desert and the Interior West rises and draws the moist, humid air from the Sea of Cortez to our region. This regional climatic pattern is observable locally in the movement and development of different cloud species. June mornings tend to dawn clear and bright, but especially toward the end of the month, cumulus clouds appear and build in the hot afternoons. These clouds may start as relatively small Cumulus humulis, wider than they are tall, and uniformly white, and then turn to Cumulus mediocris, as tall as they are wide, and with gray bases, and eventually to towering, 30,000-foot-tall Cumulus congestus storm clouds. It is only this last species that brings with it the most precious of all resources in the high desert — water. And with those first, massive raindrops the quiescent, drought-stressed landscape begins its strident reawakening. Until that time, however, the

  • Witch hunt: Burns Unit sets sights on horror feature

    Jun 5, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, FeatureNo CommentsRead More »

    By James Dungeon [Editor’s note: The following interview was culled from conversations between the reporter and Andrew Johnson-Schmit, co-director, co-producer, and co-writer of the horror movie Witch Child. The locally shot feature is filming locally this summer and slated for a late 2016 release. Find out more at WitchChildMovie.Com and Facebook.Com/WitchChildMovie.]   What’s your elevator pitch for “Witch Child”? It’s “Poltergeist” on the prairie. It’s about a down-on-his luck archeologist who takes his reluctant family out in the middle of nowhere in Arizona to excavate an unmarked cemetery. He accidentally releases the vengeful ghost of a girl who was executed as a witch 300 years ago and they turn to an unconventional ex-priest to help save them in the ensuing melee.   Where does the story come from? Some of it’s based on reality, actually. This last year, in Italy, they excavated a cemetery and found a new grave they didn’t know was there. When they opened it up, they found a young woman who was buried face down, which apparently is done when they don’t want the person to rise during the resurrection. My wife, Angie, came up with the whole story from there. The three writers — Angie, myself, and Christian H. Smith — all pitched a movie idea to work on. We did “Coyote Radio Theater” for eight years, which was fun. We’ve been writing together for

  • The play’s the thing: Laark Productions stages second ‘Shakespeare in the Pines’

    Jun 5, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Feature22 CommentsRead More »

    By James Dungeon [Editor’s note: The following interview was culled from conversations between the reporter and Karla and Lane Burkitt, founders of Laark Productions, whose upcoming production, “As You Like It,” is 6:30 p.m. Friday & Saturday, June 26 & 27 at the Highlands Center for Natural History, 1375 Walker Road. Tickets are $60. Find out more at LaarkProductions.Org and HighlandsCenter.Org.] [ADDENDUM: The print version of “The play’s the thing: Laark Productions stages second ‘Shakespeare in the Pines,’” had two major omissions. Firstly, the $60 ticket price includes appetizers catered by El Gato Azul, wine, beer, dessert, and coffee. Secondly, the event is a fundraiser for The Highlands Center for Natural History. These details were cut from an earlier version of the piece. Also, a photo caption incorrectly identified Lane Burkitt. 5enses apologizes for the omissions and error.] How did Laark Productions get started? Lane: We’ve both been in productions locally here for more than 20 years or so and worked with a lot of different organizations including the Prescott Fine Arts Association, Blue Rose Theater, Sharlot Hall Museum, and Arizona Classical Theater. It became clear to us at the beginning of last year that this was something we needed to formalize, so we started our own production company. It’s been a long time since anyone’s done Shakespeare here in Prescott. What’s the story behind the company’s name? Karla: Do

  • ‘Stone me’: A meditation on American stoneware

    Jun 5, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Feature15 CommentsRead More »

    By Jacy Lee Have you ever been to a Tupperware party? Well, I haven’t, although I use Tupperware. And Pyrex. And glass jars. And plastic bins of all shapes and sizes. With the exception of the glass, these are fairly modern conveniences. What, you might rightly ask, were the common ways of home and store storage 150 years ago? Well, there were tins, crates, and wooden boxes. And there was stoneware. Stoneware, or earthenware, held several distinct advantages over its metallic and wooden counterparts. Compared to tin, stoneware was easier to produce. Metal had to first be discovered in ore form then mined, thus metalware was often more costly and time consuming. Good, pottery-quality clay for stoneware was often available courtesy of a relatively shallow dig in the ground. Easily molded by hand or on a wheel, clay was decorated then fired. Although firing required high temperatures, it didn’t have to be smelted, that is, refined and separated. Once it’s cooled, the piece is done. In contrast to a wooden crate, stoneware was impermeable to moisture, bugs, and vermin. (Incidentally, I’ve sold many a kitchen cupboard with rodent damage to the back or drawer back. This is considered quaint now, but when a rat chewed through a 1 inch solid plank in the 1880s, it was a travesty.) Stoneware was impervious to rot or corrosion from acids, like vinegar, and

  • Oddly Enough: June 2015

    Jun 5, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly Enough2,671 CommentsRead More »

    By Russell Miller On the same date – December 5, in 1664, 1785, and 1860 – a ship sank in the Menai Strait near North Wales.  In every one of these instances, there was only one survivor. ODDLY ENOUGH … In each case, the single survivor was named Hugh Williams! ***** On April 27, 1865, America’s worst shipping disaster occurred. The Sultana, a Mississippi paddle-steamer, designed to carry 376 passengers, was carrying 2,500. Many of the travelers were former Civil War prisoners of war, heading North to be repatriated. ODDLY ENOUGH … The struggling boilers exploded while pushing the enormous weight, killing most on board while they slept. Well over 1,500 people died, clearly more than perished in the Titanic incident 47 years later. ***** Russell Miller is an illustrator, cartoonist, writer, bagpiper, motorcycle enthusiast, and reference librarian. Currently, he illustrates books for Cody Lundin and Bart King

  • Witch hunt: Burns Unit sets sights on horror feature [archive copy]

    Jun 5, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Feature1 CommentRead More »

    By James Dungeon [Editor’s note: The following interview was culled from conversations between the reporter and Andrew Johnson-Schmit, co-director, co-producer, and co-writer of the horror movie Witch Child. The locally shot feature is filming locally this summer and slated for a late 2016 release. Find out more at WitchChildMovie.Com and Facebook.Com/WitchChildMovie.]   What’s your elevator pitch for “Witch Child”? It’s “Poltergeist” on the prairie. It’s about a down-on-his luck archeologist who takes his reluctant family out in the middle of nowhere in Arizona to excavate an unmarked cemetery. He accidentally releases the vengeful ghost of a girl who was executed as a witch 300 years ago and they turn to an unconventional ex-priest to help save them in the ensuing melee.   Where does the story come from? Some of it’s based on reality, actually. This last year, in Italy, they excavated a cemetery and found a new grave they didn’t know was there. When they opened it up, they found a young woman who was buried face down, which apparently is done when they don’t want the person to rise during the resurrection. My wife, Angie, came up with the whole story from there. The three writers — Angie, myself, and Christian H. Smith — all pitched a movie idea to work on. We did “Coyote Radio Theater” for eight years, which was fun. We’ve been writing together for

  • Pelican

    By Johanna Shipley During spring and fall migration, lucky birders at a Prescott Lake may witness a remarkable sight. Huge white birds with black wingtips wheel and soar on rising thermals, seeming to disappear and reappear as they turn in the sunlight. This is one of North America’s largest birds, the American White Pelican. With a wingspan of up to 9.5 feet, and weighing almost 20 pounds, a White Pelican is larger than a Bald Eagle. Groups of pelicans spend the winter on the southern coasts, then pass through Arizona on their way to island breeding colonies on northern rivers and lakes. White Pelicans don’t build elaborate nests; they just scrape up rocks and vegetation into a shallow cup. They lay two eggs, but only one chick survives. Amazingly, the embryos squawk inside the egg if they get too hot or cold. It takes about 150 pounds of fish to raise a pelican chick. Adults eat three pounds of fish a day, generally minnows. A pelican’s lower jaw is flexible and has a large soft bill pouch (a gular pouch) attached. When the bill is pushed through the water the jaw spreads out and the pouch expands much like a balloon, allowing the bird to scoop up large quantities of water and fish. Then the head is raised, the bill is closed and the water is allowed to drain out,

  • Thistle

    Jun 5, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Plant of the Month3,697 CommentsRead More »

    By Sue Smith Thistles. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear that word? Probably weed or nasty invasive plant. While many species of thistles fit these ideas, it’s important to know there are three beautiful common, native species in the Prescott area: New Mexico Thistle (Cirsium neomexicanum), Arizona Thistle (Cirsium arizonicum) and Wheeler’s Thistle (Cirsium wheeleri). What looks like a thistle flower is actually a collection of many small flowers. Consider the artichoke, which is actually a type of thistle. The “leaves” you eat are actually the bracts that enclose many young flowers that you don’t eat, i.e. the choke. If you let an artichoke flower mature and bloom in your garden, you’ll discover a beautiful flower head with many small flowers. In a thistle, each of these small tubular flowers produce pollen and seeds. Thistles are in the Aster family, a very important group of flowers that provide nectar and pollen for native bees, beetles, and other pollinators. They are also plants that bees nest beneath or within or harvest parts from to construct nests. Thistles meet many needs for bees: They’re open during the day time; they’re brightly colored; they provide good landing pads; and a long tongue isn’t necessary to get their nectar. New Mexico and Arizona thistles are biennials that produce a basal rosette of leaves the first year and a flower

Celebrating art and science in Greater Prescott.

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