Archive for October, 2015

  • Chasing the sublime: Russell Johnson learns, relearns, and re-relearns to paint, see

    Oct 2, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Portfolio3,813 CommentsRead More »

    By James Dungeon The route looked safe enough, but it almost killed him. Russell Johnson was hiking the Grand Canyon with a friend in 2001 when he detoured under an overhang. “I took a step and there was this sheer drop off. Rocks went tumbling into the water,” Johnson said. “It was scary. There was nothing beautiful about it in that moment.” But there was a singularity that arrested his attention. He didn’t know it then, but that was something he needed to evoke in his landscape paintings. That moment has since become a touchstone. “It’s close to what’s called ‘the sublime,’” Johnson said. “I’m trying to transport you to an experience or a place in my paintings. Often, those places are beautiful, too, but I’m trying to balance that place and that moment.” Johnson’s paintings are a dynamic, refreshing beacon in an otherwise crowded field of Western landscapes. Refining that style, however, has a been a journey that’s been neither singular nor entirely linear. “For a long time, I wasn’t sure what I was trying to articulate with my artwork,” Johnson said. “I needed some purpose and contextual background for what I was doing. … I needed some help.”   Outside pursuits Growing up in Prescott, a middle child among 10, Johnson had two favorite places — his room and the great outdoors. “I was able to get lost

  • Charge!: Additional battery-related commentary not ‘not included’

    Oct 2, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Alan Dean Foster's Perceivings3,015 CommentsRead More »

    By Alan Dean Foster We love our electronic devices. We’re a gadget-obsessed society. Fact is, many of us don’t know how to survive without them. Don’t believe it? Try taking a cell phone away from a teenage girl. Easier to draw blood. Phones, tablets, razors, info backups for your TV, laptops, cordless leaf blowers, yard trimmers, alarm clocks, watches, emergency camping gear, even full-sized lawnmowers: just go through your house or apartment and count the number of portable electronic gadgets. A thousand years ago, people would have thought that such devices were powered by magic. That’s why it’s so easy to forget about or overlook their simultaneously most basic and most important component — their batteries. Want to make a couple of billion dollars? Invent a better battery. Leave to others the further development of the electric car, the electric bus, the electric ship (yes, the Navy has them), the newest smartphone or laptop or music player. Focus your creative efforts on the humble battery. Because every technological leap forward that I’ve alluded to plus thousands more rely on batteries in order to function as something other than elaborate paperweights. Even solar and wind power, intended to help free us from our long-term dependency on fossil fuels, ultimately rely for their efficacy on batteries. The actual impetus for this month’s column is an electric airplane. Not the fragile gossamer-winged Solar

  • Oddly Enough: October 2015

    Oct 2, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly Enough3,581 CommentsRead More »

    By Russell Miller The modern nautilus is about 1 foot long, but it had ancestors whose shells measured 15 feet across. Some of these animals have as many as 90 arms, and although they lack the suckers of some cephalopod tentacles, they do have ridges that adhere to prey. This odd creature migrates daily for food, ascending at night and descending in the early morning, traveling as much as 2,000 feet. An opportunistic feeder, the nautilus hunts by smell, finding carrion, small animals, or roe by its scent. ODDLY ENOUGH … Though rare, nautiluses have been known to secrete pearls. ***** A San Quentin inmate named William Kogut was sentenced to hang for killing a woman with a pocket knife.  He swore to the judge that he would never be executed. True to his word, he concocted a bomb out of one of the metal legs of his cell bed, and laid it on the heater in his room. Placing his head on the pipe bomb, he waited until it exploded and quite literally blew his head off. ODDLY ENOUGH … The explosive material Kogut used for the bomb came from some playing cards he was allowed to have in his cell. The explosive ingredients — nitrate and cellulose — were contained in the red ink on the cards in his deck. He carefully tore them and soaked them in

  • News From the Wilds: October 2015

    Oct 2, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the Wilds3,890 CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris October in the Mogollon Highlands is one of the great turning points of the year — the warmth and activity of summer drops into the lower deserts and valleys as the cold of the coming winter (borne by heavy, cold air) slithers down the creek beds from the uplands. The evening air carries a sliver of ice, and brings smells of woodsmoke and high mountains, while the days are filled with dried grasses and the last of the year’s butterflies, native bees and flowers. The monsoon showers have finally passed, leaving a wave of activity in their wake — insects laying eggs, plants setting seed, birds migrating, and mammals preparing winter stores and putting on fat for the coming time of scarcity. The second dry season of the year typically begins in October as the heat-driven summer monsoon pattern, which draws moist air masses north from the Gulf of California, shifts to the storm-driven winter pattern based in the Pacific Ocean, where massive storm-systems catapult smaller moist low-pressure troughs across our region, bringing snow and rain. And it is this winter pattern that could therefore be strongly influenced by the developing El Niño weather pattern in the Pacific Ocean, which formed over the summer. When the equatorial belt of the Pacific, which receives over 50 percent of the Earth’s incoming equatorial solar radiation, increases in temperature by

  • Thank you for smoking: From paper to walnut, from Bakelite to sterling silver, tobacco makes its mark on the antique world

    Oct 2, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Feature3,091 CommentsRead More »

    By Jacy Lee Billions of people use tobacco products worldwide. Billions. Millions of those people are in the U.S.A. Millions. A dozen or so people read my articles. A dozen. Or so. I attribute this numerical trend to the fact that reading my articles is far worse for you than using tobacco products. Although an unfathomable number of cigarettes are sold each year in this country, we’re going to ignore that part of the tobacco industry and, instead, focus on the accessory industries that it creates. Our first subject — which also generates billions of dollars a year in this country — is advertising. Early American colonists were not bombarded by big tobacco’s advertising. Native Americans said it was cool, so we accepted it. With the advent of the 20th century, tobacco companies saw the potential for huge profits, and the advertising onslaught began. Colorful magazine ads touted the virtues of particular brands. In the 1920s to the ’40s, Chesterfield claimed they were the preference of tobacco auctioneers. The Kool penguins were playing golf and offering coupons redeemable for merchandise with each pack purchased. Camels were good for the nerves of both cowboys and housewives. Even other products often have cigarette smokers placed in them. Framed vintage cigarette ads have become collectible. Cigarette cases were a popular item in the early to mid-2oth century. It was both convenient and chic

  • Family, friends, & allies: Prescott celebrates National Coming Out Day

    Oct 2, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Feature2,933 CommentsRead More »

    By Robert Blood [Editor’s note: The following interview was culled from conversations between the reporter and Rene Broussard, PFLAG Prescott chapter president, and John Duncan, local event organizer, about National Coming Out Day. The free Prescott celebration of National Coming Out Day is 5-9 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 10 (the actual holiday falls on a Sunday) at Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 882 Sunset Ave., Prescott.] What can you tell us about this year’s National Coming Out Day celebration? Broussard: Well, it’s 5-9 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 10 at the Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation. This is our second year doing it and we’re using the whole space there. The night has a carnival theme. There’ll also be an LGBTQ — Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer — timeline with panels and a multimedia component. PFLAG is hosting the event itself, which means we’re lending our personnel and organization. We’re an organization that’s connected to a national group. Duncan: The 12 timeline panels go through key moments in history and the 13th panel is everything current. That one will have video and snapshots from local and national news. There’ll be tickets for the carnival events and we’ll be selling food, too. Why host a celebration like this? Broussard: Especially in Prescott, we wanted to do something off the beaten path that’s not the same thing as a pride celebration. We felt this community

  • Large print: It’s time to enter a new dimension

    By Paolo Chlebecek “So, ya wanna buy a 3D Printer? I got a great deal on a used one, only printed a few hundred objects.” You might hear that with some frequency in the coming years. As 3D printer tech keeps improving, the old tech becomes the deal of the day. So, ya interested? Like most popular contemporary technology, 3D printing (or rapid prototyping (or additive manufacturing)) has been around in some form since the 1980s. Because of costs, mass productions, and availability, though, the printers haven’t hit every household just yet. If you really want one, you can pick one up for just under $400. Yes, a mono-color 3D printer can be yours for only … well let’s not get too pushy just yet. Why would you want one anyway? Isn’t that what they’re using on the International Space Station? Well, yes. Yes it is. When you think of it, that’s a perfect place for it. Out in space and no way to get what you need? Just print it. Realistically though, most terrestrial printers can only print a variety of plastics. Still, I have seen some impressive metal printers in person that use special metal dust and a welding type of print head to print polished and usable metal gears and the like. Thanks, but I live on earth. OK, well back to our planet and our needs

  • Making waves: (A new) Tsunami on the Square returns to Prescott

    Oct 2, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Feature2,972 CommentsRead More »

    By Robert Blood [Editor’s note: The following interview was culled from conversations between the reporter and Tom Von Deck, the executive director of the revamped Tsunami on the Square performing arts and culture festival. The new event is noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, at the Yavapai County Courthouse Square. Find out more at TsunamiOnTheSquare.Com.] It’s been two years since the last Tsunami on the Square. Why bring back the festival now? The old organization dissolved in early 2014, but a couple of years before that, the director, Andrew Johnson-Schmit said that he was looking for a replacement, someone he could train to be the next director. After two years of looking, he and the board said let’s walk away from it. That’s how it ended. I’d been thinking about it the whole time, but didn’t think I had the time. A coupe of months after it dissolved, I had the intuition to set it up again and figure out a way to make it work. We started with a Kickstarter that failed. We were trying to raise $15,000 and only raised $1,000, so we got nothing. There was a meeting in the middle of the Kickstarter campaign and it had sounded like quite a few people were going to show up, but there were only eight people. Getting people who want to help hasn’t been a problem. Getting

  • Vegetable of the Month: Arugula

    By Kathleen Yetman Arugula, Eruca sativa, is a leafy green in the mustard family (Brassicaceae) that has only become popular in the United States during the past few decades. It’s native to the Mediterranean and has been grown as an edible plant since the Roman times. Arugula has many names around the world including rucola, rucoli, rugula, colewort, roquette, and rocket in countries of British influence. Arugula grows well in dry soil, which makes it a great crop for home gardeners in Yavapai County. If the plant is left to bolt, flower, and then make seed pods in a bed, it’s guaranteed to reseed and come back for seasons to come. Often, if left unchecked, arugula takes over a garden. It grows well in warm, cool, and cold temperatures, but tends to bolt quickly in the height of summer. Because of its adaptability, it can be grown nearly year-round in Yavapai County. The green leaves of arugula are rich in vitamins A, C, and K as well as iron, calcium, and potassium. The Romans thought arugula was an aphrodisiac. While the leaves are most often used in the kitchen, the plant’s flowers, seedpods, and seeds are also edible. Arugula is best eaten raw and commonly used in salads. The leaves range from a mild peppery taste to pungent and spicy. Usually the younger tender leaves have a milder taste. Larger

  • Hyde & seek: Storied film a storied treat

    By Helen Stephenson It’s time for Halloween and that means things that go bump in the night, Mt. Vernon decorated with spooky or fall-themed houses, pumpkin lattes at Starbucks, and a silent film with live accompaniment from the Prescott Film Festival. This year, the festival is screening the 1920 John Barrymore version of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” This version of Robert Louise Stevenson’s 1886 classic tale is considered by many to be the first horror film ever made. It’s also the film that skyrocketed John Barrymore to stardom. Barrymore didn’t want to follow in his family’s footsteps — his father Maurice, mother Georgiana, sister Ethel and brother Lionel were all actors — but eventually he started working on the stage. His sister Ethel got him acting jobs, and occasionally supported him financially as well. He lived a life of, well, old-fashioned debauchery. Kicked out of many schools, many times for drinking. There’s a long-standing rumor that he was kicked out of one school for being caught in line at a brothel. That begs the question: Who else from the school was in the brothel line? He actually wanted to be an artist, and did illustrations for the New York Evening Journal. He was eventually fired for being drunk and turning in a poor quality illustration. He knew that the acting jobs paid more, and his family could get him

Celebrating art and science in Greater Prescott.

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