Page 1

Celebrating art and science in Greater Prescott

Alan Dean Foster tells a hair-raising tale P. 12

Ty Fitzmorris

looks for silver-lined clouds P. 16

Jimmy Polinori seduces the mighty Aphrodite P. 11

Lauren Antrosiglio rocks outdoor fitness P. 7

And much 2 more!

PAPER Annie Alexander harnesses a cellulosic medium P. 13

FEBRUARY 2014 | VOLUME 2, ISSUE 2 | 5ensesMag.Com


5enses In which:

4 5 6 7 10 11 12 13

Sadira DeMarino

discusses youngsters, oldsters, choreography, and community with Delisa Myles and Breanna Rogers.

Ruby Jackson

goes to market, trolls a foodie alley, takes in some dancing, chats up Oscar, and swoons over Americana.

James Dungeon

discusses murder, mystery, and murder mystery manuscripts with Scott Mies and Al Lodwick.

16 18 19 22 24 25 26

Ty Fitzmorris

whoops and wails about the quiet, wintery brilliance of the Central Highlands, come rain or shine.

Dale O’Dell

throws politicians a bone after sinking his canines into them.

Helen Stephenson

offers a chance for romance at holiday film screenings and eyes up Academic golden boys.

Lauren Antrosiglio

Mike Vax

Heather Houk

Paolo Chlebecek

Jimmy Polinori

Gene Twaronite

Alan Dean Foster

Jacques Laliberté

proves that sticks and stones may break your bones but they also make great workout equipment.

discovers it ain’t easy being green when you’re breaking ground in the Central Highlands.

cooks up seven tasteful ways to your lover(s)’s heart all via the stomach.

brandishes his bully pulpit to preach a hair-raising sermon about modern-day wooly bullies.

proves that all work and all play make Mike happy, wealthy, and wise — OK, maybe just happy and wise.

inspects gadgets and tinkers with digital toys at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show.

February 2014 • Volume 2, Issue 2

Copyright © 2014 5enses Inc. unless otherwise noted. Publisher & Editor: Nicholas DeMarino Creative Director: Jimmy Polinori Copy Editor: Susan Smart Read a new 5enses the first Friday of every month. Visit 5ensesMag.Com, Facebook, & Twitter for more. Contact us at 5ensesMag@Gmail.Com & 928-613-2076.

8 20

Plus

Left Brain/Right Brain

Find out what’s going on in Greater Prescott

Odd one out

The science of exceptions

ModRods II

Doodles by Jacques Laliberté IMAGE: Annie Alexander eyes up some paper in progress. Courtesy photo. Read Robert Blood’s story on Page 13.

spaces out and tries to imagine an other-worldly vistor who’s less human than human, naturally.

crosses a line with another line and, drawing on years of artistic experience, finishes some sketches.

Robert Blood

discusses paper, pulp, and Prescott and media, mediums, and molecules with Annie Alexander.

COVER: Handmade paper atop a paper art installation by Annie Alexander. Photos by Annie Alexander and 5enses. Design by Jimmy Polinori.

�ENSESMAG.COM • FEBRUARY ���� • CONTENTS • �


(e)Motions

Outside the Frame

Dance class seeks seniors 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 both found that this mixture of ages and backgrounds tends to bring out the best and new in them. It’s a great lesson in compassion: young and old, and the present self. Coming back t0 this project holds a kind of fascination, they said, a fascination

� • FEATURE • FEBRUARY ���� • �ENSESMAG.COM

A still from “Mothership: Dances of the Fluid Feminine,” a local dance performance in a similar spirit as “Choreography in the Community.” Courtesy photo. to see far-flung people come together and share and learn from each other. Myles talked about what it’s like to see the older generation. They’re inspirational role models who are still creating and participating in art. She believes this helps bridge the gap between age groups and shows younger participants that they can still create while holding on to all the ages they have inside them, allowing life to become a richer experience. The program helps break down the walls and stereotypes about what it is to be older, to be a teenager, and how these two groups relate to each other, Myles and Rogers said. Dance allows them to relate in a vulnerable, human way that yields a new understanding of how to be part of a community. They talked about how dance helps with listening and learning, how it facilitates reciprocal relationships. The Spring Ridge Academy students are part of a therapeutic program that’s “teaching them how to relate to themselves and their families differently,” Rogers said. “This program will help add to the experience of relating outside of their families and will allow them to practice how to use the skills they’re learning in a different community.” It also allows younger participants to take part in a non-family, nonschool group and meet people from the community as equals, she added. A group effort Myles and Rogers went on to describe the mechanics of the class, explaining that it’s a tightly struc-

tural improvisational style. You might think those things do not go together, but they’re quick to explain that they rely on the chemistry of each group — that they have to trust in the creative process of the group. This allows for surprises that aren’t always anticipated; it’s a way of letting a unique dance piece unfold. There’s a director, but, ultimately, the piece comes from the group. Myles and Rogers help shape the project — the group members are the ones who create it, though. Prescott College’s “Choreography in the Community” class runs from the end of February through beginning of May. The culmination of this group’s project is two performances dubbed “A Secret Language: And Other Ways to Listen.” One of these performances is held at Spring Ridge Academy and is closed to the public. But you can catch the other one on Saturday, May 3, at the Prescott College Granite Performing Arts Center. Admission is by donation, and all proceeds go to a local, community nonprofit group. ***** Email Delisa Myles at DMyles@ Prescott.Edu for more information about Choreography in the Community. Sadira DeMarino lives in Prescott, where she’s owned and operated the resale clothing store Snap Snap for 18 years. For the past two years she’s been in business with her mother at 133 N. Cortez St. Contact her at SadiraDas@Yahoo.Com.


Around ...

... the Corner

February favorites By Ruby Jackson

Due to the absence of wintry weather, I’ve found myself out-ofdoors a good deal lately watering thirsty plants and trees, hiking and biking, and generally enjoying balmy above-average weather. But part of this time has been allotted to wondering where the heck winter is and — dare I say it? — craving snow. I’m ready: I’ve got a new all-wheel drive car, snow pants, boots, and sleds all accumulating dust. There are benefits to the lovely weather, though. Instead of building snowmen, I’ve been shopping the first season of the Prescott Community Market’s outdoor Winter Market over at Prescott College. There are quite a few vendors including two of my favorites from the regular farmers market: Whipstone Farms and Burning Daylight Farm. In mid-January, I purchased the most amazing fresh carrot bunches — a welcome alternative to the ones I’d been buying at the grocery that seem straight out of a Dickens’ novel. You’ll also find local honey and lavender along with baked goods, samosas, and homemade pastas. Visit 10 a.m.-2 p.m., every Saturday through April. Whipstone Farms’ produce is also enhancing plates at Soldi Back Alley Bistro (formerly Soldi Food Cart), 111 Grove Ave. The restaurant is still serving up gourmet street food out of their cute-as-a-button kitchen on wheels, but now, in addition to the patio, they offer indoor seating. The grand reopening was Jan. 7, and the interior dining area is stunning. Chandeliers sing old romance, but it’s impeccably decorated and intimate throughout. Chef Aimee sources locally when she can, and the fact that Whipstone was represented made my smile that much bigger while sharing Cuban-roasted pork and Yucatan-spiced chicken mini tacos along with hearty flavorful pinto beans and an Asian noodle bowl. Lunch is served 11:30 a.m. through 2:30 p.m., TuesdayFriday, but when their BYOB license is approved for indoors, they’ll

expand hours to include Friday night small plate service. I can’t wait. When I think of dance and Las Vegas in the same sentence, I usually get a brain flash of Blue Man Group or something equally Strip-centered and choreographed for the masses. But the Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theatre, which is coming to the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, Feb. 12 isn’t that. It’s a company proud of its Las Vegas roots that brings its own brand of glitz, glamor, and showmanship in a production featuring ballet, modern, and jazz dance culminating in a better-thanfine fine art experience. It looks like a breathtaking, beautiful show. Tickets are $14-$28. Who would have ever thought that highbrow culture could be imported from Vegas. The times, they are a-changin’. Folk Sessions is bringing Red Molly to the Prescott Center for the Arts on Saturday, March 1. This trio of sweethearts hails from greater New York and specializes in harmonies served up Americana style with a dash of Dolly (Parton, that is). These ladies are at home in cowboy boots, and could charm a snake right out of its skin with their soothing a cappella ministrations. Red Molly graced the top 40 on the Americana Music Association’s Chart for 20 weeks with their Light in the Sky album and have opened multiple shows for (The) Willie Nelson. Their growing fan base is known as the “RedHeads.” Hmm. … I’ve been meaning to go red again. I’ve been known to voice concern over the fact that there aren’t too many events that warrant getting dolled up for in Prescott, but the Prescott Film Festival is throwing a red carpet gala in celebration of the 86th Academy Awards that may require busting out my sequin dress from storage. The Academy Awards will be streaming live at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center on Sunday, March 2, with a pre-Oscar “Glitz & Glamour” cocktail fundraiser. It’s free to come and watch the show, but those seeking a Hollywood

Prescott’s freshly renovated Soldi Back Alley Bistro offers finer casual interior dining. Photo by Ruby Jackson. experience may want to shell out the extra bucks ($50) for what the film festival is calling the “Director’s Loft Experience.” There’s also the “VIP Package” for $100 which includes the pre-party, your own suite, and a personal waiter during the show serving drinks and appetizers. Oh, Oscar!

***** A native of the Windy City, Ruby Jackson is a freelance writer and collector of Norfin Trolls. In her spare time she is an aspiring actress (drama queen) and millionairess (donations gladly accepted). Contact her at RubyJackson@Gmail.Com.

�ENSESMAG.COM • FEBRUARY ���� • COLUMN • �


Bought the pharm 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: It’s thinly veiled. We beefed up the character, though.

LODWICK: I was never actually a state pharmacy inspector, but I was an expert witness in trials. I’d already written another book about how to be an expert MIES: As far as the logistics and trimedical witness. We als and tribulations go, we got along fictionalized a lot of and respected each other’s talents. Because Al was a pharmacist, a lot of my experiences. The sites got turned what he wrote got so detailed around. The medically, but we didn’t details got need all of it. Our styles Read an extended changed. were different at first: interview with You could tell who Scott Mies and Al MIES: We were careful. wrote what part. But, as we edited it and kept Lodwick online at We didn’t want to cross writing, we hit the right 5ensesMag.Com. confidentiality boundaries; we didn’t want tone. anyone to sue us. DUNGEON: Does that mean DUNGEON: Why write it as a the main character, Alex, is you, Al? mystery in the first place? And why self-publish it? LODWICK: Pretty much.

4 Prescott’s 4th Friday

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“Murder or Pestle?” cover illustration. Courtesy image. pharmacy profession. A pharmacist as a hero? They’re never the hero. Another thing I’d like to say is that for the sequel we’re going from beginning to middle to end. For “Murder or Pestle?” we knew the beginning, middle, and end, and we wrote from opposite sides and met in the middle. We realized that didn’t work because we were writing in two different voices. We learned from that.

LODWICK: My wife is a real mystery fan. She loves the ones that don’t have gratuitous sex or violence — she calls them “cozies” — which is why the book is the way it is. With this new world of self-publishing, we figured we could write the book the way we wanted to.

DUNGEON: What was your biggest challenge writing the book?

DUNGEON: So what does the writing process for two people look like?

MIES: Al’s wife, Ann, pulled me aside and asked me whether or not we were really going to make these characters real people or shallow detective gumshoes. Making sure they were real, feeling people was the hardest part for me.

LODWICK: The biggest challenge was disguising what it was based on. We worked really hard to make it unrecognizable, but there was a real case that was similar to it.

EVERY

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2014 January 24 February 28 March 28 April 25 Beginning at 5 PM May 23 June 27 July 25 August 22 September 26 October 24 November 28 December 26

See Special Events

www.ArtThe4th.com

� • FEATURE • FEBRUARY ���� • �ENSESMAG.COM

LODWICK: We’ve enjoyed going out to lunch together every Friday and talking about ideas for the next week. It’s more that I have an idea and Scott writes it up. That’s what we settled on. When we were writing dialogue, I’d put too much vernacular in there. ... Scott left just enough to give you an impression. And I’d write some really detailed medical stuff, and he’d narrow it down. MIES: I’d cut 15 pages down to a paragraph. I’ve also got to say that Al’s the belle of the ball for the

***** You can buy “Murder or Pestle?” in Prescott at Peregrine Book Company, Hastings, and the Prescott Public Library or online at Amazon. James Dungeon is a figment of his own imagination. And he likes cats. Contact him at JamesDungeonCats @Gmail.Com.


Holistic Fitness

By Lauren Antrosiglio

For

many people, going to gym classes or doing cardio on an elliptical machine is a matter of practicality, if not routine. However, your mountain-climbing, snowshoeing, hiker friends may be onto something. Science says so. Mind your mind According to a 2008 study conducted at Glasgow University in Scotland, exercising outdoors has a 50 percent higher positive effect on mental health than exercising at the gym. The study, which involved 2,000 subjects, showed that people who were physically active outdoors exhibited lower stress levels and a better mood/emotional response than people who exercised indoors. In a 2009 study from the University of Illinois, it was shown that children and preteens with ADHD exhibited higher levels of focus and concentration after walking in a park for 20 minutes. Did the same hold true for those who walked through city or neighborhood streets? Nope. The sunnier side of things Ready to head outside for a workout? You might want to leave the sunglasses at home. Ultraviolet light, which your body converts into Vitamin D, isn’t just absorbed through the skin; it’s also absorbed through your eyes. According to research published in 2012, wearing sunglasses blocks more than 1,500 wavelengths of light that are needed to nourish and protect your eyes. One way to keep your eyes out of direct sunlight but allow them to be receptive to the full spectrum of

Let’s get primitive sunlight is to wear a hat or a visor. Incidentally, full-spectrum lighting has been used to treat depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder, and other afflictions. That’ s because sunlight directly stimulates the hypothalamus gland in your brain as well as your pituitary gland. These glands influence mood, body temperature, thirst, and much more — even your circadian rhythm. Uplifting ideas The prospect of doing weight training outside of the gym without traditional equipment may seem daunting. However, training with your own body weight and nature’s tools is empowering and fun. Want to feel like Rocky or G.I. Jane? Grab some exercise equipment found in your woodsy environment and try the exercises below. In general, do each exercise at a controlled pace until you feel a burn, then repeat a couple of additional repetitions. If, at any time, you feel pain or are unsure you’re using proper form stop and either refer back to the instructions or skip the exercise altogether. Navy SEAL press • Grab two rocks that are roughly the same weight. Choose rocks that you can lift up above your head. They should be heavy enough that it feels like a workout, but not so heavy that you feel pain or strain your body. • Grasp the rocks and stand tall with your arms at your sides and palms facing your body. Place your feet about shoulder-width apart. • Bring both rocks up to your shoulders with your palms facing forward. • Press the rocks up over your head until your elbows are almost locked. • Lower the rocks down slowly to the starting position. “Rocky” sit-ups • Look around for a rock — one that’s not too heavy, maybe 5-8 pounds. • Get in the classic sit-up position and hold the rock against your chest.

• Lift your torso up toward your thighs while cradling the rock. • Lower your torso slowly, letting your back reach the ground. Good ol’ push-ups • Get on your knees, and place your hands in front of you on the ground about shoulder-width apart. • Stretch your feet behind you so you are balancing on your hands and toes. • Tighten your abdominal muscles and inhale as you lower yourself to the ground while keeping your back straight. • Without touching the ground, push yourself back up to the starting position. • If Push-ups are a little too difficult, try doing them on your knees with your ankles crossed.

Zombie squats • Stand with feet about hip or shoulder-width apart with your arms out in front of you. • Bend your knees and squat, pushing your rear out as though you’re about to sit in a chair. Your knees should stay behind your toes. Make sure to keep your back straight. • Squat as low as you can or until your thighs are parallel to the ground with your back straight and feet flat on the ground. • Push back up and concentrate on squeezing your buttocks as you stand. • Although this exercise can be done without equipment, you can cradle a short log or two rocks to make it more difficult. ***** Lauren Antrosiglio is a ASU-degreed personal trainer in Prescott who specializes in weight loss, increasing muscle mass, rehabilitative fitness, functional exercise and senior fitness. Contact her at Info@ PrescottPersonalTraining.Com.

Film Premiere

GMO OMG Feb. 26, 2014 · 7:00 pm Yavapai College Performing Arts Center 1100 E Sheldon Street, Prescott

Tickets $8.00

Symposium Mar. 1, 2014 · 1:00 pm Yavapai College

Library Community Room 1100 E Sheldon Street, Prescott

Keynote Speaker Dr. Lorrin Pang Genetic expert

Tickets $15.00

TICKETS & INFORMATION: 928-717-7755 · COMMED@YC.EDU Sponsored by

GMO-Free Prescott · Community Education at Yavapai College · New Frontiers Natural Marketplace Terroir Seeds - Underwood Gardens · Arcosanti Community Council · Mortimer Family Farms Slow Food Prescott · Pet Headquarters · Kelly Beef

�ENSESMAG.COM • FEBRUARY ���� • FEATURE • �


Left Brain: February’s mind-full events Events

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“Mount and Pier Stability” • 6:30 p.m. Wednesday: Stephen Eubanks talks about stabilizing astronomy gear at Prescott Astronomy Club’s monthly meeting. (Prescott Public Library, Founders Suite, 215 E. Goodwin St., 928-777-1500)

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Prescott Audubon bird walk • 9 a.m. Saturday: Monthly Prescott Audubon bird walk. (Highlands Center for Natural History, 1375 S. Walker Road, 928-776-9550)

“Managing the Rio de Flag Watershed” • 1 p.m. Saturday: Flagstaff Project manager Kyle Brown talks about a natural systems approach through green infrastructure at Citizens Water Advocacy Group’s monthly meeting. (Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation Building, 882 Sunset Ave., 928-445-4218) “Hair, Jewelry, & Weaving” • 1 p.m. Saturday: Deborah Matthew discusses the history of hair, jewelry, and weaving. (Sharlot Hall Museum Library & Archives, 115 S. McCormick St., 928-445-2133) “The Truth in 20” • 2 p.m. Saturday: Musician and author Joe Wise reads from his latest book and guides a writing exercise. (Peregrine Book Co., 219A N. Cortez St., 928-445-9000)

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“Southwest Ethnogeology” • 6:30 p.m. Tuesday: Arizona State University professor Ed Stump talk “Geology of the Transantarctic Mountains,” at Central Arizona Geology Club’s monthly meeting. (Prescott Public Library, Founders Suite, 215 E. Goodwin St., 928-7771500)

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“Ecovillages” • 4 p.m. Wednesday: University of Washington professor Karen Litfin discusses her new book about sustainable community. (Peregrine Book Co., 219A N. Cortez St., 928445-9000)

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Multi-day

GMO OMG” • 7 p.m. Wednesday: Jeremy Seifert’s award-winning documentary about genetically modified food and how it affects the health of children, the planet, and freedom of choice. Question and answer period to follow. (Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, 1100 E. Sheldon St., 928-776-2000, $8)

Prescott Area Boardgamers • 5 p.m. Feb. 5 & 19: Play board games. (Prescott Public Library, Bump and Elsea conference rooms, 928-777-1500) Jay’s Bird Barn bird walks • 8 a.m. Feb. 8, 21, & 21, 2 p.m. Feb. 13: Bird walks at Goldwater Lake, Flume Trail, Granite Basin, and Chino Valley, respectively. (Jay’s Bird Barn, No. 113, 1046 Willow Creek Road, 928-443-5900, RSVP)

IMAGE: “GMO OMG” promotional poster. Fair use.

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Animal communication • 2 p.m. Saturday: Donna Lazito’s monthly animal communication class. (601 Miller Valley Road, donation) “How Setting Brings Characters to Life” • 2 p.m. Saturday: Author and educator Susan Lang leads a writing workshop about naturalscape settings. (Peregrine Book Co., 219A N. Cortez St., 928-445-9000) “Astronomy Beyond Light” • 6:30 p.m. Thursday: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University assistant professor Dr. Brennan Hughey discusses non-visual cosmic messengers. Third Thursday Star Talk via Prescott Astronomy Club. (Prescott Public Library, Founders Suite, 215 E. Goodwin St., 928-777-1500)

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Butte Creek Restoration & Education Project • 6 p.m. Friday: Prescott College faculty Joel Barnes talks about invasive plant removal and public greenway installation along Butte Creek. (Prescott College Natural History Institute, 312 Grove Ave., 928-350-2280)

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“The Cottonwood Calendar” • 9 a.m. Saturday: Observe and document seasonal changes in Fremont’s Cottonwood. (Prescott College Natural History Institute, 312 Grove Ave., 928-350-2280)

“The Hashknife Around Holbrook” • 11 a.m. Saturday: Author Jan McKell Collins discusses her relatives, who were among the last cowboys to work for the famed Hashknife brand under the Aztec Land & Cattle Co.

� • EVENTS • FEBRUARY ���� • �ENSESMAG.COM

(Sharlot Hall Museum Library & Archives, 115 S. McCormick St., 928-445-2133) “The Subject Tonight is Love” • 1 p.m. Saturday: Practitioner Lance Sandleben presents an introduction to Sufism and reads from Sufi poet Rumi. (Peregrine Book Co., 219A N. Cortez St., 928-445-9000) “Nature, Culture, Consciousness” • 4 p.m. Saturday: Writer, wilderness traveler, and educator David Gilligan reads from his latest book and discusses his naturalist work. (Peregrine Book Co., 219A N. Cortez St., 928-445-9000)

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Prescott Orchid Society • 1 p.m. Sunday: Monthly meeting. (Prescott Public Library, Founders Suite, 928-777-1500)

Teen Writing Workshop • 3:30 p.m. Wednesday: Bestselling young adult novelist Janni Lee Simner leads an interactive writing workshops for teens, sixth through 12th grade. (Prescott Public Library, 215 E. Goodwin St., 928-777-1518, RSVP)

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Wildlife rehabilitation • 7 p.m. Thursday: Wildlife rehabilitator Russ Smith shares information at Prescott Audubon Society’s monthly meeting. (Trinity Presbyterian Church, 630 Park Ave., 928-778-6502)

“Community Nature Study” • 9 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays: Highlands Center for Natural History presents “Biotic Communities” with Carl Tomoff, “Mammals” with Mark Riegner, “Plant Life Histories” with Walt Anderson, “Geology” with Wayne Ranney, “Pronghorn and Grasslands” with Dan Campbell, “Birds” with Eric Moore, “Fire Ecology” with Lisa Floyd-Hanna, and “Weather and Climate” with Curtis James. (Highlands Center for Natural History, 1375 S. Walker Road, 928-776-9550, $20-$25 per class, $130-$175 series) Scrabble group • 1 p.m. Thursdays: Play Scrabble and Upwords. (Prescott Public Library, Bump and Elsea conference rooms, 928-777-1500) Drop in chess • 2 p.m. Saturdays: Play chess. (Prescott Public Library, 215 E. Goodwin St., 928-777-1500) Spiritual traditions talks • 7 p.m. Saturdays: “Work on Self,” “The Spiritual Memoir,” “Resisting the Tendency to Panic,” and “We All Have One.” (Courtyard Building, 115 E. Goodwin St., Suite E1, $5 donation) Garden classes • 9:30 p.m. Saturdays: “Escape to the Backyard & Plant Wildflowers,” “Fruit Trees From Planting to Pruning,” “Gardening for Newcomers,” and “Raised Bed Gardening Best Practices.” (Watters Garden Center, 1815 W. Iron Spring Road, 928-4454159, prices vary)


February’s art-full events :niarB thgiR

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Events

“The Huff Family” • Feb. 16-March 13, 5 p.m. Friday Feb. 28 artists reception: Pastels, watercolors, pen and ink drawings, photography, and recycled art by the Huff family commemorating John and Marion Huff’s 71 years of marriage. (’Tis Art Center & Gallery, 105 S. Cortez St., 928-775-0223)

Poetry discussion group • 1 p.m. Wednesday: Dr. Janet Preston’s monthly poetry discussion group. (Prescott Public Library, Elsea Conference Room, 215 E. Goodwin St., 928-777-1500) Poets Cooperative • 6:30 p.m. Thursday: Share your poetry at this monthly meeting. (Prescott Public Library, Bump Conference Room, 215 E. Goodwin St., 928-777-1500)

Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theater • 7:30 p.m. Wednesday: This Las Vegasbased group bridges cultural divides and connects to art forms around the world using the power of dance. (Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, 1100 E. Sheldon St., 928-776-2000, $14-$28)

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ComMUSIKey dance • 7 p.m. Friday: Fundraiser dance benefiting ComMUSIKey, a local nonprofit. Music by The Moving Edge Ensemble. (Prescott College Performing Arts Center, 218 N. Granite St., 928-830-4887, donation) “Ecology Revisioned” • 1 p.m. Saturday: Wendy DesChene, Jeff Schmuki, and Robin Dru Germany discuss their art exhibit. (Prescott College Art Gallery at Sam Hill Warehouse, 232 N. Granite St., 928-350-2341)

Open mic poetry • 5:30 p.m. Wednesday: Dan Seaman emcees monthly open mic poetry. (Peregrine Book Co., 219A N. Cortez St., 928-445-9000) Professional Writers of Prescott • 5:30 p.m. Wednesday: Monthly meeting. (Prescott Public Library, Founders Suite, 215 E. Goodwin St., 928-777-1500)

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“Longfellow Reads Longfellow“ • 5 p.m. Thursday: Layne Longfellow reads the poems of his great ancestor Henry Wadsworth Longfellow as well as poems by Leonard Cohen and Billy Collins. (Peregrine Book Co., 219A N. Cortez St., 928-445-9000) 4th Friday Art Walk • 5 p.m. Friday: Monthly art walk including more than 18 galleries, artist receptions, openings, and demonstrations. (ArtThe4th.Com)

Multi-day

Creative Writers Group • Noon Feb. 4 & 18: Creative writing discussion group. (Prescott Public Library, Elsea Conference Room, 215 E. Goodwin St., 928-777-1500) Writers workshops 9:30 a.m. Saturdays: Weekly critique group. (Prescott Public Library, Bump Conference Room, 215 E. Goodwin St., 928-777-1500)

Theater & film “Annie” • 2 p.m. & 7 p.m. Feb. 1: Broadway musical presented by the Young Star Musical Theatre. (Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, 1100 E. Sheldon St., 928-776-2000, $15) “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” • 7:30 p.m. Feb. 6-8 & 13-15, 2 p.m. Feb. 9 & 16: The darkly comic tale of Maureen Folan, a plain, lonely woman in her 40s and Mag, her manipulative, aging mother. By Martin McDonagh, directed by Jean Lippincott. (Stage Too, North Cortez Street alley between Willis and Sheldon streets, 928-445-3286, $12)

IMAGE: A pastel painting by John Huff. Courtesy photo, manipulated.

Art James • From Feb. 1: Artwork and books by artist, author, and illustrator Will James. (Phippen Museum, 4701 Arizona 89, 928-778-1385, $5-$7) “Brothers Forever” • Through Feb. 8: Mosaics and paintings by Glenn Smith, who died because of AIDS, and sculpture, photography, and furniture by his brother, Stephen Smith. (Prescott College Art Gallery at Sam Hill Warehouse, 232 N. Granite St., 928-350-2341)

“Paintings & Printmaking” • From Feb. 14: Paintings and printmaking by Pam Dunmire, Steve Straussner, and Karen Zelonka. (A Small Art Gallery, 115 E. Goodwin St., Suite D, 928-832-3220) “The Illustrators” • From Feb. 15: Illustrations from adult and children’s books by Diane Iverson, Beth Neely, Bret Blevins, and Robin Lieske. (A Small Art Gallery, 115 E. Goodwin St., Suite D, 928-832-3220) “Primary Colors” • Through Feb. 15: Explore the significance of color in art including book arts, fiber art, and sculpture. (Prescott Center for the Arts, 208 N. Marina St., 928-445-3286) “Reflections” • From Feb. 17: Works of art by contemporary artists using electronic media, metallic, iridescent, duo-chrome paints and other materials that reflect and respond to environmental light. (Prescott Center for the Arts, 208 N. Marina St., 928-445-3286) “Ecology Revisioned” • From Feb. 18 : Ecologically themed art by Wendy DesChene, Jeff Schmuki, and Robin Dru Germany. (Prescott College Art Gallery at Sam Hill Warehouse, 232 N. Granite St., 928-350-2341)

“Rusalka” • 10:55 a.m. Feb. 8: The Metropolitan Opera HD Live presents Antonín Dvořák’s soulful fairytale opera. (Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, 1100 E. Sheldon St., 928-7762000, $24)

“Measuring Time” • Through Feb. 8: Wood pieces by Judd Lotts and fiber art by Jennifer Argent. (Yavapai College Art Gallery, 1100 E. Sheldon St., 928776-2000)

Romantic shorts • 6:30 p.m. Feb. 14: Prescott Film Festival presents “Into the Silent Sea,” “Crossings,” “The Morning After,” “Walk the Light,” “Sheltered Love,” and “Night Armour.” (Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, 1100 E. Sheldon St., 928-776-2000, $5-$8)

Arcosanti residents • From Feb. 8: Sculptures, paintings, ceramics, photographs, computer graphics, metal prints, jewelry and more from Arcosanti residents. (Arcosanti, Acrosanti Café, via Exit 263 at the junction of U.S. 17 & Arizona 69, 928-632-6200)

“Piece & a Poem” • Through Feb. 25: Third annual show where words and art collide and merge. (’Tis Art Center & Gallery, 105 S. Cortez St., 928-775-0223)

“The Vagina Monologues” • 7:30 p.m. Feb. 20: Students, faculty, and community members perform the internationally acclaimed theatrical production Eve Ensler’s play. (ERAU Davis Learning Center, 3700 Willow Creek Road, 928-777-6985)

“Steeling Our Emotions” • Through Feb. 13: Steel work by Lin Hall and paintings by Pamela Henry. (’Tis Art Center & Gallery, 105 S. Cortez St., 928-775-0223)

“Making Our Mark” • From Feb. 27: Prescott Contemporary Printers Group art show. (’Tis Art Center & Gallery, 105 S. Cortez St., 928-775-0223)

“Workshop Wonders” • Through Feb. 13: Instructors’ art show. (Mountain Artists Guild & Gallery, 228 Alarcon St., 928-445-2510)

J. M. Arader Collection • From Feb. 28: Natural history prints from G. Severeyns, La Pierre Joseph Bonnaterre, Jacob H. Studer, Pierre-Joseph Redouté, Johann Wilhelm Weinmann, John Gould, François-Nicolas Martinet. (Prescott College Natural History Institute, 312 Grove Ave., 928-350-2280)

“101 Dalmations” • 7 p.m. Feb. 21 & 22, 2 p.m. Feb. 22 & 23: The classic story of a London family, Dalmatians Pongo and Perdita, their 101 offspring, and Cruella De Vil. Based on Dodie Smith’s book, directed by Debra White. (Prescott Center for the Arts, 208 N. Marina St., 928-445-3286, $10) Oscar-nominated shorts • 2:30 p.m., Feb. 22: Prescott Film Festival presents Oscar-nominated short films. (Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, 1100 E. Sheldon St., 928-776-2000, $5-$8) “Stay Quiet” • 7 p.m. Feb. 27: Reading of Lindsey Parker’s play about a young teacher’s first job in the public school system. (Prescott Public Library, 215 E. Goodwin St., 928-777-1500)

Esneault & Schmitt • From Feb. 13: Art by Mary Esneault and Lynn Schmitt. (Mountain Artists Guild & Gallery, 228 Alarcon St., 928-445-2510) “EVERYDAYprecious” • From Feb. 14: Fine art black-and-white photography by Caroline Phillippone and mixed media fabric art by Eun-Kyung Suh. (Yavapai College Art Gallery, 1100 E. Sheldon St., 928-776-2000)

“National Parks of the West” • Through Feb. 23: Art featuring majestic landscapes and animals in National Parks. (Phippen Museum, 4701 Arizona 89, 928778-1385, $5-$7)

“Fresh Impressions” • Through March 1: Art show. (Mountain Artists Guild & Gallery, 228 Alarcon St., 928-445-2510) Winsell • Through March 1: Relief prints and woodcarvings by Bob Winsell. (Method Coffee, 3180 Willow Creek Road, 928-777-1067)


Soil toil

— or — All (green) thumbs By Heather Houk

quote from the North

“The thin granitic soils may need considerable boosting. Generally speaking, native plants can cope far better with the temperature extremes, undependable rainfall, and browsing wildlife. It is extremely important to protect new plants from too much sun and use chicken wire to prevent their being eaten by animals.” —From “General Comments About Gardening in This Region, USDA Zone 7”

American Butterfly Asso-

I was looking for a planting schedule for the Central Highlands of Arizona when I came across this

ciation. I felt two things. First, I smiled a mischievous smile of satisfaction and thought how much tougher we are as Western gardeners. Then, I laughed out loud and thought about how much tougher it is to be a gardener here. I’m a Michigan native who’s spent the better part of a decade living in the Southeast and, rather smugly, fancied myself a fantastic gardener. I could grow just about anything I planted, be it a flower or vegetable garden. I thought I was queen of the green thumb. Then, 16 years ago, I moved to

Prescott and started taking Prescott College classes in things like soil science, natural history and ecology, and, the pièce de résistance of my academic career, agroecology. I studied, researched, and planted a wide variety of native and non-native agricultural crops in

Sixteen

Chino Valley. This is where I learned a valuable lesson in humility.

For

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in Chino that I discovered that I am neither a farmer nor a gardener. Rather, I was a servant of completely dependent plants that needed constant care and attention. We installed and tended miles of drip irrigation; we incorporated soil amendments; we battled weeds from around the world; we defended plants from insects. To say nothing of the intense sunshine and heat. The idea that one can just stick some seeds in the ground and “let Nature take her course” doesn’t apply to Southwestern agriculture.

any of you fellow transplants (of the human variety) who hail from the Pacific Northwest — or the Midwest, or the Northeast, or the Southeast, or the … OK, anywhere other than the Southwest — you probably remember the rich, black Molisol soils that pervade the “bread belt.” They’re not exactly the norm here. The quote at the beginning referred to “thin granitic soil.” That’s Prescott’s soil type. Chino Valley is an even more challenging landscape with arid silts, a lower annual rainfall, and a healthy caliche layer about 2 feet down — less in some places. If you’ve ever tried to dig a fence post hole, you’ve undoubtedly found it. It was while working on a farm

years later, I still try to garden, but I work to serve my garden and landscape with a lot of arid-loving native flowers and plants. You won’t find a geranium in my front yard, I can tell you that! So the next time you decide to plant a garden in your “thin granitic soil,” remember to smile a little smile because you are taking on a decidedly different role as a garden servant. Be prepared to love, nurture, water, amend, protect, water again, and be patient. You can grow spectacular gardens in this region. No, seriously — you can. Once you’ve done that, you’ve earned the name gardener. So, remember to thank your local farmers. They’re working against the odds to bring us an amazing bounty. ***** Heather Houk is the Prescott Farmers Market’s managing director. For more information, contact her at Heather@ PrescottFarmersMarket.Org. Visit PrescottFarmersMarket.Org to find market times and locations, vendor bios, and ways to get involved.


brain food

CUISINE

A recipe for seduction

HONEY Stick sweet, and sensuous, honey contains natural Sticky, sugars that can give you a fast energy boost for those suga “extracurricular “extr activities.”

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 wom an's thighs. This was based on an arcane philosophy called the “doc trine 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 introduced since ancient Greece. Here are just seven sensual ingredients to get your engines purring. Find corresponding recipes on my Facebook fan page: Facebook.Com/TheCulinaryComposer.

POMEGRANATE Some scholars believe that Eve tempted Adam not with an apple but with a pomegranate.

DARK CHOCOLATE Trump the old saying “choco late is better than sex” by simply combining the two. And, with its boastful amount of antioxidants, this sweet treat is healthy in small amounts.

Find recipes using these sensual ingredients at

Facebook.Com/TheCulinaryComposer

LAVENDER In ancient Rome, women kept sprays of lavender next to their beds as a way to arouse their mate’s senses.

FIGS

Visually, the fig’s status as eye candy is questionable: Does it represent the male or the female? But one bite into a ripe fig and there's no question that this fruit is nature’s own candy.

OYSTERS

Casanova, one of the world’s most famous womanizers, is said to o have indulged in 50 oysters daily.. Rich in zinc, they can help boost testosterone osterone rrone levels and libido.

VANILLA

Nothing's too good for your sweetie, so splurge on whole vanilla beans. If you don't want to scrape the pods, use vanilla bean paste which is more economical and just as tasty.

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Alan Dean Foster’s Perceivings

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 it?

Why

are animal prints and patterns and accessories so popular in the world of fashion? It isn’t as if there are no aesthetic alternatives. But we always see, regardless of how they are manipulated, animal spots and stripes, butterfly wings and fish scales, feathers and leath-

We’re all furries at heart (even the bald guys) ers adorning wasp-waisted models as they prance down the fashion runway. Every year, in endless permutations. It has been so since the beginning of time. Nor is this an affectation that’s restricted to women. Zulu chieftains in South Africa still adorn themselves in leopard pelts (now trending, thankfully, to faux ones) on ceremonial occasions. Senior chiefs and warriors in South America proudly put on their best feather necklaces and headdresses when attending formal political functions. In the Sepik River region of Papua New Guinea, young men continue to endure the ritual of having their backs scarred with sharp blades into which are rubbed fireplace ashes, resulting in lines of raised skin that closely resemble the scutes of the locally revered crocodile. Why do we do it?

Such

adornments are “pretty,” to be sure. In primordial societies, it’s often done in the hopes that the wearer of an animal’s skin, or imitation thereof, will imbue the wearer with that particular creature’s beauty or powers. Wear eagle feathers and perhaps, in some way, you might fly. Put on a lion’s mane to assume some of his strength. Wear a leopard coat (even a fake one) on Fifth Avenue and you’ll not only be warm, and maybe passers-by will find you sleek and strong and a little big dangerous. What’s going on here has nothing to do with what we see but what we think, and it’s something that is true of both the wearer and the watcher. In that respect, from an anthropological standpoint, we’ve changed very little from our ancestors who busied themselves finger-painting mastodons and horses in caves in France and elsewhere. Humans dominate Earth. We overpopulate and control and flick other species aside whenever it suits our needs of the moment. But we still, after hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, envy our biologi-

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cal brethren. Yes, we’re smarter than the cat — but we’d love to run and hunt as fast and gracefully as they do. So we (pace, Dennis) dress up as cats. In our nakedness, we envy the fox. So we wear fox. The wolf is stronger than we are, so (where legal), winter coat hoods are made of wolf (or again, imitation). You don’t see men wearing winter coats boasting hoods rimmed with chinchilla.

No

man wears a necklace to the beach that sports pig teeth. But tusks, or feline canines, or alligator teeth, or even a fossilized theropod dinosaur tooth: You see those all the time. Because even in this modern day and age, we still strive for a simulated connection with powerful or beautiful species by wearing their body parts. We may be the ascendant species, but after tens of thousands of years we continue to partake of those primeval characteristics we like to believe we’ve left behind. Tell a friend your wallet is leather and you’ll be rewarded with a shrug or a blank stare. Tell him it’s sharkskin and you’ll get an immediate reaction. Not because said wallet may wear longer than one made of leather, but because, in his eyes, you have suddenly taken unto yourself — however infinitesimally — the qualities of that ferocious creature. It’s all in the mind, not in the eye. No matter how many centuries have passed. ***** Alan Dean Foster is author of more than 120 books, visitor to more than 100 countries, and still frustrated by the human species. Follow him at AlanDeanFoster. Com.

“Karate Guy in a Fashionable Purple Suit With Gloves,” by Packard Jennings. Fair use, manipulated. Illustration by 5enses.


PAPER APER Annie Alexander harnesses a cellulosic medium

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.

CONTINUED ON PAGE �� >>>

aA

Handmade paper by Annie Alexander. Photo by 5enses.

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CLOCKWISE, FROM BOTTOM R Cellulose molecules, like these, are the building b of paper, image by Wikimedia user Benjah-bmm27 lic domain; handmade paper by Annie Alexander, pho 5enses; Annie Alexander discusses handmade paper in of her tableau, photo still from a video shot by Josh Ch ball-and-stick model of cellulose molecules, image b Mills, public domain; “Ineffable Joy,” a handmade forest by Annie Alexander, photo by Larry K

... FROM PAGE �� 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 I going to do with them?’” The solution she’d eventually arrive at answered questions she hadn’t even thought to ask yet. Prescott, artist, & paper Annie Alexander could’ve ended up just about anywhere. The middle child of three siblings, Alexander grew up in the suburbs outside New York City. The path that lead her to Prescott included stops in North Carolina, Seattle, and Too-Many-Small-Townsin-The-Southwest-to-Name as well as incarnations as a wife and mother of three, a graphic designer, a real estate agent, and a Seventh-day Adventist missionary. “The short story is that I came to Prescott because it’s the county seat

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and I was looking for some kind of work,” Alexander said. “And then I found this dump,” she said with hearty laughter as she motioned to what, nearly 20 years later, is a bright, clean sitting room in a bright, clean house. (Ask anyone who’s been around Prescott for more than a decade; apparently she’s done a lot of work on this place.) Today, 70-year-old Alexander proudly says she’s been an artist for 50 years, but that’s not how she saw herself when she arrived. “It wasn’t until I got involved with a 12-step group for artists that I was confident enough to call myself an artist,” Alexander said. “To me, artists are people who do this magic stuff, sort of like wizards, and I didn’t see myself that way.” A former roommate who worked with troubled teens introduced her to handmade paper a few years later. Some science, some thoughts Paper is made from the most abundant organic polymer on Earth, cellulose, which comes from the cell walls of green plants. Those plants can be ground into pulp that, when properly processed, becomes paper.


RIGHT: blocks 7, puboto by n front haney; by Ben paper Kantor.

Cellulose molecules, (C6H10O5)n, form long linear chains that connect via hydrogen bonding. Too much chemistry? Paper is basically a bunch of pieces of hooked-together plant fibers. “What happens on a molecular level — the electrons, protons, and neutrons — now I dream about that,” Alexander said. “It’s beautiful.” As an homage to its origin, she often includes flowers and other organic matter in her paper. In the shed outside her house Alexander has bins of Datura, Sego Lily, Cosmos, various grasses, Kudzu, and other earthy ephemera for possible inclusion. (Two noteworthy oddities: cicada shells and shredded currency.) “You can’t make a mistake in papermaking,” Alexander said. “And you can always restart the process, anyway.” Trial and error is an important part of the equation — something noted by Prescott Valley’s Sid Freeman, a calligrapher who met Alexander in an art class more than a decade ago. “When I want really wonderful paper, I go to Annie,” Freeman said. “Her paper is always beautiful and always unique.” Freeman, who’s part of an art book collective, SeQuence, with Alexander, further stressed her friend’s inexorably

creative nature. “She’s always planning and doing things, and not just with art,” Freeman said. “She’s always finding ways to grow — to live better.” Forestry Once Alexander decided to make bigger pieces of paper, she had to develop a technique compatible with her existing equipment. “I figured out how to integrate the fibers, to make long, single sheets of paper,” Alexander said. The final dimensions of each tableau is 1-foot-2-inches wide and 8-feet tall, to be exact-ish. “Annie’s always done a lot of experimenting, but I was amazed when I saw them,” Freeman said. “She’s come up with her new method all by herself, and that’s really cool.” Jacques Laliberté, a friend and fellow resident artist at Alexander’s place, described the transformation of her work: “She’s been exploring her own paper aesthetic nonstop for the last two years,” Laliberté said. “And what she’s come up with is an ethereal, sensitive aesthetic that’s new for paper.” But Alexander (and her faithful new assistant Josh Chaney, she was quick to point out) weren’t satisfied yet. They

wanted to turn heads. The idea came to her literally out of the blue one morning, but some background is in order. Alexander sleeps in a room that was once part of Gallery Beyond Words, a venture she ran inside her home for a spell. She abhors curtains, and often hangs new works from the ceiling to contemplate them in variable daylight. “So I had some of these tableaux hanging in my bedroom,” Alexander said. “And I woke up and it was like I was looking through five layers of them, like I was in a forest.” Eureka! ‘Ineffable Joy’ Recently, Alexander hung handmade paper in a friend’s barn, hired a woman to dance through it, and paid a video production crew to film it. (The details: a few dozen sheets, Larry Kantor’s, Jess Lozel, and Big Picture Video Production, respectively.) Alexander plans to use the video, “Ineffable Joy,” to promote her tableaux in the context of art installations for art galleries and museums. “It needs to be an immersive experience,” she said. “Watch the video, and you’ll see.” One of the people who stopped

by the installation was Tony Reynolds, owner of A Small Art Gallery, in Prescott, where Alexander’s work showed late last year. “I could feel the shivers start at the back of my neck,” Reynolds said. “Below the high ceiling, moving in a gentle summer breeze, were about two dozen paper banners — most in delicate pastels, but with the same strong presence as the artist herself.” Knowing Alexander, Laliberté said, this installation and video are the start of something, not the culmination. “She’s probably Arizona’s premier paper scientist/engineer/artist,” he said. “There’s a lot more she has to say to paper and book media.” ***** See more of Annie Alexander’s art at FineArtAmerica.Com/profiles/AnnieAlexander.Html. Search YouTube for her promotional video “Ineffable Joy,” or access it directly at Youtube.Com/ watch?v=szzVL_VDhQk. Contact her at CezAnnie@Gmail.Com. Robert Blood is a Mayer-ish-based freelance writer and ne’er-do-well who’s working on his last book, which, incidentally, will be his first. Contact him at BloodyBobby5@Gmail.Com.

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News From the Wilds 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 the next several months since they need to wait for the lakes to the north to thaw before migrating. Though our winter has been extremely mild so far, February could bring amazing storms, and holds the record for both the most snowfall in a month and the highest rainfall in a 24-hour period. On the other hand, February’s precipitation is extremely variable and difficult to predict — with as many as one in 10 years receiving no or nearly no rain or snow. A wet February can, by itself, usher in a glorious, flowering spring, while a dry one with no other snowpack can herald low fuel moisture and high fire danger. In high desert, such as the Central Highlands, the abundance and distribution of water is the single greatest predictor of all activity in the wilds. ***** Ty Fitzmorris is an itinerant and often distractible naturalist who lives in Prescott and runs Peregrine Book Company and Raven Café as a sideline to his natural history pursuits. Contact him at Ty@PeregrineBookCompany. Com with questions or comments.

A Sharp-shinned Hawk, before beginning her long migration north, hunts for small prey in Arizona’s Central Highlands. Photo by Ty Fitzmorris.

February Prescott weather Average high temperature: 53.9 F, +/-4.3 Average low temperature: 24.1 F, +/-3.6 Record high temperature: 77 F, Feb. 27, 1986 Record low temperature: -12 F, Feb. 6, 1899 Average precipitation: 1.84”, +/-1.84 Record high February precipitation: 10.59”, 1927 Record high February snowfall: 37.5”, 1932 Record low February precipitation: 0”, 7.2 percent of all years on record Max daily February precipitation: 7.92”, Feb. 22, 1905

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News From the Wilds, too Night skies By Ty Fitzmorris Friday, Feb. 14.: New moon. 4:53 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19: Conjunction between the moon and Mars. These two objects are within about three degrees of each other high in the eastern sky at midnight. Friday, Feb. 21: Conjunction between the moon and Saturn. This extremely close encounter (less than one-quarter of a degree) between the moon and Saturn is most visible after 2 a.m. in the eastern sky. Tuesday, Feb. 25: Conjunction between the moon and Venus. The very nearly new moon will rise less than a half degree from Venus at three hours before sunrise.

February highlight: Andromeda Galaxy. When the skies are at their darkest early this month, our nearest galactic neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy, is visible with the unaided eye. Look for the galaxy as a smear of light next to Andromeda’s knee, to the northwest after twilight. Or use a direct method: Draw a line between the two highest stars in Cassiopeia — Segin and Ruchbah — and the brightest star in Andromeda, Alpheratz (her head in most drawings), and then look for the galaxy two-thirds of the way from Ruchbah to Alpheratz. The Andromeda Galaxy, the furthest object that can be seen with the naked eye, is 2.5 million light years away and is slowly headed our way. It will collide with our galaxy, the Milky Way, in 5 billion years, after our sun has turned into a red giant and consumed Earth. *****

The Andromeda spiral galaxy in infrared light. Image by NASA’s Herschel Space Observatory, public domain.

An all too brief survey of what’s happening in the wilds ... High mountains • Ravens begin nesting and laying eggs. Yearling Ravens have spent the winter in communal roosts and can be seen flying in large numbers, but these flocks begin to break up now as breeding pairs form. • Northern alpine birds, including Red Crossbills and Pine Siskins, move into this area driven by extreme cold to the north. These finches follow the seed crop of coniferous trees, including Douglas Fir, White Fir, spruces, and pines. Visit: Maverick Mountain Trail, No. 65. Ponderosa Pine forests • Peregrine Falcons return to our area from the south to reoccupy nest sites. Most Peregrines are monogamous from year to year. Both partners migrate independently back to previous nest sites and beginning courting and mating upon arrival. This species is named for its extraordinary migrations, which can lead some birds to migrate from Chile to Greenland. • Abert’s Squirrels chew off the tips of growing Ponderosa branches to reach the inner bark, or cambium. This is an important food source for this rare squirrel during the late winter after they have depleted other food stores. They are also performing a vital service to the trees, themselves: Ponderosas rely on a symbiotic root fungus to break down soil nutrients, and

Abert’s Squirrels carry this fungus in their feces, transporting its spores from tree to tree and thereby keeping forests healthy. Visit: Miller Creek Trail, No. 367. Pine-Oak woodlands • Townsend’s Solitaires, relatives of the American Robin, begin migrating north to their breeding grounds as far north as Alaska. Solitaires subsist largely on the last of juniper berries from last year’s crop while in their wintering ground. • Sharp-shinned Hawks, the smaller cousin of the Cooper’s Hawk, begin migrating north through the Central Highlands. These small hawks were once considered a threat to songbird populations, and were hunted aggressively. Now, “mesopredators” such as the Sharp-shinned Hawk are understood to foster biodiversity by preventing one species from outcompeting another. Studies have documented increases in prey species where these types of predators are found. Visit: Little Granite Mountain Trail, No. 37. Pinyon-Juniper woodlands One-seed, Utah, and Rocky Mountain junipers all release their pollen now, thus causing extraordinary allergies for many mammal species. • Winter flocks of Western Scrub Jays begin to break up as jays form breeding pairs. Visit: Tin Trough Trail, No. 308.

Grasslands • Pronghorn begin giving birth after eight months of pregnancy. Young Pronghorn are able to walk after only about an hour and can outrun a human once they are several days old. Pronghorn typically give birth to twins who remain in the center of their herd for several months. • Toward the end of the month, Broad-winged hawks, such as the Rough-legged Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk and Swainson’s Hawk, begin migrating north through the Central Highlands following the open grasslands where they can see rodents. Many can be seen perching on power line posts. Visit: Mint Wash Trail, No. 345. Riparian areas • Beavers, after consuming most of their winter stores, are very active in chewing away the inner bark of riparian trees. Their breeding season continues through the month. • Coyote Willow (Salix exigua) flowers and is mobbed by Honeybees (Apis mellifera) for nectar and pollen. Honeybees are native to Europe and are unlike most of our native bees in that they are social and live in massive hives of up to 80,000 bees. North America is home to roughly 4,000 species of native bees, most of which are either solitary or seasonally social and so remain inactive during the winter. • Newborn River Otters remain in

their dens. Toward the end of the month, they will open their eyes for the first time. • The first migratory songbirds, including spectacular breedingplumage warblers, follow rivers and riparian corridors through our region to their breeding territories to the north. • Mourning Cloak Butterflies (Nymphalis antiopa) fly on sunny days. Unlike most butterflies, Mourning Cloaks overwinter as adults, taking shelter in cracks in tree-bark and eating the sap that drips from wounds in riparian trees. Visit: Willow Lake Loop Trail, from the Willow Creek Road entrance. Deserts/Chaparral • Flowering begins in earnest, starting with Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa), which paints large swaths of the desert bright yellow. Some species of verbenas and anemones, as well as Desert Marigolds (Baileya multiradiata), begin flowering at lower densities. • Butterflies begin flying now, including the small Sara Orangetip (Anthocaris sara) and the tiny Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon), both of which can be seen at patches of wet mud as they seek out minerals and nutrients.. Visit: Agua Fria National Monument.

17


Release the hounds 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. Religion in politics would be replaced by the Rainbow Bridge. War would be unnecessary because dogs don’t hold grudges. The Supreme

Court could be eliminated because dogs don’t judge. Racism would be a thing of the past because dogs don’t care if other dogs are black, white, tan, or spotted. Southern-border immigration would no longer be an issue because everybody loves Chihuahuas. At worst, we’d replace ass kissing with ass sniffing. America has already gone to the dogs, so we might as well try dog leadership. Here are my nominations for America’s new generation of dog-leaders: President: Bruno My dog. “President Bruno” has a nice ring to it, and he’s very photogenic, which is just about all that the job demands anyway. Vice President: Gromit From “Wallace and Gromit.” He doesn’t speak, but would be great at rolling his eyes whenever the president did something stupid, like peeing on the Oval Office carpet. Speaker of the House: Brian Griffin From “Family Guy.” Brian is an intellectual and is well spoken. He’s also a time traveler and has recently come back from the dead. Press Secretary: Ren From “The Ren and Stimpy Show.” Ren is volatile and wouldn’t take any crap from muckraking journalists. Secretary of State: K-9 From “Doctor Who.” K-9 is a robot and is very logical, which would be helpful in international negotiations.

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Secretary of Education: Mr. Peabody From “Rocky and Bullwinkle.” This highly educated canine holds a doctorate degree. Impressive. Secretary of Transportation: Scooby-Doo From “Scooby-Doo.” Have you seen him run? Secretary of Defense: Underdog From “Underdog.” Seriously, who better? Homeland Security Secretary: Deputy Dawg From “Deputy Dawg.” He has a lot of law enforcement experience.

President Bruno. Photo & illustration by Dale O’Dell. NASA Administrator: Astro From “The Jetsons.” He’s got firstpaw experience in outer space. ***** Dale O’Dell is an author, photographer, digital artist, and Prescott resident. As an artist, he’s known as a surrealist which is an oddly appropriate occupation for one well-versed in ufology and the paranormal. His artwork can be seen at Van Gogh’s Ear Gallery and at DalePhoto.Com.


Prescott Film Festival’s SCRIPT NOTES

Seeing red & gold

By Helen Stephenson

From

Groundhog Day to Presidents Day to International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day, February is crammed with special days. And, oh, there’s that other February holiday that people either love or hate. Yep, Valentine’s Day. If you’re in a fabulous relationship you float around all day smiling, deeper in love. If you’re single or in a rocky relationship … well, it may not be your favorite day of the year. It’s said that the roots of Valentine’s Day come from the martyr Valentinus. During the time of the Roman Empire, soldiers were forbidden to marry. But Valentinus went ahead and performed those ceremonies and, as an additional crime, also ministered to Christians. He was summarily executed and became a martyr. So, apparently, love and death are the themes of the day. Sounds about right. If suffering for love isn’t how you’d like to celebrate Valentine’s Day, the Prescott Film Festival has a unique offering this year: a dinner on Tuesday, Feb. 14 at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center. Diners will enjoy live violin music from our own wandering minstrel, the talented Phoebe Agocs. After dinner, the fest presents an evening of romantic short films. There will be comedy about relationships, missed opportunities (that, in the end, could be a good thing), a hilarious film about dating, and even one with a martyr for those who want to celebrate the martyr-y side of the holiday. A table will be set up for single folks to mix and mingle, if they choose, and there’ll be plenty of tables for two.

Short film screenings: “Into the Silent Sea” “Crossings” “The Morning After” “Walk the Light” “Sheltered Love” “Night Armour” Valentine’s dinner menu: Caesar salad Bread basket Bacon-wrapped fillet mignon Baked potato Steamed vegetable medley Chocolate-covered strawberries (Adult beverages available for purchase.)

February

is also Black History Month, National Grapefruit Month, National Weddings Month, and, ironically, An Affair to Remember Month. (Really.) It’s also Oscar Month at the Prescott Film Festival. Starting Saturday, Feb. 15, the festial presents a selection of Oscarnominated films, including all the Academy Award-nominated shorts. Watch the festival’s website, Prescott FilmFestival.Com, and Facebook page for days, times, and films. Oscar Month ends on Sunday, March 2, with a live stream of the 86th annual Academy Awards presented on the big screen at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center. The broadcast is free and is hosted by local filmmaker, radio host, and arts advocate Andrew JohnsonSchmit. There will be games and prizes during the commercial breaks. There’ll also be a red carpet coming into the building where live music and the sparkling chandeliers greet guests. Dress up if you’d like — it’s the Academy Awards, after all (Insider tip: Get your seats by 6:15 p.m. for a special surprise!) Want a more complete Oscar experience? Problem solved: The pre-Oscar cocktail party fundraiser for the

Prescott Film Festival, “Glitz & Glamour,” starts at 5:00 p.m. It’s upstairs in the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center Director’s Loft. With stunning views of Granite Mountain and Thumb Butte, this is a lovely place to start this special evening. Live music, sumptuous food, and sparkling beverages are included with a $50 ticket. (As of press time, only one VIP ticket ($100) was still available.) ***** Helen Stephenson is the founder and executive director of the Prescott Film Festival and the director of the Sedona Film School at Yavapai College (interim). She collects old hats and Mary Poppins memorabilia, and wonders why “Saving Mr. Banks” wasn’t nominated for an Oscar. When she’s not helping film school students, watching films, or marketing the fest, she’s writing articles, screenplays, and press releases, and enjoying beautiful Arizona sunrises.

FROM TOP: A promotional still from “The Morning After,” fair use; a couple walks down the red carpet at Prescott Film Festival’s 2013 Academy Award party at Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, courtesy photo.

�ENSESMAG.COM • FEBRUARY ���� • FEATURE • ��


STAY CLASS-Y Experimentation & the Art of Critique with Debra Owen

10 a.m. Wednesdays Feb. 5, 12, 18, & 26 + March 5, 12, 18, & 26 $20. Four sessions. Be more productive and add new dimensions to your painting expertise. Develop your personal expression in painting, as well as critical thinking and effective supportive critiquing skill.

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10 a.m. Thursdays Feb. 6, 13, & 20 $45 per session. $100 for all three. “How to use and maintain your sewing machine,” “How to take a full set of body measurements and calculate correct garment sizing,” and “How to read and use a garment pattern.”

Drawing Skills with Jacques Laliberté

10 a.m. Fridays Feb. 7, 14, 21, & 28 + March 7, 14, 21, & 28 $125. Four sessions. Practice and improve your drawing skills and artistic expression. You’ll investigate a variety of subjects with focus on line, shading, form, perspective, proportion, composition, and planning.

Basketry

with Liz Block 2 p.m. Saturdays Feb. 15 & 22, March 1 & 8 $125. Four sessions. Basketry is so many things: An ancient craft, a heritage, a practical application, or an exciting exploration of texture, color, and form with today’s palette of natural and synthetic materials.

Sewing Techniques

with Denise Martine Gouge 10 a.m. Thursdays Feb. 27, March 6, 13, 20, & 27, April 3 $45 per session. $225 for all six sessions. “Turning textiles into garments,” “Principles of garment patterning, sizing, and fit,” “Construction,” “Stabilization,” “Closure treatments,” and “Edge treatments.”

Art Journal Making with Autumn Summerfield

9:30-11:30 a.m. Saturdays March 1, 2, & 22 $90. Three sessions. Autumn will show you the foundational techniques she uses for constructing her journals. You will repeate and change these techniques using fabrics, notions, and ephemera.

Vessel of Layered Expressions with Juliane Ketcher

10 a.m. Saturday, March 15 $125. One-time event. Create your own basket. Explore basic stitches, coiling, layering, and weaving techniques, and see how extraordinary three-dimensional organic forms can be created ... layer upon layer, stitch by stitch.

Relief Wood Carving

with Brenda Behrens 5 p.m. Wednesdays March 19 & 26, April 2 & 9 $160 for all four sessions. Work step-by-step through projects designed to give a thorough grounding in relief carving skills applicable to decorative panels, architectural detials, furniture, and carving in the round.

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February

is a month of exceptions. All months have at least one full moon … except for certain Februaries. All months begin and end on different days of the week … except for certain Februaries. And all months straddle five sevenday weeks … except for 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 — that respond to red, green, and blue … except for

certain women. A genetic mutation gives an estimated 12 percent of women a fourth type of retina cone. It’s possible that, instead of seeing the 1 million colors that people who have trichromatic vision see, they could discern 100 million colors. Research has

been inclusive, though, save for the work of Gabriele Jordan, a Newcastle University neuroscientist who documented the first woman with tetrachromatic vision in the July 2010 issue of Journal of Vision. That woman is affectionately referred to as cDa29 in the literature.

Touch Unless you’re of a certain age or went to the same public high school as me, you’re no doubt aware that there are four states of matter: solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. Yup, that’s all of them … except for the other ones. A quick tour of the all-venerable Wikipedia reveals that there are a dozen-odd states of matter. Some are more familiar than others, like superfluidity, a state in which matter behaves like a fluid with zero viscosity. There’s also dark matter, a we-don’t-really-know-what-it-is-but-we’llgive-it-a-name substance that makes up about 25 percent of the universe. (Dark energy makes up

�� • GUIDE • FEBRUARY ���� • �ENSESMAG.COM

about 70 percent.) There’s also something called degenerate matter. If you’re really interested in this, you’re going to have to brush up on esoteric physics. To wit, “Like atoms, excitons — bound pairs of electrons and electron holes — can form a Bose–Einsteincondensate-like state with superfluidic properties below a critical temperature.” That’s from a March 2012 paper from University of California researchers published in Nature. And, truth be told, that quote is from the editor’s summary. And this state only happens near absolute zero, so you wouldn’t want to touch anything going through it.


Sound Auditory hallucinations aren’t all that uncommon. According to some estimates, 10 percent of the population hears voices from time to time. Hearing music that isn’t there appears fairly common, too — even some hearing impaired and deaf people do it. (The condition is called Musical Ear Syndrome.) The music is always familiar to the person hallucinating it … except for a certain woman. In the first such case on record, a 60-year-old woman was able to reproduce musical hallucinations that she her-

self couldn’t identify, but others could, according to a paper by Drs. Danilo Vitorovic and José Biller of Loyola University Chicago in the July 2013 issue of Frontiers in Neurology. And it wasn’t just the music: According to the study she was able to “retrieve lyrics to (a) certain extent of non-recognizable songs.” The authors propose that we all may have musical memories that are present but not retrievable. Then again, anyone who’s ever watched “Name That Tune” already knew that.

Incidentally, did that show have a theme song?

Smell Whether you’re a human, a hummingbird, or a Hungarian tarsza, you probably find the smell of fresh flowers appealing. There’s a reason for that: Flowers smell sweet to attract potential pollinators who (inadvertently) aid in their reproduction. Still, flower sex aside, you might as well stop to smell the proverbial roses … except for the ones that smell like rotting flesh.

Both the Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum) and Rafflesia arnoldii bear the nickname corpse flower, and justifiably so. Corpse flowers, along with a handful of others dubbed carrion flowers, emit odors that smell like rotting flesh. Their odor attracts scavengers like flies and beetles who (again, inadvertently) help them reproduce. Stink lovers make good pollinators, too.

Taste Aside from the taste of food itself, its smell, appearance, plating, and the atmosphere in which it’s served can all affect the way it tastes. Still, the only surefire way to make most foods taste stronger is to add salt … except for bread. By altering the texture of bread — specifically, by making it fluffier with more pores — you can make it taste saltier without adding a single grain of salt. At least, that’s the result of a study by German scientists published in the October 2013 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. This texture trickery works because, basically, fluffy bread yields salt more easily. Or, to put it in the words of the study’s abstract: “A significantly faster sodium release from the coarse-pored bread compared to the fine-pored bread (constant sample weight) was measured in-mouth and in a mastication simulator.” This isn’t the first time altering the texture of a food has increased its perceived saltiness without increasing the amount of salt on it. Similar research has already been conducted with cheese and gels. In fact, according to those studies, it’s possible to decrease the amount of salt in those foods while increasing their perceived saltiness.

FROM LEFT, OPPOSITE: Illustration from the 12th page of a Dutch edition of “The Ugly Duckling,” by Theodorus Hoytema, 1893; an illustration of Rafflesia Arnoldii from “Nature and Art,” probably by Walter Hood Fitch, 1866; both images public domain.

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Mike’s Musical Musings

Playtime

A postcard from the Jazz Education Network International Conference By Mike Vax I’ve just returned from a most enlightening week in Dallas, where I attended the Jazz Education Network International Conference. The Jazz Education Network is an organization dedicated to jazz teachers, students, and musicians. It’s a fairly new organization this being their fifth annual conference. Attendees included people from all over the U.S. and foreign countries from all walks of life. One of the intriguing things about this convention is that world-famous jazz musicians perform and work with young students and their teachers. There are performances and

works from 8 a.m. to midnight every day of the convention. The schedule is similar to any trade show or business, science, or education gathering except for the fact that there are constant performances. Some performances are by professional musicians and bands, some are by school or university bands, and others are a combination of both. The last of these are probably the most fun. The joy on the faces of the young music students is remarkable. They’re actually performing with musicians they’ve heard on recordings or seen on TV — or even in the movies. Interactions like these are what this convention is all about. We, who have made our livings playing jazz music, passing the torch to the next generation of musicians destined to keep “America’s Original Art Form” alive and lively.

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When Louis Armstrong thought to himself, “What a wonderful world,” maybe he had something quite specific in mind. Mike Vax thinks so. Photo by World-Telegram staff photographer, 1953, via U.S. Library of Congress, public domain.

There’s

also an adjunct part of the conference — an entity known as the JENerations Jazz Festival. During the week, middle school, high school, and college bands perform for comments from professional musicians and teachers. I was happy that part of my conference responsibilities included some of these sessions. There’s no competition during the festival. After each band plays, two adjudicators get up on stage and talk to the players about their performance and give them tips to make it even better. I wish more people in politics, business, and even education could attend this conference and witness the camaraderie, cooperation, spirit of giving, and, yes, even love that’s displayed amongst the jazz community. I’ve always believed that the words to Louis Armstrong’s old hit “What a Wonderful World” are really about what the world would be like if it was run by musicians. Music is a universal language that transcends all other forms of communication. When you see musicians representing so many countries, ethnicities, backgrounds, and native tongues call up the same tune, play a melody together, trade solos, then

return to initial melody you’re seeing a real-world example of total cooperation and unity.

Another

aspect of this convention is a chance to hear road stories from old guard musicians such as myself. We can tell you about the days when the big bands crisscrossed the country on buses playing one-nighters in city after city. This is one of the most enjoyable parts of the gathering. Those of us who actually lived through the big band era love telling these stories to eager young musicians who, sadly, will probably never get to experience that part of the business. I’m proud to a musician. I’m proud to be a music teacher. I’m proud to be part of the Jazz Education Network. And, most of all, I’m proud to be an exponent of American jazz music. ***** Mike Vax is a Prescott-based jazz musician and educator. As his column progresses, he’d love to hear your questions, comments, and ideas for future columns. Contact him via his website, MikeVax.Net or at VaxTrpts@AOL.Com.


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Diagnosis: Technology By Paolo Chlebecek

Since

1967, the Consumer Electronics Show — or C.E.Yes!, as we like to call it — has been a haven for geeks and nerds alike. This year’s show, one of the largest Las Vegas conventions, was no exception. While it’s impossible to see (let alone report on) all of the 2 million square feet of show space, let’s review a few items of note. …

For

at least the last 15 years (which is how long I’ve been going) TVs have been the center of attention. The ever-increasing size and sharpness is easy to see. This year’s curved OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) TVs were a big hit. Supposedly, with very large and wide curved screens, you’re

The future is now(ish) A postcard from C.E.Yes! sitting equidistant from all parts of the screen and therefore seeing an undistorted, immersive image. There are even models that transform from flat to curved — the best of both worlds. While the jury is still out on curved screen benefits, everyone seemed to tout its joys. I’m still waiting for a really good glassless 3D TV. Every major manufacturer had at least one to show off but Changhong, a manufacture from China, had the most impressive one. The 3D depth and color were astounding. I’d never heard of Changhong, but the quality of their products was amazing. As good if not better than our old friend Samsung.

One

of my favorite areas is Eureka Park, where all the tiny startups and truly amazing inventions seemed to be. One was

a noise-canceling microphone that uses a special and harmless laser to bounce off your lips and throat to measure your vocal sounds and amplify you for a clear sound in an otherwise very noisy environment. Let’s not forget the ever increasing popularity of 3D printing. There was at least one quarter of a main exhibit hall dedicated to this. One type is now available for only $500. There were some printers that print metal and ceramics and others that print with lasers into a small vat of epoxy. Still others can print beautiful edible items from simple sugar.

The

other hot item was wearable technology. As the happy owner of the Pebble Smartwatch, I can say your wrist is the most sought-after real estate today. There were at least 50 different companies that wanted to put

something on your wrist — from phones to cameras to phones that had cameras all within a few square centimeters on your arm. One manufacturer was ready for production of a nice color smartwatch phone companion for only $150. While some tech inventions fall into the category of “just because they can,” others have real practical advantage. Whichever sort of tech you favor, there’s something that’ll flip your switch at the annual Consumer Electronics Show. ***** Paolo Chlebecek is founder and owner of PaoloTek, which he started in 2003. He enjoys technology of all kinds and, in his spare time, likes to go on adventures with his wife and fourlegged children. Contact him at Paolo@PaoloTek.Com.

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Gene Twaronite’s The Absurd Naturalist

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 favorite classic flicks, the 1951 movie “The Thing From Another World,” which scared me so silly as a kid that I had to hide under the kitchen table whenever it was on. It was supposed to be some giant alien plant which needed blood to feed its young. Sensitively portrayed by James Arness in one of his first big screen roles, it still looked more like a man than a plant. From earliest childhood, I was thrilled by the thought of aliens from distant worlds, yet was always disappointed by the unimaginative ways in which they were depicted in fiction and movies. Mainly, they all seemed so human. Why should aliens look like us? You would

Imagining aliens think, somewhere in this vast universe, evolution could have produced something other than forward-facing bipeds with bilateral symmetry. But all we get are more little green men in flying saucers. Sure, they may sport antennae, big heads, or pointed ears, but they’re still from the same hominid mold. I guess it’s only natural for a species so in love with itself that it imagines its own form to be the pinnacle of perfection. Godlike, we create aliens in our own image. Sometimes we even give them godlike powers like the Q in “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” We also create aliens in the image of other strange earth creatures. We give them tentacles, fearsome heads, and big teeth. But in the end — even if they burst out of our chests — we’re still stuck on earth, imagining only what we know. Not that there haven’t been some great aliens. In the original “Star Trek,” there was the Horta — a silicon-based blob that could drill through solid rock by secreting acid. “Star Trek” writers got even better in future series. In a “Next Generation” episode, a microscopic form of crystalline life is discovered living within a thin layer of saline water that allows the crystals to communicate and form a kind of super-intelligence. Now here was a true alien: something completely foreign and strange from our understanding of life on earth. In his 1934 science fiction story “A Martian Odyssey,” Stanley Weinbaum created one of the most memorable aliens I have ever encountered in fiction: “It was a nondescript creature — body like a big grey cask, arm and a sort of mouth-hole at one end; stiff, pointed tail at the other — and that’s all. No other limbs, no eyes, nose—nothing! The thing dragged itself a few yards, inserted its pointed tail in the sand, pushed itself upright, and just sat. … Then, with a creaking and rustling like — oh,

like crumpling stiff paper — its arm moved to the mouth-hole and out came a brick! The arm placed the brick carefully on the ground, and the thing was still again.” In the final analysis, we are limited both by what we know and don’t know. Our brains are hardwired to perceive and interpret reality in a certain way. I tend to agree with J.B.S. Haldane when, in “Possible Worlds” (1927) he wrote, “Now, my suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.” In other words, if aliens do exist they are like nothing in our wildest dreams. ***** Gene Twaronite’s writing has appeared in numerous literary journals and magazines. He is the author of “The Family That Wasn’t,” “My Vacation in Hell,” and “Dragon Daily News.” Follow Gene at TheTwaronite Zone.Com.

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