Moria Chappell Portfolio: Malamute Saloon

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Tribal Fusion Portfolio

It is our pleasure to present Tribal Fusion Portfolio, a series of portfolios focusing on the many facets of the ever-evolving bellydance genre known as Tribal Fusion. From visionary dancers and choreographers to innovative photographers, avant guarde costumery, ancient artifacts, and dusty locations, we invite you to explore a variegated kaleidoscope of tribal fusion imagery.

Tribal Fusion Portfolio: The

Malamute Saloon

The Malamute Saloon In this issue of Tribal Fusion Portfolio, we’ll explore the world-famous watering hole, The Malamute Saloon, located near Ester, Alaska. We’ll begin by experiencing the location through the eyes of Robert W. Service as he sets the scene with his narrative poem, The Shooting of Dan McGrew. Then we’ll embark on a behind-the-scenes walk about with Moria Chappell during her Malamute Saloon Photoshoot. Lastly, we’ll look at the Contributors to this issue of Tribal Fusion Portfolio.

The Shooting of Dan McGrew

The Shooting of Robert W. Service

Dan McGrew The 1890s Yukon settlements of Ester and Cripple Creek, located near Fairbanks, Alaska, sheltered roughneck prospectors, weatherworn strangers, ladies of the evening, and a poet who penned their affairs. The settlements’ Malamute Saloon became the setting of a narrative poem written by Robert W. Service, published in 1907. In 2011, the saloon became the location of a photo shoot featuring Moria Chappell. Photos from the shoot illustrate the poem while showcasing the saloon, where a “jag-time tune” still mingles with lust for the “muck called gold.”

A bunch of the boys were whooping it up in the Malamute saloon; The kid that handles the music-box was hitting a jag-time tune; Back of the bar, in a solo game, sat Dangerous Dan McGrew, And watching his luck was his light-o'-love, the lady that's known as Lou.

When out of the night, which was fifty below, and into the din and the glare, There stumbled a miner fresh from the creeks, dog-dirty, and loaded for bear. He looked like a man with a foot in the grave and scarcely the strength of a louse, Yet he tilted a poke of dust on the bar, and he called for drinks for the house. There was none could place the stranger's face, though we searched ourselves for a clue; But we drank his health, and the last to drink was Dangerous Dan McGrew.

There's men that somehow just grip your eyes, and hold them hard like a spell; And such was he, and he looked to me like a man who had lived in hell; With a face most hair, and the dreary stare of a dog whose day is done, As he watered the green stuff in his glass, and the drops fell one by one. Then I got to figgering who he was, and wondering what he'd do, And I turned my head — and there watching him was the lady that's known as Lou.

His eyes went rubbering round the room, and he seemed in a kind of daze, Till at last that old piano fell in the way of his wandering gaze. The rag-time kid was having a drink; there was no one else on the stool, So the stranger stumbles across the room, and flops down there like a fool. In a buckskin shirt that was glazed with dirt he sat, and I saw him sway; Then he clutched the keys with his talon hands — my God! but that man could play.

Were you ever out in the Great Alone, when the moon was awful clear, And the icy mountains hemmed you in with a silence you most could hear; With only the howl of a timber wolf, and you camped there in the cold, A half-dead thing in a stark, dead world, clean mad for the muck called gold; While high overhead, green, yellow and red, the North Lights swept in bars? — Then you've a hunch what the music meant. . . hunger and night and the stars.

And hunger not of the belly kind, that's banished with bacon and beans, But the gnawing hunger of lonely men for a home and all that it means; For a fireside far from the cares that are, four walls and a roof above; But oh! so cramful of cozy joy, and crowned with a woman's love — A woman dearer than all the world, and true as Heaven is true — (God! how ghastly she looks through her rouge, — the lady that's known as Lou).

Then on a sudden the music changed, so soft that you scarce could hear; But you felt that your life had been looted clean of all that it once held dear; That someone had stolen the woman you loved; that her love was a devil's lie; That your guts were gone, and the best for you was to crawl away and die. 'Twas the crowning cry of a heart's despair, and it thrilled you through and through — "I guess I'll make it a spread misère," said Dangerous Dan McGrew.

The music almost died away. . .then it burst like a pent-up flood; And it seemed to say, "Repay, repay," and my eyes were blind with blood. The thought came back of an ancient wrong, and it stung like a frozen lash, And the lust awoke to kill, to kill. . . then the music stopped with a crash, And the stranger turned, and his eyes they burned in a most peculiar way; In a buckskin shirt that was glazed with dirt he sat, and I saw him sway;

Then his lips went in in a kind of grin, and he spoke, and his voice was calm, And "Boys," says he, "you don't know me, and none of you care a damn; But I want to state, and my words are straight, and I'll bet my poke they're true, That one of you is a hound of hell. . .and that one is Dan McGrew."

Then I ducked my head, and the lights went out, and two guns blazed in the dark, And a woman screamed, and the lights went up, and two men lay stiff and stark. Pitched on his head, and pumped full of lead, was Dangerous Dan McGrew, While the man from the creeks lay clutched to the breast of the lady that's known as Lou.

These are the simple facts of the case, and I guess I ought to know. They say the stranger was crazed with "hooch," and I'm not denying it's so. I'm not so wise as the lawyer guys, but strictly between us two — The woman that kissed him and — pinched his poke — was the lady that's known as Lou.

The Shooting of Dan McGrew was first published in 1907 in The Songs of the Sourdough. The poem served as the basis for the 1998 novel, The Man From the Creeks, by Robert Kroetsch, and was the inspiration for a 1949 song "Dangerous Dan McGrew" by Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians. The story was referenced in the song “Put the Blame on Mame” sung by Rita Hayworth in the 1945 movie Gilda, which claims that rather than being shot to death, Dan McGrew was slain by Mame's "hoochy-coo" dance. The poem was also seminal in creating the now cliché saloon showdown: the stranger, the dangerous card player, the sultry saloon girl, tension mounting via piano playing, lights out, gunshots, lights up— slain men. The poem's artistic influence surfaced again when US President Ronald Reagan and Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney performed an alternating recital of it in both private and public meetings. The poem was one of Reagan’s favorites, so much so that for his Congressional Memorial Service, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska included the poem in the Congressional Record in honor of the former president’s love for the poem and for her state.

Malamute Saloon Photoshoot

The Saloon

The Fleur de Lys Wall

The Storage Building

The Porch

The Bath House


The Cabin

The Truck

The Shack


Cover Art

Moria Chappell


Moria Chappell graces stages around the globe bringing the exquisite art of Tribal Fusion Bellydance to its utmost in elegance, darkness, and intensity of expression. Tribal Fusion is an eclectic expression of the moves and emotions born from the lands and heart of the Middle East and beyond. With an underpinning of the old and the authentic, and by infusing antique jewelry, textiles, and musical instruments which connote the essence of these ancient cultures, an American ear for industrial rebellion is then juxtaposed and layered atop, thereby weaving in the contemporary myth, styles, and beliefs of a modern era. Moria creates her whimsical mixture of enchanting darkness by embodying the mythos of a modern industry with the legends of a forgotten ancestry. Her work is detailed and enigmatic, heralding from a childhood of Bohemian upbringing where value was placed on beauty and the truth of artistic expression.


“The Shooting of Dan McGrew”

Robert W. Service

Robert William Service was born in 1874 and died in 1958. Known as "The Bard of the Yukon,” Service grew famous for his poems “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” and “The Cremation of Sam McGee,” works penned for his first book, Songs of a Sourdough. Although extremely popular, his poems were considered “doggerel” by the literary set. Born in England, he moved to Kilwinning, Scotland at the age of five to live with his three maiden aunts and his paternal grandfather. There he composed his first verse, a grace, on his sixth birthday: God bless the cakes and bless the jam; Bless the cheese and the cold boiled ham. Bless the scones Aunt Jeannie makes, And save us all from bellyaches. Amen As a young adult, Service moved to Canada where he was hired by a Canadian Bank of Commerce in Victoria. The bank officers sent him to Kamloops in the middle of British Columbia. He lived over the bank and dressed for dinner in Victoria, and played polo in the horse country of Kamloops. By the fall of 1904, the bank sent him to their Whitehorse branch in the Yukon. Throughout this period, Service wrote verses peppered with gutsy stories yet his personal life remained that of a polished gentleman.

Photo shoot Kim Hudson


Kim Hudson hails from the land of the Midnight Sun and currently lives in Las Vegas with her husband and two children. While being a homeschooling mother, she also runs 180360, a company offering photographer services which include environmental portraiture and lifestyle sessions. In addition to photography, Ms. Hudson likes growing and making her family’s food, visiting new places, running, yoga, hiking, and listening to records. She can be found on the web at


Dahna Lorrain Koth

Editor & Graphic Designer

Dahna Koth serves as Marketing Director and Fellow of the Mythic Imagination Institute. In this capacity, she produced and co-­‐wrote with Honora Foah over a dozen full-­‐length radio programs and continues to serve as creative consultant for Mythic Imagination Magazine. Ms. Koth is also Director of Creative Services for the international business group, DLK Ltd. As a writer and creative director, her clients in corporate communications and business theatre have included Fortune 500 companies such as Coca-­‐Cola, BellSouth, Eli Lilly, SAAB, Ritz-­‐Carlton, Delta Airlines, Cingular, and Nortel Networks. Prior to joining DLK Ltd., Ms. Koth was Creative Director for two of the nation’s top corporate communications firms, PGI and The Jack Morton Company. At Conduit Communications, she served as Vice President of Marketing & Development specializing in television programming and joint venture relations with New World Entertainment. For seven years, Ms. Koth worked as Development Project Manager for the Dollywood Company where she focused on the development of a world-­‐class resort for Dollywood, a $4.5 million themed dinner extravaganza called Dixie Stampede, as well as Dollywood theme park expansions. After leaving Dollywood, she was commissioned by Dolly Parton to write two movie scripts, and by Dollywood to write two musicals.


Katelin H.


The Malamute Saloon When I was a little girl, my parents didn't read me the typical princess fairytale bedtime stories; I was a Sourdough, an Alaskan. The poems and ballads of Robert Service were spun to life as I nestled into a swirl of downy rest. “The Cremation of Sam McGee” was a favorite... a tale of sled dogs and friendships only the Yukon could build. But the story I always wanted to hear was “ The Shooting of Dan McGrew'... a cold blooded murder, a dusty piano, and a Lady that's known as Lou. The setting: The Malamute Saloon. Most childhood bedtime stories are set in fictional places with fictional characters. The Malamute Saloon was not only a real place, but a place that I knew and loved. My father, the bartender; my mother, the honky-­‐tonk piano player. This place is legit. Sawdust floor, swinging doors, bar stools worn with years. The memories (now 20 years old) still fresh as new fallen snow. Huskies howling at the Northern Lights and the crunch of peanut shells under mud-­‐ caked boots. I couldn't think of a place more suited to raise a child. And, mark my words, the best custard you'll ever eat.

Editorial Note: The Malamute Saloon is spelled at least two different ways: Malamute and Malemute. We opted to use “Malamute” since that is the way Robert W. Service spelled it in his poem, and therefore adjusted other spellings for consistency.