Music Monday: Thought Trade on Alaska Live

Above: Thought Trade warms up for their performance on Alaska Live in the KUAC studios. Left to right: Daniel Opgenorth, Casey Smith, Travis Burrows, Sabe Flores, and Patrick Mailloux. 

Fairbanks band Thought Trade was featured on locally produced Alaska Live on June 26, 2013.Given the right mood their fluid, rhythmic, stream-of-conscinouse style of playing can put one into a trance. Listen for yourself to the Alaska Live podcast, or check out their blog with interesting insight and links to more music. 

Thought Trade sound check. Nine people and lots of gear in a petite room.

Thought Trade sound check. Nine people and lots of gear in a petite room.

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Wendy as The Firebird in UAF’s Graffiti Hall

Between performances of The Firebird Wendy did a quick photo shoot in the graffiti hall, right outside the Salisbury Theatre.

With only time for a short shoot, and unsure the aesthetic I was going for, I decided just to experiment with the lively and colorful background. The difference between color images and black and white is stark. Even with slight desaturation, there is a color discord which emphasizes certain forms and elements. Black and white images seem to be more about mood and design.

I think I like the black and white. I’m sure I’m biased.

WendyGraffiti-6

WendyGraffitiBW-2

WendyGraffiti-2

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Music Monday: Steve Brown and the Bailers, Howling Dog performance

Any regular followers may have noticed a lack of posts the last seven days. It was my final week of undergrad, and wanted to make sure I finished everything I needed to graduate. Now that school’s over, it’s time to get back in the postings. Today will be a brief post of my favorite local band, Steve Brown and the Bailers, who were recently featured in UAF’s bi-yearly publication Aurora. The Spring 2013 printing also features a good article about the state of journalism in Alaska, a fun info sheet about the Equinox Marathon, and a two-page spread with my photo of UAF’s Research Vessel Sikuliaq.

The article about Steve Brown and the Bailers highlights their national successes, and offers a little insight into how their name came about. Hint: it had to do with unreliable band members.

The following photos are from a performance they gave July 28, 2012, at the uniquely-Alaskan Howling Dog Saloon. Photographically, one of the best things about the Howling Dog is the plethora of memorabilia plastered on walls.

Low-flying planes be damned, this band will play on.

Low-flying planes be damned, this band will play on.

Enthusiastic dancers always enjoy the Bailers.

Enthusiastic dancers always enjoy the Bailers.

Guest artist Caitlin Warbelow, left, joined a few songs with some impressively-frantic fiddle.

Guest artist Caitlin Warbelow, left, joined a few songs with some impressively-frantic fiddle.

Fine Art Friday: North Star Ballet’s “The Firebird.”

A few weeks ago I mentioned a new posting theme: Fine Art Friday. That has been the first, and only, installment. Until now.

North Star Ballet School, in Fairbanks, Alaska, will premier The Firebird this weekend, a ballet based on a Russian fairy tale, and set to music by Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. A full article about the local production with dancer, director and seamstress interviews can be found at the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

It’s a standard fairy-tale plot, a prince battles evil to free a damsel in distress, in this case calling on the Firebird to help him defeat the evil Kotschei. Dancers adorn bold, bright and colorful costumes, especially Kotschei’s cape and a group of monsters under his control. Continuing with vivid colors, the second act includes three short pieces, Red Arc/Blue Veil, Suite With Hats, and Der Rosenkavalier Waltzes. 

Firebird has performances at UAF’s Salisbury Theatre, Friday April 19 at 8 p.m., Saturday April 20 at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday April 21 at 2 p.m.

Kotschie (Jarrin Overholt,) is banished by the Firebird (Wendy Langton,) as Prince Ivan (Ian Ziesel,) looks on

Kotschie (Jarrin Overholt,) is banished by the Firebird (Wendy Langton,) as Prince Ivan (Ian Ziesel,) looks on

Monster capture and torment Prince Ivan

Monsters capture and torment Prince Ivan

The Firebird and Prince Ivan dance together in the forest.

The Firebird and Prince Ivan dance together in the forest.

Red Arc/Blue Veil is not a dance with a narrative. Instead it is a study in movement and music. Composed by Fairbanks-based, but internationally-renowned composer John Luther Adams, Red Arc/Blue Veil is metaphorical piece about the Aurora Borealis, exploring the geometry of time and color.  Fluid successions of movement rise and fall, crisscrossing the stage. Lighting – green, red, blue, and purple – strengthen enhance the ethereal feel.

Movement and form is repeated in a canonical form, meaning the same steps but at different times.

Movement and form are repeated in a canonical form, meaning the same steps, but at different times.

A fitting, and fantastic, lens flare for a piece symbolizing the northern lights.

A fitting, and fantastic, lens flare for a piece symbolizing the northern lights.

Music Monday: Steve Brown and the Bailers at the UAF Pub

Fairbanks-based rockabilly band Steve Brown and The Bailers will perform at the UAF Pub this Saturday, March 30, 2013. Here’s a great show poster created by Sue Sprinkle of 5th Avenue Design & Graphics.

poster

Their most recent show was also at UAF’s Pub, February 24. After helping set up microphones and patch them into the snake I hung around to dance and photograph.

I’ll be the first to admit, this isn’t my finest edit. First off, none of my images are exceptionally sharp, rather they’re quite fuzzy. Second, either I misplaced, or didn’t even shoot RAW images, so my hack-job edit today was of small, unforgiving JPEGs.

For those who don’t know, a RAW image is 16-bits per color, uncompressed and the complete, unaltered file captured by the camera. In comparison, JPEGs are an 8-bit, compressed file. While a RAW file can be many-times bigger then a JPEG, the nature of the file allows for digital manipulation without altering the pixels. There are drawbacks other then large file sizes, but for all intensive purposes, shoot RAW.

Hope you enjoy!

Steve Brown and the Bailers at the UAF Pub, Feb. 24, 2013.

Steve Brown and Robin Fienman on guitar and vocals sing together February 24, 2013.

Steve Brown and the Bailers at the UAF Pub, Feb. 24, 2013.

With their groovy melodies, expert playing and relatable lyrics, Steve Brown and the Bailers inspire a dance floor of all ages and abilities

Making sure everyone hits the last note of the night together.

Making sure everyone hits the night’s last note together.

Tractor and barn illuminated by norther lights

For one reason or another, the northern lights are something I don’t photograph enough. Being a heavy film shooter until recent probably played a factor, digital cameras are more cooperative in cold weather. Cold, lack of tripod, poor location  and early-morning hours have all played a role in deciding as well.

As the wind whistled and the lights danced overhead a few weeks ago, I said, “no excuses.” Less then a mile to get to my house I had a revelation: the hay field about half-a-mile up the road. Seems silly I had never though of it before.  Not wanting to miss a second, I decided to forgo finding my tripod and zipped to the field. I used the two-second self timer and the roof of my car. Directly off Farmers Loop Rd. subsequent cars driving by helped illuminate the farm equipment and barn. Foreground helps any picture, especially northern lights.

The image is actually two pictures placed next to each other. Photomerge, which creates panoramas, wouldn’t blend the images. The color is off and the horizon isn’t perfect, but I like it.

Worth noting, the Big Dipper is noticeable,  just up and to the left of the barn.

Northern lights dance above a hay field off Farmers Loop Rd., Fairbanks Alaska.

The Nutcracker Ballet, it’s that time of the year.

It may not be December yet, but the holiday spirit will descend on Herring Auditorium this weekend as The North Star Ballet performs The Nutcracker. This is the 26th year the ballet has been staged in Fairbanks. Set to the classic score by Tchaikovsky, it follows the tale of a young girl named Clara, who saves the Nutcracker from the sword of the evil Mouse King. The Nutcracker then transforms into a prince, and Clara is whisked away to the land of sweets, to be entertained by dancers representing tea, coffee, Danish marzipans and of course, the Sugar Plum Fairy and her cavalier.

The North Star Ballet follows a traditional Balanchine choreography, and is a spectacular show if you’ve never seen it, or go every year. Performances this year feature returning guest dancers from Ballet West, Deanna Karlheim and Hannes Van Wassenhove as the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier.

The Nutcracker will be performed tonight, Nov. 30 at 8 p.m. tomorrow Dec. 1 at 2 and 8 p.m. and Sunday Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. Again I encourage everyone to support their local art scene and show them how much you appreciate their hard work.

Happy holidays!

Guests look on during the first-act party scene as Ian Zeisel dances the role of soldier doll.

Guests look on during the first-act party scene as Ian Zeisel dances the role of soldier doll.

Clara's attention is beckoned to the guard house moments before the Nutcracker turns into a prince.

Clara’s attention is beckoned to the guard house moments before the Nutcracker turns into a prince.

Nutcracker 2012

Wendy Langton and Ian Zeisel as the Snow Fairy and her Cavalier pose and snow drifts down around the dancers.

Wendy Langton and Ian Zeisel as the Snow Fairy and her Cavalier pose and snow drifts down around the dancers.

Nutcracker 2012