…cause even a street sign sometimes needs a helping hand.
So I recently vandalized a piece of artwork. I totally tagged a painting by Austin Parkhill.
Cause that’s just how I roll!
…and because he invited me to.
Austin was in Utqiaġvik awhile back to complete a mural for Iḷisaġvik College. The man used to work here, before moving down to Homer. He is definitely missed.
Even so, we totally tagged his painting!
Yes, we did.
BTW: You should definitely check out more of Austin’s work on his own website, right HERE.
I thought I’d share this little gem currently on display in the Anchorage Museum. It’s called “The End of Everything” by Thomas Chung. I’m sorry, the photo-quality is really crap. Just thought the content was worth sharing despite that. Anyway, here is what Chung has to say about it:
“The painting explores why we may, at times, dehumanize others. It reflects our current political times, which are brewing with hatred and conflict. The cowboy character riding the bomb represents the male American ideal, while the cherubs represent the many living forms of bigotry from the past and present. The graffiti on the polar bear comes from posters repeatedly disseminated around the University of Alakas Anchorage’s campus this year by white supremacists as part of a larger campaign.”
I have papers to grade. So, I guess summer is really over.
I was planning to take it easy this summer, but it didn’t exactly work out that way. A move across town took up a lot more time than Moni and I expected. Our trip to Valdez is still the highlight of the season for me, but I also made it down to Montana on a work-related trip and down again to Fairbanks to help put on the Motif Film Festival. When I wasn’t traveling or taking boxes upstairs, I was busy working on class materials and whatnot. Suffice to say, it was an interesting summer.
One of the most interesting things about this particular summer is just how long the sea ice seemed to remain intact, and how long much of it stuck around shore. It seems like this last winter got started late (snow didn’t start sticking here in Barrow until well into October), so I suppose it’s fitting in some sense that the remnants of that winter would linger a bit. It certainly made for some beautiful views. Few sites compare to the midnight sun shining down on an entire ocean served on the rocks, so to speak.
Yeah, people do swim in this stuff, usually just for a minute or two, just long enough to say they did it.
Other people do this.
(Click to embiggen.)
An ice bow, some sea ice, and an annoying little blue dot.
Sorry, for the poor quality of this video, and in particular for my very shaky hand.
Between her new job and our move into a new apartment, my girlfriend and I haven’t had much of a chance to to travel together this summer. We did manage to sneak out for a week or so in mid June. What we decided to do this time was a quick road trip from Anchorage to Valdez. Of course, getting to Anchorage required a little flying time, but that’s old hat. We had to make a couple purchases for the new place, so that meant staying a couple days in the vicinity of Anchorage, so we found a lovely bed and breakfast in Palmer. After that, we hit the road!
Not literally, of course. I ain’t got nothin’ against the highway.
Anyway, the trip was about a 5 hour drive, but we made plenty of stops. We traveled along the Matanuska river for quite some time, made a brief stop a bit south of Glenallen, then headed off toward Valdez. To say that we found a number of beautiful sites along the way would be putting it mildly.
Valdez itself was absolutely wonderful. I hit a couple museums (The Whitney Museum and the Valdez Museum & Historical Archive) and we hung out at the docks for a time. We ate at the Fat Mermaid a couple of times and made stops at Mike’s Palace and Fu Kung. …suffice to say that we were well fed. We also ran into the folks from Sweet Cheeks Bakery, run by the parents of a coworker, but we didn’t get back in time to get our cinnamon buns. Still, …all of Alaska is just one small village! You just can’t travel through this state without finding connections to the people you meet. Eventually, we bought tickets on a tour boat, which of course meant that I got sick (yes I took some meds), but mostly that was just amazing. I almost never opt for a paid tour, but I’m very glad I did this time.
On the last day as Moni and I were strolling around downtown getting ready to say goodbye to the place, a random guy came out of Mike’s Palace and asked us if we lived in the area. The answer was ‘no’, of course, and then he proceeded to tell us that he had lived here himself once, 30 years ago. I cringed inside as he launched into his efforts to tell me about the good old days. A few minutes later I felt a twinge of sadness as he left us with tales of bar fights between Okies and Texan (oil workers) spilling out of the Palace and onto the street. Apparently, the police had once been disarmed so as to enable the fight to continue. Additional stories involved a pair of Korean prostitutes who paid him extra for a pizza every night so as to have a place to stay. Just how much of this was true, I have no idea, but the stories were a good deal more entertaining than I had anticipated. I found myself wishing we’d run into him before lunch rather than after and on the verge of leaving. Still, a few more eagle pics and off we went.
Hell, even the shopping we did back in Anchorage before boarding the plane back home went well.
I wish every vacation was this cool.
(You may click to embiggen!)
Yes, there are still Blockbusters in Alaska, at least two of them as I understand it; one in Fairbanks and one In Anchorage. I haven’t seen the one in Fairbanks, but Moni and I visited the one on Anchorage a couple weeks back. The one pictured above was still operating in Wasilla when we passed through on our way to Talkeetna this last Spring. Sadly, it has since closed down. Almost a year ago, we stopped into another Blockbuster in Soldatna, but that one too seems to have closed down. So yes, the great Alaskan Blockbuster lives yet in the wilderness of this great state, but it is an endangered species to be sure.
Why have Blockbusters lasted this long here in America’s ‘last frontier’?
Well ironic frontier jargon aside, the issue really does have something to do with the rough edges of our state. Simply put, the internet has not fully replaced video rentals in much of Alaska. Many of us have data-caps, and net usage can be quite costly up here. This fact makes video rental a more attractive option, and along with the various rental kiosks, it enables a precious few blockbusters to do business here in Alaska. But times, they are a changing, and we’re now down to two.
It’s a funny thing when you walk into one of these stores. You can’t help but feel as though you’ve been transported back a decade or two. They look just like you may have remembered them, which is of course the impression store managers want to create. But seriously, what else were they gonna look like? You might find moose in the parking lot, but inside the store, it’s pretty much the same.They will even ask you to be kind…
(You may click to embiggen)
Many thanks to Moni for contributing the Soldatna pics.
I Made a quick stop recently at the Alaska Veterans Museum on 4th Street in Anchorage. I’ve written about this place before, but of course they’ve changed a few things around. I’m continually amazed at the amount of material they manage to cram into such a small space. The whole facility is clearly a labor of love.
Anyway, this little throw pillow definitely caught my attention. I think we’ll just let it speak for itself.
So, a couple of friends and I are putting together a film festival, scheduled for August 3-5 in Fairbanks. We are interested in all manner of independent submissions, but we are particularly interested in just about anything with a social consciousness, so to speak. If you happen to make films, please consider submitting to the festival. And if you happen to like independent films, then please consider watching a few with us in August.
…and if you don’t know, and haven’t been, yes, Fairbanks is gorgeous in August.
We have the following to say for ourselves…
Films from everywhere and of all genres are welcome. MôTif strives to turn our festival into a platform and outlet for voices fighting to be heard. We also encourage submissions from indigenous filmmakers, filmmakers of color, filmmakers with different abilities, LGBTQQIA filmmakers, female-identified filmmakers, and filmmakers from any other underrepresented group. Please help us spread the word and share this with filmmakers from around the world. You can submit your film through FilmFreeway.
MôTif is a multimedia production company that supports and creates art projects, focusing on the underrepresented and the environment.
We have no limits on how to use art to show untold stories and make ideas come true. Our core goal is to explore solutions and help in the fight to decimate racism, bigotry, poverty, sexism, and climate change through art.
We collaborate with masterly artists to offer innovative services for communities, individuals, and organizations including workshops, event development, performing arts, film, photography and design.
With our mission in mind we want to offer the first ever MôTif Film Festival. We are committed to discover new and diverse voices, with 97% of the films coming directly from the submissions we receive. We strive to turn our festival into a platform of voices that still fight to be heard, that need support, and is an outlet for their stories.
The winners of each category will receive an exclusive handmade trophy created by a local Alaskan artist and business owner of The Monolith Project as well as a certificate.
Total Prize Value (USD): Priceless
All submitted films must comply with the Submissions Guidelines including deadlines, exhibition format, entry material, etc.
We do not pay screener fees.
Entrants are responsible for obtaining any necessary licenses, royalties, release forms, clearances, permits necessary to present their work. MôTif Film Festival is not responsible for any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, or royalty infringement related to the work.
Interested parties can find out more here: