Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Getting (Rocky Mountain) High...

After our wonderfully well recieved (even though it poured on Saturday) show in Minneapolis at Edina, we took off toward our Island Home on Lopez in the Pacific Northwest...

Victoria, mistress of the keyboards, goddess of all things to do with trip planning, and all around great planner, arranged to end up at our friends in Gardiner, MT the week that the Yellowstone 'opens'. Of course Lu Harlow, V's friend from College, is the Food and Beverage Director for the entire park and so we did have a fabulous meal at the Mammouth Inn the first night we were there... but that is not what I was thinking of when I started this post!

We (Vand I) got up early and went for a wonderful walk through the town of Gardiner with Lu in the morning... it is a real rough-n-ready sort of frontier town that perches on the steep banks of the river squashed by mountains and the national park. This is the town that has store-front churches and probably 25 different drinking establishments in a place with fewer than 2000 residents. The architechture is a mix of the handi-man-get-it-up-before-winter specials and the 140 year old stone cottages that made alot of sense back in the day...

The rivers are full... so full and fast that you really can't go fishing in them- bummer- and, apparently, people fall in the water and aren't found ever again... yowser!

We spent the entire rest of the day (really until well after 7pm) hiking around in Yellowstone! Started by meeting a mare(?) Elk with her baby that was about 2 hours old! V got great pix of that but I did not...

We went up to the Geysers and walked around looking at the various holes in the terrain that were bubbling and spewing and steaming. Of course we had to remind ourselves that we were not looking at Fox News.

From there we did a bit of Waterfall inspection... and of course they are not conveniently placed near the road- one of them Xan and I hiked down 600 (vertical) feet to get to- but it was worth it. They don't tell you that 600 feet down is a bit over a mile and a half, each way, on the switchback paths that you take to get there... Stunning panorama when you make it there though. There was another way to come down to look at the falls from the front instead of the side but we did not do that...

We did find another hike- down to the base of the Hellroaring Mountains- that was so desolate and devoid of human evidence that, if the romantic pathway through the woods was not there, I would have lost my sense of what century I'm currently in.

On our way back to Lu and Chris' house we did run into a 'park' phenomenon... all of the vechicles in front of us were stopped, in both directions, and all of the folks were on the side of the road... turns out there were a couple of Bull Elks grazing right next to the road! People were completely fearless about walking up to these 6oo pound creatures and sticking a camera in their faces... somewhat insane behavior, to be sure, that our hosts warned us about before we left in the morning...

We made it back home to an everything-on-the-grill dinner and great company...

seems like I'm posting this without all of the great photos for now- transmission errors here at the Library- more Later! Blessings abound!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Oh, I know, Let's have a Festival!

I suppose if I’d had even an spare half an hour over the last three weeks, I’d have stopped and posted a blog entry or two- just to keep everyone informed and up-to-date… but believe me- I did not have that half hour anywhere…

The Arts and Music Festival for 2010 is just a pleasant memory for most folks here… I’m still zooming around and making sure that storage is good for all of the signs and other ‘festival properties’ and answering emails from officials and phone calls from media. That is dwindling off now and we are working like maniacs to make the transition to driving across country to Lopez.

The Festival.

Who knew?

Well, actually, I guess we did… at the beginning of it all was about 5 (completely unexpected) months of really insane Politics- shall we call it the politics of transition?; maybe the politics of allowing?- that devoured all of the luxury of time that we thought we had to plan and build and dream this to fruition. In the end we pulled the whole thing together in about 100 days.

We had to start with the name of the festival, (the Lower Town Arts and Music Festival), and really little else… the city office that had been in charge of the festival for the last 7 years was unable (or unwilling?) to give us any of the contacts for the services they used or the Artists that had participated. They did not have a budget to share of what they spent money on at the last festival, which would have given us clues about where the money went. Amazingly, after producing this festival for years, they didn’t have a single bit of ‘management product’ to pass forward. Not to worry.

Over the next few months we discovered that there were a lot of folks, in and around town, that were heavily invested in the festival either not existing any longer, or existing in a very specific way that conformed to their singular vision.

We went ahead and held brainstorming sessions with anyone invited to participate- we wrote down all of the ideas of what people would like to see at a festival in the neighborhood and did not allow any pre-filtering nay-sayers to shoot ideas down. We took all of these ideas and developed a huge (15 page) on-line survey that allowed anyone in the neighborhood to vote on all of the ideas and rate them. We discovered, in that process, that there were a few folks who had decided to be actively opposed to anything happening. (Didn’t see that coming).

At this point the City group that was thrusting the festival toward us was given a small budget enhancement and now wanted the festival back… oops.

They even went so far as to say the Lower Town Neighborhood Association couldn’t use the name Lower Town Arts and Music Festival because they (the city office in charge of promoting Lower Town and Downtown) had it under copyright… that was too silly and the Mayor shut the down in a heartbeat.

Then the good stuff… the business community- the Bank, The TV Station and Paper, the Railroad, the Car Dealers, the bridge builders- all chipped in and supported the regime change for the festival. People stepped up into the leadership roles for each of the different volunteer positions (organizational heads). Even the City, as represented by all of the department heads with their various clipboards, created a harmony hitherough unheard of in a public event. It was FANTASTIC and the show has even happened yet!

So, Stef and I are running, running, running and then… it’s the day of and all comes together- certainly with excitement and thrilling moments of WTF! But no killer problems and… everyone seems happy… shhh… walk softly… don’t disturb it… everyone is happy!


I mean WOW!

And here it is a couple of weeks later and still… everyone is happy!