Saturday, August 30, 2008

Handmade Prop Jewelry

I've been making some sellable crafts for a fundrasing event I plan to have later this autumn.
Here is an advance look at some wrist cuffs and choker/bookmarks. They are made entirely out of repurposed materials (lots of pointe shoe ribbons!) and most of them have a prop from the shooting of "Holding This For You" incorporated into the design.

"Tracings" research

Something that persons outside of the dance community may not know is that most dancemakers do a lot of non-movement research in creating and preparing for the performance of a dance work.

My reading list for the creation of Tracings included:

Evolution in Four Dimensions: Genetic, Epigentic, Behavioral, and Symbolic Variation in the History of Life
by Eva Jablonka and Marion J. Lamb with illustrations by Anna Zeligowski
Ghost Worlds: A Guide to Plotergeists, Portals, Eco-mist and Spirit Behavior
by Melba Goodwyn
The Knowing Body: Elements of Contemporary Performance and Dance
by Lousie Steinman
A Good and Happy Child (fiction)
by Justin Evans
The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories
chosen by Michael Cox and R.A.Gilbert
True Ghost Stories
Marchioness Townsend and Maude FFoulkes

In addition I did quite a lot of internet reading:

A New York Times bio on Marian Radke-Yarrow "The Anthropological Psychologist" 12/30/07
by Lauren Slater
A New Yorker article; "The Itch: It's Mysterious Power May Be A Clue to a New Theory About Brains and Bodies" 6/30/08
by Atule Gawande
"Brain Basics: Know Your Brain"
from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website
A Telegraph UK article; "Secrets of the Monster"
author unknown
The Stranger's slog comments on Seattle's pitifully impaled pigeons

Additional (unfortunately undocumented) web research on: epigenetics, pre-natal stress, maternal depression, trans-generational trauma, domestic abuse, peloria linnaria vulgaris (toadflax) and Carolus Linnaeus (founder of taxonomy), hauntings especially in the Seattle area, hydrangeas, the brain disorder Kuru found in the Fore tribe of Papua New Guinea.

I watched:
a lot of horror (haunting only) films. Some good, some awful.
Fox Sports Network's "Sports Science"
Youtube videos of hockey player Clint Malarchuk horrific accident.

My research also included a lot of free writing, rumination on my own memories and stories told to me by others; including one from my father about when he "cast the demons" out of a troubled young man while on a religious mission in the "deep south" only to have the young man (several years later) go on to decapitate a man on main street over a woman.

Other life experiences that became research include:
I spent time observing and interacting with a tweenage girl.
Went to a wedding.
Mourned the deaths I had been avoiding.
Taught myself to cry on cue. Decided it was too painful to ever try again.
Sorted through my great-grandmothers sewing box with my mother.
Comtemplated the possibility of a guiding hand, a god-like presence.
Observed up close the lives of animals in nature. In particular nest-building and rearing of baby birds.
Made handicrafts and lists.
Experienced deep rage.
Spent time alone.

I compiled a inspirational music mix. The set list is:

Black Eyes and Neckties: Apparition (entire album)
Coco Rosie: Ghost Horse and Stillborn (entire album)
Cloud Cult: Feel Good Ghosts (Tea-Partying Through Tornadoes) (entire album)
Okkervil River: Another Radio Song, Forest, Black Sheep Boy, Garden, Missing Children
Elliott Smith: Bye, Don't Go Down, A Fond Farwell, Can't Make a Sound, King's Crossing, Memory Lane,Ostriches & Chirping
The Mountain Goats: Dilaudid, Up The Wolves
The Flaming Lips: Do You Realize?
Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter: Doralee, Reckless Burning
Rasputina: Endomorph, My Little Shirtwaist Fire, Stumpside
The Black Angels: The First Vietnamese War
Neutral Milk Hotel: Ghost
Trailer Bride: Ghost of Mae West, Hope Is A Thing With Feathers, Shilo, Skinny White Girl
Me First And The Gimme Gimmes: (Ghost) Riders In the Sky
Erykah Badu: The Healer
Death Cab for Cutie: I Will Follow You Into the Dark, Soul Meets Body
Mathew Sawyer & The Ghosts: In a Haunted House
The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir Obsessions
Slowdive: Trellisaze
Tegan and Sara: Walking With a Ghost

Oh, and I did some improvisational dance as well.

Original specimen of Peloria Linnaria Vulgaris from

Friday, August 29, 2008

Photos from "Tracings"

These are photos from my latest film project "Tracings". Photography credit goes to Dave Hanagan. This is a very small peek at the film. There are several other scenes, but the shooting schedule was so tight we didn't get as many stills taken as we would have liked.

Film shot on location in an 1870's house in rural Riverside, UT at the end of July.

The "Tracings" production crew was:
Ben Kasulke: dp, etc.
Dave Hanagan: camera assistant, etc.
Nathan Hadley: sound op
Michelle Henley: pa, etc.

produced in association with The Northwest Film Forum and 4Culture

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Photos From "Holding This For You"

The following are photos from my first film "Holding This For You". Slated for completion this autumn.
Photo credit goes to Kaija Cornett.

Production Crew:
Ben Kasulke- dp
Courtland Premo- 2nd camera
Curtis Taylor- set construction
Alicia Graf- costume construction
Michelle Henley- pa
Michel Tran- pa

Post-production Crew:
Jason Staczek- score
Caoimhe Doyle- foley
Vinny Smith- sound design
Tania Kupzcak- title design
Ella Marie Gray- violin
Eric Goetz- orchestrator

produced in association with The Northwest Film Forum and the City of Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs

First Things First

An explanation of the name of the part of me that creates; "Josephines's Echopraxia".

Josephine- a character from Kafka's short story "The Mouse Folk". From Wikipedia (all quotes are Kafka):

Josephine is a rarity among the mouse people, for she has the innate ability to sing. She can not only sing, but she can sing beautifully, helping all the mouse people continue with their hardworking lives. Some of the mouse people dislike her and do not believe she is truly singing, while others gather round to listen to her, use her feeble vocal cords to their utmost strength, and treasure her femininity. Some of the mouse people wonder if Josephine is truly singing, for they wonder if mice can sing or if they simply just whistle? Depending on the position facing Josephine, her music sounds like great piping and sometimes it sounds like true music. At times, she pouts and stammers as a woman, bringing chaos and chatter amongst the people; yet, when she sings, she brings a hush to the crowd, and everyone realizes that she is special. They must protect their dear Josephine, for she is one of a kind.

"Sometimes I have the impression that our people sees its relationship with Josephine rather like this: that she, this fragile, vulnerable, somehow distinguished creature, in her opinion distinguished by her song, has been entrusted to us and that we must look after her; the reason for this is not clear to anyone, only the fact seems to be established. But what has been entrusted to one's care one does not laugh at; to do so would be a breach of duty; the utmost spite that the most spiteful amongst us can vent on Josephine is when they sometimes say: 'When we see Josephine it is no laughing matter."

As time progresses, people feel differently about Josephine and her music, thinking her pompous, thinking her lazy, and simultaneously thinking her a gift to the community. She rarely does her work, yet still gets her daily ration of food. When she injures herself barely, she works even less. No other mouse would be tolerated in the community.

Eventually, Josephine is missing; nobody can find her and everyone misses her music, her piping, and her singing. Yet, after enough time searching, she is lost, and gone forever. Their lives continue as normal.

"So perhaps we shall not miss so very much after all, while Josephine, for her part, delivered from earthly afflictions, which however to her mind are the privilege of chosen spirits, will happily lose herself in the countless throng of the heroes of our people, and soon, since we pursue no history, be accorded the heightened deliverance of being forgotten along with all her brethren."

Echopraxia as defined by as "the involuntary imitation of the movements of another person. Echopraxia is a feature of schizophrenia (especially the catatonic form), Tourette syndrome, and some other neurologic diseases. From echo + the Greek praxia meaning action".

Yes, it is perhaps a bit tongue in cheek. Half a joke and half how I really feel. This is what I do best, perhaps the only thing I am fit to do. Often, I just can't help myself. A compulsion bordering on disease. I feel stongly I have something important to give and it is the ONLY thing I have to give, but I am well aware it doesn't fill your belly, keep you dry and warm, or set your broken bones. I just hope it can stitch back together the flayed bits of your soul as the art of others has done time and time again for me.