Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Human Paint Brush

Join us Friday, at 8 PM, at Summit Artspace in Akron, Ohio, as Akron Film + Pixel and Art+Practice present the World Premiere of "Human Paint Brush": a short film about Don Matis, an artist who paints with his beard. "Human Paint Brush" is episode 10 of The Amerikans, a series of relationship-based documentaries created in close cooperation with their subjects. Previously released episodes of The Amerikans will also be shown. Conversations with filmmakers & Don Matis during the event will take place alongside an exhibition of Don's paintings. Refreshments available.  
Click here to read the press release

Oberlin College Taiko

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This week composer Ryan Lester, a graduate of Oberlin Conservatory of Music (’11), collaborated with eight members of Oberlin College Taiko on music for Art+Practice’s first feature film, AMERIKA: a notebook in three parts. Conducted by Matthew Chamberlain (’13), the Taiko music is part of a 90-minute score which mixes Eastern and Western influences and will continue to be recorded with students from Oberlin’s Conservatory of Music in the fall and spring of 2012-13. Ryan Lester is an internationally performed composer. His music is broadcast daily all over the world on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, for which he composed the currently used celebrity walk-on music. Oberlin College Taiko aims to share an appreciation and understanding of the traditional art form of Japanese Taiko drumming. The group includes Galen Rogers ('12), John Paddock ('12), Amelea Kim ('12), Chloe Dalby ('12), Nattie Chan ('12), Adam Weinger ('13), Nick Loh ('14) and Yue Qiu ('14).

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sweat Lodge

On Saturday, April 21, I attended a traditional Sioux sweat lodge in Peebles, Ohio, hosted by Parnell Necklace, whose Native singing and drumming group “Iron Necklace” will help score AMERIKA: a notebook in three parts, Art+Practice’s first feature film.

The “sweat,” as it is called, is a ritual of purification that strengthens participants for what lies ahead; it also heals the past and promotes visions. Outside the lodge was a stone altar, pictured above, which is traditionally a buffalo skull placed about three paces from the entrance and three paces from the fire. The lodge itself was constructed of branches, bent over and lashed to form a low-domed framework, approximately four- to five-feet high at the center and covered entirely in blankets.

At around 4:30 PM we stripped outside and entered the lodge, saying “Mitakuye oyasin" at the entrance, which roughly means, "To all my relations." Within, around 20 of us formed a complete circle, sitting comfortably upright against the wall of the lodge. Dry sage was scattered on the floor and passed around to everyone. Large glowing rocks, which had been baking since noon in a nearby fire, were then brought in. As the door was shut, and we adjusted to total darkness, large amounts of water were poured on the rocks to create steam. After much drumming, singing and sweating, the door was opened at intervals to refresh the lodge for a several minutes. At one of these intervals, we passed around and smoked two sacred pipes, both filled with tobacco; during another, everyone in the circle got a chance to pray out loud for guidance and thanks. Everything that was impure was left in the sweat lodge.

After completing the sweat, we gathered inside and enjoyed a feast.

Posted by Mika Johnson