Wednesday, April 30, 2008

National Finals results for Poetry Out Loud

The competition was fierce.

Fifty-two revved-up high school kids from fifty states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands came to Washington, D.C., April 28-29 to compete in the national finals for Poetry Out Loud.

Caila Booth, a senior at Buffalo High School, represented Wyoming. She traveled to D.C. with her mom, Kelly. Her dad would have come too, but he had an emergency appendectomy two days before departure.

I attended to see the finals in person, and to meet with my Poetry Out Loud colleagues from other arts agencies. I learned a few things that can help Wyoming boost its participation in a program that can be as vital in the schools as language arts, drama or speech and debate.

The semifinals were held all day on a soggy Monday, April 28, at Lisner Auditorium on the George Washington University campus. The morning semifinal featured representatives from states in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic region, plus D.C. and the Virgin islands. At 1 p.m., contestants from the South and Midwest took the stage. Western and Great Plains states competed in the evening.

I watched presentations by every student in all three regions. Each one recited two poems, which were scored by the judges, who then selected their top eight. Those eight each recited one more poem. Those scores were added to the previous ones to get the four who advanced to the finals.

I was impressed by the calibre of their recitals. I was seated next to Victor Akosile's teacher from McKinley Technology High School in D.C. She told me that Victor grew up with a stutter and he stutters still -- until he goes up on stage. He performed "Famous" by Naomi Shihab Nye and "Calmly We Walk Through This April's Day" by Delmore Schwartz. Great presentations, but he didn't make it to the finals.

Alison Strong did. She's from New Jersey. She performed the very popular -- and difficult -- "Fever 103" by Sylvia Plath. According to a story the next day in USA Today, Strong was puzzled by the complicated poem and didn't know how to approach it until she found a video of Plath herself reading the poem. Tip for students participating in future POL contests: watch the video, if it's available. Not real helpful for John Donne and Emily Dickinson, but most 20th century poets are at least available in audio. Strong also recited "A Supermarket in California," a funny Allen Ginsberg poem where he imagines Walt Whitman and Federico Garcia Lorca loitering in a post-war American grocery store.

Other memorable recitations came from Shawntay A. Henry of the Virgin Islands with "Beauty" by Tony Hoagland, Carolyn Rose Garcia of West Virginia with "Poem with One Fact" by Donald Hall," and Gabrielle Guarracino and "Unknown Girl at the Maternity Ward" by Anne Sexton. Sexton, Sharon Olds, and Sylvia Plath were probably the most popular poets at the national finals.

In this region, Strong, Henry, Garcia and Guarracino all advanced to the finals.

Region Two finalists were Elijah P. Orengo from Georgia, Sequoia J. Jelks from Indiana, Charles White of Michigan and Hannah JoBeth Roark of Oklahoma.

Finally, at 5 p.m., we reached the semifinals for the third region, which included most of the states in the western half of the country. You'd think that tension had built all day for Caila, but she didn't show it, looking cool and calm on stage during the sound check. Not only was this region the last to compete but Wyoming -- as usual -- was the last up because the competitors were arranged alphabetically by state. Caila followed a fine presentation of Billy Collins' "Forgetfulness" by BreAnna Jones of Yakima, Wash. Caila's first poem was "Fever 103" by Sylvia Plath. She did a great job. Her second-round poem was "America" by Claude McKay, not nearly as well-known but powerful when recited by Caila.

Alas, Caila didn't make the cut for the next round. But eight of her competitors did. And that list was narrowed to four after the third recitation by each student. They were BreAnna Jones, Elsa Vande Vegte of South Dakota, Sophia Elena Soberon of Oregon and Madison Niermeyer of Utah. As we moved into the National Finals on Tuesday, you could see that the third region might have been the toughest. The overall second-place finisher was Soberon of Oregon and the third prize in the Tuesday night finals was awarded to Madison Niermeyer of Utah.

Who won first prize? Shawntay A. Henry of the U.S. Virgin Islands. This is the first time that the Virgin Islands had competed in the Poetry Out Loud National Finals. A huge cheer went up when the winner was announced at about 10 p.m. on April 29. Seems as if the islands' entire population had traveled to D.C. for the event.

While in D.C., I talked to POL organizers from many states. They told me that the competition gets tougher each year, and that most of the state finalists utilize coaches to sharpen their skills. Wyoming will have to do that in the future, as it obviously makes a big difference. I also garnered a few other tips about improving the Wyoming POL program. If you've competed in this poetry recitation contest, we welcome your comments via e-mail or by phone at 307-777-7742.

One other thing. At the POL luncheon on Tuesday at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, both of Wyoming's senators showed up to congratulate Caila. Sen. Enzi was one of the first to appear, posing for photos and chatting with Caila before he headed back to work. Sen. John Barrasso came a half hour later, following a speech on the floor of the Senate. Many pictures were taken by the NEA photographer, and we will feature those in upcoming blog posts.

Meanwhile, keep reading -- and memorizing -- your favorite poems.
--Mike Shay

The Bears are here

An exhibit of fiberglass bear sculptures designed by Wyoming high school students and celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the National Museum of Wildlife Art is on display at the Wyoming State Museum from May 1 through June 14. Titled "Wild About Bears," the exhibit features eight award-winning designs by high school students from throughout the state.

In 2007, the National Museum of Wildlife Art distributed 35 fiberglass bear forms to Wyoming high schools. The goal was to challenge students to collaborate on designing the bears and also to support the next generation of wildlife artists by encouraging the wildlife art theme. The project also gave students an opportunity to exhibit their work professionally and ultimately fulfill an artistic vision that could benefit their respective high schools.

This competition strengthened NMWA’s connections with high school art students and teachers around the state while building awareness of the museum’s numerous programs.

"Our state has many treasures and one of them is the National Museum of Wildlife Art," Lynn Friess of the Friess Family Foundation said. "My husband and I thought a statewide art competition would benefit high school art programs, as well as be a part of the museum’s 20th anniversary celebration."

The bears were judged at the Wyoming High School Art Symposium in Casper on April 18 and the eight winning schools were awarded cash prizes for their art programs. A first prize of $7,000 was awarded to Pinedale High School; second, $5,000, to Mountain View High School; and third, $2,000, to Encampment High School. Honorable mentions and $500 was awarded to Niobrara, Douglas, Cody, Powell and Star Valley high schools.

The "Wild About Bears" contest and exhibition is supported by a grant from the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund, a program of the Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources. It is also supported by the Friess Family Foundation and the National Museum of Wildlife Art.

The Wyoming State Museum is located in the Barrett Building, 2301 Central Avenue in Cheyenne.

For more information about this and other Wyoming State Museum exhibits and programs, please call 777-7022.

Nell Hanley on UW's Speaking of Writing

Paul Bergstraesser’s guest Thursday on Speaking of Writing will be UW’s own, Nell Hanley. To hear the program, tune in Thursday from 4 to 5 p.m. on KOCA LP FM 93.5. If the gods of technology smile upon us, we’ll podcast the program later on In the meantime, we’ve got lots of past programs available for free download on that site. Also check us out at

Thanks to the Creative Writing MFA in the UW English department for underwriting the show.

Nell Hanley was born in New York City on November 10, 1965, the morning after the night all the lights of the city went suddenly out. The doctor, fearing a Russian invasion, had gone missing, but was eventually found asleep in a remote lounge, and was roused and called to duty, which he performed without finesse. Nell claims to have a memory of this event. Those who know her indulge her in this fancy because she remembers so little else. She turned one, ten, twenty, and thirty, then shortly the century turned, uneventfully, and the next thing she knew she was in Texas, where it was too hot. Now she lives in Wyoming, with under her belt a fair bit of schooling and twenty-odd years worth of stints at a significant number of varied, low-paying jobs, a few of which were, despite their unlivable wages, in certain ways marvelous. She has an M.F.A from the James A. Michener Center for Writers at UT Austin. She is an assistant lecturer in the English Department at the University of Wyoming.

Alan Barstow recieves UCross residency

The generosity of the Board of the Ucross Foundation, and the Foundation’s President, Sharon Dynak, has made possible an ongoing relationship with the University of Wyoming Creative Writing MFA program, through which one graduating UW MFA student each year is awarded a one-month residency at Ucross.

This year’s recipient is Alan Barstow. In his time at Ucross, Barstow will continue to develop the nonfiction project that generated his MFA thesis, “Amen: Denying and Defying HIV/AIDS in a Namibian Village.”

Alan spent two years as a peace corp worker in Namibia, and returned to Namibia over spring break as part of a team of law students to study the problem of HIV/AIDS in the prisons. Alan has also been the graduate assistant to Terry Tempest Williams and coordinates her "weather reports" project for the graduate student committee.

This is the second year of the partnership; last year, fiction writer Sarah Norek was awarded a residency.

Congrats, Alan. And happy trails.

High Plains Register out today

Check out Laramie County Community College's 18th volume of High Plains Register, their own creative and literary arts publication. Works include poetry by contributors Dawn Miklos, Darrel Hammon, Shaina Serelson, Simone Sellers, Dan Weingardt, Sherry Weaver Smith, Zack Anderson, Jesse Anderson, Kyra Syvanen, Jordan Korber, Ben Humphrey; short stories by writers Kara Syvanen, Randy Bruns, Lacey Dippold, Damien Kortum, Katie Baxter, D. N. Lyons, Bob Simkins, Nancy Uno, Andrew Boheler, Alicia Padilla, Maura Kelly; and visual art by Ron Medina, Guy Tustin, Darrel Hammon, Cassie Eliasson, Wayne Sanchez, Howard Dykes, Carl Aldrich.

Deadline for the next edition is Wednesday, October 1, 2008. Submit work to Liz Jackson c/o LCCC Arts & Humanities, 1400 East College Drive, Cheyenne, WY 82007 or email Liz at

Also, visit the college website at

Poetry Out Loud national contest featured in USA Today

Here's the link for the USA Today article which appeared on April 29, 2008.

Friday, April 25, 2008

UPDATE: Wyoming Arts Council fellowships

Here are some updates on the Wyoming Arts Council’s programs for individual artists.

Laura Pritchett, of Fort Collins, Colo., has agreed to be the judge for the 2009 Wyoming Arts Council creative writing fellowships. She’s the author of the novel Sky Bridge (2007) and the 2001 collection of short stories, Hell’s Bottom, Colorado, both from Milkweed Editions. She is also the editor of two collections: The Pulse of the River: Colorado Writers Speak for the Endangered Cache la Poudre and Home Land: Ranching and a West that Works. Her third collection, The Gleaners: Eco-Essays on Recycling, Re-Use, and Living Lightly on the Land, is due out in spring 2009. Her work has also appeared in numerous magazines, including The Sun, Orion, High Country News, Colorado Review, 5280, and the book Comeback Wolves: Western Writers Welcome the Wolf Home and Social Issues Firsthand: The Environment.

At the Equality State Book Festival Sept. 18-20 in Casper, Laura will read from her work together with the fellowship winners on Thursday at Casper College. She also will serve on Saturday’s fiction panel at the bookfest.

As with all WAC fellowships, you have to apply with a paper application. A printable version will be available on the web site by May 2. Applications will be mailed from the WAC offices the following week. Postmark deadline is June 20.

Postmark deadline for applications to the Wyoming Arts Council’s visual arts fellowships is Wednesday, April 30. Forms are available on the WAC web site at or by mail by calling the WAC offices in Cheyenne at 307-777-7742.

The competition is open to Wyoming residents only. You must be 18 or older. Full-time students pursuing high school, college or university art-related degrees are ineligible.

Judging the submissions will be Colorado artists Lawrence Argent, Mary K. Connelly and Patty Ortiz. They will select up to three winners who will each receive a $3,000 stipend. Winners will be announced in early June.

I am recruiting judges for the 2008 performing arts fellowships in musical performance. Those judges will be in place by May 16 and the applications will be available by June 2. The postmark deadline will be in mid-August.

For more info, contact Michael Shay, individual artist program specialist, at 307-777-5234 or
--Mike Shay

Susan Stubson to perform in Casper

Susan Stubson, Wyoming Arts Council board member, will be playing for the Casper Chamber Music Society, along with Jim Romain on the saxophone (he's from Drake University) this Sunday, 4/27 at 4pm at Shepherd of the Hills Presbyterian Church, 4600 S. Poplar Street in Casper; phone (307) 235-3536 - Adults $8, Seniors $6, Students $2.

Working within the school community

How to adapt your artistic gifts to school policies, regulations, and curriculum structure

The Powder River Symphony is pleased to announce a grant from the Dana Foundation to support a workshop for performing artists interested in working with students and teachers in the public schools. The workshop will include a presentation by Dr. Eugenie Burkett, curriculum specialist, on creating activities that focus on the Wyoming and National Standards for Education with break-out sessions for artists to design and write lesson plans.

Michael Pangburn of the South Dakota Arts Council and Camelia El-Antably of the Wyoming Arts Council will both be making presentations during the day. Stipends of $100 for up to 30 performing artists are available to pay for expenses associated with attending the workshop. With ensembles, only 1 stipend will be furnished per group.

The workshop is scheduled for Thursday, October 9 and will run from 9 am to 2 pm at the Lakeway Learning Center in Gillette, WY. Although the workshop focuses primarily on the performing arts, artists of all genres are invited to attend. To register send an e-mail to: genieburkett@yahoo.comand. A registration form will be e-mailed to you along with a schedule and directions to the workshop site.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Wyomingites are WWA Spur Award finalists

Lori Van Pelt of Saratoga sends word that she will be participating in a short story panel at the annual Western Writers of America conference June 10-14 in Scottsdale, Ariz. Lori received recognition as a WWA 2008 Spur Award Finalist in the Best Western Short Fiction category for her short story, "The Wild-Eyed Witness," featuring Wild Bill Hickok, which appeared in the anthology, LOST TRAILS (Pinnacle, 2007), edited by Russell Davis and Martin H. Greenberg.

Lori wasn't the only Wyomingite to be honored this year by the WWA. John D. Nesbitt of Torrington received recognition as a Spur Award Finalist in the Best Original Mass Market Paperback category for his novel, RAVEN SPRINGS. Nancy Curtis's High Plains Press of Glendo was also recognized as a Spur Award Finalist in the Best Western Poetry category for Jane Candia Coleman's THE WHITE DOVE.

For more info about the WWA conference, go to

Amend reception May 4 at Cam-plex

Cam-plex Heritage Center in Gillette will host a reception with local visual artist Christopher Amend and his display of "TRANSITIONS." Christopher recently retired from the Campbell County School District as an art teacher is now pursuing his art full-time. With his life in transition, Chris has also found his work in transition as he explores new approaches and new imageries.

Meet Christopher at an artist reception on Sunday, May 4, 2-5 p.m. This reception is free and open to the public.

For more information contact the ticket office at 307-682-8802. Ticket office hours are Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Christopher’s show will be on display from April 28-May 30.

Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Gallery doors are open during Heritage Center events and by special appointment.

Literary events at Mountain West Conference

Guy Lebeda, the Wyoming Arts Council's pal in Salt Lake City, sent this:

Poets and writers please join us at the Mountain West Conference on the Arts, May 8-9, at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center, 1355 West 3100 South, West Valley City, Utah.

This is a great opportunity for inspiration, networking, professional development, accessing essential resources and creating community connections.

Just look at the poetry components of the conference:

1. Keynote Speaker: David Whyte. Whyte grew up among the hills and valleys of Yorkshire, England. A captivating speaker with a compelling blend of profound poetry and insightful commentary, David is one of the few poets to take his perspectives on creativity into the field of organizational development, where he works with a wide and diverse international clientele. David is the author of six volumes of poetry and two bestselling books of prose.

2. Session: "Wooing the Wild Horses: Harnessing the Poem," by Lance Larsen, Poet & Professor of English, Brigham Young University. Tap into your imagination. This workshop offers participants the opportunity to be led through a process of drawing on their inner thoughts and dreams, allowing inspiration to come through the written word onto the page.

3. Session: "Innovative Approaches to the Art of Healing," with Susan Sample, poet; Therese Jones, Associate Professor, Dept. of Internal Medicine, University of Utah School of Medicine; and Shannon McQuade, Project and Training Coordinator, Arts in Caring Council. There is a profound difference between "healing" and "curing," just as there is between "illness" and "disease," and both doctors and patients view the contemporary practice of medicine as being over-focused on biomedical technologies and interventions. This panel will explore the integration of the humanities in medical education and the introduction of the arts in clinical settings. It will also review how the integration of the arts improves health outcomes, as well as highlights existing local programs and available resources for artists and health care professionals.

4. At the Governor’s Leadership in the Arts Awards Luncheon, Skyline High School senior Madison Niermeyer, 2008 Utah State Poetry Out Loud Champion, will recite one of the poems that she will perform at the National Poetry Out Loud finals in Washington, D.C.

For more information visit h or contact Jason Bowcutt at or call 801-236-7554.

Free preview for "High School Musical"

Rose Wagner notified us that some of the cast from the Cheyenne Little Theatre Players' "Disney's High School Musical" will be performing at the Frontier Mall in Cheyenne on Saturday, April 26 at 2 p.m. in the J.C. Penney court. She urged everyone to drop by for this free teaser of a show that's been garnering a lot of attention around town. Rose added: "Don’t forget to call to make your reservations to see the entire musical, showing May 2-4, 8-11, and 15-18. Seats are selling fast!"

The musical is directed by Wende Wolfe-Perez. Cast members are Preston Powis, Marissa Mohr, Kelsy Moler, Blaine Backman, Betsy Plemons, Sam Benson, Thomas Quinlivan, Nick Bosley, and Taylar Perez.

For tickets, call 307-638-6543.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"Maid in the U.S.A." author at UW April 29

Mary Romero, author of "Maid in the U.S.A.," a 1992 book that studies the exploitation of domestic service workers in the United States, will speak Tuesday, April 29, at the first scholarly presentation of the University of Wyoming's Social Justice Research Center (SJRC).

Romero, a professor of justice studies and social inquiry at Arizona State University, will speak from 4-5:30 p.m. in the College of Education auditorium in Laramie. Her presentation, titled "What immigration raids tell us about Latino Families and the State," is free and open to the public.

She will also speak to UW classes while at the university.

"We are honored to bring such a distinguished scholar to the University of Wyoming," says SJRC Director Francisco Rios. "Dr. Romero's scholarship exemplifies the best of research with a social justice lens. The focus of her academic achievements on women and labor highlight a much-neglected area of our thinking. But in uncovering these often silenced voices, we learn anew about the task of widening the path for democracy, dignity and human rights."

Romero's UW visit is sponsored by the SJRC and the departments of Chicano Studies and Family and Consumer Sciences.

The SJRC, established last year, is an interdisciplinary center dedicated to addressing practical and theoretical questions arising from the pursuit of social justice. The idea for the center stemmed from a directive of the President's Advisory Council for Minorities and Women's Affairs.


42nd Film & Video Festival call for entries

Deadline is June 27, 2008

The Council on Foundations and Grantmakers in Film + Electronic Media (GFEM) are seeking submissions of films and videos for the Council on Foundations' 42nd Annual Film & Video Festival to be held May 4-6 2009, in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Film & Video Festival showcases films, videos, and television programs that have received
support from foundations, corporate giving programs, and donor networks, with the aim of encouraging grantmakers to use media to advance their philanthropic goals. The festival promotes foundation support of creative, high-quality productions that expand the boundaries of the use of media for the social good.

Complete the submission form online at

Winners of the Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Film & Digital Media
* Hollywood Chinese
* A Lion in the House
* Made in L.A.
* ¡Salud!
* A Son's Sacrifice

Other festival films include -- Arctic Son · A Doula Story · The Last Atomic Bomb · Legacy of Torture: The War Against the Black Liberation Movement · Outlawed: Extraordinary Rendition, Torture and Disappearances in the War on Terror · Prison Town USA · Revolution '67 · Sierra Leone's Refugee -- All Stars · Standing Silent Nation · Third Ward, TX

Dominguez exhibit at Wyo. State Museum

In conjunction with Cheyenne’s Cinco de Mayo celebration, the Wyoming State Museum will have on display the artwork of Eddie Dominguez, who’s ceramic sculpture and prints incorporates the rich cultural heritage of his Hispanic background.

The exhibit opens May 1 and will be on display through June 13. Dominguez will speak at the State Museum from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. on May 2, with a reception lasting until 6:30 p.m.

A native of Tucumcari, N.M., Dominguez creates artwork on the theme of his home environment, nostalgia and ideas of the culture. He attributes the influence of his aunt, who filled her house with quilts, doilies, crocheted curtains, braided rugs and shrines with his decision to become an artist.

"Art was my next-door neighbor making a quilt; it was my aunt crocheting, or my mother making a dress," Dominguez said. "The most honest influences that I have had can be found in the little things of my home."

Dominguez creates sculptures whose roots derive from familiar functional items, such as dinnerware sets that tread the boundaries between art, craft and kitsch. He has been doing the dinnerware sets for the past twenty-five years. However, his most recent works includes large-scale work such as rosaries and torsos. The lower portions of the torsos appear to be landscapes, the upper portion, skies or flowers growing. Dominguez relates the torsos to highway memorials.

Dominguez has a degree from the Cleveland Institute of Art and New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. In 2006 he was awarded the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts for his innovative work in ceramics and as an educator and role model for youth. He is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and sits on the Boards of the Roswell Museum, the Georgia O’Keefe Foundation and the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts.

He has also received public art commissions in New York, Maine, New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Nebraska, Massachusetts and Wisconsin.

His work is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe, the Sheldon Art Gallery in Lincoln, Nebraska, the Cleveland Institute of Art, the Phoenix Airport, U.S. West Corporation and Hallmark Cards Corporation.

Dominguez is currently assistant professor of ceramics at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.

The Wyoming State Museum is located in the Barrett Building, 2301 Central Avenue in Cheyenne.

FMI: State Museum, 307-777-7022, or

"Arts for the Earth" at gallery in Wilson

Casper College stages "Fahrenheit 451" -- the play and the symposium

The Casper College Department of Theatre and Dance presents "Fahrenheit 451" May 1-3 and 6-10 at 7:30 p.m. on the McMurry Mainstage of the Krampert Theatre (2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, May 3). The play is from the novel by Ray Bradbury and directed by Douglas Garland. Tickets go on sale April 28 and are $12 for adults and $10 for children/students.

On Thursday, May 1, the department will host a symposium, "Future Hopes, Future fears," featuring Casper College faculty and staff of the Nicolaysen Art Museum and Natrona County Public Library. The topic will be the issues confronting humanity's future. In the college's black box theatre.

For those of you who haven't memorized the plot of Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451," here's a refresher, courtesy of a college press release:

"Fahrenheit 451" is a gripping story both disturbing and poetic: a visionary parable of a society gone awry, in which firemen burn books and the state suppresses learning. Meanwhile, the citizenry sits by in a
drug-induced and media-saturated indifference. More relevant than ever a half-century later, "Fahrenheit 451" has achieved the distinction of being both a literary classic and a perennial bestseller.

For ticket info, phone 1-800-442-2963 ext. 2500 or 307-268-2500. Or go to

Listen to Ray Bradbury reading the opening section of the novel at

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

On the "Blood Trail" with author C.J. Box

Cheyenne author C.J. Box has announced Wyoming book signings for his new novel, "Blood Trail." Here's the line-up:

City News on Friday, May 23, 4-6 p.m., (307) 638-8671, 1722 Carey Avenue, Cheyenne
Chickering Bookstore in Laramie on Friday, May 23, 7:30 p.m., 203 S. 2nd St., (307) 742-8609 or
Ralph's Books and Cards on Saturday, May 24, 1 p.m., 215 S. Montana Ave., Casper, (307) 234-0308 or
Cody Newsstand in Cody on Sunday, May 25, 1 p.m., 1121 13th St, (307)587-2843
Sheridan Stationary on Monday, May 26, noon, 206 N. Main St., Sheridan, (307) 674-8080

For full schedule of events, go to C.J.'s web site at

Poetry Slam tonight at Laramie Co. Library

I'm serving as a judge for the Teen Poetry Slam that starts at 6 p.m. tonight in the Cottonwood of the Laramie County Public Library. Participants must pre-register by calling 307-634-3561 (time is short!). This judged event features teams of teen poets facing off against one another. Participants need to bring at least four original poems.

The top high school and junior high teams will receive cash prizes (double the amount from last year), as well as awards for individual poets.

This event is free and open to the public. Come on out and cheer for your faves.

For more details about this and other programs for teens, visit

--Mike Shay

Washakie Museum lecture June 20

George Frison and Danny Walker will conduct a lecture and book signing on Friday, June 20, 7-9 p.m. at the Washakie Museum, 1115 Obie Sue in Worland. The lecture will include a slide presentation from the book, Medicine Lodge Creek, Holocene Archaeology of the Eastern Big Horn Basin, Wyoming.


"Mormon Trail Revisited" author at UW

From a University of Wyoming press release:

Gregory M. Franzwa, author of "The Mormon Trail Revisited," will present a free program on the route of the National Historic Trail at UW's American Heritage Center in Laramie on Thursday, April 24, at 2 p.m.

Franzwa will present a 45-minute slide show containing images of the 1,400-mile trail from Nauvoo, Ill., through Iowa, Nebraska and Wyoming, to the Mormon pioneers' home in Utah's Great Salt Lake Valley.

A question-and-answer session and book signing follows the program.

Franzwa, founder of the Oregon-California Trails Association, lives in Tooele, Utah. He and his wife, Kathy, spent three years researching the trail, including several field trips totaling about 10,000 miles along the historic road.

"There were about 2,500 Mormons along the Iowa route with about 500 covered wagons. It had to be the longest single wagon train in American history," Franzwa says, adding that only 143 people were in the pioneer company of 1847, from Omaha to the Great Salt Lake.

"We have located the route of the pioneers all along the way, to plus-or-minus 100 yards," Franzwa says. "Our book presents historical vignettes, as well as driving directions, telling motorists how to reach the route, and that route is almost all gravel."

Fuller to launch Equality State Bookfest

Alexandra Fuller of Wilson (see previous post) will be the featured author on the first evening at the Equality State Book Festival on Thursday, Sept. 18, in Durham Hall at Casper College. Her new book is The Legend of Colton H. Bryant. Look for updated info -- and a complete list of authors -- on the ESBF web site at

Alexandra will launch the Wyoming leg of her book tour on Friday, May 16, with an author’s talk and book signing in Evanston, hometown of the book’s subject. The event will be held at the Uinta County Library, 307 Main St., with a 5:30 p.m. social hour followed by Alexandra’s talk and signing. There will be a dinner at 7 p.m. for ticket holders. For more information, contact Jan Maggard at

She will will be one of the faculty members for the 16th annual Jackson Hole Writers Conference June 26-29 at the Jackson Hole Center for the Arts.

Alexandra Fuller writes op-ed piece for NYTimes

Here is a piece by Alexandra Fuller about the energy boom going on in Wyoming. Just click on the link.

OPINION April 20, 2008

By ALEXANDRA FULLER The argument has never been that we shouldn’t provide energy. But is that all we’re good for?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Betts to teach LCCC watercolor workshop

The Clay Summer Watercolor Workshop, featuring artist Judi Betts, will be held June 16-20, 4 p.m., in the Laramie County Community College Fine Arts Building in Cheyenne, Room 131. Registration fee is $300

Judi Betts was invited to return to LCCC for a second workshop, due to the popularity of her session in summer 1996. This five-day workshop is designed for painters who want to improve their watercolor painting technique.

Betts has attainted an international reputation for her transparent watercolor paintings and is the author of the award winning books WATERCOLOR ... Let's Think About It! and PAINTING ... a QUEST toward XTRAORD!NARY. A member of the National Watercolor Society, in 2000 she received the Transparent Watercolor Society of America's "Master of Watercolor" designation. She has presented nearly 400 workshops and has given invitational sessions for watercolor societies around the world. She currently resides in Baton Rouge, La., and has received the Louisiana Governor's Award for Professional Artist, the state's most prestigious award.

For more information, visit or call 307.432.1603.

The Used perform at UW on April 30

Indie rock group The Used will perform as part of the Rockstar Energy Drink "Get A Life" tour at the University of Wyoming in Laramie on Wednesday, April 30, at 6 p.m. in the College of Arts and Sciences auditorium.

Tickets cost $15 for UW students and $20 for others. Tickets are available at the union ticket office weekdays from 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., and in the Fine Arts ticket office from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays. Buy general admission tickets by calling 307-766-3160 or 307-766-6666.


Rogers debuts Devils Tower book on May 11

Author Jeanne Rogers (pictured) will be honored at a publication party and book signing for her book, Standing Witness: Devils Tower National Monument, A History, on May 11, 2-4 p.m., at the Visitor Center at Devils Tower National Monument. The event is sponsored by the National Park Service and Devils Tower Natural History Association.

Published by the National Park Service, Standing Witness is based on superintendents' notes, monument archives, historical publications, and personal interviews. Researched and written as a commemorative history of America's first national monument, the book includes photographs, an extensive bibliography, and a complete index. The 290-page trade paperback sells for $12.95 and may be ordered by contacting Linda Tokarczyk, Devils Tower Natural History Association, P. O. Box 37, Devils Tower, WY 82714, or by contacting Jeanne Rogers, P. O. Box 501, Sundance, WY 82729,

Rogers, a freelance writer from Sundance and member of Bearlodge Writers, recently was invited to contribute to a forthcoming collection of poems to honor Ted Kooser, a former U.S. Poet Laureate from Nebraska. Her work is also included in three Houghton Mifflin collections of women's writing, several literary chapbooks juried by national award-winning writers, and many regional publications.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Jackson Hole Film Festival June 5-9

The fith annual Jackson Hole Film Festival, presented by the Jackson Hole Film Institute, will take place June 5-9. One hundred independent films from 30 countries will be screened. Of these, 81 will be competing in seven program categories: Features; Documentaries; Global Insight; World Program: Spotlight Latin America; Sports Action; Shorts; and Student Voices.

The festival, according to organizers, "is committed to creating a platform for global inspiration and change."

In conjunction with the festival, the Jackson Hole Film Institute has teamed up with the United Nations to present the first Global Insight Summit. This international gathering will be attended by entertainment leaders and UN officials to explore how film and television can be leveraged to highlight critical international concerns.

On Saturday June 7, 7:30-11:30 p.m. at the Q Roadhouse on Teton Village Road, the festival will sponsor its 2008 World Party. Highlight is a live performance by Del Castillo. Its music has an eclectic blend of Flamenco Rock, Latin, Blues, and World music. Their songs have been heard on soundtracks from "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" and "Kill Bill, Vol. 2." Tickets for this event include catered food and open bar.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Hampton Sides at Laramie Co. Library

Award-winning author Hampton Sides is coming to the Laramie County Library. Sponsored by Writers on the Plains, Sides will visit the area on May 1-2 to discuss writing techniques and read from his newest book, "Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West."

On Thursday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m. at the Hilton Fort Collins, 425 W. Prospect St., Fort Collins, Colo., Sides will present “History with a Pulse: The Art and Craft of Making the Past Come Alive on the Page.”

On May 2 at 7 p.m. in the Cottonwood Room of the Laramie County Library, 2200 Pioneer Ave., in Cheyenne, Sides will present “The Epic Story of Kit Carson: National Hero. Genocidal Maniac. Pick One.” A reception and book signing will follow each event, both of which are free and open to the public.

Sides is the author of the bestselling books "Ghost Soldiers" and "Blood and Thunder," among other works. "Ghost Soldiers" has sold more than a million copies and has been translated into a dozen foreign languages. It won the PEN USA West award for non-fiction and the Discover Award from Barnes & Noble, and was the basis of the Miramax film, The Great Raid. "Blood and Thunder" is a New York Times bestseller that Time Magazine named as one of the ten best books of 2006. Both the History Book Club and the Western Writers Association named it best history title of the year, and the book has been optioned by Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks, and is the subject of a new PBS documentary.

An editor-at-large at Outside magazine, Hampton's journalism has been twice nominated for National Magazine Awards for feature writing. Hampton graduated from Yale with a B.A. in history, and lives in Santa Fe. Writers on the Plains partners Colorado State University with Front Range communities and visiting authors in a series of readings and book discussions. The sponsors for this event include Colorado State University Libraries, the Lilla B. Morgan Memorial Fund, and the Laramie County Library System.

For more information about the Cheyenne event, call (307) 634-3561.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Big Horn Mtn. Festival in Buffalo July 11-13

The fourth annual BIG HORN MOUNTAIN FESTIVAL, featuring acoustic, Americana, folk, old-timey, bluegrass and traditional music, will be held July 11-13 at the Johnson County Fairgrounds in Buffalo.


Click on the link to get 2008 BHMF flier

"Jentel Presents" in Sheridan May 6

Residents from the Jentel Artist Residency Program will be featured in an event open to the public at Sheridan Stationery, Tuesday, May 6, 5:30-7 p.m. "Jentel Presents" is a community outreach program that features slide presentations and readings by the visual artists and writers at the residency.

Presenters include:
  • Nicholas Dumit’ Estevez, Bronx, N.Y., an interdisciplinary artist working mostly in performance art. Born in the Dominican Republic, he has exhibited and performed in the U.S. as well as internationally
  • Meredith Holch, East Hardwick, Vt., is best known for her political animation and giant puppet building. She is now translating her love of powerful visual imagery to the written page
  • Judith Hoyt, New Paltz, N.Y. is a collage artist and grew up in the Catskill Mountains of New York. She is mostly interested in transforming recycled material into art.
  • Mitch Messina, Pittsford, N.Y. is a sculptor who began his journey with clay as a high school student. He developed an interest in industrial tools, an inspiration that still drives his art-making process
  • John Van Kirk, Huntington, W. Va. who is a former Navy helicopter pilot and an avid bird watcher and fly fisherman. John recently began studying guitar and piano. He also writes.
  • Ivette Vallejo, Philadelphia, Pa. is a painter and installation artist. Ivette finds inspiration by looking and listening to the world around her. She loves to travel.

For anyone looking for a stimulating evening, come join the crowd at Sheridan Stationery in Sheridan. There is no admission charge for "Jentel Presents" and refreshments are available.

The Jentel Foundation offers dedicated individuals a supportive environment in which to further their creative development. While at Jentel, visual artists and writers have the opportunity to experience unfettered time to allow for thoughtful reflection and meditation on the creative process in a setting that preserves the agricultural and historical integrity of the land.

The Jentel Artist Residency Program accepts applications twice a year from visual artists in all media and writers in all genres for a one-month residency. A residency includes a comfortable accommodation, common living, dining and recreation areas, a private workspace and a stipend to help defray expenses during the program.

SBDC offers seminar for art entrepreneurs

UW's Small Business Development Center is sponsoring a class in Pinedale providing web site development tips for small businesses. Artists, writers and performers interested in expanding their cyber-reach might want to check it out. Here are the details:

"eCommerce: Get Your Wyoming Small Business on the Web" will be conducted on Friday, April 25, noon-1 p.m. at Rendezvous Pointe in Pinedale. Instructor is Mark Atkinson. He will discuss the basics of web development, eCommerce strategies, site options and things businesses need to know when thinking about creating a web presence.

This seminar is presented by Mark Atkinson, Southwest Regional Director and eCommerce Specialist for the University of Wyoming SBDC.

Registration (lunch) fee: $7, $4 for seniors. Call 367-2242 to register by April 22.


UW arts calendar April 24-May 1

Thursday, April 24-Wednesday, April 30, 7:30 p.m. -- UW Theatre and Dance presents "A Chorus Line," Fine Arts Center Main Stage Theatre. Sunday, April 27 show is at 2 p.m. only. Tickets cost $16 for general admission, $13 for senior citizens and $8 for students.

Friday, April 25, 9 p.m. -- UW Campus Activities Center presents the Dueling Pianos Show, Wyoming Union ballroom. Free.

Saturday, April 26, 2-5:30 p.m. -- Semana Primavera (spring week) presents "Fiesta: Comida y Cultura (Food and Culture), Wyoming Union Skylight Lounge. Free.

Wednesday, April 30, 6 p.m. -- Samsung Mobile Presents: Rockstar Energy Drink "Get a Life" tour featuring The Used, College of Arts and Sciences auditorium. Tickets cost $20 for general admission and $15 for students.

Wednesday, April 30, 7 p.m. -- UW Department of Music presents the Student Composers Concert, Fine Arts Center concert hall. Free.

Wednesday, April 30, 8 p.m. -- UW Visiting Writers Series and the Albany County Public Library will present guest lecturer Art Spiegelman, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel "Maus," Cavalryman Supper Club, 4425 S. 3rd Street. Free and open to the public. A question-and-answer session will follow.

For updates on UW events and activities or go online at Visit for Department of Theatre and Dance and Department of Music event information and tickets.

"Dark humor and plot twists" at Stage III

Hannah Wiest has an article in today’s Casper Star-Tribune about Conrad Sutton Smith's "Chain of Circumstances," a thriller set to open at 7:30 tonight at Stage III Community Theatre in Casper. It plays through May 3.

"It's a very dark mystery, but it's not your typical murder mystery," said director David Little. Though not a formulaic "whodunit," the show has stabs of dark humor and enough plot twists to keep people guessing to the very end, Little said.

And that's about all he'd say. There will be no plot spoilers here. Mum's the word.

"It's full of human interest," Little said. Each character is complex, with subtle eccentricities Little has prodded his actors to portray. Ultimately, Little said, the play deals with the real meaning of success: "When you have a desire, when you want something so badly, how far are you willing to take it?"

Read the rest of the article at

For ticket info:

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Theatre Guild presents "The God Committee"

"The God Committee," a play written by Mark St. Germain and directed by Gene Davis, will be performed April 18, 19, 20, 25 and 27 and May 1-4 in the Carriage House Theatre at Trail End State Historic Site, Sheridan. Show times at 7:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are available at the Wyo Theater box office in downtown Sheridan or on-line at This is a Civic Theatre Guild production.

Here's a description of the show:

In this drama, medicine, money and morality clash when the Heart Transplant Selection Committee of St. Patrick's Hospital has only minutes to decide which of three patients will receive a heart that has suddenly become available. Short and fast-moving with the twists and turns of a fine mystery novel, the play takes audiences into the inner workings of a transplant program, treats timely concerns with both humor and humanity, and will leave audiences laughing while it tests their critical thinking on death. The God Committee was written in 2006; this is the first time it has been performed in the Rocky Mountain region.

Cast: Anne Quick as Ann Ross, Bruce Andrews as Jack Klee, Stu Healy as Father Duncan, Julie Olson as Nella Larkin, Lisa McClintock as Kiera Banks, Scott Bateman as Alex Gorman and Matt Davis as Dominic Piero.

Deadline draws near for visual arts fellowships

Postmark deadline for applications to the Wyoming Arts Council’s visual arts fellowships is April 30. Forms are available on the WAC web site at or by mail by calling the WAC offices in Cheyenne at 307-777-7742.

The competition is open to Wyoming residents only. You must be 18 or older. Full-time students pursuing high school, college or university art-related degrees are ineligible.

Judging the submissions will be Colorado artists Lawrence Argent, Mary K. Connelly and Patty Ortiz. They will select up to three winners who will each receive a $3,000 stipend.

For more information, contact Michael Shay, individual artist program specialist, at 307-777-5234 or

"Semana Primavera" events set for UW

Five days of events are scheduled during "Semana Primavera" (spring week) at the University of Wyoming.

The UW student organization MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanos de Atzlan) sponsors activities beginning Sunday, April 20, with a reception honoring UW's Chicano faculty and staff members. Refreshments will be served from 4-6 p.m. in the Multicultural Resource Center, Room 103 of the Wyoming Union.

Other activities are:
  • Monday, April 21: Primavera Poetry Slam, King Street Market, Washakie Dining Center, 7-9 p.m.
  • Tuesday, April 22: Installation of new MEChA officers, Multicultural Resource Center, 5-6 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April 23: "Secret Techniques: breakdancing workshop," behind Bagel Makers in the Wyoming Union, 5:30-7 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 26: "Fiesta: Comida y Cultura (Food and Culture)", Wyoming Union Skylight Lounge, 2-5:30 p.m.
FMI: Cynthia Chavez Kelly, Office of Multicultural Affairs, at (307) 766-6193 or

Piatigorsky sponsors violinist tour in April

Violinist Paul Rosenthal, sponsored by the Piatigorsky Concert Tour, will perform ten concerts in Wyoming during April. The public is invited to attend these free performances.

The Muriel and Dr. Seymour Thickman Family Charitable Foundation in Sheridan underwrites the tour. This is the fifth year that the Thickman Family Foundation has sponsored it. The Piatigorsky Foundation, a national arts services organization, whose mission is to bring live classical music to individuals who do not have the geographical access or financial means to attend concerts, presents Rosenthal.

This year’s tour was coordinated by the Wyoming Arts Alliance in conjunction with the Wyoming Arts Council.

Rosenthal, who resides in Alaska, began playing violin at the age of three. He studied at both The Julliard School and at the University of Southern California.

In 1972, Rosenthal founded the Sitka Summer Music Festival, which continues to attract musicians and audiences from throughout the world. This festival is recognized as one of the outstanding chamber music festivals in the United States.

Rosenthal has performed as soloist with orchestras from Alaska to New York, as well as in recitals and chamber music performances in Canada, Germany, Holland, Scotland and the Bahamas, in addition to the United States. In 1968, he record with Gregor Piatigorsky among others.

Rosenthal holds honorary degrees as Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Alaska and Doctor of Music from Alaska Pacific University.

The Rosenthal concert schedule is as follows:

April 18: 1 p.m., Laramie, Albany County Public Library, 310 S. 8th Street, master class for home school students, 307-721-2580
April 19: Noon, Laramie, Albany County Public Library, 310 S. 8th Street, 307-721-2580
April 20: Open Date
April 21: 7 p.m., Lander Valley High School. 350 Baldwin Creek Road, 307-332-3640
April 22: 7 p.m., Riverton, Central Wyoming College, 2660 Peck Ave., 307-855-2000
April 23: 7 p.m., Rock Springs, Western Wyoming Community College, College Room 1003, 2500 College Drive, 307-382-1600
April 24: 4-6 p.m., Evanston, Davis Middle School, 837 No Name Street, 307-789-8096, free master strings class
April 25: 7 p.m., Evanston, Davis Middle School, 837 No Name Street, 307-789-8096
April 26: Concert to be determined
April 27: 2 p.m., Lyman, Lyman High School, 1305 E. Clark St., 307-787-6195

FMI: Whitney Llewelyn at the Wyoming Arts Alliance, 307.277.3684

Adler hits the road with 25th novel

Novelist Warren Adler of Jackson and NYC sends this news:

Warren Adler will be speaking about his new novel at the Lincoln Center Barnes and Noble in New York City this Friday, April 18, 7.30 p.m. Funny Boys takes place in 1937, the heyday of Borscht Belt, and is about a budding comedian in the Catskills whose clientele consists of members of the notorious Murder Inc. gang. Adler will talk about his book and the impact of Jewish humor and its entry into modern mainstream comedy. Overlook Press recently published the book, which has received glowing reviews. It is Adler's 25th novel, among which are The War of the Roses and Random Hearts. Joining him in his talk is the winner of the People’s Choice Award in the second annual Warren Adler Short Story Contest, a young standup comedian from Ireland, Fiona Walsh, who has just completed a gig in a contemporary Catskill resort.

Useful Links:
Warren Adler Official Website:
Funny Boys Preview:
Fiona Walsh's Winning Short Story:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

UW Art Museum's year-long sculpture project

The University of Wyoming Art Museum’s “Sculpture: A Wyoming Invitational” is a temporary exhibition from August 2008 through July 2009 “comprised of major works by artists of international, national, and regional reputation.”

Sculptures are arriving or being created on location around the campus and Laramie through July. The exhibition, according to UW Art Museum Director Susan Moldenhauer, “will evolve to completion over a period of time. There will be opportunities for students and volunteers to assist with some of these installations and educational opportunities will exist for students of all ages to learn about these artists, their creative process, and the behind-the-scenes view of just how these large-scale works are installed.”

The first of these works has been installed in the UW Art Museum lobby. The sculpture, “Billings” (shown above), is by internationally renowned sculptor Deborah Butterfield of Bozeman, Mont. whose life-scaled work is composed of found and welded metal. This indoor work can be seen in the museum lobby, which will remain open as an information center while the museum's galleries are closed for renovation and upgrades.

Other participating artists include North Carolina sculptor Patrick Dougherty, who is known for his extraordinary large-scale work created from saplings. Whether free-standing or integrated with architectural structures reminiscent of hives, cocoons, huts, and haystacks, Dougherty interweaves his material into forms that appear both natural and man-made. He will be on location for three weeks in July to create a work for the university campus.

Texas artist Jesus Moroles is considering integrating granite into 30-foot-high totem created from abandoned tanks or pipeline. A proposal from Denver artist Charles Parson is to create a 40-foot-long glass and steel work suspended between two berms. New works from Colorado artists James Surls, Carl Reed, and Charmaine Locke will be on display. Locke’s work, “Open Book,” will be installed at the Albany County Public Library. And an Ursula von Rydingsvard sculpture constructed of four-by-four-inch cedar beams will be located on the Art Museum Terrace.
An opening reception for the exhibition is scheduled for Sept. 12. In April 2009, the Wyoming Arts Council and the UW Art Museum will team up for a symposium focusing on public art.
You can view more of the work featured in “Sculpture: A Wyoming Invitational” at

Photo at the top of the page shows Deborah Butterfield's "Billings" (1996), found steel, welded, 87 x 102 x 32 inches, lent by the artist; installed inside the Art Museum Lobby.

Poster contest for Donkey Creek Jazzfest

"Festival of Cultures" at Sheridan College

Sheridan College will celebrate a "Festival of Cultures" on Monday, April 21, and Thursday, April 24. The festivities will begin on Monday with a lecture highlighting global education and then continue on Thursday with a Native American dance and Japanese Taiko drum performance.

On April 21, Everett McGlothin, executive director for the Association for the Advancement of International Education, will talk about the opportunities and impacts of global education. McGlothin has lived and worked abroad for twelve years and has traveled extensively. The lecture will take place from 7-8 p.m., in the CTEL Presentation Hall at Sheridan College. A Q&A session will follow his presentation.

On April 24, “Drumbeats: Celebrating Diversity,” kicks off with a Native American Dance/Drum performance at 7 p.m. in the college's Golden Dome. Native American performers from Wyoming, South Dakota, and Montana will take the stage and showcase a variety dances, including the Pow Wow dance. At 8:15 p.m., One World Taiko from Seattle will put on a presentation of contemporary Japanese drumming. Each performance will feature special audience participation activities. Both events are free and open to the public.

"Earth Week" workshop at AVA Center

Bedford, Hansen, and Troxel in concert

Ronnie Bedford and Friends will perform for the 25th Anniversary Greater Yellowstone Coalition Benefit Concert in the Nelson Performing Arts Building at Northwest College in Powell at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 19.

Ronnie Bedford, whose acclaimed musical career spans more than 50 years will be joined by Warren Chiasson on vibraphone, Jeff Troxel on guitar and Erik Applegate on bass. The evening begins with a VIP reception and an opening from Neil Hansen’s 18-piece Northwest College Jazz Band.

Tickets: $25 adults, $15 students with valid ID. VIP tickets: $50 includes preferred seating and special pre-show reception with musicians. Order tickets online now, or call 406-556-2834 to speak with GYC events coordinator Teresa Soule for details/reservations.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Both Ronnie Bedford and Neil Hansen are Wyoming Arts Council Governor's Arts Award recipients. Neil was recently nominated by Gov. Freudenthal to serve on the WAC board. And Jeff Troxel is a WAC roster artist. To bring Jeff's music to your Wyoming community, go to and click on "artist roster."

Call for entries: Philip Levine Poetry Prize

The Philip Levine Prize in Poetry is an annual book contest sponsored by the M.F.A. Program at California State University, Fresno. It offers a $1,500 prize and publication and distribution by Anhinga Press, a Florida-based press that has been publishing poetry for more than 25 years and is directed by University of Wyoming grad Rick Campbell. The winning author also receives 25 free author copies of his/her book.

The contest is named for poet Philip Levine who served as contest judge in 2001, 2002 and 2005. Philip Levine taught at CSUF for many years and is one of the best known and most highly-honored American poets. He has published 16 books of poems, as well as several volumes of translations and two collections of essays. His list of honors includes two National Book Awards, two National Book Critics Circle Awards, the American Book Award, the Ruth Lily Poetry Prize for Distinguished Poetic Achievement, and the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.

Judge for the 2008 competition is Oregon poet Dorianne Laux. Postmark deadline is Sept. 30, 2008. Manuscript should be original poetry, not previously published in book form, and should be 48-80 pages, no more than one poem per page. The entry fee is $25. Checks should be made out to "CSU Fresno Levine Prize." Mail to: Philip Levine Prize in Poetry, CSUF English Department, 5245 N. Backer Ave. MS PB98, Fresno, CA 93740-8001.

FMI: E-mail Connie Hales at

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Star Valley Arts Camp in Thayne June 16-19

The third annual Star Valley Arts Camp will be held June 16-19 at Holdaway Elementary School in Thayne. The camp will feature local and regional artists as instructors to 150 area youth in a four-day camp that "builds arts skills and creativity." Apply now, as acceptance is on a first-come first-served basis.

The camp will run from 1-4 p.m. each day. Participating students will host parents and community members at an end-of-the-wek art show and reception.

FMI: Check out the Star Valley Arts Council web site or e-mail

See "A Woman to Match a Mountain" May 17

The Wyoming Arts Council helped fund a 30-minute video documentary about the life and creative legacy of Neal Forsling, an artist, master storyteller and creater of the Crimson Dawn Midsummer's Eve Celebration on Casper Mountain in Natrona County. The film, "The Woman to Match a Mountain," was produced, directed, and edited by Karen Snyder. Videographer was Jacek Bogucki and principal research consultant Rebecca Hunt, Ph.D. The piece will be featured at the Crimson Dawn Museum.

See a preview screening of the film at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 17, Casper College, Wold Physical Science Building, Wheeler auditorium.

FMI: Karen Snyder at 307-266-1464.

Monday, April 14, 2008

LCCC Ensembles perform Count Basie

"Basie-cally Jazz," a performance by the Laramie County Community College Vocal and Instrumental Jazz Ensembles, will be held on Thursday, April 17, 7:30 p.m., at the Cheyenne Civic Center in downtown Cheyenne. Free and open to the public.

The concert celebrates the 70th anniversary of the release of Count Basie's ground-breaking recording on the Decca label. This began the Count Basie Orchestra's rise to fame on the international stage.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Call for entries: Pilgrimage Magazine

PILGRIMAGE Magazine welcomes nonfiction and poetry for the following 2008 themes: "The 1960s" (deadline: July 1); and "Deep Democracy" (deadline: October 1). All published nonfiction eligible for the annual Pilgrimage Writing Award ($1,000). For more info, send SASE to Box 696, Crestone, CO 81131 OR see guidelines:

Lots of fiddling around in Thermop April 26-27

Deadline for pre-registration for the 35th annual Wyoming Oldtime Fiddlers Association 2008 State Championship Contest is Friday, April 25. The competitions will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 26 , and continue through Sunday, April 27, at Hot Springs County High School Auditorium in Thermopolis. Awards ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

FMI: Contact Ed Capen, 307-921-8120 or Get an official entry form at

Friday, April 11, 2008

UW Arts Calendar for April 18-24

Friday, April 18, 10 a.m. -- UW Department of Music presents the UW Symphony Orchestra Concert for Children, Fine Arts Center concert hall. Free.
Saturday, April 19, 7:30 p.m. -- UW Department of Music presents the UW Wind Ensemble and Alumni Band, Fine Arts Center concert hall. Free.
Monday, April 21, 7:30 p.m. -- UW Department of Music presents the Symphonic Band and Community Band, Fine Arts Center concert hall. Free.
Tuesday, April 22, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. -- Earth Day Celebration in Prexy's Pasture and the Wyoming Union, live music from 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. Free.
Tuesday, April 22, 2 p.m. -- Former Secretary of State James A. Baker, III, will offer his perspectives on world events and today's politics during a dialogue with retired Sen. Alan K. Simpson, UW College of Arts and Sciences auditorium. Free.
Wednesday, April 23, 7:30 p.m. -- UW Department of Music presents the Summit Chamber Players, Fine Arts Center concert hall. Tickets cost $7 for general admission and $5 for students and senior citizens.
Thursday, April 24, 2 p.m. -- Gregory M. Franzwa, author of the new book, "The Mormon Trail Revisited," will discuss the route of the National Historic Trail, American Heritage Center Stockgrower's Room. Free.
Thursday, April 24, 5-8 p.m. -- Thursday Night Garden Party presents the music of Jason Green-Everyday Jones, Wyoming Union Gardens. Free.
Thursday, April 24-Wednesday, April 30, 7:30 p.m. -- UW Theatre and Dance presents "A Chorus Line," Fine ArtsCenter Main Stage Theatre. Sunday, April 27 show is at 2 p.m. only. Tickets cost $16 for general admission, $13 for senior citizens and $8 for students.

For updates on UW events and activities or go online at Visit for Department of Theatre and Dance and Department of Music event information and tickets.

The hills (and theatre) are alive in Torrington

Goshen Community Theatre presents "The Sound of Music" at Eastern Wyoming College Fine Arts Auditorium, 3200 West C St., Torrington. Opening night is Thursday, April 17, at 7 p.m. with a community reception to follow the performance. Shows continue on Friday April 18 and Saturday April 19 at 7 p.m., a matinee on Sunday, April 20 at 2 p.m., and April 24, 25, and 26 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $7 adults, $5 students over 12 and seniors over 60, $3 kids under 12, and Thursday performances are $1 for EWC students with ID.

FMI: Becky Cameron at (307) 532-7357

For more about Goshen Community Theatre, read the article in the February 2008 issue of the Wyoming Arts Council newsletter, Artscapes. Call the WAC at 307-777-7742 for a copy.

"Grapes of Wrath" tonight at Atlas Theatre

Harry Woods sends this reminder:

The Cheyenne Little Theatre Players' fourth (and final) 2008 Readers' Theatre production, "The Grapes of Wrath," plays tonight (Friday, April 11) at the downtown Atlas Theatre in Cheyenne at 7:30 p.m. It's directed by Keith Thomson. If you haven't secured your tickets, please do so. We received a grant from the Wyoming Arts Council to help fund the project. It has a large cast of 19 wonderful readers aged 10 to over 70. The story certainly has parallels to present-day events.

Bedford & Hansen play jazz in Gillette

Equality State Bookfest announces line-up

Yesterday, we received the list of authors confirmed for the second annual Equality State Book Festival Sept. 18-20 in Casper. It’s an impressive line-up, one that will lure book-lovers to Casper for a variety of panels and presentations and readings.

Here’s the news thus far:

Featured speaker is Wilson author Alexandra Fuller, who will speak about her books on Thursday, Sept. 18, in Durham Hall at Casper College. Her first book, Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood (Random House, 2001), was a New York Times Notable Book for 2002, the 2002 Booksense Best Non-fiction book, a finalist for the Guardian’s First Book Award and the winner of the 2002 Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize. Her 2004 Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier (Penguin Press) won the Ulysses Prize for Art of Reportage. Her latest book is The Legend of Colton H Bryant (Penguin Press, May, 2008), about the life of a young man from southwestern Wyoming who was killed on the gas rigs. Kirkus Reviews calls it “a latter-day Silkwood [story], quiet and understated, beautifully written, speaking volumes about the priorities of the age. Fuller has also written for The New Yorker and National Geographic.

Keynote speaker for the bookfest banquet on Friday evening will be Gary Ferguson of Red Lodge, Mont. He’s author of The Great Divide: A Biography of the Rocky Mountains, Countryman Books, 2006; Hawks Rest: A Season in the Remote Heart of Yellowstone, National Geographic, 2003; Shouting at the Sky: Troubled Teens and the Promise of the Wild, Thomas Dunne Books, 1999; The Sylvan Path, a Journey through America’s Forests, St. Martin’s Press, 1997, and many more. Ferguson is also an excellent speaker and lectures frequently on wilderness and conservation issues.

Special children’s author will be Jack Gantos, formerly of New Mexico and now living in Boston. He’s the author of the Rotten Ralph series of picture books, the Joey Pizgah series of chapter books, the Jack Henry series of chapter books, many novels for young adults, and Hole in My Life, a memoir of his youth, 18 months in prison, and emergence as a writer. Gantos will spend two days in the Casper schools, give a workshop for teachers, and speak at the festival.

Featured poet is former Casperite Laurie Kutchins. She has published poetry in the New Yorker magazine and is on the English faculty at George Mason University in Virginia. She is author of Between Towns (Texas Tech University Press, 1993) The Night Path, and Slope of the Child Everlasting (Boa Editions, 1997 and 2007).

Laura Pritchett, of Fort Collins, Colo., has agreed to be the judge of the 2009 Wyoming Arts Council creative writing fellowships. She’s the author of the novel Sky Bridge (2007) and the 2001 collection of short stories, Hell’s Bottom, Colorado, both from Milkweed Editions. She will read from her work together with the fellowship winners Thursday afternoon, Sept. 18, at Casper College. She also will serve on Saturday’s fiction panel. We’ll have more details about Laura and the fellowships in upcoming posts.

Four members of the University of Wyoming MFA faculty in creative writing will teach two-day writing workshops at the festival. These include:

  • Alyson Hagy, author of the novels Snow, Ashes, (Graywolf, 2007) and Keeneland (Simon and Schuster, 2000) and a book of short stories, Graveyard of the Atlantic (Graywolf, 2000)

  • Harvey Hix, poet and critic, author of many collections of poetry including Surely as Birds Fly, (Truman State University, 2002), and Perfect Hell (Gibbs Smith, 1996),), several unusual critical works, including God Bless: A Political/Poetic Discourse (Etruscan Press, 2007) and Wild and Whirling Words, a Poetic Conversation, (Etruscan Press, 2004), and more traditional studies of other writers, including studies of William Gass and W.S. Merwin for the Understanding Contemporary American Literature series from the University of South Carolina Press. Hix currently directs the MFA program at UW

  • Beth Loffreda, author of Losing Matt Shepard (University of Columbia Press, 2000), a study of how Laramie came to grips with itself in the wake of the brutal 1998 murder of gay UW student Matthew Shepard

  • David Romtvedt, poet, fiction writer, essayist, accordion player, folklorist, and Wyoming poet laureate. His books include: Moon; Free and Compulsory for All; How Many Horses; Windmill: Essays from Four Mile Ranch; A Flower Whose Name I Do Not Know; Crossing Wyoming; and Some Church.

Here are the subjects of the bookfest’s panels: Local history, Wyoming history, Trout Fishing, Nature/Outdoor writing, fiction writing, and book publishing. Panelists (thus far) include: John D. McDermott, Rapid City, S.D.; Mike McClure, Lander; Mark Junge, Cheyenne; Charlotte Babcock, Casper, Susanne George Bloomfield, Kearney, Neb.; John Clayton, Red Lodge, Mont.; John Davis, Worland; Lawrence M. Woods, Worland; Tina Welling, Jackson; Robert Roripaugh, Laramie; Ted Leeson, Eugene, Ore.; Chad Hanson, Casper; Mallory Burton, Vancouver, B.C.; Nancy Curtis, Glendo; RoseMarie London, Laramie; Katie Dublinski, Minneapolis; Sarah Crichton, New York, N.Y.

Bios for confirmed presenters are available at the bookfest web site at

CORRECTION (4/15/08): Just heard from Equality State Bookfest organizers that the Jack Gantos series is Joey "Pigza" not "Pizgah." Sorry about the error...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

"Hamlet" in Pinedale July 20

The Wyoming Shakespeare Festival Company in Lander has announced that the summer 2008 touring play will be "Hamlet." The company will perform at American Legion Park in Pinedale on Sunday, July 20. Wyoming's homegrown Shakespeare group has performed for Pinedale audiences for the last five summers. Click here for more.

Build A Train

The Cheyenne Depot Museum is celebrating International Museum Day, which is Sunday, May 18, 2008, with a "Build a Train" Project. Children are encouraged to create a train car using a shoebox. The train car may be any type of car, including an engine, coal car, passenger car, box car or caboose. The Cheyenne Depot Museum will display the "Build a Train" Project in the Cheyenne Depot lobby on May 18, 2008 through May 26, 2008.

In order to identify each child to each train car, the Cheyenne Depot Museum is requesting that the child's name, address, phone number and age on an index card, which should be attached to the bottom of the train car. Please deliver the train cars to the Cheyenne Depot by 5pm, Saturday, May 18, 2008.

The Cheyenne Depot Museum will also be waiving the admission fee of $5 for adults on Sunday, May 18, 2008 for International Museum Day as well. The Cheyenne Depot Museum will be open from 11am to 5pm. We invite the community to come and see the 2nd floor museum exhibit, which offers a "touchable" experience unlike any other museum exhibit in Cheyenne. For more information on the "Build a Train" Project, call the staff of the Cheyenne Depot Museum at (307) 632-3905.

Call for entries: 43rd annual CCAL art show

Application deadline is May 16 for the Cody Country Art League's 43rd annual art show June 13-July 13 in Cody. Works must be shipped postpaid or delivered by June 6 to the CCAL, 836 Sheridan Avenue, Cody, WY 82414. You can write for guidelines, or call 307-587-3597 or e-mail

The CCAL will host an artists' reception on Friday, June 13, 6-8 p.m., for the judges, exhibiting artists and their families. Awards will be presented and the exhibit will officially open to the public.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

National Poetry Out Loud competition this month

For the third year, students from across the country are convening in Washington, DC for the chance to win a $20,000 scholarship prize based on their superior ability - not to shoot hoops or hit home runs - but to recite poetry.

Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest, a program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance, is the creation of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation. On April 28 and 29, 52 high school students from every state, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands will gather at George Washington University Lisner Auditorium in Washington, DC, to match their skills. These students are among more than 150,000 students nationwide who took part in this year's contest at the classroom level, progressing through school and state contests en route to becoming their state's champion. Special guest judges at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals are attorney, author, and advocate Caroline Kennedy, radio personality and novelist Garrison Keillor, Pulitzer-Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey, Daily Poetry editor Don Selby, 2007 Poetry Out Loud National Champion Amanda Fernandez, and memoirist, activist, and poet Luis Rodriguez. Scott Simon of National Public Radio returns to serve as master of ceremonies.

Caila Booth, a Senior from Buffalo High School will represent Wyoming at this year's national competition. Mike Shay will travel to Washington to represent the Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources/Wyoming Arts Council at these events.

Poetry for April

From Ted Kooser, former U. S. Poet Laureate (2004-2006):

Putting bed pillows onto the grass to freshen, is a pretty humble subject for a poem, but look how Kentucky poet, Frank Steele, deftly uses a sun-warmed pillow to bring back the comfort and security of childhood.

Part of a Legacy

I take pillows outdoors to sun them
as my mother did. "Keeps bedding fresh,"
she said. It was April then, too--
buttercups fluffing their frail sails,
one striped bee humming grudges, a crinkle
of jonquils. Weeds reclaimed bare ground.
All of these leaked somehow
into the pillows, looking odd where they
simmered all day, the size of hams, out of place
on grass. And at night I could feel
some part of my mother still with me
in the warmth of my face as I dreamed
baseball and honeysuckle, sleeping
on sunlight.

More WyoPoMo Fun

Speaking of poetry at the Laramie County Public Library (see April 8 posts)... the Serendipity Poets of Cheyenne celebrate National (and Wyoming) Poetry Month with a public presentation from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., on Saturday, April 26, in the Willow Room of the Laramie County Library. The event is free and open to the public. Bring a poem (your own or one of your favorites) or just sit back and listen as the Serendipity Poets read and recite their favorites. For more information, please contact Ed Warsaw at 635-4725 ( or come by the Synergy Cafe (north Vandehei at the I-25 exit) every Tuesday from 7-9 p.m.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

"Arts and Aging Toolkit" available

Creativity Matters: The Arts and Aging Toolkit, written by Johanna Misey Boyer of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA), describes "strategies for enhancing health in older adults through participatory arts programs." The toolkit was published by the National Center for Creative Aging (NCCA), the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts, and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC). Copies are available for $35, and may be purchased through the National Guild office at 212-268-3337 ext. 16.

Daniel Kemmis at UW today

Dan Kemmis, the author of "Community and The Politics of Place" and "The Good City and the Good Life" will speak Tuesday, April 8, at 2:45 p.m. in Room 133 of the University of Wyoming Classroom Building. His talk, "Western Leadership, Directions and Relationships with the Nation," is part of Political Science Professor Pete Simpson's Wyoming Political Identify Crisis class. The public is invited to attend.

Kemmis' newest book is "This Sovereign Land: A New Vision for Governing the West." He has had articles published in national and regional magazines and journals on public policy in the West, democratic theory and practice, community and community building and regionalism, and he is frequently invited to speak on these and related topics at regional and national conferences.
A senior fellow at the Center for the Rocky Mountain West, Kemmis is a graduate of Harvard University and The University of Montana School of Law. He is the former mayor of Missoula, Mont., and a former speaker and minority leader of the Montana House of Representatives.

Teen poetry slam April 22 at Cheyenne library

For National Poetry Month, the Laramie County Public Library in Cheyenne is hosting a poetry slam for students in grades 7-12. The battle begins at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 22, in the new library’s Cottonwood Room.

And beware -- the Wyoming Arts Council's Mike Shay will serve as one of the judges.

Participants must pre-register for this judged event, which features teams of teen poets facing off against one another, and bring at least four original poems. To register, call 634-3561 or visit the second floor of the library.

The top high school and junior high teams will receive cash prizes (double the amount from last year), as well as awards for individual poets. This event is free and open to the public. Come on out and cheer for your faves.

For more details about this and other programs for teens, visit

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Berky's new play debuts April 24 in Jackson

Off Square Theatre Company in Jackson produces the world premiere of the newest play by Jackson Hole's Bob Berky, "The Fourth Nail," a scorching Dark Ages comedy about fear, fraud and faith. Performances will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays April 24 through May 10.

Here's a description of the play from the Jackson Hole Center for the Arts web site:

The year is 1099. The European Crusaders have overrun and sacked the holy city of Jerusalem and established the first Christian Kingdom in Palestine. Two battered Crusaders return to Prague laden with "holy relics" – the widow’s peak of John The Baptist, a grape from the Last Supper, bird seed from the pocket of St. Francis, and lots of thumbs – but their desire for wealth collides with their own fears of death and uncertainty.Period costumes and sets depict a medieval knight's shop, a king's bedroom and an alchemist's lab – complete with explosions!

Ten-show run opens with previews on Thursday, April 24 (all seats $10), and the gala opening on Friday, April 25 (all seats $55), and continues Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through May 10. Saturday, May 3, also offers a 2 p.m. matinee.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Grand opening for Douglas gallery April 7

WAC board member and artist Richard Olveda sends this news from Douglas:

RomArt Gallery, 203 Center St., in downtown Douglas, will celebrate its grand opening on Monday, April 7, 5-7 p.m., with works by nine local painters, photographers and potters.

Gallery owner and artist Rom Hinz said the city has been without an art gallery for eight years. "I hope this gallery of locally produced art will help awaken the arts impulse in Douglas and begin building our city’s culture beyond being a bedroom community for Wyoming’s extractive industries." he said.

The show features work ranging from realistic and functional to abstract and surreal. Featured artists include Sonia Sieg, Linda Butler, Diane Harrop, Jeanne Chamberlain, Max Cox, Ron Miles, Rick Kilmer, Dave Thompson and Rom Hinz.

Normal operating hours of the RomArt Gallery will be 4-7 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m.-noon on Saturdays.

Art Spiegelman to lecture on "Comix 101"

Art Spiegelman, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel Maus, will visit Laramie April 30-May 1 as a guest of the University of Wyoming MFA Visiting Writers Series and the Albany County Public Library.

This trailblazing comic artist will give a lecture, "Comix 101," at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Apr. 30 at the Cavalryman Supper Club, 4425 S. 3rd Street (U.S. 287). Following that, he will answer questions from the audience. The event is free and open to the public.

On Thursday, May 1, noon-1:30 p.m., Spiegelman will join a lunchtime conversation about his writing, also at the Cavalryman. Attendance is free, but seating is limited. To reserve tickets, please call 721-2580 ext. 5456 or email

In 2005, Time Magazine named Art Spiegelman one of their "Top 100 Most Influential People." Spiegelman is universally credited for having single-handedly invented the form of the modern graphic novel. His comics are best known for their shifting styles, their formal complexity, and controversial content. A major figure in the underground comics movement, in 1980 he and his wife Francoise Mouly founded the avant-garde comics magazine RAW.

In 1992 Spiegelman won the Pulitzer Prize for his masterful Holocaust narrative Maus — which portrayed Jews as mice and Nazis as cats. Maus II continued the remarkable story of his parents’ survival of the Nazi regime and their lives later in America. The book also received an Eisner Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction.

In advance of Spiegelman’s visit, the Albany County Public Library will host a series of book discussions of Maus. In addition, the University of Wyoming Libraries will provide free copies of Maus for students in Laramie middle and high school classes.

Spiegelman’s visit to Laramie is funded by the Wyoming Arts Council. Additional support is provided by the Wyoming Humanities Council, the Laramie Jewish Community Center, UW Libraries, UW Office of the President, UW Art Department and the Albany County Public Library Foundation.