Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Preview of "Taos Pueblo: Ancestral Places, Sacred Spaces": It's the Exhibit Brochure

This is the brochure for Wings's show at the Cocteau in Santa Fe. They arrived late, but we need to make a second run down there anyway for a variety of purposes, so we'll be taking them down to the venue on Tuesday. We'll set aside a few for distribution from here, of course.

Normally, when i design a brochure, it's got less text, more images, and much more blank space. But we're on kind of a shoestring budget here, and this has to double — treble, actually — as brochure, program guide, and interpretive text. So what you see here is sort of the opposite of what I would normally file under the heading "brochure" — but despite that, I still think it came out pretty well, and will serve its purpose[s] pretty effectively.  It's a standard tri-fold, which means there are six panels. I'm putting the other panels over the jump. I think they'll be readable in the images themselves, so I'm not going to bother with reproducing the text next to each; it'll be just the visuals.

The point is to walk the reader through the background for — the foundation of — the show itself. It includes Wings's "exhibition statement," which is sort of like an artist's statement, but tailored specifically to the content of the show in question. It also includes abridged versions of the biographical and historical information we've always used on his Web site: "About the Artist" [here, "About Wings"]; "About the Art"; "About Taos Pueblo."

At left is the front cover. More over the jump:

What a horrible day.

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.
Home again, finally.  Spent 2+ hours at the vet on an emergency basis with this guy.

I've spent $500 today that I wasn't expecting — half toward newly-arisen needs for Wings's show; half for Griffin's emergency care — and I'm fricking wiped. No food, no coffee, lots of carrying of a nearly-60-pound dog by myself, and the absolute terror that I would lose my canine soul mate a mere ten days after losing Lilith.

It's [mostly] good news. It's CVS [canine vestibular syndrome, geriatric form]. I called it earlier today, as a matter of fact, but his condition deteriorated so fast that I was fearing something much, MUCH worse. He can recover; it'll just take a few days of working with his condition, some anti-nausea meds, and some confinement. His labs were outstanding, and all the more so considering his age.

But I've been through the wringer, and so has he, and so has the checkbook, and I probably won't get to the brochure stuff (or anything else) yet tonight. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Big, BIG ups to our friend Raya Golden, who has been nominated for a Hugo Award!

The Hugo Awards are THE international literary award in the sci-fi and fantasy literature genre, so even being nominated is a huge honor. Raya's been nominated in the category "Best Graphic Story" for Meathouse Man. It's based on a novelette that George R.R. Martin wrote many years ago for an anthology, and he calls it "probably the darkest and most twisted thing [he's] ever written." With his permission, she adapted it for the graphic novel format and did all the illustrations. [She's one of his assistants, and she's also an absolute genius of an artist in her own right.]

Congrats, Raya, you brilliant groovy woman!  Big props and love from both of us.

To my peeps:  Y'all really should check out her art. And, you know, buy some of it.

Somebody's pleased with himself.

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.

Have a little horsey side-eye for your Saturday.

So, someone (not I) forgot to fasten the gate chain on one of the pens. I went out about 7:00 AM to retrieve something from the studio — and got to see a spectacular light show over the mountains, by the way — and I couldn't see the boy anywhere.

His pen-mates were standing nose-to-butt between the stall and the gate. Which was wide open. Surprised the other two were where they were supposed to be, but I have a sneaking suspicion that was thanks to She-Wolf and Raven, not any essential sense of propriety on their part.

So right now, Ice is up by the north willows, happily Hoovering the alfalfa. I suppose he deserves it, since he aced his first vet visit yesterday.

Wings was handling it while I took care of other things, and he tells me that Ice handled his first vaccination (probably his first ever) like a champ. The horse vet pronounced him a "score" — meaning that if we're going to have a starving half-wild horse just show up and move in, we got a really good horse out of the deal. Says he's absolutely sound, and in great shape despite the apparent lifetime of starvation and abuse.

Still no definitive word on his age. At least five; theoretically, he could be as old as 20, but that's unlikely. Particularly given his athletics last week when one of the mares was in heat. Yes, I started a very early morning off last week by having to run out in the cold and yell at him to climb down. Yes, that kind of "climb down." Fortunately, he's voice-responsive. Also, too, fortunately, he doesn't have the ability to procreate. My guess is five to seven in terms of age.

Still a lot of work to do with him. Desensitization is a daily thing, but he and I worked on some of it yesterday before the horse vet arrived. At any rate, after four months here, he's — as the horse vet apparently said yesterday about Miskwaki — "a whole new horse."

Copyright Ajijaakwe, 2014; all rights reserved.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Announcing "Taos Pueblo: Ancestral Places, Sacred Spaces," at the Jean Cocteau Cinema

So, he didn't like any of yesterday's casual shots. Maybe it's for a reason, since online dissemination of images of the pieces in the exhibit really should be kept to a minimum until show is over, hence my use of the GoFundMe image again.

But Taos Pueblo:  Ancestral Places, Sacred Spaces is now up and open to the public. It runs through May 11th at the Jean Cocteau Cinema on Montezuma Street in Santa Fe. 

If you're anywhere in the area but have never been to the venue, it's wonderful and you should see it purely for its historic value alone: It's an old Art Deco-period art-house cinema in a building from Santa Fe's heyday. It closed down permanently something eight years ago, which was a huge loss for the Santa Fe and New Mexico arts communities. When George R.R. Martin and Parris McBride Martin bought it last year, they restored it completely, and the work really shows: It's beautiful. Also very cozy, homey, and inviting, and while I absolutely love Deco art and architecture, it's a real accomplishment to pull it off AND make it feel warmly welcoming to everyone who walks through the door.

It seems that they screen films at various times throughout the day on a daily, or near-daily, basis. They also feature specific events, and the ones that will be occurring during the period of Wings's one-man show are pretty stellar: In-person author appearances and book signings by Junot Diaz and Anne Perry; a political fundraiser for Michelle Lujan-Grisham for Congress; the Santa Fe Film Festival, which promises to be spectacular; and assorted film screenings and festivals, live music, and other events. And you can always drop in to have some coffee at the cinema café, which includes a coffeehouse and bar, even if you don't have time or the inclination to take in a film. Wings's exhibit is right in the café itself, so you can view what I think is some truly spectacular Native art while you enjoy your espresso or your Fire and Blood Game of Thrones Red Ale.

Here's the official announcement from the Jean Cocteau Cinema, both on the venue's Web site and on its Facebook page. Please share them far and wide; "Like" and "Share" them on Facebook, Tweet it, link it elsewhere, and e-mail it to your networks. We'd like this to be a huge success, not just for Wings, but for the Jean Cocteau Cinema, for its wonderful owners and staff (who are just incredible people), and for future artists, especially Native ones, who might follow.

And one year ago, . . .

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.
somebody else arrived.

Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the day Miskwaki crossed the downed fence onto our side. I know I've posted updates about his progress, but today's the anniversary of those sickening photos Wings took to document the shape he was in. 

For those who don't remember, or who have never seen them, be sure you're ready to look at these:

Photo copyright Wings, 2013; all rights reserved.
You can't tell from the photo, but he was nearly dead. He could barely stand, and probably wouldn't have lived out the week. Until the moment shown here, I don't know when he'd last had water; certainly not for the previous week or so, and possibly much longer than that. No real food, either, for months. Cuts, scrapes, and sores. Hooves so long that he now has permanent damage (he'll be rideable again, but not yet). And none of that compares to the psychological scars he bears from the years of abuse.

Photo copyright Wings, 2013; all rights reserved.
I know I look like I'm smiling in the photo, but I'm not. I was talking to Wings when he took the shot, and the things I was saying right then don't bear repeating here. Not because I don't own every single thing I said then and more, but because it serves no purpose to revisit that stream of profanity and rage here.

Photo copyright Ajijaakwe, 2014; all rights reserved.
This is what my boy looks like now.

He's so mellow, so eager to please, so happy. But he's not healed yet.

We're working on desensitization. Certain things still scare the hell out of him, chief among them being the prospect of someone riding him. When he meets people for the first time, he's still wary, and he doesn't really trust anyone except the two of us. But he's no longer head-shy (well, at least not with me), and despite his history of abuse, he's fine now with the presence of the so-called "carrot stick," as long as it's my hand that's holding it.

He's also very intuitive to my mood and responsive to my voice. If I'm upset or sad, he'll come and lean his big beautiful head against me. If I want him to do something — or, more likely, stop whatever he's doing — it usually only takes one command.

Those are huge strides in the space of a year for a horse that was beaten, starved, otherwise abused and neglected, and psychologically deeply scarred. 

Last year, when I was going through some stuff I'd rather not discuss, renzo told me to ask the "magic horse" — Miskwaki — for help. I did. And apparently, it worked. I'm still here, he's still here, and at the moment, the world looks pretty good.

Three Years

Photo copyright Wings, 2011; all rights reserved.
Monday was the actual day. Between the killer pace of prepping for the show and having lost Lilith four days previously, I was in no shape to post anything.

But April 14, 2011, was the night this little girl left us. It was too late to do anything then, so we laid Dom to rest the next morning. Lilith is now resting between Dom and Major.

This was another little being with a heart to match any human warrior. She survived horrors (as a bait dog, among other things) before finding her way to me. That raised paw? That's because it was broken in puppyhood, and her [alleged] humans couldn't be bothered to fix it. By 2.5, when she came to me, the shelter/rescue had had to rebreak it and pin it, and they screwed it up so badly that it had to be fused. Bleeding and infection followed; I took care of fixing that on my own.

Pit bull/rat terrier, as nearly as we could tell. Liked to play scaredy-dog, but really had a hell of a lot of heart and strength. And once she wormed her way into your heart (and your lap), you couldn't remove her, even surgically, if you tried.

We found out she was sick roughly two weeks before she left us. It was the same thing that took Lilith's life: pyrethrin toxicity, leading to tumors throughout her body. Lilith first showed sign of having developed it two months after we lost Dom, and the first death scare with her was on June 17th of that same year. She hung nearly three more years, but Dom's little body couldn't hold out that long.

I still feel her sometimes; we both do. A few days ago, a sudden image of Lilith flashed into my mind's eye, wholly unbidden: She was walking alone, westward, down a road that I'd never seen before, when suddenly she saw someone she recognized. She broke into a run, that big doggy grin on her face, and I could see that she was running like she used to — healthy, tumors gone, gray gone, her coat back to full black and white. And I knew she'd just seen Dom, and they were running to greet each other.