Author Archives: krysm1

The Faces of the 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

We’ve been having a great time going through photos of the 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering by our photographers Jessica Lifland and Charlie Ekburg. We wanted to share some of them with you — Enjoy!

Arinak Basque Dancer. Photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland

One of Elko’s Ariñak Basque dancers. Photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland

Jean Flesher adds final touches to dessert at the Basque Cooking Workshop. Photo by Charlie Ekburg

Executive Director Kristin Windbigler welcomes everyone to the Keynote Address. Photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland.

Eric Trigg, a Keynote Speaker. Photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland

Emily Nielson, a Keynote Speaker. Photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland.

Nephi Craig, a Keynote Speaker. Photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland.

Trimming at the Hatmaking Workshop. Photo by Charlie Ekburg.

Rodney Nelson and Yvonne Hollenbeck in Members’ Show #1. Photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland.

A happy audience at the 34th Annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland.

Cody and Willy Braun in the intimate G Three Bar Theater. Photo by Charlie Ekburg.

Jesus Goni, Bertsolariak, and Joxe Mallea. Photo by Charlie Ekburg

Saturday’s Fiddling Around Show: the more, the merrier. Photo by Charlie Ekburg.

View more photos from the 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering on Flick’r.

The Full News About the Full Daily Schedule

It’s live! It’s colorful! It’s fun! It’s the online daily schedule for the 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering! The full daily schedule is embedded on our website and it’s also a smartphone app.

This great system from Sched.com lets you access the schedule in so many ways. Check out the list at the right and make your selection between date or venue, type of session and more. You can even search by genre (poetry, music, storytelling, cooking, discussions, gearmaking, etc.), and you can even look at a list of the most popular events.

If you want to see where and when each individual artist is performing, just click on “Artists” at the top to choose your favorite performer and you can see the shows they will be in along with their bio. (We’re still gathering the speakers and panelists together, but plan to have all of them available soon.)

And we’re so happy this year to be able to feature our major sponsors on the daily schedule, as well as including them on the evening shows they are sponsoring, as a special thank you for their support.

A couple of tips for looking through the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering daily schedule:

As always, we make the distinction between “Ticketed Shows” that occur mostly in the evening hours, and “Daytime Programming.”

Ticketed Shows appear in a deep blue color on the schedule, and those shows require purchase of individual tickets. Remember that Ticketed Shows showcase a combination of Western bands and cowboy poets that often you won’t see together during the day. Some artists only perform on ticketed shows.

Daytime Programming sessions include poetry, music, discussions, films and more, where only a Day Pass or Deluxe Three-Day pass is required for admission. However, this category also includes free and special invitation items, so be sure to check the description to see the full information on any item.

One more special note to the schedule, you may see that in the title and in the description, a cautionary note is added regarding the start and end time of a show or session, particulary in the Open Mics. Our schedule is occasionally tighter than the Sched.com system will feature. Please read the description to make sure you arrive on time.

Go Mobile:

There is a mobile app icon at the top of the right-hand column, and for your iPhone, Android & Blackberry, you can bookmark the app by signing up at https://ncpg2018.sched.com/mobile. Once you’ve created an account, you can make and view your personal schedule of shows you are attending, or you can browse what’s happening right now at the event, or search for what you want.

Everyone on Google Calendar, Outlook and Apple iCal can have instant, offline access to the schedule by clicking this link:  Full Schedule iCal Link for Downloading, save to your desktop and manually import into your calendar. Please note that this is a one-time import so updates to schedule will not show up.

Dennis Parks Artwork for Sale

The Western Folklife Center is pleased to host an exhibition, Land, Language and Clay, of Dennis Parks’ works. Selected pieces from this exhibition are available for your collection. Here we share individual photos and the sales list. Please contact our Gift Shop at 888-880-5885 or 775-738-7508, extension 243 for purchasing assistance. Dennis’ son Ben Parks carries on his father’s legacy of ceramic artwork and a few of his pieces are also on display and for sale through the Western Folklife Center Gift Shop. Read more about Dennis Parks and the exhibition.

Land, Language and Clay Sales List

Blue Warriors: purchase for $5,600
Stoneware (1994)

Unknown Soldiers: purchase for $5,300
Stoneware (1994)

Reduction Jar: purchase for $950
7.5″ tall, Stoneware (1981)

Reduction Jar: purchase for $950
7″ tall, Stoneware (1981)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry Plaque 2: purchase for $2,100
Stoneware (1978)

Poetry Plaque 1: purchase for $2,100 Stoneware (1978)

Poetry Plaque 3: purchase for $2,100
Stoneware (1978)

Heroes of the Old Left – Joe Hill: purchase for $750 Stoneware pedestal piece

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heroes of the Old Left – V.I.L.:
purchase for $750
Stoneware pedestal piece

Heroes of the Old Left – 19 Barcelona 09: purchase for $750
Stoneware pedestal piece

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heroes of the Old Left – Karl:
purchase for $750
Stoneware pedestal piece

Heroes of the Old Left – Big Bill:
purchase for $750
Stoneware pedestal piece

 

 

 

 

Platter 1: purchase for $3,500
Stonware (circa mid-1980s)

Dennis Parks Self Portrait: purchase for $2,300 Stoneware (1989)

latter – Desire Itself is Movement:
purchase for $3,500
Stoneware (circa mid-1980s)

Platter – Even While the Dust Moves: purchase for $3,500
Stoneware (circa mid-1980s)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Penada Landscape Plate 2: purchase for $650 Stoneware (circa mid 1980s-1990s)

Penada Landscape Plate 1:
purchase for $650
Stoneware (circa mid 1980s-1990s)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Penada Landscape Plate 4:
purchase for $650
Stoneware (circa mid 1980s-1990s)

Penada Landscape Plate 3:
purchase for $650
Stoneware (circa mid 1980s-1990s)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Penada Landscape Plate 5:
purchase for $650
Stoneware (circa mid 1980s-1990s)

Penada Landscape Plate 6:
purchase for $650
Stoneware (circa mid 1980s-1990s)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Executives Drowning: purchase for $17,000
Stoneware (circa 1990s)

Abacus, by Dennis Parks and John Fahnestock: purchase for $24,000
29″x54″ – Porcelain, Metal and Wood (2005)

Photos courtesy of Dennis Parks and the Nevada Museum of Art.

Basques and Buckaroos… and Sheep???… at the 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

by Katie Aiken

No doubt you’ve heard by now that there are sheep on the 2018 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering poster. Sheep! On a cowboy event! Is it true???

Well…yes. The poster artwork depicts sheep–creamy shapes amidst a burst of saturated colors and living textures that call up the deep, shifting palette of our big Western skies and the hazy boundaries of what we define as our Western landscape.

The artist, Theodore Waddell, creates non-stereotypical depictions of the American West, which would be meaningless without stereotypes to buck in the first place. Working in the world of cowboy arts means navigating stereotypes at almost every turn—some preposterous, some truthful, some romanticized, some useful, some made up by people with no clue, some cherished by people in-the-know. But, the Gathering and the Gathering community can’t be boiled down so easily.

Here’s the thing about those sheep. Besides spurring a lot of lively conversation—and opening the door to some unshakeable jokes—those sheep are giving us an opportunity to talk about what the Gathering is and what this year’s Gathering holds in store.

In 2018, we honor part of the fabric of this wonderful community that hosts the Gathering every year. Because, nothing says Elko like Basques and buckaroos. Many Basques came to the American West to work on cattle and sheep ranches as herders and buckaroos. Today’s Basque communities worldwide carry stories of immigration and dynamic traditions of music, poetry, dance, art, foodways and more. These intersect with buckaroo traditions, as Basques and buckaroos are neighbors, friends, family, coworkers, and often, one and the same. We look forward to celebrating the expressive arts of Basques and buckaroos from Elko, the Great Basin and Basque country overseas.

Here are some glimpses into what will happen at the Gathering this year, as we’re joined by participants from the American West and from the Basque Country:

Bertsolaritza at the 2017 National Basque Festival in Elko, Nevada. Photo by Meg Glaser

There will be poetry! Cowboys have cowboy poetry and Basques have bertsolaritza. Bertsolaritza is an improvised poetic artform, where two bertsolariak improvise and exchange poetic verses while trying to cleverly one-up each other. These verses are sung to melodies and created on the spot in response to a given theme. In Basque Country, this is a highly formalized, competitive “sport” that captivates stadium-size audiences for hours. Champions are well-known and renowned. The world of bertsolaritza is big. And, we’re excited to have both a pair of female bertsolariak joining us from the Basque Country as well as a pair of male bertsolariak joining us from Nevada and Wyoming. Though this artform is grounded in the Basque language, all four of these poets will be interpreted and speak in English as well.

Photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland

There will be food! Because if poetry comes out of our mouths, something eventually needs to go back in, right? Cooking workshops are one way that we’ll explore a vast culinary world influenced by Basques and buckaroos. From the necessity and ingenuity of sheep-camp cooking with Dutch ovens, to the needs and styles of ranch cooking (which crosses over to Basque boarding house meals and family-style Basque American restaurants), to contemporary takes on traditional snack-size pintxos, we’re excited to be joined by Basque chefs and ranch cooks.

And, there will be more! We’ll have real people sharing real stories from the Spanish Ranch and other outfits, giving you a glimpse into the histories, characters and lives of Basques and buckaroos from the Great Basin region. There will be opportunities to watch (and learn) Basque dancing, to hear (and play) Basque instruments like the pandero (tambourine), to try your hand at carving Basque makila (walking sticks), to play the card game mus, to drink a kalimotxo (you’ll find out), to bring the family to all-ages events, to share a two-step, and to enjoy the delightful company of our guests. As the Basque saying goes, “Gure etxera datorrena, bere etxean dago!” (“Who come to our home are at their home!” or, roughly, make yourself at home!)

As you listen to the poetry of Bruce Kiskaddon one moment, and hear the melodies of the trikitixa the next… perhaps while eating a tri-tip sandwich and having a conversation with a fellow Gathering-goer that covers range management challenges, the key markers of good rawhide braiding and the songwriting craft of Ian Tyson… you’ll start to get a sense of what the Gathering is about. Basques and buckaroos (and Basque buckaroos!) may define themselves by the land they work or the land they come from, but these lands and the people on them, are connected through generations that reach beyond geographic boundaries. They are sustained by complex and creative relationships. And through words, through music, through food, through shared experience, through moments… the kind of moments that happen at the Gathering.

Our hope is to explore contemporary ranch country, which happens to coexist with “sheep country” and with Basque Country. It is a messy, exciting, wonderful, hazy reality, in which cowboys do what they do best (besides work cows)—they express and they share life from the land. And they refuse to be boiled down.

The Western Folklife Center: an Exhibition Destination

All through the year, the Western Folklife Center is an exhibition destination in Elko, Nevada. From the Wiegand Gallery and its inspiring space featuring interactive exhibitions and multimedia presentations to educate and entertain and throughout the building at 501 Railroad Street until you reach the lower level, exhibits can be seen on almost every wall.

Horses in the American West, a Nevada Museum of Art-Western Folklife Center collaborative exhibition in the Wiegand Gallery. “Safe and Sound” by Harry Jackson (1982) bronze, collection of Bill Searle. Photo by Charlie Ekburg, 2017 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

The Western Folklife Center Wiegand Gallery, designed by Prescott Muir Architects of Salt Lake City, Utah, often combines a major exhibition with a showcase of the handcrafted work of master artisans throughout the West as represented in the Western Folklife Center’s permanent Collection of Contemporary Gear – read more about the Collection and its genesis in Back at the Ranch, an online exhibition. And during the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, there are special demonstrations in addition to the current exhibition!

Ryan Carpenter leatherworking demonstration. Photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland, 2017 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

Also in the Gallery is found the Story Corps booth where you can record a conversation with a friend or beloved family member, and the Black Box Theater showing a 16-minute adaptation from our award-winning video production, Why The Cowboy Sings, exploring the inspiration behind the music and poetry accompanying ranch life.

Photo by Steve Green.

The Pioneer Saloon’s Fireplace Nook is an ideal spot for small exhibitions and has featured such artists as Walter Piehl Jr., Tom Russell, Cal Bracken, Carlos César Díaz Castro, Sean Sexton, Glenn Ohrlin, Bill Lowman and Beth Carpel, among others.

Sean Sexton exhibition in Fireplace Nook.

And, of course, the wall of National Cowboy Poetry Gathering posters on the Pioneer Saloon wall opposite the historic 40-foot 1890 Brunswick back bar (constructed of mahogany and cherry wood inlaid with mother-of-pearl), exhibits the wide array of avenues of poetry and storytelling from horse and herding cultures throughout the United States and the world that the Gathering has explored through our 33 years!

Photo by Steve Green.

Our lower level features L.L. Griffin’s Something That a Cowboy Knows, a photographic essay of silver gelatin prints, donated by L.L. Griffin to the Western Folklife Center after the exhibition’s opening at  the Arvada Center and the Colorado Historical Society, and subsequent tour through the West.

Duley Canterburry and Kenn Lee

Alejandro Solis, Sr.

 

 

 

 

 

Expanding our exhibition tour outside, the Western Folklife Center was pleased to work with photographers Deon and Trish Reynolds to present “WestStops,” a walk-by exhibition with photo murals on Western Folklife Center exterior walls (and others in downtown Elko) as a part of our creative placemaking efforts. Intended as a temporary exhibition, the process to attach the murals is based on an organic paste base. See them now in the 5th Street alley between the Western Folklife Center and the Stray Dog Saloon.

 

And, although only available for a short time each year, there are the special National Cowboy Poetry Gathering “galleries” of Elko County grade school mixed media art and high school photography that always showcase a wide range of creative expression in student art, on exhibit from January through April.

Panoramic photograph of Elko grade school students’ art exhibition in the G Three Bar Theater, 2017 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

Panoramic photograph of Elko High School student photography in the Western Folklife Center elevator lobby, 2017 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

Coming in mid-June 2017, the Wiegand Gallery will host two amazing exhibits:

Dennis Parks: Land, Language and Clay, featuring the work of internationally-known ceramist Dennis Parks and son Ben Parks, both based in Tuscarora, Nevada. The exhibition is organized by the Nevada Museum of Art. Visitors will see pieces from the Parks’ private collections and items drawn from the Dennis Parks Archive Collection housed by the Center for Art + Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art.

Way Out West: Images of the American Ranch, Photographs From the Farm Security Administration, 1936-1943, a rich and personal record of ranch life of the period. Photographs in this exhibition are selections from a book of the same name by former Western Folklife Center Executive Director Charlie Seemann.

In closing, we invite you to enjoy our online exhibitions, Back at the Ranch, An Artful Life; and Between Grass and Sky.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leadership Changes at the Western Folklife Center

Big changes are afoot at the Western Folklife Center! David Roche, current Executive Director, has announced his retirement, effective June 30. As a key part of a planned leadership transition, Western Folklife Center Board Trustee Kristin Windbigler will take over as Executive Director July 1.

We wish David all the best in his “retirement,” as he anticipates transitioning to a consulting role in the arts and culture industry. We greatly appreciate his leadership in moving the Western Folklife Center forward in the community by engaging local support for the Folklife Center, in helping to re-establish the Nevada Task Force (a group of local volunteers who are assisting the work of the organization year-round); engaging with City and County leaders to invigorate cultural activity in the downtown corridor redevelopment zone; and attracting new supporters to local projects through an award from ArtPlace America, a national funding project supporting art placemaking. Western Folklife Center was the first recipient of the award in Nevada.

During his tenure, David also supported many critical projects that showcased Western arts and culture, including the award-winning Deep West Video program, which partners with students from the Owyhee School on the Duck Valley Indian Reservation to make short films and translate them into the Shoshoni language, and Moving Rural Verse, poetry films highlighting topics of water in the West. He also helped to expand National Cowboy Poetry Gathering programs to encompass the genre of storytelling in the West, and built partnerships with national storytelling organizations like StoryCorps and The Moth.

David says, “It’s been a special honor for me to have had the opportunity to lead the Western Folklife Center over the last three years.  The importance of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering on so many social and economic levels for Elko and the American West calls out for more and more broad support in order for this unique festival to continue as a beacon of humanist expression. The Western Folklife Center has taught me so much about what it means to be inclusive of all folks who call the West home.”

Kristin Windbigler has been associated with the Western Folklife Center and our National Cowboy Poetry Gathering for almost 20 years, as one of the filmmakers in our DeepWest Videos program (making 7 films since 2005 and mentoring other filmmakers) and as a four-year member of the Western Folklife Center Board of Trustees, including her appointment as vice chair in 2016.

“I fell in love with the Gathering that first year I attended because I saw my own culture—the life I grew up in—recognized, examined, celebrated and lauded,” says Kristin. “The Western Folklife Center and the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering explore and give voice to the traditional and dynamic cultures of the American West, and I couldn’t be more thrilled and humbled by this opportunity to grow the organization and reach new audiences.”

For the last nine years, Kristin has served as director of the Translators Program, which works with 27,000 volunteers in 155 countries to translate TED talks into 114 languages. Kristin developed, then launched, the volunteer program that gives global access to TED’s multi-lingual content. TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks.

In the early days of the Internet, she was the executive producer of Wired Magazine’s “Webmonkey,” a learning site for web developers that was used by millions. She has also worked as a journalist and editor, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from California State University, Chico, where she was managing editor of the Chico State newspaper, The Orion. She is from Blocksburg, California, in rural Humboldt County, where her family was involved in ranching and logging.

At the Western Folklife Center, Kristin hopes to nurture the deep connections everyone makes at the Gathering as well as foster new ones by using technology to bring the organization’s far-flung community together year round. In line with the Folklife Center’s mission “to use story and cultural expression to connect the American West to the world,” Kristin will emphasize knowledge and skill-sharing within the Center’s community of artists and supporters to create new ways to participate while ensuring valued traditions of cultural expression are passed from one generation to the next.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees I would like to thank David for his leadership over the past three years,” stated Board Chairman Paul Caudill. “And with Kristin’s love for the mission of the Western Folklife Center, and her deep background in the cultural arts and media, we are excited about our future.”

 

Learning to Jitterbug in Elko

by Krys Munzing

I grabbed a camera and stopped by Let’s Dance! at the Western Folklife Center on April 27 to check out the night’s Jitterbug lesson: a very relaxed and really complete class with returning students and newbies interested in learning the dance. Instructors for the night were Ali Helmig and Stefan Goehring, and they had it down to easy, show-n-tell steps that the dancers followed, including individual tips as the lesson progressed.

This fun community event has been produced by the Western Folklife Center since May of 2013, twice monthly February through October (once monthly during November, December and January). Let’s Dance! is run by a volunteer group of dance enthusiasts – from bartending to dj’ing to teaching, these Elko folks do it all to bring together dance lovers of all ages from all walks of life. The event is held in the Western Folklife Center’s G Three Bar Theater: the beautiful hardwood floor is ideal! On this night, the music was dj’d by Rob Hegemann and Robin Wignall worked the Pioneer Bar when anyone was thirsty.

For singles, the best part of Let’s Dance! is that you don’t have to have a partner with you, there’s usually a good mix of gals vs. guys – – and on this night, I noticed that Ali and Stefan even asked for a switch of partners a couple of times so everyone could get used to the slightly different styles throughout the room: it’s helpful at dance nights to be able to do the steps with whoever asks, right? One of my friends says it’s a perfect date night with her husband, too.

Another really great aspect of the lesson planning done by Elko Let’s Dance! is that they take into consideration what’s happening around Elko. For instance, the California Trail Center west of town is  having its annual Trail Days event the first weekend of June, which includes a dance night, out under the stars, so Let’s Dance! is featuring Contra Dance on May 25. The National Basque Festival is coming up in Elko on July 4th, so both June lessons will be in Basque dancing. And leading up to the Silver State Stampede…well, I’m sure rodeo swing or another topical lesson is in the plan.

It’s a great opportunity to get out, meet people, exercise a bit, and have fun without spending a lot of money ($5 for the lesson and you’re good for the rest of the evening) on music, dancing and socializing. In fact, once the lesson was done, I noticed quite a few dancers taking a break right there on the dance floor to visit awhile.

Elko Let’s Dance has a facebook page that is full of info – check it out here and get more information by email at wfcdance@gmail.com or visit http://www.westernfolklife.org, where we post the upcoming lesson on our event calendar.

Poster image by Jessica Brandi Lifland