Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Experimental Contemporary Dance and Mixed-media Exhibit by Native Choreographer Rosy Simas

Rosy Simas Danse presents “We Wait In The Darkness”, a story of one Native American family’s struggles through generations of displacement and search for identity, and is a multimedia event that documents the history of a Native American family through the generations that includes traumatic events of Simas’ mother, including the flooding of her ancestral home to make way for the Allegheny reservoir.  Rosy Simas Danse will present, “We Wait In The Darkness” on Saturday, April 9th at 7PM. Admission $10 adults and $5 children. Simas will also conduct residency activities in the area and in neighboring Native American communities associated with her visit.  Ms. Simas’ accompanying historical exhibition will be displayed in The Edge Center Gallery April 8 through April 30.

From the Rosy Simas website (www.rosysimas.com):  “Recent scientific study verifies what many Native people have always known, that traumatic events in our ancestors lives are in our bodies, blood and bones. These events leave molecular scars adhering to our DNA. Our grandmother’s tragic childhood can trigger depression or anxiety in us, but we have the ability to heal these DNA encodings and change that trait for future generations.”

"Rosy Simas, wearing an old-fashioned white dress, dances to the sounds of rushing water and whispering voices. Eyes closed, she steps carefully along an invisible path trod by many before her, including her grandmother Clarinda Jackson Waterman. Simas uses her slowly unraveling movement to reach back into time while still performing in the present..." From http://www.startribune.com/tragic-history-informs-dance-by-rosy-simas/265597851/  

Ms. Simas states: “If time travels in both directions, we can heal the scars of our grandparents’ DNA.”

“We Wait In The Darkness” is an art/dance work created to heal the DNA scars of Simas’ grandmother, her mother, and our ancestors.  It is a journey of displacement and homecoming fueled by the stories of the Seneca women of Simas’ family, particularly her grandmother Clarinda Waterman.”

Within an environment of images and sounds from Seneca lands this new dance work engages past and future, DNA memory, and invisible presences, to create a personal artwork about loss, family, perseverance and home.  This work is created in collaboration with French composer Francois Richomme.

Background of the Seneca People and the KinZua Dam                                  
The Seneca are a group of indigenous Iroquoian-speaking people native to North America who historically lived south of Lake Ontario.  They were the nation located farthest to the west within the Six Nations or Iroquois League in New York before the American Revolution. In the 21st century more than 10,000 Seneca live in the United States in three federally recognized Seneca tribes.  Two are in New York and one in Oklahoma, where their ancestors were relocated from Ohio during Indian Removal. Approximately 1,000 Seneca live in Canada, near Brantford, Ontario, at the Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation. They are descendants of Seneca who resettled there after the American Revolution, as they had been allies of the British and forced to cede much of their lands.

 “The federal government through the Corps of Engineers undertook a major project of a dam for flood control on the Allegheny River.  The proposed project was planned to affect a major portion of Seneca territory in New York.  Begun in 1960, construction of the Kinzua Dam on the Allegheny River forced the relocation of approximately 600 Seneca from 10,000 acres of land which they had occupied under the 1794 Treaty of Canandaigua….The Seneca had protested the plan for the project, filing suit in court and appealing to President John F. Kennedy to halt construction…The Seneca lost their court case, and in 1961, citing the immediate need for flood control, Kennedy denied their request.” Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seneca_people 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

“Modern Times” with Charlie Chaplin at the Edge in Bigfork

The 1936 Charlie Chaplin film, “Modern Times” is often referred to as Chaplin’s greatest movie. It blames the problems of its time, specifically the depression, on the modernization of society and screws the dehumanizing effects of technology with hilarious comedy.  This is a “laugh out loud” sort of movie that will give you a chance to look at what Chaplin thought of the problem that is still an important political issue in 2016.  “Modern Times” will be shown by Jack Nachbar at The Edge Center in Bigfork on April 14th at 6:30PM free of charge. The movie will be accompanied by Jack’s presentation providing a better understanding of the film at the time period of the picture.

This film has a 100% Rotten Tomatoes rating and remains one of Chapin’s most beloved classics. It was supposed to be Chaplin’s first talking movie. By1936, the movie industry had long passed silent movie era. But Chaplin worried that some of the charm and mystique of his beloved character, the “Little Tramp,” would be lost by sound. That seems strange today, but we live in a world totally overwhelmed by sound entertainment. So maybe a trip back to Chaplin’s world might be a good exercise for our “Modern Times.”

Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin KBE  (1889 – 1977) is often referred to as one of the most influential figures in the film industry. Chaplin’s 75 year history with the movie industry served both well. He had Movies in the late Victorian Era well into the 1970s.  

It amazing that this creation is so often singled out as his “best”. Sculptures from around the world shown above.  He started life in poverty and ended it in luxury and all of it done with his own hard work. Charlie received an honorary Academy Award “…for his incalculable contribution to the industry,” and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Paulette Goddard (1910 –1990) started out as a child fashion model, and performed in several Broadway plays as a Ziegfeld Girl. Paulette became a Paramount Studio star in the 1940s with a wide array of movies to her credit, but, again, the movie “Modern Times” tops the list of her most famous movies. And it was her first major role in movies.

The critics of the 1930s were very positive with the likes of Frank Nugent of The New York Times  writing…”'Modern Times' has still the same old Charlie, the lovable little fellow whose hands and feet and prankish eyebrows can beat an irresistible tattoo upon an audience's funny bone or hold it still, taut beneath the spell of human tragedy ...”

Also said of “Modern Times”: ”Time has not changed his genius. Variety called it "grand fun and sound entertainment."[7] Film Daily wrote, "Charlie Chaplin has scored on of his greatest triumphs. John Mosher of The New Yorker wrote that Chaplin ‘manufactures some superb laughs ...’  And finally Burns Mantle called the film "another hilariously rowdy success….”

Modern Times was deemed "culturally significant" by the Library of Congress in 1989, and selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. Fourteen years later, it was screened "out of competition" at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival.

For such a famous movie to have little or no negative press is a great testament to the movie and a good reason to come and see it on the Big Screen at the Edge Center in Bigfork. You can see this movie free of charge.  Some appropriate snacks will be served courtesy ofJack and his wife/projectionist, Lynn.  Place: The Edge Center for the Arts, Bigfork. Date and time: Thursday April 14th at 6:30PM. It will be worth going out on a chilly Spring evening to a nice warm theater.