Sunday, February 26, 2012

San Francisco Poetry Reading for "A Bird Black As the Sun"

Between now and July, a half-dozen poetry readings are taking place all over California to celebrate "A Bird Black As the Sun: California Poets on Crows & Ravens." The next one is in San Francisco this Wednesday, February 29, 7 pm at Books Inc. Opera Plaza, 601 Van Ness. Tell your friends! This one is not to be missed!

Over 20 poets will read their selections from the anthology, among them Ron Alexander, Rochelle Arellano, Jennifer Arin, Constance Crawford, Patrick Daly, Robert Evans, Paul Fericano, Molly Fisk, Kevin Hearle, Kit Kennedy, Danusha Lameris, Andre Levi, Ellaraine Lockie, Diane Martin, Kathleen McClung, Charlotte Muse, Ruth Nolan, Mary Rudge, Kim Shuck, and Cher Wollard.

A thousand thanks to our amazing host, Connie Post, for putting this reading together. That's Connie on the right in the photo above, with anthology co-editor Enid Osborn. Connie has done more than any other person to promote the anthology in Northern California. Yay Connie!!

This photo, and the one above, were taken at the January 28 reading at Barnes & Noble in San Jose--another hugely successful event. Many of the poets shown here will be reading in San Francisco as well. Back row: Ron Alexander, Rochelle Arellano, Robert Evans, Patrick Daly. Middle row: June Saraceno, Enid Osborn, Connie Post, Charlotte Muse, Ellaraine Lockie, Kathleen McClung. Kneeling in front: Len Anderson, Patrice Vecchione.

For a complete list of all upcoming readings around the state, click here

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Save the Date! Opening Reception March 4 for Bill Dahl, "California Images"

Bill Dahl: California Images

February 29-March 25, 2012

Opening Reception:
Sunday, March 4, 12-3 pm

Twentynine Palms Gallery
74055 Cottonwood Drive
(Off National Park Drive)
29 Palms, California

Gallery Open 12-3 pm
Wednesday through Sunday

Above: "U We Wash," Tecopa, California

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Black Lava Butte

Last weekend we hiked up Black Lava Butte, not far from our house off Hwy. 247. We went up the back side after driving all the way down Roadrunner Rut in Pioneertown. It's a steep climb up the butte, but the views from the top are spectacular. Above: looking east towards Landers, with Goat Mountain in the distance. You can see the dark-colored lava rocks in the foreground, with the lighter-colored monzogranite boulders down below.

Above: looking west towards Roadrunner Rut and Pioneertown, with a good view of the lava rocks in the foreground. The rocks are also found down the sides of the buttes in rubble piles following well-defined lines, as though there were once vents where the lava came up.

Two of the buttes have newly erected towers on them to measure wind. These towers were put up with no warning in 2011 (with BLM approval) and are precursors to a wind turbine farm on the buttes. Local opposition to this project is strong. Most disturbing is that there are no transmission lines nearby to tie into (yet). Above: the whole pole. It's just under 200 feet tall. At 200 feet, they would have had to put a blinking light on it.

Above: close-up of a solar panel on the pole.

We also saw a "slick" or grinding stone used by the Indians. It's the rock with a scratched-looking surface, which is in fact extremely smooth.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

King Clone

What are the oldest living plants in the world? Unless you've already read about it somewhere, I'm guessing you wouldn't pick creosote bushes. But as it turns out, some of them are way older than the more famous and picturesque bristlecone pines. And, in fact, there's a preserve of these ancient creosote bushes located about a half hour from our house--a site includes the most famous old creosote bush of all, the King Clone.

I won't reveal the exact location here of the preserve here, but you can find it easily enough through an Internet search or in "Bill Mann's Guide to Lucerne Valley." Suffice it to say, the site is along a well-traveled dirt road and is unmarked except for a simple wire fence. On the far backside of the enclosure there is a tiny sign, above, that you would never see unless you were looking for it.

So, the story is that each ring of creosotes is actually a single organism--and that the empty space in the middle represents where the plant began. In the case of the King Clone, that was over 11,700 years ago. The King Clone is not marked and we wandered about trying to find it--we did find (or imagine we found!) a giant oval-shaped ring of creosotes, over 40 feet in diameter, that we think could have been it.

One thing we learned was: don't try this on the weekend. Too much traffic on the aforementioned dirt road. But we think that a midweek visit would be relatively quiet and peaceful and a lot more dust-free. Above: Bill found this skull, which came home with us. We can't identify it yet--it's not quite a coyote, bobcat, or pit bull--maybe some other kind of dog.

As they say, age is relative. We've been watching some DVDs lately about the history of Planet Earth where it is revealed that the very oldest living things are mounds of bacteria on Shark Beach in Western Australia. They're called stromatolites and they are 3.5 billion years old. Hard to top that! For awesome photos of them, click here