Bernal Heights Outdoor Film Festival

The Bernal Heights Outdoor Film Festival, which will be taking place here in San Francisco over the next several days, opened tonight. It included a short short video clip which I filmed and which Tod Elkins magically fixed up for the event with a title and music and amazing edits (including adjusting color, creating transitions, taking out the jiggle and the wobble, cutting out sections where the coyote ran out of the picture frame, and much more). Tod is a filmmaker, and I take raw footage, so we made this a joint project for the festival. Thank you, Tod! And thank you Leslie and Anne for inviting us to participate! Coyote is the mascot of the neighborhood so it had to be included, no matter how simple the clip, and I happen to have many clips! Leslie and Anne picked this one.

This opening-day event was warm and welcoming: the Master of Ceremonies, Ian Williams, was amusing and lots of fun. There was live music by a Chinese harp player with her Cajon drummer (a cajon is a square, wooden drum), an amazing dancer, and the food was beautifully presented and delicious.

Kudos to Leslie Lombre and Anne Batmale who organized the event: it’s the 14th season that they have done so. Of course it was the films themselves that carried the show: each one was creative and impactful in its own way: most were enhanced with music and no words! Each creation lasted on the average of about five minutes, with its focus stemming from each filmmaker’s unique individual experiences or take on life situations. I was very inspired. The festival continues for several days, so be sure to go!

For more information on the Film Festival, go to: Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema.

Coyotes in Pre-Colombian Mexican Art

Here is a wooden sculpted coyote from the Museo de Artes Populares, in Mexico City.

In Aztec mythology, coyote — often referred to as huehuecoyotle — is the lucky god of music, dance, mischief and song. The prefix “huehue” was attached to gods that were revered for their old age, wisdom, philosophical insights and connections to the divine. Coyote can be associated with indulgence, male sexuality, good luck and story-telling.

Coyote is also a benign prankster, whose tricks tended to backfire and cause more trouble for himself than for the intended victims. A great party-giver, he also was alleged to foment wars between humans to relieve his boredom. He has shapeshifting powers. (Wikipedia)

I hope everyone sees that the Pre-Colombian storyteller possessed amazing wisdom and philosophical insights, into both coyotes and human nature, insights which hold true even today. Coyote is STILL fomenting wars between us humans: just visit your Nextdoor site to see the fights and disagreements about coyotes: coyotes’ shapeshifting powers continue to influence how different humans see this critter! And, of course, we all associate the howling-song-dog with song and sometimes mischief: did you ever wonder who cut through your garden hose last night?! Now the coyote is in trouble again — he has created more trouble for himself! As for good luck, any number of runners and walkers in the parks have told me that seeing a coyote in the park is their good-luck charm for the day. Pretty cool! Photo credits: Audrey Chavez and Nicole Wendel from their recent trip to Mexico City.

Here are four art pieces from the Anthropology Museum in Mexico City:

Lauren Strohacker’s New “Coyote Anthropophony”

I’m excited to let everyone know about this artist, Lauren Strohacker, whose art examines the ever-growing conflict between humans and animals as our manufactured environments (physical, political, and economical) expand into natural habitats. I love this art, and I love Lauren’s message. Lauren now has a Creative Residency in Scottsdale, Arizona, titled Coyote Anthropophony. This is an interdisciplinary project that utilizes sound, photography, projection, and education to better understand historic and contemporary relationships between humans and coyotes.

“Coyote Anthropophony, visually and sonically explores coyote adaptation to life alongside humans in suburban and city environments. Collaborating with art and technology collective, urbanSTEW, I capture images of local urban coyotes with infrared trail cameras and record and manipulate city sounds (the anthropophony) to mimic coyote vocalizations, conceptually blurring our perceptions of human and animal domain.”, says Lauren.

In conjunction with this installation, Lauren will be giving a workshop which will focus on coyote education and art making. Visitors will learn more about urban coyotes through a screening of Citizen Coyote​, an educational/informational presentation aimed at youth and classrooms, and everyone else. Following the 30 minute film, Strohacker will lead an all-ages workshop where she’ll teach visitors of all ages how to transform local maps of Metro Phoenix cities into origami coyotes — see the little fellow to the left!! If you are in the area, here are the details: Coyote Anthropophony Workshop with Ecological Artist, Lauren Strohacker, Saturday April 29th, 2017, 11am – 2pm, 7034 E Indian School Rd, Scottsdale, Arizona 85251.


Here is Lauren’s apropos artists statement. Thank you, Lauren, for your amazing vision and for spreading it via your beautiful art and dedicated workshops!

Animals disappear: some literally, in the wake of human expansion, some metaphorically, becoming ubiquitous and fading into the urban landscape. 

My suburban upbringing was filled with mediated representations of the animal: literature, television, and corporate branding. While the feeling of attachment to wildlife was authentic, the wildlife itself was artificial. Even an encounter with a living, breathing animal is bound by unseen regulation. Populations are controlled, predators are decimated, and survivors are displaced to the edge of human comfortability. Boundary lines are drawn and animals are expected to obey, and subversion of this obedience is punishable by death. 

These realizations underpin my exploration as an artist. Often collaborating with environmental organizations, I compose interdisciplinary interventions that utilize human networks in order to reimagine and reintroduce wildlife systems destabilized by our manufactured environments. Both real and imaginary interactions with animals influence human perceptions of cohabitation vs. conflict, a dichotomy that ultimately determines the uncertain fate of wildlife in the Anthropocene.

Carl Safina: “Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel”

Thank you, Carl Safina for, as a scientist, writing about what is so obvious to many of us who have come to know wild animals by spending hours observing them.

I’ve been studying coyotes for almost a decade now, and I see some pretty basic similarities between ourselves and our lives, and the lives of coyotes. They are immensely social, they mate for life, they have rivalries and joys, they tease each other, they play, they work together, they care for and take care of each other, both parents raise the young and spend a huge amount of time teaching them how to be successful in their environments, they show immense affection . . . and anger, they have agendas, they defend their turf, they have territories from which other coyotes are excluded. They even play tricks on each other. Each coyote has his/her own unique personality and characteristics and no two are alike. I, as Carl, have been delving into “WHO” these animals are — as a species and as individuals. Please read these reviews about Carl’s book, and then delve into the book itself!

Reviews:

Humans Aren’t Special: Carl Safina’s “Beyond Words” Delves Deep Into Animal Minds: http://www.popsci.com/humans-arent-special-carl-safinas-beyond-words-delves-deep-animal-minds

Carl Safina Makes A Case for Anthropomorphism.  The marine biologist’s latest book uses science to show that animals, like people, have complex inner lives: https://www.audubon.org/news/carl-safina-makes-case-anthropomorphism

“I wanted to know what they were experiencing, and why to us they feel so compelling, and so-close. This time I allowed myself to ask them the question that for a scientist was forbidden fruit: Who are you?”

Weaving decades of field observations with exciting new discoveries about the brain, Carl Safina’s landmark book offers an intimate view of animal behavior to challenge the fixed boundary between humans and nonhuman animals. In Beyond Words, readers travel to Amboseli National Park in the threatened landscape of Kenya and witness struggling elephant families work out how to survive poaching and drought, then to Yellowstone National Park to observe wolves sort out the aftermath of one pack’s personal tragedy, and finally plunge into the astonishingly peaceful society of killer whales living in the crystalline waters of the Pacific Northwest.

Beyond Words brings forth powerful and illuminating insight into the unique personalities of animals through extraordinary stories of animal joy, grief, jealousy, anger, and love. The similarity between human and nonhuman consciousness, self-awareness, and empathy calls us to re-evaluate how we interact with animals. Wise, passionate, and eye-opening at every turn, Beyond Words is ultimately a graceful examination of humanity’s place in the world.

Lee Cline: “Maybe Coyote”

Lee Cline has painted some gorgeous portraits of coyotes which can be seen at the Four Barrel Cafe at 375 Valencia Street in San Francisco. The large canvases (36″x 48″), in oil and charcoal, capture coyote’s movements, essence and form — wispy and almost not there, the way you might encounter one on the street at twilight out of the corner of your eye before it disappears and you wonder if, in fact, you actually saw it — in an almost monochrome palette, with just a hint of subdued color in each painting for accent.

Lee says about herself: “I didn’t go to art school. But I like to draw and I like to paint. Never more than now, with all this digitalization of experience, this feels like the authentic thing: the hand-drawn, the dirty hands, the working and re-working in a world where there is no Undo.” I’m on the same page! I think her art is exquisite! And, of course, she paints a subject I’m passionate about. For more of her art, visit leecline.com

NO(w)HERE, by Lauren Strohacker

Exhibition installation of NO(w)HERE at the Tempe Center for the Arts, Tempe AZ, 2013

NO(w)HERE, Exhibition installation, Tempe Center for the Arts, 2013

“Animals disappear: some literally, in the wake of human expansion, some metaphorically, becoming ubiquitous and fading into the urban landscape.

My suburban upbringing was filled with mediated representations of the animal: literature, television, and corporate branding.  While the feeling of attachment to wildlife was authentic, the wildlife itself was artificial.  Even an encounter with a living, breathing animal is bound by unseen regulation.  Populations are controlled, predators are decimated, and survivors are displaced to the edge of human comfortability.  Boundary lines are drawn and animals are expected to obey, an obedience whose subversion is punishable by death.  The destabilization of wildlife systems due to urban sprawl is concealed under the banner of “progress”.

These realizations are the foundation for my exploration as an artist.  As society continues to redefine nature, I explore alternative systems of human/animal interaction through interdisciplinary processes: Juxtaposing animal imagery with human spaces and subverting traditional ways of observing non-humans in contemporary human networks.  By composing simulated encounters I enter into the dialogue of anti-confinement, animal autonomy, and the uncertain future of cohabitation.”

http://www.laurenstrohacker.org/statement/

“Call of the Coyote”: Storytelling, Masks and Music

2014-07-27 (3)

In order to reach more folks, we are expanding our educational and informational efforts about coyotes and coexistence through various forms of art and cultural events. Here is our latest! Thank you all “Coexisters” at CoyoteCoexistence.com, and Sandra and Mike at the Mask Theater!

Gateway Performance Productions, a mask and theater group in Atlanta, has teamed up with us at CoyoteCoexistence.com to promote awareness and understanding of urban coyotes and how to live cooperatively with them in Atlanta and beyond.

Their production, Call of the Coyote, with coyote host Michael Hickey, is a short outdoors performance that includes audience interaction, storytelling and music. Educational information flyers about coyotes is provided by CoyoteCoexistence for distribution at the performance.

Call of the Coyote premiered this past Saturday, July 26, 2014 at the Freedom Farmers’ Market at the Carter Center in Atlanta and returns to the Market on Saturday, September 27th, 2014 with rotating performances from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m.

If you’re interested in scheduling a performance for your farmers market, festival or other event in the Atlanta area – please contact Cathy Hudson at Coyote Coexistence – cathyhudson@gmail.com or Sandra Hughes at Gateway Performance Productions – sandra@masktheatre.org

________________________________________________

2014-08-01 at 21-26-47 (1)[This program – a community partnership between Gateway Performance Productions and Coyote Coexistence – is made possible in part by the City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs, the Fulton County Commissioners with the guidance of the Fulton County Arts Council, Power2Give and individual contributors.] Reposted from CoyoteCoexistence.com with permission.