A Northern Arapaho oral story told in a nontraditional way

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Wyoming Community Media’s Alan O’Hashi and Glenn Reese teamed up with the Maker Space 307 to teach students about virtual reality.

The Northern Arapaho Tribe has a tribal priority to reintroduce and preserve the Arapaho language.

Even though the language is taught in school, students spend the majority of their time at home or in the community interacting with family and friends where there is inconsistent reinforcement of cultural cues learned in the classroom.

How can a traditionally oral language be made relevant to young people who are digitally connected to games, and other mass media screens?

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Glenn Reese sets the Vuze camera at the historic Arapaho Ranch mansion.

To answer this question, Wyoming Community Media and it’s producers Alan O’Hashi and Glenn Reese teamed up with Lorre Hoffman and the Maker Space 307 summer youth service learning program, based in Fort Washakie on the Wind River Reservation.

Four students participated during the three-day class and production project.

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Arapaho Gary Collins and Arapaho story teller Merle Haas pose with Alan and Glenn after she read the Fox and Woodtick in Arapaho

Northern Arapaho elder and story teller Merle Haas wrote down a short story passed down to her from her great grandfather, Chief Yellow Calf.

“The Fox and the Woodtick” teaches a lesson about “thinking outside the box.”

Northern Arapaho Eagle Drum Society singer and drummer Alison Sage spoke about the traditional importance and healing properties of making music.

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Artist Robert Martinez gives a workshop about tribal art and how it is still a story telling medium.

Artist Robert Martinez gave a presentation about how tribal artwork has evolved over the years and continues to be an important means of storytelling.

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Eagle Drum Society member Allison Sage demonstrates his original songs.

We worked closely with Bob Ottinger and the Reality Garage in Boulder, Colorado who loaned us a Vuze virtual reality camera, a Samsung 360 camera and a high speed computer.

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The Reality Garage in Boulder, Colorado loaned the project the Vuze camera and a high speed lap top.

When it was all said and done, the youth combined their self-composed music and original art to tell Merle’s folk tale in two dimensions and 360 degree virtual reality on location at the historic Arapaho Ranch Mansion north of Thermopolis, Wyoming.

This is a pilot project that demonstrates an efficient way for tribes to present traditional language and cultural preservation efforts in a not-so-traditional format to tribal and non-tribal cultures.

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Part III – I got my handicapped parking permit the other day – and shot a movie

Who would have thought. The Affordable Care Act open enrollment period is ending soon and from what I gather, there’s been a big flurry of people trying to get signed up, including a bunch of young people to counter balance us oldsters.

I think the news and fake news people forget that who we’re talking about here is 15percent of the labor force who are schmucks like me who are self-employed or otherwise don’t have another source for insurance as a benefit, compared to the 85 percent of the workforce covered by employer benefit plans, Medicaid, Medicare or another program like Romneycare in Massachusetts

It will be interesting to find out the final enrollment numbers are after the March 31st deadline passes. There are a lot of data to crunch so I’m not holding my breath as to when they will be known.

Back to reality.

I got my handicapped parking permit the other day.

They can be good indefinitely or for three years. Mine is for three years. The best guess is that I will be better before then, but you never know.

I also have the option of a handicapped license plate. After talking to a guy in the county clerk’s office, he advised me against it since they can get stolen and I’m not quite ready to give up my old plate number.

I didn’t see the day that I would ever need one. I took the weekend to check out the handicapped parking scene as part of my occupational therapy which was to make a movie.

I organized a shoot for a short called “Caught Up in the Moment” which I wrote based on a short story by a facebook pal, Mark Trost, who lives up in the Twin Cities area in Minnesota. The movie is called “Caught Up” the other was too long.

It was cast in a couple days, the locations were set up a few days after that and the crew was skeleton. I checked out the handicapped parking situation at the Dangerous Theatre where we shot. Turns out the theatre is in a warehouse district and there was scads of parking.

The theatre is owned and operated by Winnie – the actor I cast as Jane in the short movie. Her character is a chain smoker, and the space worked perfectly for that character quirk.

Movie? Did I say we’re making a movie?

Whenever I talk about movies, it always entails some script analysis.

So bear with me.

There’s a big difference between screenplays and just about any other written form. Novels have the advantage of giving the reader insight into what’s happening in a character’s mind and generating hundreds of gray pages.

I’d say most writers – probably myself included – don’t want their words changed, but I’ve become okay with it, if the story stays in tact.

Screenplays have to portray words and thoughts through visuals and action. One mistake to avoid is writing characters who talk too much which, more times than not, entails rewriting and truncating the original words and likely adding different words – especially when using other source materials.

I don’t think writers like that so much. William Faulkner said something like, writers have to learn how to kill their darlings. Novel writers, pretty much, have as many pages as they want to get across their story. Good screenwriters kill their darlings, bad screenwriters keep them all in their work and cluttering up the story.
Screenwriters have, in the case of this short film contest, around 10 pages and for a feature around 90 pages. When I have too many darling lines or scenes, I don’t kill them, I put them aside for other projects. This is based on one page equaling a minute of movie.

Had I wanted long dialogue, I would have written a stage play. Oh and another big diff, novels are set in the past, screenplays in the present.

In the case of the “Caught Up” project, the 10 pages of source material I had is an excerpt from a much longer work. I didn’t have much context for the characters.

Mark seemed to be religious and I left that, but there needed to be a little more, so I used his character also for exposition. Since the movie had to be set in Wyoming, he became a University of Wyoming professor in the Space Sciences Department, and also an avid UW sports fan, of which there are many in Laramie.

Jane was pretty much a chain smoking writer with a love – hate relationship with Mark. She’s left in tact.

I cast Winnie (Jane) and Brainard (Mark) because they have a natural rapport – turns out they have worked together before. In a character-driven story like this, I’d rather have nature rapport than trying to get two people to develop it.

Enough Robert McKee screenwriting gibberish.

As mentioned previously, my Eurovan has been in and out of the shop for the past few months with major and mInor repairs. I gave it a work out by driving the Eurovan to Denver, which gave me a little more confidence in the vehicle.

Anyway, the Dangerous Theatre is in Denver – 2nd and Bryant, just off I-25, as mentioned before, is owned and operated by Winnie. Turns out Brainard Starling is actually a rocket scientist.

The movie will be entered in the Wyoming Short Film Contest. The main rule is the story has to be shot in Wyoming. I’ve had three films finish as the runner up and five in the top 10, so I think I have the formula down. The grand prize is winner take all $25,000.00 for the next film made in Wyoming.

The day started at 6am for me and I had a production assistant, Ian Glass, to help me load out all the gear. I used to be able to schlep everything, but now now. I probably should have had a strong back or two help me all along.

The shoot went smoothly from 9am to 2pm on Sunday. My style is run and gun and we finished an hour early. We’ll see how the edit goes.

Needless to say, I was tired when I returned to Boulder.

I’m still on oxygen from time-to-time, mostly when I exert myself too much or exercise. If I exercised more I probably wouldn’t exert myself so much through daily life.

I took Ian for a meal on the Pearl Street Mall and there were no handicapped parking spaces near Illegal Pete’s and the Parking garage was closer.

We had a pretty good talk. He’s just back from Argentina where he taught English and has an interest in film and video production and is trying out lots of different roles. He also may find a new place in the world to teach English – he’s an English / humanities major.

We also talked about college majors that do no good when out in the labor market. My degrees are in biology and political science. No wonder Ian and I connected, we’re academic square pegs trying to fit into a job pool of round holes.

Trader Joe’s.

I did make it over to Trader Joe’s in Boulder today for the first time. A new one here that opened up at the 29th Street Mall. I’ve previously been to one in Acton, MA and NYC just down the block from my friend Tom Crisp.

They’re not very big, but mostly carry their own brand of food.  Trader Joe’s marketing effort is a push and pull between being a healthy food store and a run of the mill store. I think they are mostly known for their pre-prepared dry and frozen foods, which by definition aren’t that healthy because of all the preservatives that are required and are over packaged.

Since being down and out, I’ve been having groceries delivered from King Soopers (Kroger’s) for the past couple months. I’ve become more aware of grocery prices.

I must say that Trader Joe’s prices for some items are less than the other places – but maybe it’s for stuff that a guy really doesn’t need to be eating like potato chips, but I mostly buy staples. A gallon of milk at Trader Joe’s was $3.29, which is comparable to other places.

I did find bargains on rye bread, oranges, frozen fruit and a few other things. That’s saying something since Boulder has a huge number of food stores: 2-Safeway; 2-Kroger’s; 2-Sprouts; 1-Alfalfa’s; 3-Wholefoods; 1-Walmart Marketplace; 1-Target; 1-Lucky’s Market (indie).

One thing I did notice when I got home.

I decided to have a pan-Asian breakfast: instant Thai rice noodle soup and kimchi. Trader Joe’s sourced the noodles from a company in Thailand, but not exactly the most enviro-friendly food.

There was the cardboard cover, then the cellophane wrapper around the bowl, then the plastic bowl with the styrofoam covering.

Inside the bowl were the food stuffs including two cellophane bags of oil and other veggies and a foil bag with the spices. The soup cost 99cents and I’m pretty sure it will cost more than 99cents to sort through all the packaging that ended up in the regular garbage. I was able to recycle the cardboard cover and the bowl.

I had kimchi already fermenting in the fridge.

Oh, I did finally get to use the handicap parking permit at Trader Joe’s.

If anyone needs a passenger driving anywhere, I’m your guy.

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NOTE: This is likely the last part on this topic unless something drastic happens – positive or negative in the upcoming couple weeks. I have figured out that one good thing about facebook, is there is this note / blog function that operates outside the timeline and the front page. I’ll write things from time to time as the ghost of newspaper writers past move me.