Friday, August 31, 2007

ENV: Hummer Festival -- Check it out!

Fred's putting on a Hummingbird Festival! Click on the image for the larger version. . .

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ATH: Loss at U-17 World Cup

U-17 World Cup: What Went Wrong Against Germany
By Ken Pendleton, USNTPA,08/30/2007 3:17 PM

CORVALLIS, OR (August 30, 2007) USSoccerPlayers -- The extent to which the United States was played off the field in their 2-1 loss to Germany at the U-17 World Cup earlier today is perhaps best measured by time.

The US did not create a remotely promising chance on goal until the 42nd minute, when a free kick from Kirk Urso nearly picked out Danny Wenzel while he was making a diagonal run through the penalty area. They did not have a threatening shot until injury time of the first half, when Mykell Bates got on the end of a long free kick from Tommy Meyer. His header flew two yards over the bar.

Alex Nimo, who had been the creative fulcrum of the US attack throughout this tournament, did not get the ball in a meaningful attacking position until the 63rd minute. He deftly created space on the left, but the subsequent cross sailed well past the far post. They did not put a dangerous shot on target until injury time in the second half, when Bates scrambled a throw-in from Sheanon Williams past the unlucky German goalkeeper Rene Vollath.

And they did not create a single chance from open play. Not one. Virtually the only attacks that troubled the German defense resulted from Williams’ throw-ins, which were whipped into the penalty area with the ferocity of a David Beckham free kick.

The Germans were on top of the match right from the off. The main threats came from the combination of striker Richard Sukuta-Pasu and the creative midfielder Toni Kroos, who took turns setting up chances and taking them. He nearly took one in the seventh minute, after Sascha Bigalke released him through inside left channel with a perfectly weighted 30-yard through ball, but the US keeper, Josh Lambo, managed to block the ensuing point-blank shot. Sebastian Rudy just missed with a 25-yard looping shot less than a minute later. And shortly afterwards, Kroos, who is already training with Bayern Munich’s senior squad, ghosted into the inside right channel but shot right at Lambo.

The US simply could not find a way to seize the initiative. Coach John Hackworth decided to play two defense-minded central midfielders, in Jared Jeffrey and Danny Wenzel, which meant that Greg Garza and Nimo would have to make the bullets for Ellis McLoughlin and Urso. Garza looked like a fish out of water because he was forced to drop back to help protect left back Brandon Zimmerman. Urso, who was selected to replace the suspended Billy Schuler, effectively became a fifth midfielder, and McLoughlin, through no fault of his own, became an isolated figure up top.

The precise passing game that the US had employed so effectively against Belgium in their 2-0 win went out the window. They struggled to clear their own third, and the long passes to Nimo, McLoughlin and Garza were invariably errant. And on the few occasions when Nimo and Garza had possession in the attacking third, they were simply outnumbered and crowded off the ball.

The half-time substitution of Abdusalam Ibrahim for Garza helped a little, but virtually all the pressure still came from the Germans. The left-sided midfielder Dennis Dowidat shot just wide from twenty yards in the 51st minute. Sukuta-Pasu headed a corner just over the bar from ten yards out just before the hour. Lambo had to make two more excellent saves, off a near-post effort from Sukuta-Pasu, who easily held off Bates, and a searing 30-plus yard free kick from Kroos. And, most impressively, a sweeping move, highlighted by a beautiful one-two involving the advancing central defender Konstantin Rausch and Bigalke, culminated in another point blank chance from six yards out, this time from Dowidat. Lambo read the play superbly and closed the angle to make yet another close-range save.

The inevitable goal finally came in the 64th minute. Fittingly enough it was Kroos, positioned just inside the US half on the left sideline, who put Sukuta-Pasu clean on goal with a looping 25-yard pass. Sukuta-Pasu raced behind Meyer with a perfectly timed run and just managed to elude Lambo with a lofted shot. The goal was just reward for all their quality approach work.

The Germans could have, and should have, put the match away at this point. But they took the foot off the gas and, for the first time, ceded the initiative to the US, which was entirely incapable of seizing the opportunity. Although they were able to advance into the final third more often, there were no telling passes. The only cross, easily cut out, came from substitute Daniel Cruz late in the match. The threats that they created all came from set pieces, usually from Williams’ throw-ins.

This was a disappointing end to a disappointing tournament. The US played well during stretches of their first three matches, and very well during the entire match against Belgium, but they only won once. The Germans are clearly a class side -- perhaps the most promising group of players since unification -- but the hope (or is it expectation?) was that the US could now compete with anyone. The match against Germany proved that this is not yet the case.

Ken Pendleton is the US National Team and World Opinion columnist for USSoccerPlayers.

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COM: Matt Willis' Fashion in Tune

New video up today of Matt Willis' performance art piece Fashion in Tune . . .

Inspired by the elegance of lyrical poets – the artistic fashion innovations of Matthew Lee Willis, artist, creator and director.

The Cast & Crew: Prari Blair, Abigail Rider, Genie Iness, Stephanie Caron, Ashbi Salinas, Jereme Sanders, Josh Ramsey, Acayla Haile, Shelly Dixon, Katie Beth Lane

Filmed by tony gallucci, milk river film, and David Hickey, Trick Dog Films
Saturday, March 31, 2007, Robbins Lewis Pavilion, Schreiner University, Kerrville, Texas, USA

The people that touched you from when you were in the womb. The magicians who played with you as you were young. The keen rebel rousers who crept into your ears as an adolescent. The followers of revolution in your soul! The creators of your life as you know it. Your music. Pay homage to it by pressing it close to your body. Make music fashion. Wear your feelings on your shirt sleeve. Wear your "I like big butts" jeans because they don’t lie. Become in tune… with your fashion.

Matthew Willis, artist

Milk River Film

David Hickey, Trick Dog Films

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

ENV: Britain's Endangered

Hundreds more British species are placed on 'at risk' register
IAN JOHNSTON, The Scotsman

They were once common sights of the countryside. But animals such as the hedgehog, house sparrows and starlings have joined a new list of hundreds of creatures and plants in danger or in need of protection.

The number of species on the official UK Biodiversity Action Plan has doubled since the first attempt to map the problem ten years ago.

In 1997, 577 species needed help, but in a new list to be published today the figure has risen to 1,149. The number of species on the list that are found in Scotland more than doubled from 226 to 532.

Experts said the loss of plants and animals - along with the habitats they live in - was continuing as part of the widespread "unravelling of life on this planet".

However, they said part of the reason for the rise was that scientists now know more about what is happening to our wildlife, which enables steps to be taken to preserve it.

But life in Britain for at least one species has come to an end. The large copper butterfly, which was on the 1997 list, is now extinct in the UK, with an attempt to reintroduce it having failed and no plans to try again. Professor Colin Galbraith, director of policy and advice at Scottish Natural Heritage, said he was concerned that some species were faring badly.

"What's worrying is that once-common species, like the skylark and corn bunting, are probably declining now," he said.

"The best example is the common sparrow, which was very common on farmland.

"The work farmers and foresters are doing is critical for the future. It's about working with landowners to make sure they are managing the countryside in a way that allows them to make a living and in which biodiversity can improve."

Climate change puts Scotland's wildlife under extra pressure and he said there was a need to "create a system of land-use where species can adapt and move as climate change happens".

He added: "It is a key time for a lot of species on the list."

Some 123 species have been taken off the list since 1997, and Prof Galbraith said the system of identifying those at risk and coming up with a plan to save them was working.

"We have to be clear what action we can take. Where we do target action, we can do quite a lot. The capercaillie has been the target of a lot of action and has done quite well," he said.

The new plan will be used to decide which species and habitats should be targeted for conservation work in a bid to halt the loss of biodiversity in the UK by 2010.

The revised list sees the garden tiger moth and the grass snake joining previously prioritised creatures such as the otter, bottlenosed dolphin, red squirrel and black grouse.

Pine martens, wildcats, mountain hares, common toads, adders and brown long-eared bats have all been added to the list.

In the UK's seas, two seahorse species are classified as under threat, along with several types of shark, including the porbeagle, as well as the Atlantic salmon.

Sedges, helleborine and marsh orchids and two threatened species of dandelion are among plants included. The yellow mayfly and the St Kilda wren have also been added.

Grahame Madge, of the RSPB, said while some species had been added to the list because of improved research methods, others had suffered declines in recent years.

"The number of species needing help is increasingly rapidly. We have seen a doubling of the list of birds to a point where more than one in five UK species are deemed in need of some conservation help," he said.

"The house sparrow and the starling have declined by more than half in the past 25 years.

"We knew a lot about these species ten, 20, 30 years ago, so the inclusion of those species on the list shows these are real changes happening."

Birds newly added to the action plan list which have declined by more than 50 per cent in the past 25 years include the European white-fronted goose, lapwing, Arctic skua, herring gull, cuckoo, lesser spotted woodpecker, tree pipit and yellow wagtail. Other at-risk birds such as black grouse, capercaillie, grey partridge, turtle dove, red-backed shrike, tree sparrow and corn bunting have remained on the list.

Perhaps surprisingly, the golden eagle is not mentioned despite there only being about 440 pairs in Scotland and the threat from poisoning by gamekeepers and other forms of persecution. This is because its numbers have remained relatively stable recently.

Dr Deborah Long, of Plantlife Scotland, said scientists now knew "an awful lot more" than previously.

"I am aware people are panicking about the length of it, but that is because we have gone through the process and those are the facts," she said.

"But we still have a long way to go. We are still not winning the battle against the loss of biodiversity. We are continuing to lose species and we are continuing to lose habitats and those are very definitely linked."

There were also 65 habitats listed, up from 49 previously.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said the plan should provide hope for some UK endangered species.

"Inclusion on the list is not necessarily a bad thing, because it means action will be taken to address declines," she said.

And Fred Edwards, of Scottish Environmental Link, welcomed the fact that the UK was "getting to grips" with the issue.

"In a sense this is a measure of the success of the process that scientific knowledge is building up all the time," he said.

But he stressed the need for serious action, saying: "Biodiversity isn't some nice, effete, middle-class interest. It is about the unravelling of life on this planet and at the end of the day, that's a very important political issue."
Conservation work yields results as strategy safeguards rare breeds

CONSERVATION work on a number of species - including the pipistrelle bat, ladybird spider and cirl bunting - has proved particularly successful over the last decade.

The pipistrelle bat population has stabilised to such an extent that it is one of 123 species removed from the Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) list.

Many of those species, such as the Killarney fern and the prickly sedge, have been removed after further survey work has found previously unknown populations.

Some of the biggest conservation successes have been with species so rare that more needs to be done to safeguard their future.

Populations of the ladybird spider and lady's slipper orchid, for example, are now at their highest levels for half a century.

However, the lady's slipper orchid is still only found in one location in the UK.

Eleven species of bird placed on the old list because their populations were falling rapidly have now stabilised or improved their numbers, but the species are still considered at risk because they have not yet recovered to a sustainable population.

Dr Mark Avery, conservation director at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, said: "Over the last 12 years, the Biodiversity Action Plan system has helped everyone focus attention on priority species."

Dr Avery highlighted several cases where conservation work had been particularly successful, in part because of the creation of the action plan. He added: "To its credit, we have seen dramatic increases in key species, such as the bittern, stone-curlew, corncrake, nightjar, cirl bunting and woodlark."

Other rare species of birds, such as the red-necked phalarope - which is found in small numbers on the Western Isles - song thrush, linnet, bullfinch and reed bunting have also been doing well. However, better research is one of the main reasons for species being removed from the BAP list.

Dr Deborah Long, of Plantlife Scotland, said a plant called young helleborine had been removed from the list because it was no longer considered a separate species.

However it may eventually turn into one.

"Genetic research has shown that it isn't a species yet, but it is in the process of evolving into a new species," Dr Long said.

And she added: "A couple of species have come off [the list] because the only threat to them is climate change.

"What that means is the mechanism for saving those species is decreasing carbon emissions."

Other progress reported by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs included increased amount of specific, valuable habitats.

These included areas of lowland heath along with more lowland beech and yew woodland.

Farmers have also been increasingly leaving margins around fields of cereal crops, creating valuable wildlife corridors.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

It's Circus Time Again!

Yep! It's Time. Send your submissions to dpixie(at) by this Friday, so they can be posted on the newly redesigned and lovely Naturalist Notebook

#25 will be at The Annotated Budak

send your submission by September 29 to thebudak(at)

#26 will be at The Other 95%

send your submissions by October 30 to kaz146(at)

#27 will be at The Hawk Owl’s Nest

send your submissions by November 29 to pbelardo(at)

#28 will be at Catalogue of Organisms

send your submission by December 30 to gerarus(at)

#29 will be at Andrea’s Buzzing About:

send your submissions by January 30, 2008 to araychandler(at)

#30 will be at A D.C. Birding Blog

send your submissions by February 27, 2008 to empidonax(at)

And of course, we’re looking for hosts for March and beyond!

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Friday, August 24, 2007

LIT: Austin tribute for one of the Greats

A Poet Warrior's Reward
Amorindio: Tributo y Celebración for raúlrsalinas
By Belinda Acosta, Austin Chronicle

"I don't think I'm anybody, writes Raúl Salinas in raúlrsalinas and the Jail Machine: My Weapon Is My Pen (University of Texas Press, 2006). "On the one hand, you say I'm important because I've done these things. On the other hand, I still consider myself a cucaracho, a homeboy."

Yet, poets, writers, scholars, musicians, students, friends, and familia will come from all corners of the nation to honor the Austin-based poet and activist and help raise funds to continue the work of Red Salmon Arts, the Native American/Chicano/a cultural-arts organization Salinas launched in 1983. Under the Red Salmon Arts banner, Salinas and many dedicated volunteers have overseen Red Salmon Press and the Save Our Youth writing program for high school and incarcerated students. They've also built a local base for grassroots organizations like the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, the Free Mumia Campaign, the Comité en Solidaridad con Chiapas y Mexico, and others.

Amorindio is a bittersweet gathering. Salinas has been struggling with several debilitating health issues, severely curtailing his public appearances, including running Resistencia Bookstore. As home to Red Salmon Arts, the South Austin-based bookstore specializes in politically progressive works by poets and other writers and hosts regular readings featuring new and established writers. Though the store remains open with business as usual, Salinas' absence is palpable. He may be an Austin homeboy, but his life and work are larger than the modest bookstore reveals.

"Since 1968 Salinas' writing and activism have earned him international recognition as a spokesperson for a diversity of political causes, ranging from prisoner rights and national liberation struggles to gang intervention and youth arts advocacy," writes Louis Mendoza, associate professor and chair of the Department of Chicano Studies at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, in his introduction to raúlrsalinas and the Jail Machine. Mendoza edited Jail Machine and has written extensively on Salinas' work and his contribution to U.S. and Chicano letters.

Salinas' work first gained attention while a prisoner in Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary. His 12 years bouncing between some of the harshest prisons in the U.S. were a defining experience for him, but not the only distinguishing factor of his work, Mendoza says.

"He already loved literature, music, and culture before prison. He already had a strong sense of rebellion and sense of social injustice and inequity before going to prison. These came from lived experiences that shaped him into a social, cultural rebel of the working class – not necessarily in a politicized way, but as a product of the emerging counterculture of his time that resisted the drive to conformity."

The outsider poetics of the beat poets, the malleable articulations of jazz and the blues, and a finely tuned ear for the riffs of oral expression heard on the streets of his native East Austin and elsewhere all influence his poetry. His work is said to brim with a "righteous anger" yet is infused with compassion, hope, and affection.

"Raúl is a rare individual, the walking definition of an organic intellectual," says Bryce Milligan of San Antonio-based Wings Press, which published Salinas' most recent book of poems, Indio Trails: A Xicano Odyssey Through Indian Country. "Like his pinto-poet peers, Ricardo Sánchez and Jimmy Santiago Baca, Salinas emerged from the joint as a well-read, highly committed activist poet. ... I've known [him] for 25 years, and I have always been impressed not only by the depth of his spirit but by the fact that he simply makes good things happen, no matter what the personal cost. It has been an honor to call him a friend."

Salinas' signature poem, "Un Trip Through the Mind Jail," is often called the Chicano "Howl." But his work is also playful ("Tee-Hee/Look at me/I can pee from up a tree!" "Emergence of a Poet [self-realization]," 1959), elegiac, revelatory, urgent, demanding, and lyrical. That lyricism is most evident in spoken-word CDs of his work, Los Many Mundos of raúlsalinas (collaboratively produced by Calaca Press and Red Salmon Press, 2000) and Beyond the Beaten Path (Red Salmon Press, 2002). Accompanied by jazz musicians, the CDs draw material from Salinas' three books of poetry, Un Trip Through the Mind Jail y Otras Excursions (Editorial Pocho-Ché, 1980; Arte Público Press, 1999), East of the Freeway: Reflections de Mi Pueblo (Red Salmon Press, 1995), and Indio Trails.

Several notable writers are confirmed to appear at the Amorindio tribute: Miguel Algarin, founder of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York City; San Antonio-based writer Sandra Cisneros; American Book Award-winner Alejandro Murguia of San Francisco; Lambda Award-winner Sharon Bridgforth of Austin; and San Antonio poet Carmen Tafolla, among others. Readings, food, music, and a silent auction of Chicano visual art are among the planned activities. Hosted by the Mexican American Cultural Center, Amorindio provides a "sneak peek" of the facility before its official September opening.

Red Salmon Arts, Alma de Mujer, and the University of Texas Press present Amorindio: Tributo y Celebración for raúlrsalinas on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2pm, at the Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 River St. Suggested admission is $10. All proceeds benefit Red Salmon Arts. For more information, call 416-8885 or e-mail

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

ENV: GCBO Birding Classes

CLick on the image for a larger, more readable version.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

REV: Last Weekend for The Drawer Boy

Hey folks, it's the last weekend for our show. Tonight we're having a special showing to let our understudy, Mathis Lidiak, get his turn onstage. So if you're a friend of Mathis' come on out tonight -- 7:30 p.m., Warrior Theatre, 510 College Street, Ingram. Or check out one of our other shows, with Charles Bryant as Miles, John Ruth as Angus, and Jerry Mertz as Morgan. Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 at Warrior Theatre, Sunday at 3:00 p.m. same place. Hope to see you there. Here's a flyer with some info on it, you can click on it to see the larger version.

Here's Claudia Sullivan's review:

Quartet offers a fine trio in Ingram
By Claudia Sullivan, The Daily Times, Published August 11, 2007

The recently established Guadalupe State Quartet’s production of “The Drawer Boy” is a fine little treasure hidden deep in Ingram.

The play, written by Canadian playwright Michael Healey, is a study of relationship — the growing relationship of a young playwrighting student, Miles, and two aging farmers, Angus and Morgan; the relationship between those two lifelong friends and World War II veterans Morgan and Angus and their relationship with the past and Miles’ discovery of their secret.

Director Tony Gallucci has done a fine job pulling the entire production together. His set design, set decoration and art direction (there is a cow painted on stage right and it actually appears to move) adds a touch of realism to the countryside house and surrounding farm.

The action moves easily and expertly from short scene to scene, and his concept of the play’s meaning and poignancy is right on.

Veteran actors Charles Bryant as Miles, John Ruth as Angus and Jerry Mertz as Morgan form the trio of characters who are forced by circumstances to give up their privacy, and thus know one another more deeply and establish friendships.

This trio is well matched. Bryant’s portrayal of Miles is young and naive, energetic and impulsive. Ruth’s Angus is mentally slow due to a war injury, but his dedication to Morgan is fierce.

Ruth never relies on clichés; rather, he presents a unique person with a depth of perceptions and feelings. Yet he is unable to fit in to the pace and stress of everyday living. Mertz’ pivotal character, Morgan is strong yet compassionate, tender hearted but at times forced to appear cold and unflinching.

“The Drawer Boy,” which won the Canadian equalivent to the Tony Award for Best Play of 1999, is not without humor. The early scenes are quite funny as Miles attempts to adapt to farm life including hard work, animal husbandry and the intricacies of operating a John Deere tractor.

But mostly this is a play of friends protecting friends, even if it takes a lifetime, and even if it involves the deepest untruth.

The Ingram Warrior Theatre is an excellent venue for such a play. The small house seating allows for intimacy between performer and audience, enabling subtle nuances to maintain power and meaning. This is mature drama in respect to complexity of theme and understated subject, yet “The Drawer Boy” is suitable for all audiences. Good theater is good theater, and everyone should be exposed to the stories that touch the heart and surprise us a little.

Don’t miss this little gem hidden deep in Ingram, and you too, will discover the true meaning hidden in the title.

Claudia Sullivan is professor of theatre at Schreiner University.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

ENV: Troglobites

Great article sent via Mike Quinn:

Eyeless spiders, translucent millipedes, 175-year-old crayfish, and other odd cave dwellers face an uncertain future
By Kevin Krajick, National Geographic

Cave creatures live buried alive. Troglobites—the technical name for these millipedes, spiders, worms, blind salamanders, and eyeless fish—are made to navigate, mate, and kill amid perpetual darkness, desperate starvation, poison gases, and endless labyrinths of stone. Evolved in isolation and unable to disperse, species often consist of just a handful of individuals in one cave, or one room of one cave. Their existence raises many questions. How did they get there, and when? How do they survive—and how much longer can they hang on? Increasingly, many are threatened by pollution, quarrying, and vandalism. Ultimately, they are connected to a surface ever more populated, and penetrated, by us. They are the wildest canaries in the coal mine.

Worldwide, perhaps 90 percent of caves lack visible entrances and remain undiscovered. Even in well-explored caves, troglobites are expert at hiding. The roughly 7,700 species known are probably only a small taste of what lives below.

To survive stagnant, low-oxygen air in dead-end recesses and months without food, many troglobites have super-slow metabolisms. And because they live slow, they live long. The Orconectes australis crayfish of Shelta Cave in Alabama may reproduce at 100 years, and live to 175. Many troglobites possess extraordinarily long legs (and lots of them) with spiky feet adapted for getting over rocky terrain and sticking to moist surfaces. Pigments (which protect surface organisms from ultraviolet rays) and eyes disappear; for some creatures, eyeless sockets serve as fat reservoirs. Instead of vision, many have elaborate appendages and beefed-up nerve centers to interpret slight air-pressure or temperature changes, sounds, and smells. This sensory equipment lets them travel, sense objects moving or still, ambush prey, and, according to a recent study of troglobitic fish, judge the size and suitability of prospective mates, sight unseen.

Cave biology might be dated from 1797, when foot-long Proteus salamanders were first seen in Slovenian caves. They were the first, and still among the largest, known troglobites; locals at first thought they were baby dragons. Since then, scores of blind salamander and fish species have turned up in places like Texas’ vast Edwards aquifer, where they sometimes shoot up in artesian wells tapping unseen watery caverns below.

Startling new discoveries are now coming out of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. Here, scientists recently announced the discovery of some 30 new invertebrate species—an extraordinary number for such a small area—all still undescribed and unnamed. Scientists are also finding new caves—255 at last count, a number that increases every few months.

California’s aboriginal Yokut people, who used some of these caverns for ceremonies, may have been the first to glimpse the Sierra troglobites; they left pictographs of scorpions and spiders at entrances. Starting in the 1970s, scientists spotted a few, including a blind harvestman (daddy longlegs) with gigantic jaws for seeking out prey in the dark. In 2002, after years of growing awareness of species diversity in the region, the parks commissioned a survey led by Jean Krejca, an Austin biologist, and the parks’ cave specialist, geologist Joel Despain.

One summer day last year, Krejca and Despain threaded their way down a remote, brush-choked canyon through poison oak and heaps of giant boulders toward Sequoia’s Hurricane Crawl Cave. Tucked into a cliff was a black, funnel-shaped hole, fringed with thimbleberry shrub. On an otherwise still morning, the shrub’s broad leaves were dancing: A breeze from the hole signaled it as an entry to another world, one with its own weather system. Krejca and Despain drew a deep breath, thrust their arms forward, and wriggled through 60 feet (18 meters) of twisting tube that pressed like a tight suit. They emerged in a tall, chill, shoulder-wide corridor floored with rubble.

Cut off from the fruits of photosynthesis, most caves are places of hunger. Yet, most depend indirectly on the sun. In some caves, like Hurricane Crawl, rootlets from trees far above dangle through cracks in ceilings, providing bug food. Leaves and twigs wash in on spring floods from nearby connected creeks. Rodents penetrate surprisingly far, bringing seeds and nesting material. Bats also come and go, leaving behind guano, and their dead. Occasional “accidentals”—big animals like raccoons or snakes—wander in but don’t wander out, providing banquets that may stoke the food chain for centuries (in one Sequoia cave, debris and bones are piled a hundred feet deep in a pit trap). Hurricane Crawl is named for 30-mile-an-hour (48-kilometer-an-hour) gusts that roar in through blowholes, driven by temperature fluctuations outside; these gusts may bear organic dust.

At least a dozen known caves from Romania to Wyoming have no ecological connection to the surface; they run on purely geologic substances such as sulfur compounds, methane, iron, and hydrogen eaten by specialized microbes, which in turn feed higher organisms. Israel’s Ayalon Cave, uncovered accidentally in May 2006 by excavation in a rock quarry near Tel Aviv, was probably sealed for millions of years. Warm groundwater laced with sulfur appears to be feeding microbes and, ultimately, at least ten previously unknown crustaceans and other creatures. The fact that Ayalon was found in an area inhabited by people since ancient times suggests that the world holds many more such caves.

In Hurricane Crawl, the scientists turned over rocks until something crawled out of a pore on the underside of one. It was a dipluran—a translucent, eyeless insect with eerily long appendages that waved slowly in a headlamp’s beam. It was almost certainly a new species, never seen by humans until that moment. For the next few hours, Krejca and Despain wove their conveniently slender bodies into tiny side passages like millipedes themselves, overturning rocks and scanning walls. Little more of note emerged. The problem is, there are two miles of known human-size passages in Hurricane Crawl, but vastly more unobservable “mesocaverns”: endless small crevices and tubes with multiple layers of floor rubble. That is probably where the real action is. Krejca’s advice: If you don’t have time to leave bait—rotting shrimp and blue cheese are her favorites—just stay put and wait.

Troglobites tend to be lean, ready for action. One day in nearby Crystal Cave, members of the team crawled through a low, lifeless passage floored with sand. They came upon a single acorn, probably brought in by a pack rat, and a squirt of rodent poop. These objects had sprouted whole ecosystems: cotton candy gardens of multicolored fungus, near-microscopic springtails, detritus-eating beetles, and quarter-inch Taiyutyla and Striariidae millipedes. The innards of a see-through Striariidae told the short story of its life: The yellowish blotch in its midsection was part of its gut; the brownish stuff farther back, its latest meal. Nearby lurked tiny predators: Nesticus spiders spun slender webs, and pale, venomous centipedes peculiar to Crystal darted with startling speed. Often caves contain a weird overabundance of predators; this suggests that prey often runs out, leaving the hunters to go after anything alive or dead, including each other. Up another sandy passage in Crystal Cave, one very lost acorn had used its stored energy to sprout a six-inch, pure white tendril with minuscule leaves—its last gasp before being devoured in this alien world.

Another morning the team hopped a rushing creek and climbed up to Kaweah Cave, whose airy cliff entrance was camouflaged with buckeye trees. Krejca disappeared through a tiny hole in back, and an hour later emerged with a prize: a new species of pseudoscorpion she had just discovered under a rock 200 feet (61 meters) back. Eyeless and gray, it looked like a scorpion minus the stinging tail; these creatures inject their venom instead with their sharp claws. These were wildly outsize compared with the body, and covered with fine sensory cilia that waved independently. Krejca breathed gently on it. It ran backward, then raised its poisoned hands as if to strike. Luckily, it was no bigger than a letter on a page of National Geographic magazine.

Being small is an advantage if you live in small spaces, and many cave critters are. However, some go the other way. Recently researchers in Venezuela reported seeing Scolopendra centipedes nearly a foot long devouring whole roosting bats. Titiotus spiders of Kaweah Cave, blackish and bigger than silver dollars, are more than twice the size of their surface relatives. They do not spin webs but simply run down prey and grab them with their spiny legs. These spiders are found mainly near entrances and still have eyes and pigments, so they are classified as troglophiles—troglobites in training, retaining enough surface characteristics that they might also live under rocks or in soil burrows.

Scientists believe that virtually all terrestrial troglobites evolved from such animals, pre-adapted as they are to cool, moist, confined conditions. It is thought that at some point they moved farther down and stayed, either because they liked it or because they were confined there by climate swings on the surface.

But how long ago particular creatures went underground is rarely clear, for the immediate surface ancestors of most seem to have gone extinct. Scientists think aquatic organisms in the Edwards aquifer are descended from marine creatures stranded there some 60 million years ago when shallow seas receded. Remipedes, Earth’s most primitive living crustaceans, dwell in saltwater coastal caves across the globe. They may have started out over 100 million years ago, when the supercontinent of Pangaea was breaking up. Today related remipedes are scattered from the Caribbean to Australia, possibly brought there by eons of continental drift.

Palmer Cave, the oldest dated cavern in Sequoia-Kings, goes back some 4.7 million years, but the local troglobites could be far older. The Sierra have been uplifting and eroding for tens of millions of years, and mountains long gone may once have held caves; when they wore out, the occupants could just have moved downstairs.

On the other end of the evolutionary timescale are endemic diplura and harvestmen in near-freezing Panorama Cave, in the alpine zone at 10,600 feet (3,230 meters). This area was glaciated only 10,000 years ago, and it is hard to believe anything survived under a mile of ice and meltwater. Like Darwin’s finches, these creatures must have arrived and evolved not over eons, but in human time.

Unfortunately, the futures of many troglobites may be shorter than their pasts. Just 41 species are on federal endangered or threatened lists, but the Nature Conservancy says 95 percent of the thousand species known in the United States are actually imperiled. Caves provide ready conduits for seeping pesticides and sewage from cities and farmlands; troglobites are exquisitely sensitive to such poisons. Entire aquifers such as the Edwards are fast being drained, and as the water disappears, so does aquatic habitat. Some caves are simply excavated out of existence for roads and buildings. The Kauai wolf spider, which inhabits lava tubes in Hawaii, is facing competition from a new invader: the brown recluse spider. In Sequoia-Kings, officials worry about airborne fertilizers and pesticides from the heavily farmed adjoining San Joaquin Valley—not to mention scores of marijuana growers who have invaded the parks’ backcountry and apply the same stuff.

Even scientific expeditions, it must be admitted, can be a hazard. More than once, team members lightly brushed a tiny bug while turning over a rock, or crawling along: end of troglobite.

In Crystal Cave, they peered respectfully at—but did not touch—a sink-size series of rimstone pools supplied with water dripping from the ceiling. A few grayish, jellylike things the size of string snippets cruised the surface’s underside—newly discovered aquatic flatworms known from this spot, and this spot only, on Earth. One must be careful: Hairs, dandruff, and lint shed by humans may provide food sources that nourish competing alien surface mites, fungi, and bacteria, which also hitchhike in on humans. Finally, climate change—the force that may have helped create many troglobites—could help destroy them. Most caves have cool, constant temperatures that reflect the yearly mean outside. The critters are finely tuned to this constancy. If temperatures keep ascending at their current rate, some troglobites may not adjust rapidly enough.

For now, the frontier is still there. In late August last year, four amateur cavers were poking around a cliff face in the Sierra. They found a softball-size blowhole, enlarged it, climbed in, and discovered one of the most spectacular caves in the western U.S. Its cathedral-like spaces are up to a hundred feet wide and richly decorated with sparkling crystals and formations in every color of the rainbow. It has been named Ursa Minor, for the massive skeleton of a bear found lying at the foot of a curtain of stone. The first people to rappel in saw unidentified reddish worms clinging to the wall next to them. Farther back, one man thought he saw a flicker of movement in a pile of rocks.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

COM: Charles has a website!

Check out Charles' new website!

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

ENV: Baiji extinct

This is the second creature with which i have some research background to become extinct . . .

Experts: Yangtze dolphin likely extinct
Study co-author urges officials to prevent other extinctions
Reuters, Updated: 9:51 a.m. CT Aug 8, 2007

LONDON - The long-threatened Yangtze River dolphin in China is probably extinct, according to an international team of researchers who said this would mark the first whale or dolphin to be wiped out due to human activity.

The freshwater dolphin, or baiji, was last spotted several years ago and an intensive six-week search in late 2006 failed to find any evidence that one of the rarest species on Earth survives, said Samuel Turvey, a conservation biologist, at the Zoological Society of London, who took part in the search.

He said the dolphin's demise — which resulted from overfishing, pollution and lack of intervention — might serve as a cautionary tale and should spur governments and scientists to act to save other species verging on extinction.

"Ours is the first scientific study which didn't find any," he said in a telephone interview. "Even if there are a few left we can't find them and we can't do anything to stop their extinction."

China backed survey
The team, which published its findings in the Journal of the Royal Society Biology Letters on Wednesday, included researchers from the United States, Britain, Japan and China. The survey was also authorized by the Chinese government, Turvey said.

The last confirmed baiji sighting was 2002, although there have been a handful of unconfirmed sightings since then. The last baiji in captivity died in 2002, Turvey said.

During the six-week search, the team carried out both visual and acoustic surveys and used two boats to twice cover the dolphin's 1,000-mile range stretching from the city of Yichang just downstream from the Three Gorges dam to Shanghai.

The last such survey conducted from 1997 to 1999 turned up 13 of the mammals, but Turvey said fishing, pollution and boat traffic in the busy river, home to about 10 percent of the world's population, has likely meant the baiji's end.

Range was searched twice
"We covered the whole range of the dolphin twice," Turvey said. "It is difficult to see how we could miss any animals."

The dolphins will now be classified as critically endangered and possibly extinct.

Researchers have known for years about the dolphin's precarious situation but indecision about how best to save the species meant little was actually done, he added.

This underscores the need to act quickly to prevent the extinction of other similar shallow-water aquatic mammals like the vaquita found in Mexico's Sea of Cortez and the Yangtze finless porpoise, Turvey said.

"One really needs to learn from this to make sure future conservation efforts are more dynamic," he said. "There has always been so much focus on 'save the whale' and 'prevent whaling' that it has led to these range-restricted shallow cetaceans slipping through the crack."

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

OBT: Michelangelo Antonioni

Filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni Dies at Age 94
by Neda Ulaby

Day to Day, July 31, 2007 · The Italian Neorealist, who was perhaps best known for his film Blow-Up, died Monday at his home in Rome. He was 94.

Michelangelo Antonioni behind the camera in 1965, about five years after he burst on the international scene. Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Michelangelo Antonioni had a long, solemn face and hooded eyes — he looked like Humphrey Bogart. But the work of the Italian filmmaker, who died at home on Monday at the age of 94, couldn't be further from the traditions of Hollywood.

Antonioni, whose name became synonymous with European art-house cinema in the 1960s, began his career as part of the Italian filmmaking movement known as Neorealism. Their style, says film scholar Peter Brunette, was obsessed with the visual — in the sense of what we can see, the visible surfaces of reality. But Antonioni was different from such gritty Italian Neorealists as Roberto Rossellini and Vittorio De Sicca, who focused on postwar problems; Antonioni preferred stark, existential meditations on the things you can't see and things you can't say.

"And so you have to read between the lines," Brunette says. "Everything is powerfully expressive, but you can never exactly pin down what it means."

The film that swept Antonioni before an international audience in 1960 was L'Avventura, which in Italian means both an adventure and a fling. Brunette says the movie is visually compelling, but the vague plot belies the title. The film, frankly, can be trying.

"They're out there on this rock in the middle of nowhere on this island, and people are wandering around looking for someone, and can't find her," Brunette says. "L'Avventura was shown at the Cannes film festival, and people were booing — those supposedly sophisticated critics were booing and yelling 'Cut, cut!' …. And that film went on to become known as one of the greatest films of all time."

It's true that Antonioni's visuals pack much more drama than his narratives. His characters drift through their movies with a preoccupied air, trying to connect, and failing. Much more important to the director, Brunette says, were the pictures they made — "the characters as graphic images."

The liquid-eyed actress Monica Vitti was one of Antonioni's favorite graphic images. But the idea of using actors as props shocked Jack Nicholson, who starred in Antonioni's 1975 film The Passenger. On a DVD reissue of L'Avventura, Nicholson remembered Antonioni telling him that his performance was fine — but "'for me, the actor is a moving space.'"

A moving space didn't even have to move, as far as Antonioni was concerned. He could find an epic in a blank stare. And why complicate a close-up with a distracting tear or smile? In the late '60s, Antonioni's movies — already abstract and philosophical — became even more so.

"They're trying to talk more about the meaning of vision," Brunette says, "what it means to see the visual world — how do we understand it, how do we see reality through visuality and through vision."

The most accessible example of Antonioni's vision may be the 1966 movie Blow-Up, about an amoral photographer blithely swinging through London. David Hemmings' protagonist snaps a series of voyeuristic pictures in a public park, outraging a woman who's caught unawares in his lens — and upon developing his film, he comes to believe he's inadvertently documented a murder.

"But as he blows up the pictures more and more and more," Brunette explains, "he sees less and less and less."

That's the kind of conundrum Antonioni cherished — how reality is called into question in what we see and what we don't. But Blow-Up may have been the director's last great film.

"After that, I think, he became a parody of himself," Brunette says. "The character who was the protagonist becomes more obviously him."

The photographer in Blow-Up, the TV reporter in The Passsenger, the director in Identification of a Woman, or the novelist in La Notte ... and the aging filmmaker played by John Malkovich in one of Antonioni's last movies.

"Don't get me wrong, I'm not a philosopher," Malkovich's unnamed character says in Beyond the Clouds, which Antonioni co-directed with Wim Wenders. "On the contrary, I'm someone profoundly attached to images. I only discovered reality when I started photographing it — photographing and enlarging surfaces of things that were around me. I tried to discover what was behind them. I've done nothing else in my career."

For Michelangelo Antonioni, that may have been enough.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

LIT: Cailloux drops proposal

Cailloux pulls Arcadia proposal
By Alison Beshur, The Daily Times, Published August 1, 2007

The Cailloux Foundation has withdrawn its offer to foot $2 million for renovating the Arcadia Theater.

The foundation’s board of directors unanimously voted to pull the offer to the city of Kerrville off the table.

“The board cannot in good conscience make an open commitment to fund a project that it believes may not be optimal for the theater and the community,” said a press statement from the Cailloux Foundation.

According to the statement released late Tuesday, the board apologized for any contentions it may have created in the community.

“The foundation is still very interested in the potential of the Arcadia Theater as an amphitheater,” the release read. “However, given the increasing debate regarding the future of the Arcadia Theater, the board decided to withdraw its current offer so that the city of Kerrville can develop a plan that best suits the needs of the entire community.

“It was never the foundation’s intent to disrupt the city’s planning process; only to assist with creating an ideal and economic use for the Arcadia Theater.”

In October 2006, the Cailloux Foundation presented the concept to convert the 81-year-old building into an open-air amphitheater.

The plan was one of two major renovation proposals for the Arcadia.

The first plan, at a cost of $1.7 million, initially was planned by the city and the VenueTech Management Group, a consulting firm specializing in historic theater restoration. The second, estimated at $3.1 million, was brought to the city council by the Cailloux Foundation.

The city has been considering which best suits the community.

“The Cailloux Foundation has been gracious in their approach to this from the very beginning, and we appreciate their generosity,” said Kerrville City Manager Paul Hofmann. “The foundation made it clear that their intent all along is to provide a wonderful venue for downtown. This is a decision that needs to be made by the entire community, and we appreciate the respect everyone is giving to this decision.”

Calling himself a “booster,” Joe Luther noted that the city’s plan for an enclosed theater still remains.

“I think the city’s proposal is a good idea,” said Luther, vice chair of the Kerr County Historical Commission. “It’s a good solid idea.”

A city planning committee in Spokane, Wash., where Luther lived before, was successful renovating a historic downtown theater. They showed two movies every evening, and the activity generated enough business to keep nearby small businesses afloat.

The key is to spur activity and drive traffic downtown.

Luther said retired residents provide an ideal market, because they bring in more than $200 million each year in transfer payments.

“These are people who have time on their hands,” said Luther, noting he also is retired. “This group of people are very interested in history.”

Charles Roetter, chairman of the Comprehensive Plan Update Committee, which has been tasked with updating a plan for the central part of Kerrville, said the Cailloux Foundation’s decision eliminates one of two options for the theater.

“Right now, we haven’t started into the revision process,” Roetter said. “We’re still in the fact-finding stage. That would just be another fact we would take into consideration.”

According to the release, the Cailloux board will continue to monitor the debate on the Arcadia, and welcomes the chance to review the decided project. The board said the city can request a grant once a final decision is made through the regular grant-making process.

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LIT: National Slam in Austin Next Week

The last time we slammed Austin was the Nationals in 1998, which gave me quite a bit of national exposure and some dandy little invites -- DefPoetryJam, MTV, etc.

Well, it's back, promising to be a simply incredible few days of wording. And to think i scheduled opening week of The Drawer Boy right over the top of it! Well, that won't keep you guys from enjoying the fun.

Here's the highlights from the phenomenal calendar mistress Stazja McFadyen:

So, I went to the NPS2007 site and compiled some, not all of the
bazillion events scheduled in Austin next week.

(Say, "Thank you, Stazja.")

Venue addresses and ticket info are at the bottom. Prelims, Semi
Finals, Individual Finals and Team Finals - do your own research at

Day and Late Night Events

Tuesday, August 7

Opening Ceremonies: Come help us make history and enjoy free lunch
courtesy of Maudie's Tex-Mex. According to Guiness, the current World
Record for a Group Chapbook Signing is 153 people. Apparently, 153
authors got together to sign their books at the same time in some
fancy city with arts funding and public transportation. Big Whoop.
We're not only going to beat the record, we're going to donate the
signed books to the Texas Prison Project, an organization that brings
much-needed supplies and compassion to the incarcerated population of
Texas. What you need to do is bring one of your great works that you
will sign and donate. Our world record attempt will help people who
need it the most. Plus welcoming comments from your organizers, PSI
heads, and other surprise guests. 2:00 – 2:45 p.m., Antone's.

Rookie Open Mic: Hey poets, if this is your first time at Nats, come
introduce yourself to the world at this mic specifically designed for
debut appearances. If your team is new or you have new members, this
is your stage. If you're a veteran slammer, come check out and
support the rookies. Hosted by Scott Woods (Columbus, OH), 3:00 –
4:30 p.m., Antone's.



I ROCK - The Live Music Open Mic: Always wanted the chance to get on
stage and kick a poem backed by a killer band? Or maybe you're a
musician yourself and would like to sit in and kick out the jams? Get
in on this show and you'll have the chance to front the band and pick
what musical style you'd like to work with. The bandleader for the
evening will be Austin's musical madman Wammo, plus a rotating
musical cast. Including you. Plus a featured set by Urban Folk
Collective featuring Blair (Detroit, MI), 11:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m, .

Erotic Open Mic: Expect a hot night on the mic as poet after poet
takes the stage and gets their naughty on. Your slammistresses for
the evening, Gabrielle Boullaine (Buffalo, NY) and Mahogany Browne
(NYC) will keep the action coming your way and a panel of expert
judges – Ed Mabrey (Columbus, OH), Adriana Ramirez (Pittsburgh, PA),
and Ragan Fox (Hollywood, CA) – will let you know American Idol-style
if you were hot or not. Expect eye-popping surprises courtesy of
Austin's home for all things sexy, Forbidden Fruit. DJ Scott Woods
(Columbus, OH) opens his groove locker to bring the funky mess, 11:00
p.m. – 2:00 a.m., Ruta Maya.

Anything Goes Slam: Got a prop, a cover poem, an animal act, a slide
show and a giant pink bunny outfit that you want to use? Wanna get
your crazy on and do something that nobody's ever seen before? Bring
it. Your ringmasters for the evening will be Suicide Kings Jamie
DeWolf and Geoff Trenchard, co-instigators at Oakland's infamous
Tourettes Without Regrets series. 11:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m., Ego's.

Wednesday, August 8

Yoga: If you haven't partied all night (or maybe if you have and are
still awake), please drop by! The class will be all-levels, very
relaxing, but not "easy." Expect to sweat! The class is best
described as "Hatha Flow," but will be adjusted for conditions and
ability of students present. Led by Berkeley Slammaster Charles
Ellik, 9:00 – 9:45 a.m., Hyatt / Hill Country B.

How to MC at Nationals Workshop: Have you wanted to get into the
glamorous life of NPS hosting but didn't know where to start? Are you
an energetic host at your local slam looking to help Nationals by
volunteering? This workshop is for you! Hosted by rules nerd Erik
Daniel, this workshop delivers a detailed breakdown of MC and Bout
Manager jobs, rules discussion, with live demonstrations of rules
violations, and Q & A about tournament problems and solutions.
Mandatory for MCs and Bout Managers working at NPS 2007, highly
recommended for everyone interested in hosting tournament bouts.
9:00 – 11 a.m., Hyatt / Hill Country C.

How to Create a One (Wo)man Show Workshop: Come learn about
envisioning, writing, performing, and touring a one (wo)man show.
Expand your three minute poem into something more, 10:00 – 11:00
a.m., Hyatt / Hill Country D.

Stage Combat and Capoeira Workshop / Part I: Want to break down the
imaginary walls in performance and look at movement in a new way?
Wanna learn stage combat, zulu stick fighting, konba baton, Kalinda
and Capoeira? Our main focus is for you to have fun learning
something new that may help your creativity down the line. Come ready
to sweat and get down with your training groups, Cry Havoc Action
Choreography and Kilombo Njinga, 10:00 – 11:00 a.m., Hyatt / Hill
Country B.

Head to Head Haiku: Created by Chicago poet Dan Ferri, Head to Head
Haiku has become one of the pillars of the NPS experience.
First 10 poets get signed up, next 7 get pulled from a draw. Come
with at least 30 haiku to win the 2007 NPS national head to head haiku
Hosted by Tazuo Yamaguchi, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Antone's.

Grief and Remembrance Open Mic: In this reading we honor grief and
loss, remembering loved ones who have experienced tragedy or passed
on. T. Paul lives. Hosted by Ms. Spelt, 11:30 a.m. ? 1:00 p.m.,
Hideout Downstairs Theatre.

Slam and the Academy Panel: This year's Slam & the Academy panel
promises to avoid beating a dead horse while attempting to shed light
on the following issues: the role of performance poets in today's
MFA/PhD programs, the page/stage gap and how (or whether) we should
bridge it, popular misconceptions about "slam poets" and "academic
poets" and what both camps stand to learn from one another. Panel
features Tara Betts (NYC), Ragan Fox (Hollywood, CA), Tara Hardy
(Seattle, WA), Jeremy Richards (Seattle, WA), Robbie Q. Telfer
(Normal, IL) and Susan B.A. Somers-Willett (Austin, TX). Karyna
McGlynn (Ann Arbor, MI) will moderate,11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Hideout
Upstairs Theatre.

FameCast Open Recording Session: Do you need a high-quality
performance video of yourself kicking a poem? Come sign up for a slot
and get videotaped by the crew from NPS sponsor They'll
email you the video file and you can use it for whatever you want –
post it on your Myspace, use it to get a gig, or submit it in the
upcoming season of FameCast's $10,000 spoken word competition. The
sign-up sheet goes live at 11 am; get on the list as videotaping will
continue through the afternoon, 11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Hideout
Upstairs Classroom.

Legends Showcase: Last year, NPS honored poets who had spent a decade
in the slam community by creating the first-ever NPS Legends
Showcase. Back by popular demand, we've expanded the idea to combine
old school and new school in an invitational showcase of voices that
have made Slam great. Poets featured include Jason Carney (Dallas,
TX), Ragan Fox (Hollywood, CA), Andre "Paradox" Jackson (Ventura,
CA), Mike McGee (San Jose, CA), Anis Mojgani (Seattle, WA), Tara Seth
(Austin, TX), Danny Solis (Albuquerque, NM), Morris Stegosaurus (Salt
Lake City, UT), and Genevieve Van Cleve (Austin, TX). Hosted by
Mahogany Browne (NYC), 1:15 – 2:45 p.m. Antone's.

Latino /Indigenous Open Mic: Lyric and passion at its very finest.
This showcase always provides some of the most unforgettable moments
of the National Poetry Slam. Hosted by Adriana Ramirez (Pittsburgh,
PA) Joaquin Zihuatanejo (Dallas, TX), 1:15 – 2:45 p.m. Hideout
Downstairs Theatre.

Stage Presence Workshop: You (yes, YOU!) need to amp up your stage
presence and connect with your audience better. This is a fast-paced
class where everyone participates. Bring in your hottest poem for
tips, tricks and critique from one of slam's most dynamic performers.
Hosted by Rives (NYC), 1:15 – 2:45 p.m., Hideout Upstairs Theatre.
African-American Open Mic: One of the most highly anticipated events
at the National Poetry Slam. This reading showcases the incredible
diversity of our family with a sign-up list exclusively for poets of
the Pan-African diaspora. Hosted by Lynne Procope & Roger Bonair-
Agard (NYC), 1:15 – 2:45 p.m., Antone's.

Jewish/Twelve Tribes Open Mic: A reading for all of the Chosen People
and their meshpukah (family), blood and otherwise. No worries about
your poem not being "Jewish enough" or being a goyim (non-jew) with a
Jewish-themed poem. All are welcome here. Hosted by Paulie Lipman
(Denver, CO) and Tara Seth (Austin, TX), 3:00 – 4:30 p.m., Hideout
Downstairs Theatre.

Is There a Creative Life After Sobriety? Panel Discussion: Does
stepping away from substance abuse have to mean stepping away from
your art? Several well-known members of the poetry slam community
discuss the issue of creativity after sobriety in this open forum.
3:00 – 4:30 p.m., Hideout Upstairs Theatre



Hip Hop Headquarters: Spoken word is one of the primary elements of
hip hop and our annual celebration of that fact brings the work that
bobs your head and opens it up at the same time. Freestyle sessions,
open stage battles, whatever you got, here's your spot. Perform with
beats provided by our house DJ or go a capella. Austin's Da'Shade
Moonbeam is your host, 11:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m., Antone's.

Decathlon Slam: Embrace the madness that is the Decathlon slam. Three
teams picked kickball style compete in ten challenging events. Some
of them even have to do with poetry. Expect a few of the classics to
reappear (such as the Sock Puppet Slam round and the competitive
eating round), plus a barrel of new surprises. Hosted by Dasha Kelly
(Madison, WI), Mighy Mike McGee (San Jose, CA), and Phil West
(Austin, TX). 11:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m., Ruta Maya.

Slammaster's Slam: This annual rumble amongst the organizers, emcees,
and workhorses that make the slam machine run is another staple of
NPS week. If you're a Slammaster, get on the mic and represent your
venue. If you're not a Slammaster, get in the audience and cheer your
SM to victory. Or heckle. That works too. Hosted by Dawn Saylor
(Harrisburg, PA), 11:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m., Ego's.

Thursday, August 9

Yoga: If you haven't partied all night (or maybe if you have and are
still awake), please drop by! The class will be all-levels, very
relaxing, but not "easy." Expect to sweat! The class is best
described as "Hatha Flow," but will be adjusted for conditions and
ability of students present. Led by Berkeley Slammaster Charles
Ellik, 9:00 – 9:45 a.m., Hyatt / Hill Country B.

Gen & Ragan's Comedy Camp: Infusing Texts and Performances with
Humor: Former First Lady of the Promise Keepers Genevieve Van Cleve
(Austin, TX) and anti-gays rights leader Ragan Fox (Hollywood, CA)
enthusiastically invite you to attend a comedy workshop. The workshop
will cover various writing and performance strategies, including ways
to infuse your pontifications with gut-busting personae, campy
characterizations, and witty wordplay. Gen and Ragan will also break
dance, 10:00 – 11:00 a.m., Hyatt / Hill Country C.

Stage Combat and Capoeira Workshop / Part II: Want to break down the
imaginary walls in performance and look at movement in a new way?
Wanna learn stage combat, zulu stick fighting, konba baton, Kalinda
and Capoeira? Our main focus is for you to have fun learning
something new that may help your creativity down the line. Come ready
to sweat. Hosted by your training groups, Cry Havoc Action
Choreography and Kilombo Njinga, 10:00 – 11:00 a.m., Hyatt / Hill
Country B.

Queer Open Mic: You can call it the GLBTIQ reading, but it's faster
and sexier to call it what it is ? the queer open mic, with readers
of all genders and orientations welcome (bonus points given if you've
found a new way to offend the current government.) Bring your poems
that celebrate, excoriate, tarnish, admonish and lullaby the truth
about this nelly, butch, genderqueer, femme, leather-daddy and none-
of-the-above nation. Bring the stuff you've been aching to whisper
into other Queer ears, and get all the queer applause you can handle.
Hosted by Jason Edwards (Austin, TX) and Ragan Fox (Hollywood, CA),
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Antone's.

Signature Poems Open Mic: We all have that poem. The joint that
everyone thinks of when they hear our name. It's the hit single, the
one the Stones would play at every concert. Come play your poem at
this new open mic, hosted by Deb Marsh (Ann Arbor, MI) and Mike McGee
(San Jose, CA), and we'll sing along, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Hideout
Downstairs Theatre.

30 Publishing Tips for Slam Poets: This workshop will guide you
seamlessly from the world of performing your poetry into the world of
publishing it with 30 practical (and controversial) tips for slam
poets hoping to write for the larger literary community "beyond
slam." Come prepared to take notes! Led by Karyna McGlynn (Ann Arbor,
MI), 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Hideout Upstairs Theatre.

Editing Sessions with Kevin Coval: Here's a chance to spend one on
one editing time with one of the most highly-acclaimed writers in the
scene whose poetry, essay, and CD narration can be found on the new
Spoken Word Revolution: Redux anthology. Bring two copies of a poem
of yours that you'd like to workshop. Note: a sign up sheet will be
posted outside the classroom on the day of workshop by 11 a.m. Sign
up for a fifteen minute session -- first come, first served. Workshop
runs from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Hideout Upstairs Classroom.

Women's Open Mic I - Ladies Who Spit at Lunch: Austin's Genevieve Van
Cleve will be at the helm of this celebration of women's voices in
slam. SafePlace volunteers will be on hand at both of this year's
women's readings to offer support and assistance. SafePlace exists to
end sexual and domestic violence through safety, healing, prevention
and social change. Thursday from 1:15 ? 2:45 p.m. at Antone's.

Persona Open Mic: One of the best things about being a poet is that
you have an active imagination that you can use to pretend to be
someone else. Bring your alter ego to read a poem in one of your
other voices at this new open mic, hosted by Ann Arbor's Deb Marsh.
1:15 – 2:00 p.m., Hideout Downstairs Theatre.

Asian-American Open Mic: Vibrant, intense, and vital, this annual
open mic always amazes. Hosted by Alvin Lau (Chicago, IL), 2:00 –
2:45 p.m., Hideout Downstairs Theatre.

Beyond the Bar - Poetry in the Community: What happens when poets
reach beyond the community of people looking for a night out at a
bar? Tara Betts (NYC) will facilitate this panel discussing the
impact of writing and performing outside of slam venues and working
with community organizations, youth and underrepresented groups.
1:15 – 2:45 p.m., Hideout Upstairs Theatre.

Touring Workshop: Mighty Mike McGee (San Jose, CA) has been on the
road most of the time since 2003. Come find out how he survives and
rocks his featured set every time, plus learn about how you can get
your show on the road. Note: This is a limited enrollment workshop.
No more than eight people will be accepted. Sign up sheet will be
posted outside classroom the day of workshop by 11:00 a.m. Workshop
runs from 1:15 – 2:45 p.m., Hideout Upstairs Classroom.

Legends Showcase: Last year, NPS honored poets who had spent a decade
in the slam community by creating the first-ever NPS Legends
Showcase. Back by popular demand, we've expanded the idea to combine
old school and new school in an invitational showcase of voices that
have made Slam great.. Poets featured include: Tara Betts (NYC),
Kevin Coval (Chicago, IL), Kim Holzer (Durham, NC),), Deb Marsh (Ann
Arbor, MI), Jack McCarthy (Washington), Marty McConnell (NYC), Lynne
Procope (NYC), Rives (NYC), and Wammo (Austin, TX). Hosted by Dallas
slam legend Jason Carney, 3:00 – 4:30 p.m., Antone's.

Comedy Open Mic: Slam has gone a long way towards showing the world
that poetry can be funny and that laughter is just as powerful of an
emotional experience as anger or sadness. So, think you're funny,
bucko? Got a piece that always leaves `em laughing? Come rock your
stand-up, your diatribe, your socially inappropriate and all-too-
descriptive verse about your bodily functions, celebrity crushes, and
cratered relationships. Hosted by Big Poppa E (Austin, TX) and Sonya
Renee (Los Angeles, CA) who we think are both hilarious, 3:00 – 4:30
p.m., Hideout DownstairsTheatre.

Is There Such a Thing as Slam Poetry? Panel Discussion: For years,
poets in the NPS community have debated whether or not something
called "slam poetry" exists. At the same time, those in the media and
popular culture frequently use the term without question. Can we talk
about a body of work called "slam poetry," or is the work performed
at slams just performance poetry placed within a competitive
framework? Two slam veterans, Susan B.A. Somers-Willett (Austin, TX)
and Scott Woods (Columbus, OH), go tête-à-tête to discuss the uses
and limitations of defining slam poetry as a genre. Come participate
in this not-to-miss open discussion, 3:00 – 4:30 p.m., Hideout
Upstairs Theatre.

Performance Workshop with Paradox: Do you secretly ask yourself, "who
is my audience?" Who are you trying to affect with your words and
your body when performing? Come find out how to connect with that guy
in the third row, who looks like he's bored to death, or that girl
who finds her cell phone a little more appealing then your poem. Find
out how to bring the stage and audience to life. Connect the dots
with your performance every time. It's simple, ask Paradox (Ventura,
CA). Note: This is a limited enrollment workshop. No more than eight
people will be accepted. Sign up sheet will be posted outside
classroom the day of workshop by 11:00 a.m. Workshop runs from 3:00 –
4:30 p.m., Hideout Upstairs Classroom.



Famecast Final Five: This international online spoken word
competition has come down to five poets battling for a $10,000 prize.
At, anyone can submit a video and the online audience
decides who moves on to the next round. The votes are in and the five
poets bringing it to the mic in hopes of being crowned the first-ever
Famecast Fenom and taking home ten grand will be Talaam Acey (Newark,
NJ), Boogie Man (San Diego, CA), Corbet Dean (Phoenix, AZ), Ragan Fox
(Hollywood, CA), and Anis Mojgani (Portland, OR). This performance
will be streamed on for one week of audience voting to
decide the winner. Come support these poets and cheer for your
favorite, 11:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m., Antone's

Women's Open Mic II: Women of the slam it's FINALLY HAPPENED!!!
Ladies, remember how there used to be only ONE Women's reading at the
Nationals? We'd all jam in to a hot, little room and just get cookin'
when all of the sudden a band sweaty nerds would barge in and RUIN
IT!?!? This year we're having TWO Women's Readings. If you went to
Antone's this afternoon the sign-up list was full, or, you got up
there and did one poem, but you're itchin' to do one more, don't miss
this opportunity. Hosted by NYC's Piper Jane Project with DJ Muse
(Boston, MA) providing the soundtrack. SafePlace volunteers will be
on hand at this year's Women's Readings to offer support and
assistance. SafePlace exists to end sexual and domestic violence
through safety, healing, prevention and social change. 11:00 p.m. –
2:00 a.m, Ruta Maya.

Return of the JediMaster's Slam: Calling all Nerf Herders! In
celebration of 30 years of STAR WARS, join your fellow FANBOYS for
lightsaber battles, Jedi trivia and a dash of poetic Jar Jar bashing!
You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy! Shappy
Seasholtz (NYC) will serve as Red Leader, 11:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.,

Friday, August 10

Editing and Revision Workshop: The premise of this workshop is that
writing is good. Editing is also good, but writing should come first.
The object of the workshop is to get as many good writers as possible
into a room and then pick their brains and collect all their best
ideas, so that the facilitator can go home and write better poems. If
some of the workshoppers write better poems too, that would be
something of a plus. So bring your best writing and editing ideas and
spend an hour and a half with Jack McCarthy (Washington),10:00 -
11:30 a.m., Hyatt / Big Bend A & B.

Nerd Slam: Celebrating it's SIXTH YEAR as a poetry shire for all of
slam's poetry hobbits, this is where all the geeks gather to read
their Star Trek sonnets, love poems to Optimus Prime and eulogies for
Firefly. However, to read at the Nerd Slam you must first win in a
brutal TRIVIA-OFF! Two Nerds enter; one Nerd reads! There are awesome
prizes for all who dare enter the Thunderdome! Shappy (NYC) and
Robbie Q (Normal, IL) will serve as your protocol droids and promise
lots of SPECIAL GUESTS & SURPRISES! 12:45 – 2:15 p.m., Antone's..

5th Wheel Slam: Year after year, one of the most amazing shows at
NPS. Alternates and coaches, this is your stage and your chance to
show us whatcha got. Hosted by Nazelah Jamison (Oakland, CA).,12:45 –
2:15 p.m., Hideout DownstairsTheatre.

Mic Dynamics Workshop: Slam takes the performance of poetry from a
whisper to a scream, often in the same sentence. Want to learn how to
ensure that the content of your poem isn't getting wiped out by
feedback, popping p's, or strained ears? Presented by Austin slam's
founding father, Wammo, 12:45 – 2:15 p.m., Hideout Upstairs Theatre.
Organizing & Teaching Spoken Word Workshop: Poet Kevin Coval,
adviser/narrator of 'The Spoken Word Revolution Redux' (Sourcebooks,
2007), will teach the fundamentals of putting a spoken word syllabus
together, preparing spoken word lesson plans, and classroom
methodology; followed by transferring the learned skills of the
students into a large organizational events. Note: This is a limited
enrollment workshop. No more than eight people will be accepted. Sign
up sheet will be posted outside classroom the day of workshop by
11:00 a.m. Workshop runs from 12:45 – 2:15, Hideout Upstairs

Group Piece Open Mic: The NPS family has made the collaborative
performance of poetry something new under the sun. Here's our annual
throwdown where teams get together and rock their group work. Get on
the list for a poem and if there's time we'll go down the list again.
Hosted by Team Normal's Robbie Q. Telfer and Joel Chmara, 2:30 – 4:00
p.m., Antone's.

Legends Showcase: Revenge of the Nerds edition. Raise your slide
rules in the air and wave `em like you just don't care! We believe
that slammers are all nerds at heart, and here's a stellar lineup of
poets who fly their geek flag proudly. Representing the horn rimmed
nation will be Astoria, NY sweethearts Shappy Seasholtz & Cristin
O'Keefe Aptowicz, Guy Gonzales (NYC), Dawn Gabriel (Boston, MA),
Jeremy Richards (Seattle, WA) and newly relocated Austinites Ernie
Cline and Susan B. Anthony Somers-Willett. Excelsior! Hosted by local
nerd Genevieve Van Cleve, 2:30 – 4:00 p.m., Hideout Downstairs

Writing Workshop: The Difference Between Poetry and Rhetoric. Come
discuss how poems transform and are transformed by their worlds and
how to best equip your poem for the task. Led by Roger Bonair-Agard
for NYC's Louder ARTS project. 2:30 – 4:00 p.m., Hideout Upstairs

Youth Writing Workshop: Join Kim Holzer (Durham, NC), slam-champion
and accomplished teacher, for a workshop that challenges you to write
from the hilltop and make your presence known. You will walk out
having written what some students have called, "the impossible poem,"
and learn performance techniques that make you look like you've been
doing this for awhile. Be ready: this ain't English class. Note: This
is a limited enrollment workshop. No more than eight people will be
accepted. Sign up sheet will be posted outside classroom the day of
workshop by 11 a.m. Workshop runs from 2:30 – 4:00 p.m., Hideout
Upstairs Classroom.



Karaoke with Shappy: They say that Austin is the Live Music Capital
of the World, but tonight is all about KARAOKE, baby! Come blow off
your slammy steam by singing along with your swinging host Shappy
(who is the only slammer in history who simultaneously hosted Karaoke
while competing in Indie Semis!) There will be Bohemian Rhapsody in
the Love Shack, Baby (one more time)! 11:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m., Ego's.

Saturday, August 11

Slam Family Picnic: Here's a chance to just hang out and enjoy the
company of the NPS community. We'll have the grills loaded up with
Chef Whoopeecat holding court and a kickball ready for action.
Location is in the park just across South First Street from the
Hyatt, an easy walk. Note: we'll provide the drinks as well; this is
a non-alcoholic event. 12:30 – 4:30 p.m., Auditorium Shores.
PG-Slam: Poetry Speaks to Teens and Tweens: The lovable and
entertaining Eric ZORK Alan hosts this all ages event that celebrates
poetry as an inspiration and transformative influence for kids.
The "PG Slam" kicks off a project to create an age-appropriate film
and CD featuring the work of slam legends and rising stars who have
exceptional appeal and powerful messages for children in high school
and junior high. The invitational reading features performances by
Big Poppa E (Austin, TX), Marty McConnell (NYC), Sonya Renee (Los
Angeles, CA) and more. In addition to their original work, poets will
also "cover" classic poems ranging from Lord Byron's "She Walks in
Beauty" to Shel Silverstein's "Jimmy Jet and his TV Set." Organized
and co-hosted by LV: mother, poet and White Plains team member, 1:30 –
3:00 p.m., Ruta Maya.

Youth Slam: If you've been paying attention, we're sure you've seen
young slammers tearing up the mic in your local community. Here's the
stage for the next generation, open to all poets under the age of 21.
Co-sponsored by the Texas Youth Word Collective and hosted by Kim
Holzer (Durham, NC), 3:15 – 4:45 p.m., Ruta Maya.



Finals Night Party: Last year we boogied the night away at the Slam
Prom. This time around we celebrate the 21st birthday of the Slam
movement by throwing ourselves the greatest birthday party ever. DJ
sets throughout the night by DJ Muse (Boston, MA), Jive Poetic (NYC),
Wammo (Austin, TX), and more. Be ready to celebrate; it's time to
party like its 1986, 11:00 p.m. – 4:00 a.m., 501 Studios.


The Hyatt Regency
208 Barton Springs Road
Austin, TX 78701

Paramount Theatre
713 Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78701

Ego's Lounge
510 South Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78704

Dominican Joe
515 South Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78704

213 W 5th St
Austin, TX 78701

Ruta Maya World HQ
3601 South Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78704

The Hideout
617 Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78701

The Parish
214 E Sixth St
Austin, TX 78701

Ticket info update:

Single admission tickets for bouts will be available at the door; $5
for prelims, $10 for semis. Wristbands will be available for purchase
at NPS Registration and at all competition venues; for only $10, get
a wristband that gets you into all prelim bouts, semifinal bouts, and
late night events. That's a bargain, people.

Individual Finals (August 10) and Team Finals ARE NOW on sale next
week at the Paramount Theater box office, or online at

Tickets are $26 each (same price for both Finals nights), General
Admission seating.

Daytime events at Hyatt, Antone's, and the Hideout are free of charge
and open to the public.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

ENV: Circus of the Spineless #23 is Posted!

This word just in from Roger:


Just a quick note to let you know that the 23rd edition of Circus of the Spineless is now on-line at: Words & Pictures

Roger B.

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