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Roses For Roy Rogers

By Bennett Owen

100 Palomino horses in honor of Roy Roger’s birth. Credit: LATimes.comNow that’s a passel of Palominos in Pasadena.  100 to be exact, symbolizing the centennial of Roy Rogers’ birth. 

Horses and riders escorted a float honoring the “King of the Cowboys"…decorated with more than 11-thousand roses, five-thousand gerberas and 500 carnations…with Roy’s son and grandsons on board singing Happy Trails. In all, a fitting tribute to the memory of a man who embodied the cowboy spirit to a generation of youngsters the world over. 

Roy Rogers Jr., right, and his son Dustin Roger wave as they sing. Credit:

RFD TV sponsored the float as part of its centennial tribute to an enduring legend. Credit: Michael Robinson Chavez, Los Angeles TimesAside from being a founding member of the Sons of the Pioneers, Rogers went on to star in 88 western movies, some with tongue firmly planted in cheek…

The Roy Rogers television show was also a hit and The Roy Rogers Riders Club had more than two million members in its heyday in the 1950s.

Of course this isn’t the first time the ‘Singing Cowboy’ rode the streets of Pasadena.  He made seven appearances in all and, along with wife Dale Evans, was Grand Marshalls in 1977. Hmmm, Marshall…that’s fitting somehow.   In 1954, Rogers rode a floral replica of his famed horse, Trigger.

A year later he helmed a float highlighting the Soap Box Derby…it just doesn’t get any more American than that.

As for the 2012 edition, his son, Roy Jr. commented,  “Dad never made it to 100, but he’s looking down on this float with a smile.” 



Burning Man Revived

By Jim Poulton

Credit: mayhem

For those of you who saw our post on this year’s Burning Man Festival in the Black Rock desert of Nevada, here is a beautiful time-lapse video. It shows the festival rising in an empty basin of sand to a city of 50,000. And when the Burning Man and the Temple of Transition are finally consumed by flame, the city then fades away again – back to the desolate desert expanse.

Here are some more photos - to whet your appetite for next year.

Credit: meganpru

Night of the burning. Credit: meganpru

Credit: meganpru


Burning Man: The Desert Blooms in August

By Jim Poulton

Burning Man: A celebration of art and alternate lifestyles and transcendence and the counterculture and eccentricity and pixilation …

Credit: Michael Holden

A touch-down on an alien planet …

Credit: Michael Holden

A festival that began in 1986 when 20 friends burned an 8-foot tall structure on a beach in California … and has morphed into the annual blossoming of a full-fledged city in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada …

Credit: YoVenice

50,000 people a day, thousands of artists, and no one is a spectator …

Credit: Michael Holden

Gallons of sunscreen, reservoirs of water, all to survive the 107 degree heat …

Credit: Michael Holden

On Saturday night, the Burning Man is set alight. This year he was 50 feet tall, sitting atop another 100 feet or so of a modernist, flammable support structure. He symbolizes something different for everyone ... leaving the past behind, purification, nirvana, rebirth … As he starts to burn, a circle forms around him, like an ancient, primal Druidic ceremony.

There was the Ouroboros ...

Credit: Michael Holden

The Temple of Transition ...

Credit: Michael Holden

Tractors belching fire ...

Credit: Michael Holden

The Temple of Shame ...

Credit: Michael Holden

and Beauty is Truth ...

Credit: Michael Holden

And then Burning Man himself …

Credit: Michael Holden

Set on fire by explosions and fireworks …

Credit: Michael Holden

Look for Burning Man again next year … and a little friendly advice: start designing your costume now.

Credit: Mr. Nightshade

Many thanks to Michael Holden whose beautiful photographs we've used (mostly) in this post. In the spirit of Burning Man, he has graciously placed his work in the public domain.


Maynard Dixon Country 2011: An Artists’ Artist 

By Donna Poulton

Credit: Sunset Magazine

An artists’ artist, Maynard Dixon is one of the most important 20th century artists of the American West. During his life, many artists made the arduous journey to seek Dixon out at his southern Utah cabin in Mt. Carmel.  

Credit: Image public domain

Conrad Buff, Jimmy Swinnerton,  Milford Zornes and Emil Kosa are just a few who spent weeks painting the enormous scenery around Zion while staying with Dixon. 

“Sculptured Sandstone,” Maynard Dixon. Credit: The Coeur D’ Alene Art Auction

Dixon created well over 200 paintings of the area, beginning with his first visit to Zion in 1933. He returned to southern Utah often and ultimately built a cabin in 1939 in one of the most scenic areas of the state.

Credit: Photograph by Merrit Stites (c)

Shortly before he died in 1945, he wrote a poem, which reads in part: “At last, I shall give myself to the desert again….Broadcast over the sun-land.”  Because of this poem his ashes were scattered on the hill above his beautiful cabin.

Maynard Dixon’s Cabin.  Image courtesy of Bingham Gallery

In 1998, Susan and Paul Bingham bought Maynard Dixon’s acreage and cabin and restored it. It is now on the National Registry of Historic Places and was featured in Architectural Digest in 2001.
Credit: Bingham Gallery

In the tradition and spirit of Dixon’s hospitality to artists and his encouragement of their work, Susan and Paul Bingham founded Maynard Dixon Country, an annual event for which artists are invited from throughout the U.S. to paint the southern Utah landscape en plein air, and to compete for a number of awards.  Invitations for the week long event are among the most highly sought after in the country.

Painting by Ray Roberts. Credit: Bingham Gallery

In many ways Dixon was ahead of his time.  None before him understood the brute grace of the stylized forms of the West as well as he did.  He painted isolated motifs of great boldness in an inherently modern landscape.  The artists painting at Maynard Dixon country are among the best in the country and they are up to the challenge. 

“Cliff Hanger”by Len Chmiel. Credit: Bingham Gallery

The big names attending this year include: Matt Smith, Skip Whicomb, Ray Roberts, Dan Young, Len Chmiel, Kate Starling, Charles Muench, Bonnie Posselli, Jermy Lipking, Kathryn Stats, Dan Pinkham, Ron Rencher, Russell Case and many more. 

At the end of the week, artists sell their en plein air canvases along with finished studio work.

Credit: Bingham Gallery

You’ll want to be on hand from 26 – 28 August for: The Symposium, “Finding your own Voice,” with Bonnie Posselli and Kathryn Stats; the Wet Painting Show & Sale; and the second Symposium “Child of Giants” a documentary about Maynard Dixon and Dorothea Lange.

"Overture" by Glenn Dean. Credit: Bingham Gallery

On the evening of the 27th, there is a Gala Reception on the front lawn of Maynard Dixon’s home. Check the website at The Thunderbird Foundation for the Arts or call: 435.648.2653 for more information.

A sneak peak at just two of the finished easel works available this year.

Painting "Puesta del sol de Los Muertos," by Jeremy Lipking. Credit: Paul Bingham

Painting by Kate Starling. Credit: Paul Bingham


Puttin’ the WOW in Powwow

By Bennett Owen

Credit: Donnie Sexton (c) at  Travel Montana

Crow call it Baasaxpilue (to make much noise). It is considered the largest American Indian Tipi encampment in the US, and it’s in place for the next four nights…The Crow Fair, celebrating its 93rd year at  Crow Agency on the banks of the Little Bighorn River, (yes, THAT Little Bighorn) south of Billings, Montana. Organizers bill it as “a giant family reunion under the Big Sky.”

Crow Fair, c.1940. Credit: Marion Wolcott, Library of Congress

Crow Fair, c.1940. Credit: Marion Wolcott, Library of Congress

Crow Fair in Montana, c. 1930 Credit: BBHC McCracken Collection

Crow Fair, Montana. Credit: Crow Voices

The biggest attraction is the rodeo but this gathering is also aimed at keeping alive the rich traditions of the Plains Indians.

There is drumming –

And children –

Credit: Susan NYC

Credit: Susan NYC

Credit: Susan NYC

And color –

Credit: Susan NYC

Credit: Susan NYC

And dancing -

I’m a pale skin and this sound scares the crap out of me. There are also contests for regalia, such as the War Bonnet, War Shirt and other traditional garb.

Credit: Susan NYC

The festivities attract up to 50,000 people to this remote outpost on the prairie. Perhaps more importantly, more than 10,000 Crow people gather for the annual powwow. The culture is alive here – an estimated 85 percent of tribal people still speak Crow as their first language, fiercely proud of their reputation as a ‘horse people.’  In a recent interview with the Indian Country Media Network, Crow Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Dale Old Horn, said, The celebration of our way of life is predicated on the very visible expression of our native beliefs in our ceremonies and rituals.”  Rituals preserved and passed on at Crow Fair.

Credit: Susan NYC