Another Modest Proposal

December 11th, 2014

O.k. It’s December. A couple of weeks ago there was an article in the NY Times by Thomas Friedman. It was titled Stampeding Black Elephants. It’s in the Opinion section. Why are so many articles about climate change and species extinction relegated to Opinion pages? It makes it seem like the work is not based in fact/science/data/numbers. Last June there was an article about tigers in the NY Times’. Again, in the Opinion section. The article focused on a recent fashion among super-wealthy Chinese business people – the butchering and eating of wild tigers. A “visual feast … as a form of entertainment and to show off their wealth.”

Here’s an opinion. Or maybe it’s just an idea. I’ve read that there are only 3000 tigers left in the wild. There used to be 100,000 at the turn of the 19th to 20th century. And now: 3000. But what’s even rarer than a tiger? I’ll tell you: a chief executive of a Fortune 500 company is rarer than a tiger. Maybe if we could shift the conversation or, uh, target … just a little. Maybe with a carefully planned PR campaign, we could encourage all the ultra-wealthy folk who have developed a taste for tiger to develop a taste for delicious executive? And, if we’re extraordinarily successful, maybe the ultra-wealthy tiger-eaters will just eat themselves?

One can dream.

WOLF: Process 04 (more bad wolf puns and cute bear cub/wolf pup wrestle)

July 4th, 2013

Happy 4th. Ran into Julia Pollack the other day (she sent me the above video of the wrestling little grizzly bear and wolf cubs … I was not one of the five million people who have already watched this video).  She’s gonna help with some WOLF stuff … and so is the fantastic ANNA PETERS!  Both of them worked on ELEPHANT, and now they’re back for some WOLF.  Same with Emily Denis! Thank you guys! Slowly gathering more fabulous human beings who want to help with WOLF:

THANK YOU to Meadow Jones, Anthony Santarelli, Iman Sharabash, Fumi Takezawa, and Hali Linn.  These fabulous folk are going to post some posters.  In the words of the mighty Meadow: “I am more than happy to poster the fuck out of this town.”  I’m very grateful for this enthusiasm.  It’s difficult to MAINTAIN your own personal enthusiasm, so to feel the enthusiasm of others is a boon. 

Tomorrow Willie Filkowski from the University of Michigan is coming to Champaign.  He wants to help.  I’ve never really had to work with an intern.  It makes me nervous.  So I told him, how about you come for a few days.  The reason it’s not more than 4 or 5 days is just purely because I’m not entirely sure what needs to be done – a little nervous that i won’t be organized enough to use his kind offer effectively.   But I think I’ve got it figured out: shooting a bunch of stuff.  Building a press list.  Maybe painting some signs.  O.k., I think we’ve got it.  I hope he won’t be bored.  That’s the big thing – I spend so much of my time alone working on this stuff – writing, memorizing, editing/animating … so to have somebody sitting there … uh … it’s fine.

So, tomorrow, Jen, me, Jessica Cornish, Laura Chiaramonte and Willie will head out to Allerton.  We’ll rehearse.  We’ll shoot some stuff for the Kickstarter.  And it’ll be lovely.

Here are a couple of more bad wolf puns from Hali and her sweetie, Tim:

Lupining for affection
Wolf see you later
Who’s afraid of Virginia Wolfe?
A Deke in wolf’s clothing
Hay! Stick around or hit the bricks!
“It had me howling!” -Wolfgang Puck
“Deep, contemplative. It will give you paws” -Wolf Blitzer
Moon over, Benizio del Toro, there’s a new wolf man in town (that was bad)
Is it a full moon tonight, or are you just happy to see me?
More terrifying than a French horn


WOLF: Process 03 (Bad Wolf Puns)

July 1st, 2013

Wow. Pretty cute. Here are some bad wolf puns and one/two-liners (for possible use in posters)

These are by Grant Bowen:
a howlin’ good time
a furry good show
a pack o’ fun (and wolves!)
wol’vee happy to see you
you’ll wolf it down like a good meal
I’m a lumberjack and I’m okay (though the wolves aren’t)
flapjacks and wolf traps
wolves, woods, and …w something
Hungry like the !!!!!

This by Jayne Wenger:
Q. What time is it? I’m so hungry!
A. Time to Wolf Down Some Weaver.

These are by Chris Peck:

These are by Bradford Chapin:

Sheep’s Clothes
Howl you get there? On a bus!
Ranger Danger
The only good wolf is… “Deke Weaver” in WOLF

These are by Andy Warfel:

You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. WOLF.
A tightly-coiled hairball of cacopohous canine chaos.
The closest you’ll ever come to licking your own balls.
Howl you get there?
Bark at the moon.
Pack ‘em in!
Get your pack together.
We’ve got your pack.
Only one carrion per passenger.
NIIICE doggy, Sit.
Puppies gone wild.
Take a walk on the wild side.
Dogs behaving badly.
Wherever they may Rome!!
Deke Weaver IS a Teenage Werewolf.
Werewolves in Monticello.

WOLF: Process 02

June 22nd, 2013

I’m in the midst of whittling the text.  I’m building one monolog for the rangers – me and Aaron Landsman.  Aaron will be on one bus, I’ll be on the other one, and we’ll deliver these “ranger-ish” tales while the bus drives from Urbana to Allerton.  The other stories will be told in the barn.  There are so so many directions you could go with wolves.  After I told Rolf Peterson (Rolf led the Wolf-Moose Study on Isle Royale for a long time, he still works on it) about the WOLF performance project he said, “Where do you stop?”  Exactly.  Lots of strange and amazing ideas, facts, and wolfish anecdotes.  I’m having to do a lot of cutting.  Some of the stuff I’m cutting  I like.  So, for this process-post, I’ll leave you with something swept up from the cutting room floor:

He ran to the den.  She was out.  The pups were out.  Good.  It didn’t help anybody to see panic.  Panic wasn’t going to help.  You don’t think properly.  Alphas don’t panic unless they’re about to become betas or gammas or full on dispersers.  A wolf on the run.  He wasn’t on the run yet.  And if he was going to run, he was running with his pack in an orderly fashion.  Not helter-skelter, higgledy-piggeldy panic.  We will run with purpose and intention.  We will not be running for our lives.  Well, actually, we will be running for our lives – but this is the time for control.  Ice.  Focus.  It’s easy to smell fear.  It stinks.  This is when we will be ghosts.  We will slip through the shadows.  Disappear in broad daylight.  We will be so still you won’t see what’s in front of your face.  We will slide up the creekbeds.  Lace through the trees, drip down the mountainsides.  Blow through the prairies.  Snow.  Ice.  Blizzard.

When he got to the den, he rolled the carpet off the trapdoor.  He ran down the rickety wooden ladder  – someone might call them stairs.  He lit a candle and started cranking the crystal radio box.  He cranked and he cranked.  He wound and he wound.  He cranked the crank for 300 counts.  The set crackled to life.  He’d start with the Morse Code – SOS.  Get everybody’s attention.  Then he’d tell them the specifics.  Or at least whatever specifics he could.  Can you call hints and hunches “specifics”?  Can you have a specific hunch?  He didn’t go down there too often.  If he did, it was just to put his feet up.  He had some posters on the wall – Hampton Wolves soccer.  Minnesota Timberwolves basketball.  The Wolfpack of North Carolina State.  Chicago Wolves hockey.  Sometimes they were pretty good.  Humans never followed the wolf games.  That’s o.k. We never really take them that seriously.  Why make a game when you gotta hunt everyday?  Hunting takes it’s toll.  He had the cooler with a couple of those sweet IPA’s.  He didn’t drink much beer but when he did he knew what he liked.  He never should have had the Heineken.  Life’s too short to drink shitty beer.  He had his soft bed with the lamp.  His stack of comic books.  His Roland Barthes.  His Donna Haraway.  His Melville, his London, and his Lopez.  He rarely got to come down these days.  There was still the time when he couldn’t sleep.  Restless.  He didn’t know too many wolves that got stuck in their heads.  Pretty much every wolf he knew was an expert at presence.  When a wolf is in the room, and the wolf wants you to KNOW it’s in the room – wants you to feel the weight of it’s existence – you will.  His mom was like this.  She was a worrier.  She did not last long as the alpha bitch.  When he couldn’t sleep, he’d roll up the carpet, trot down the ladder, flip on the lamp and read a comic book and some French theory.  He thought the two types of writing needed each other, like butter and toast.  Super heroes kept the French theorists from getting too snippy.  And the French theorists reminded the superheroes that there were layers and layers and layers of reasons for any man, woman or animal to put on a pair of tights, a special mask and jump off a building.

King of the Mods

June 20th, 2013

Here’s a little bit of what I’m thinking the Rangers might say on the bus … and then, a bit of something that would NOT be part of the WOLF show.

How many of you think that wolves are the spawn of Satan?  Raise your hands.  O.k., good.  How many of you think that wolves are the source of all that is pure and wild, free and holy.  All right.  Thank you.  Most of what we think about wolves is going to be almost entirely about the stories, the movies, the myths that we’ve been told.  The chances of seeing a wolf in the wild are oh so very slender, so we don’t have many possibilities to understand that the real living animal doesn’t have much to do with the animal in the myths.  But it’s often our assumptions that determine how we treat the real animal. By the end of World War Two, almost all the wolves in the lower 48 had been destroyed.  There was a federal program – a bounty. We wiped them out with poison and traps.  The wolves weren’t just hunted – they were hunted down.  The last wolves were tucked into the deep woods of Northern Minnesota.  So, if you were hunted and everywhere you looked there were guns, traps and poison … what would you do? 

If you were Nigel, King of The Mods on the Mighty Boosh, you would dance.