Montana Folk Festival in Butte, America

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I have written of my love for Butte a few times. Granted, I do not live there, but every time I drive over the winding passes to go there, I am delighted by the sheer amount of history. I am always tempted to buy a historic property and fix it up or somehow insert myself into Butte’s thread of history.

Butte has been hosting the Montana Folk Festival for quite a few years now. It was my second year going, and I was excited. I drove Ella’s coworker there in the trusty Subaru, and we had both packed rain jackets and beer. Butte has no open container law, a rarity these days. Kristin and Jon were taking their time getting back from Bozeman, so I met up with some of Ella’s other coworkers. It rained, hailed, and was windy on and off all day, but it didn’t dampen the good feelings that everybody had that day, even if we were all covered in specks of mud and cowering from hail hiding behind buildings. Montana weather is notorious for being mercurial and you must simply take it in stride.

The Folk Festival is 100% free, but volunteers walk around with donation buckets. You can put in as much or as little as you like. I put in $20, because the event is so well put together. We got to see incredible artists from all over- deep from the mountains of Kentucky, from as far as Brazil and Afghanistan, all there to do one thing: make music and share it with us in an old mining town.

We stayed very late. I was very tired when it came time to drive home, but satiated with sound and experiences. Although I am not sure where I will be next summer it would be wonderful to be back for the Festival, mud or rain or sunshine.

I hope you enjoy some of these frames- my camera actually is no longer functioning, and this was one of the last rolls of film it processed correctly without overlapping frames or not taking any images at all. I’ve since had to retire the poor workhorse of a Minolta, rest in peace dear little machine.

Welcome to another year!

Yesterday we hopped into Chelsea’s monstrous truck and drove over the pass to Missoula to bring in the New Year.

After a horribly salty pizza, we readied (read: don pretty dresses) and headed out, first going to an Irish bar where whiskey was consumed. We went in and out of the bar all evening, coming back an hour before the New Year to have an old-fashioned laced with bourbon and drink free champagne and celebrate.

The New Year was brought in with cheers to strangers, cold biting Montana winter, and later dancing until the bar closed at 2, then heading slowly home, surrounded by other celebrators. We woke up and went to the Catalyst, a wonderful and sleek breakfasting place- I had a delicious bread pudding with bacon and eggs. Afterwards I indulged in the most gorgeous green sweater, on ultra-mega-ultra clearance, and then Chelsea and I headed home.

The new year has been uneventful thus far, but I am itching for adventures. I want to hop on a plane and go anywhere it will take me.

By the way, this roll went through my camera twice accidentally, thusly there are landscapes, paintings, and other things going on behind the images besides celebrating.

A walk in the woods (ish)

Going for a cool afternoon walk in some “woods” nearby, with muted colors, hushed noise, and cottonwood leaves littering the ground might be one of the best things ever. Waking up from a lovely nap and then doing that is even better.

Fall returned for an afternoon. The  cool breeze was enough to make my skin feel slightly flushed. The oranges and yellows against the grays and browns, the murmur of water, and the whispers of trees gave way to a feeling of contentedness. Winter released its vice-like grip for a short while, and we walked, savoring the last shreds of a too-short season here in Montana.

In the last week or so

These pictures are evidence that A) I have friends and B) I do things, even though many a time I feel as though I don’t do a lot.

Last weekend Kristin and I drove up to Lincoln to find huckleberries, and came back with NOTHING- minus some huckleberry milkshakes from a local diner. Wednesday was lunch with Claire and Chelsea- Claire just got back from two months in Guatemala and had stories to tell for what could have been hours (my lunch break was vastly shorter than the time needed).  Thursday evening consisted of hiking and eating ice cream on a porch. Mild chaos ensued at the beginning when a baby garter snake darted in front of me- I have a strange infatuation with all reptiles and amphibians. After attempting to locate it, we continued on a lovely loop that consisted of skinny trees, evening shadows, and the usual talk that ensues among people you’ve known for a long time.  Friday was Moonrise Kingdom for the 4th time with somebody I was hanging out with for the 1st time. The rest of Friday included pushing a bike up a hill, drinking lots of wine, taking some blurry photographs of our Gothic cathedral, and general revelry that was quite marvelous.

My Minolta has a dirty lens that I haven’t cleaned but it’s giving me a nice blur that I’m enjoying.

Violettes part deux

Chelsea and Julia served as muses for a photography project focusing on whimsy, poor equipment, and no real set-ups or poses- they just assemble themselves and I photograph. The lighting at times was difficult, but I really enjoy photographing them. Plus, a picture of the three of us came out beautifully! All of us wearing purple, our pale skin and violet looking excellent- I am quite pleased!

This is ultimately my favorite photograph of the two rolls I photographed:


A Fair Day, You Might Say!

Chelsea and I parked 400 meters from the fair, walked down to the crowded parking lot, and into the most chaotic and entertaining venue here in Montana: the county fair.

Now, if you live somewhere rural, you know the fair: it’s a rodeo combined with a bunch of outdated, unsafe, and really awesome amusement rides. Lots of cranky adults, smoking carnival employees, and dirty children wait in line for food, rides, and games that cheat you out of money swirl around you while you wonder whether to buy 10 or 20 tickets. Roaming groups of teenagers stalk the area, with hungry looks in their eyes, while the best characters in town seemingly come out of the cracks- it’s a literal human zoo.

After Chelsea and I pooled our limited (read: pathetic) amount of cash, we had enough for 10 tickets each. After quickly doing some elementary arithmetic, we devised our plan: Go on the Yo-yo, a dilapidated swing ride, for 3 tickets, then the Typhoon, the terrifying and somewhat shaky ride for 4, and end with the classic Ferris Wheel. BOOM MATH!

In between, we ate the always healthy funnel cakes and caramel apples, went into the farm buildings and petted lambs, laughed at very fluffy chickens, ooed and aahed at the lop eared rabbits and stared at the alien looking earless goats that I definitely want to put as props in a sci-fi film if I ever decide to make a film.

The last ride, the Ferris Wheel, had the longest wait. Just as we were about to get on, a little boy who didn’t have anybody to ride with joined us- a precocious 7 year old named Ashton who had a remarkable vocabulary and told us that if the Ferris Wheel broke down he was a good climber and would save us. His cranky grandmother smoked a cigarette and held a blow-up hammer that he’d won while he waved at her with Chelsea and I.

After the Ferris Wheel we went home, with our stomachs full of junk and our eyes full of neon, the wind blowing in our hair and the cops at the exit, telling us where to cross the street.

I used my crappy Minolta Talk-O-Matic the entire time- it can take a beating. The pictures turned out better than I thought they would! Enjoy!