David J. Spear’s Butte Photos On Display at Paris Gibson in Great Falls through Feb. 11, 2013

January 18, 2013  |  Art, Do, Drive, Events, News  |  No Comments

Butte is my adopted hometown. I always say if I die and am reincarnated, I want to come back as a Butte Girl. I shot most of my Senior Project there as a MSU student in 1992 & 1993. I thought about moving there after graduation, but at the time there was no speed limit and I could get there from Bozeman in less than an hour. I just wasn’t sure I wanted to be 23 and single and living in Butte, so I visited her on the side and–20 years later–I’m still visiting her on the side. (She is Pat Shannon to my Charles Kuralt.)  I am completely inspired by her architecture & street life (it’s the only town in MT where you could be a street photographer). So though I like to go there for a good time, I have never been able to fully commit and think of  her as my  long-standing mistress.

Earlier this week, I had to add caption info to a photo I’d take an the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art and was on their website when I came across a current exhibition titled A Timeless Town in Time – Butte, MT:  The Photography of David J Spear – 1977-2008.   The thumbnail shows a beautiful black & white image of  what appear to be two twirling Tieman Irish Dancers at practice.  I started Googling Mr. Spear and from what I can tell, he is a part-time photography instructor at Salish Kootenai College. According to their website he teaches courses with titles like “Documenting Your Community” and “Historical Aspects of Photography Practice”.  In 1985 he also, according to his bio on the Salish Kootenai College website, developed the International Center of Photography’s Community Outreach Program for underserved communities of New York City and was its primary instructor through 1997. This KILLS me because I took my first (of many!) documentary course at ICP in the spring of 1997, so just missed him. His images have been published in the New York Times Magazine, Granta, German Geo and others. I am dying to interview him and have a call and email in to him, so hopefully I will be posting an interview with him here soon.

Meanwhile, here is what he says in his artist statement about his Butte exhibition:

“I was inspired by Butte’s photographic history and wanted to add my own contribution.  Beginning in the 1990s, I started making regular trips to the region from New York to photograph for a week or two at a time.  My fascination with Butte’s historic buildings and neighborhoods occupied me until the town’s inhabitants began to allow me to make their picture. 

In my work I become engaged in the coming in and then the going out….. the coming in and the going out of making photographs, even with things and subjects that know me.  In the process of making these pictures I journey to an unfamiliar place and, like all outsiders, after arrival feel an urge to belong.  But American culture often defines us with questions like, “Where were your parents born?  Where are you from?” which inwardly feels like “If you’re from there, you can’t be from here.”  So I continue to travel to this place….. each trip arriving as an outsider, and with each departure leaving in a small way distantly connected to the things and people in this place I know as,Butte, Montana-A Timeless Town In Time.  The coming in and the going out, I suspect, will reoccur there for a time.”

I hope I can make it to Great Falls before February 13 and see this.

 

WHEATGRASS SALOON: Livingston's Newest Watering Hole

WHEATGRASS SALOON: Livingston’s Newest Watering Hole

December 16, 2012  |  Art, Drive, Eat, Saloons, Stay, Story  |  No Comments

Though she doesn’t have a liquor license, Lisa Snow opened Livingston’s greenest drinking establishment 12 days ago in the former Drawing Room—a jewel box-sized gift shop on Callendar Street. But instead of alcohol, Snow serves up $2.50 shots of wheatgrass with a chaser of green apple slices on the side.  Yup, Livingston up & got itself a juice bar!

Wheatgrass Saloon, Livingston, MT, Yellowstone Park, Yellowstone Country, Park County, Lisa Snow, Lynn Donaldson, Lynn Donaldson Photography, health food, raw food, juice bar, natural, fresh, fruit, vegetables, fresh-squeezed, Montana, Montana travel, travel, beet juice, carrot juice, We Got the Beet, Ginger n' Juice, Greentini

Wheatgrass Saloon, Livingston, MT, Yellowstone Park, Yellowstone Country, Park County, Lisa Snow, Lynn Donaldson, Lynn Donaldson Photography, health food, raw food, juice bar, natural, fresh, fruit, vegetables, fresh-squeezed, Montana, Montana travel, travelFrank Horiel, Crown Creations, Livingston Artist, art, carved, wood, candlesticks, Danish Modern Candlesticks, Danish Modern, hand-crafted, Wheatgrass Saloon, Livingston, MT, Yellowstone Park, Yellowstone Country, Park County, Lisa Snow, Lynn Donaldson, Lynn Donaldson Photography, Montana, Montana travel, travelCan’t say I’ve ever been crazy for juice, but I now find myself regularly parked in the corner booth working on my iPad asking the bartender to spike my drink with Maca, or Spirulina.  Next to me might be a guy fresh off a spinning bike at Firehall Fitness across the street or a student with oil pastels strewn across her table.

Wheatgrass Saloon, Livingston, MT, Park County, Yellowstone Country, Yellowstone Park, juice bar, health food, raw food, fresh juice, fresh-squeezed, healthy lifestyle, healthy, Montana, Montana travel, Lynn Donaldson, Lynn Donaldson Photography, Synergigi, Gigi Aelbers

“We kind of went with a Music & Cocktail Theme with drink names,” says Snow, a petite mother of four with a passion for raw food, local ingredients and local art.  Juices come in 8, 12 or 16 oz. glasses and include Ginger n’ Juice(carrot, apple, pear, ginger), We Got the Beet (beet, apple, cranberry & ginger) and the popular Greentini (pineapple, kale, cucumber, celery, & green apple).  She also offers Juice Fasts for $30/day which incorporate these three cocktails + a Double Elixir (two shots of wheatgrass in fresh apple juice.)

Wheatgrass Saloon, Livingston, MT, Montana, Montana travel, Park County, Yellowstone Park, Yellowstone Country, Lisa Snow, Lynn Donaldson, Lynn Donaldson Photography, juice bar, health food, bath, soap, body products, gift, gift shop, raw food, fresh juice, fresh-squeezed, health, healthy lifestyle, tea, tea tinsWheatgrass Saloon, Livingston, MT, Montana, Montana travel, Park County, Yellowstone Park, Yellowstone Country, Lisa Snow, Lynn Donaldson, Lynn Donaldson Photography, juice bar, health food, Synergigi Interior Design, Synergigi, Gigi Aelbers Kellett, raw food, fresh juice, fresh-squeezed, health, healthy lifestyleWheatgrass Saloon, Livingston, MT, Montana, Montana travel, Park County, Yellowstone Park, Yellowstone Country, Lisa Snow, Lynn Donaldson, Lynn Donaldson Photography, juice bar, health food, Synergigi Interior Design, Synergigi, Gigi Aelbers Kellett, raw food, fresh juice, fresh-squeezed, health, healthy lifestyle

It’s no wonder the healthy concoctions are so scrumptious; Snow’s 12-year-old son Grant was “head tester”. “He’s really picky and won’t eat fruit or vegetables. Smoothies are one of the few ways I’ve always gotten them into him,” she says. “I was surprised; he even drank a Hurricane the other day, and that has spinach!”  (The fact that it also has mango, coconut water, coconut & banana might also have something to do with it.)

In addition to Wheatgrass Shots & the Elixir, Saloon Specials also include a $3.00 Young Thai Coconut. (Snow whacks the top off a coconut and sticks a straw in it; more electrolyte-dense than Gatorade + loaded with lactic acid; nature’s hangover tonic!)

 

The menu lists five 16 oz. Smoothies for $6.50 each. My favorite is the Man in Black (espresso, cashew milk, banana & raw chocolate)—but the Lavender Blue, made with Montana huckleberries and blueberries, cashew milk, banana & lavender, and Little Red Corvette (Montana cherries, cashew milk & raw chocolate) are tempting.

Man In Black, Smoothie, raw chocolate, Wheatgrass Saloon, Livingston, MT, Montana, Montana travel, Park County, Yellowstone Park, Yellowstone Country, Lisa Snow, Lynn Donaldson, Lynn Donaldson Photography, juice bar, health food, Synergigi Interior Design, Synergigi, Gigi Aelbers Kellett, raw food, fresh juice, fresh-squeezed, health, healthy lifestyle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I’m still in awe of our state and how much fresh produce we can get,” says Snow hoisting a tray of wheatgrass grown by a local woman who uses nutrient-dense soil from Planet Natural in Bozeman.  “I get my bee pollen from a local beekeeper at our farmers market. I can get carrots, beets, apples, blueberries [and kale in summertime] from Field Day Farms in Bozeman, and my lavender comes from Hill Botanical.”

Snow points out a glass cake stand on the counter holding raw chocolates laced with herbs, local honey, ginseng, & cordyceps mushrooms “These come from Hill’s, too,” she says, noting the best-seller: an aphrodisiacal variety named  “Broad Balls” for Broad Comedy, a Bozeman all-female sketch comedy troupe.

Wheatgrass Saloon, Livingston, MT, Montana, Montana travel, Park County, Yellowstone Park, Yellowstone Country, Lisa Snow, Lynn Donaldson, Lynn Donaldson Photography, juice bar, health food, bath, soap, body products, gift, gift shop, raw food, fresh juice, fresh-squeezed, health, healthy lifestyleMan In Black, Smoothie, raw chocolate, Wheatgrass Saloon, Livingston, MT, Montana, Montana travel, Park County, Yellowstone Park, Yellowstone Country, Lisa Snow, Lynn Donaldson, Lynn Donaldson Photography, juice bar, health food, Synergigi Interior Design, Synergigi, Gigi Aelbers Kellett, raw food, fresh juice, fresh-squeezed, health, healthy lifestyleMan In Black, Smoothie, raw chocolate, Wheatgrass Saloon, Livingston, MT, Montana, Montana travel, Park County, Yellowstone Park, Yellowstone Country, Lisa Snow, Lynn Donaldson, Lynn Donaldson Photography, juice bar, health food, Synergigi Interior Design, Synergigi, Gigi Aelbers Kellett, raw food, fresh juice, fresh-squeezed, health, healthy lifestyle

Snow wanted to create a space where her friends and neighbors would want to hang out, as well as incorporate as many local elements as possible. The narrow space is still a gift shop up front, but it now boasts the coolest carpet in all of Montana:  a peacock-feather print chosen by Gigi Aelbers Kellett of Synergigi Interior Design. “Gigi took my vision and flew with it,” Snow says.

Wheatgrass Saloon, Livingston, MT, Montana, Montana travel, Park County, Yellowstone Park, Yellowstone Country, Lisa Snow, Lynn Donaldson, Lynn Donaldson Photography, juice bar, health food, Gigi Aelbers Kellett, Synergigi, Synergigi Interior Design, raw food, fresh juice, fresh-squeezed, health, healthy lifestyle

The juice bar counter, crafted from recycled 3Form resin, was designed by Aelbers, built by Diamond W Countertops and is supported by carved columns by sculptor Mark Strand.  Frank Horiel of Crown Creations Cabinetry inWheatgrass Saloon, Livingston, MT, Montana, Montana travel, Park County, Yellowstone Park, Yellowstone Country, Lisa Snow, Lynn Donaldson, Lynn Donaldson Photography, juice bar, health food, Synergigi Interior Design, Synergigi, Gigi Aelbers Kellett, raw food, fresh juice, fresh-squeezed, health, healthy lifestyle Livingston made the wainscoting and cabinetry—which utilize Montana pine beetle-kill wood. (Horiel’s Danish Modern candlestick holders are also for sale up front.) The booths were upholstered in a Maharam Greenguard certified fabric by Salzburg Designs of Bozeman, and the pillows are of a fabric designed by Teresa Kessler of Livingston.

Hanging on the saloon’s walls til February 8 are eight ink and pastel drawings by Livingston artist Jim Barrett. The gift shop offers small paintings by Edd Enders, necklaces by Sarah Homans, earrings by April Marie Hale, t-shirts byIntrigue Ink as well as house wares, 40 varieties of loose leaf tea + brewing supplies and quality bath & body products like Hurraw Lip balm made in Whitefish. (The tinted cinnamon looks and tastes good enough to eat.)

Wheatgrass Saloon, Livingston, MT, Montana, Montana travel, Park County, Yellowstone Park, Yellowstone Country, Lisa Snow, Lynn Donaldson, Lynn Donaldson Photography, juice bar, health food, Synergigi Interior Design, Synergigi, Gigi Aelbers Kellett, raw food, fresh juice, fresh-squeezed, health, healthy lifestyle

Snow has gone above and beyond to make her business look and feel like it belongs in Livingston. When I compliment Snow on her achievement, she demurely shies away from taking.  Aelbers, standing nearby, cuts to the chase:  “ Oh come on…this place IS you, Lisa. Everything in here is beautiful & healthy and so delicious!”

Wheatgrass Saloon, Livingston, MT, Montana, Montana travel, Park County, Yellowstone Park, Yellowstone Country, Lisa Snow, Lynn Donaldson, Lynn Donaldson Photography, juice bar, health food, Synergigi Interior Design, Synergigi, Gigi Aelbers Kellett, raw food, fresh juice, fresh-squeezed, health, healthy lifestyle

Lisa Snow (left) stands with Gigi Aelbers Kellett of Synergigi Interior Design

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NUTS & BOLTS

WHEATGRASS SALOON - 117 East Callender Street. (406) 224-3895. Open Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Montana’s Bale Trail

Montana’s Bale Trail

August 30, 2011  |  Do, Drive, Eat, Story, Towns  |  No Comments

Two of Montana’s most scenic blue highways—239 between Hobson & Utica and 541 between Utica and Windham—are also two of its least traveled. That changes the second Sunday of September, when forty to fifty larger-than-life hay sculptures line the asphalt between Hobson and Windham, making the road less of a thoroughfare and more of an “Ag Art” installation.

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Little Belt Roadtrip

Little Belt Roadtrip

August 30, 2011  |  Do, Drive, Eat  |  8 Comments

My husband Dan and I got a wild hair while visiting my parents in Denton last August to return to Livingston over the Belt Mountains. This would involve traveling roughly three hours on gravel roads past the headwaters of the Judith River, up a narrow, winding pass and down onto Highway 12 just east of Checkerboard. We’d then head home on asphalt through White Sulpher Springs.  I had last done this trip in about 1985 with my parents and the Snooks Family. I remember when we went I had an asymmetrical haircut AND had just bought Prince’s latest album Around the World in a Day on cassette. Much to our parents’ dismay, we kids cranked His Royal Badness the whole way—and it’s a long way. To this day, whenever I hear the song Raspberry Beret, I think of this trip.

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#1 on your MT Bucket List: The Virgelle Mercantile

#1 on your MT Bucket List: The Virgelle Mercantile

July 19, 2011  |  Drive, Eat, history, Shop, Stay, Towns  |  No Comments

A place that should top every Montanan’s bucket list is the Virgelle Mercantile, a remote and exceptional antique store and bed & breakfast near Coal Banks Landing on the Missouri river. You can get there by floating 42 river miles downstream from Fort Benton or by driving 19 miles down a gravel road from Loma and crossing the river on the Virgelle Ferry—one of only three Missouri River ferries left in Montana. My favorite route is an eight-mile drive down a gravel road hemmed by wheat fields and blue sky that shoots off of Highway 87 North between Loma and Big Sandy. One thing’s for sure: No matter how you arrive, it’s going to be wild & scenic.

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Circle:  A Great Place To Be Around

Circle: A Great Place To Be Around

July 19, 2011  |  Do, Drive, Eat, history, Shop, Stay, Story, Towns  |  7 Comments

I was shooting a travel story in eastern Montana a few years ago for the New York Times, and I had always been bothered by that fact that I’d never been to Circle. It’s only 46 miles from Glendive on Highway 200 and 59 from Terry on Hwy 253, so when I finished my assignment, I hightailed it to this speck of a town.

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Bison Feast at Chief Plenty Coups Day of Honor

Bison Feast at Chief Plenty Coups Day of Honor

July 19, 2011  |  Drive, Handmade, history, Story, Towns  |  No Comments

One of the neatest late-summer events I have ever attended is Chief Plenty Coups Day of Honor; a daylong celebration of cultural sharing designated to honor the great Apsaalooke (Crow) Chief. Now in its 17th year, the event takes place on Saturday of Labor Day Weekend at the 195-acre Chief Plenty Coups State Park (Embed link: http://fwp.mt.gov/parks/visit/chiefPlentyCoups/ one mile east of Pryor on Montana’s Crow Reservation (about 40 minutes from Billings).

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Highway 12 – Roundup to Forsyth

May 17, 2011  |  Drive, Eat, Saloons, Stay, Towns  |  No Comments

I felt like since I just did a multimedia piece on The Jersey Lilly Saloon, that I should show what it’s like to get there. If you’re not coming via gravel, you’re going to be traveling on US HWY 12 East coming from either Roundup or Forsyth.

My friend Robert Lewis, a photographer I used to assist, hired me to location scout this 102 mile stretch for John McNeil Studio. Here are some shots from that drive, which I made in September 2009.

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