Friday, July 13, 2007

Costa Rica

Costa Rica (2007) by Brian L. Frye; video, color, sound, 3.5 minutes.
Quite some time ago, Carrie and I visited Costa Rica on a lark, over the weekend. Of course, I brought the Vidster and captured bits and pieces of the visit.


Alaskaland (2007) by Brian L. Frye; video, color, sound, 6 minutes.
Fairbanks boasts its own Alaska-themed amusement park, once dubbed Alaskaland, but rechristened Pioneer Park to fend off the mouse. It's a lovely, slightly ticky-tacky little park, which makes it all the more charming. The centerpiece is the Tanana Queen, a decommissioned paddlewheeler. And the main deck of the boat boasts an aquarium-like display of dioramas, depicting pioneer and native Alaska in minute detail. The dioramas are charming and fascinating, especially as one gets to visit the town still standing on the site, and realize not so much has changed.

Mukluk Land

Mukluk Land (2007) by Brian L. Frye; video, color, sound, 3.5 minutes.
Last weekend, Carrie and I visited Tok, roundabout on the way to McCarthy. Tok is the Alcan Highway's gateway to Alaska, and rather a tourist haven, if not exactly a destination. But Mukluk Land is one good reason to visit Tok, and it's plenty. An Alaska junkyard cum workshop done up as an amusement park, Mukluk Land features a series of sculptural spoofs on iconic Alaska motifs, a comprehensive collection of historical (busted) snowmachines, a wicked doll congress filling three rooms, a field of cast-iron stoves, a rusting linotype, skeeball, whack-a-mole, and Santa's listing rocketship, which didn't quite make it to North Pole. As a start. In any case, we were the only visitors on a rainy Saturday, and got a guided tour.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

White Mountains

White Mountains (2007) by Brian L. Frye; video, color, silent, 1.5 minutes.
A few weeks ago, I hiked out and back on the Summit Trail in the White Mountains. It had rained all week, and the trail was a creek in places. Spent two nights in a little BLM log cabin shelter in a saddle, and saw two porcupines. They like to chew on plywood.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Alaska Midnight

Alaska Midnight (2007) by Brian L. Frye; video, color, silent, 1.5 minutes.
I shot this video at midnight from a ridge in the White Mountains just before the solstice. The peculiar qualities of the Vidster emphasize the contrast between the almost-setting sun and the alpenglow bathing the hillside.


Breakup (2007) by Brian L. Frye; video, color, silent, 1.5 minutes.
Breakup is the shortest season in interior Alaska. All of the sudden, winter ends, the snow soaks into the tundra, and the ice on the river begins to crack. Everything is a muddy bog for a bit, perhaps a week or two. And then it's done, just as quick, the last bits of ice floating in the glacial silt.

Granite Tors

Granite Tors (2007) by Brian L. Frye; video, color, sound, 2 minutes.
In late April, I decided summer was sufficiently close to permit hiking. And the Granite Tors Trail off Chena Hot Springs road looked perfect. The tors are masses of rock jutting from the muskeg in various formations. It was a lovely walk, as the sun dissolved the waning snowpack. Unfortunately, amidst the trees, the snow was still waist deep, requiring a good deal of postholing. And on the way down it covered the rock cairns marking the trail, obliging me to follow a still-frozen creek back to the road.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Yukon 800 Marathon

Yukon 800 Marathon by Brian L. Frye & Carrie A. Deming (2007); color, sound, video, 3.5 minutes.

On Friday afternoon, AJ called to ask if I wanted to be in boat race the next morning. Of course, I said yes. The Yukon 800 is a big event in Fairbanks. A dozen shallow speedboats race 400 miles down the Tanana and Yukon rivers to Galena, then back the next day. They often hit 70 miles per hour, jumping sandbars and whizzing around logs. Kim and I were ballast, leaning off the boat to keep up speed around the corners. Carrie got photos from the plane and the shore. I managed a couple from the boat.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Spring Snow

Spring Snow (2007) by Brian L. Frye & Carrie Deming; video, color, sound, 3 minutes.

Fairbanks has two seasons: cold & hot. And the transition is brief, no more than a couple of weeks. When it comes, you can't delay. So Bob started shoveling as soon as the weather changed. A couple of days later, the snow had melted into icy clumps. The sound is from Act II of John Adams's Nixon in China: "At last the weather is warming up."

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Smuggling Genet Into America

Smuggling Genet Into America (2007) by Brian L. Frye; video, color, sound, 4 minutes.

Jonas Mekas describes how Harold Pinter helped him smuggle a 35mm print of Jean Genet's film Un Chant d'Amour into America.

A Tree Fell in Olympia

A Tree Fell in Olympia (2007) by Brian L. Frye; video, color, sound, 1 minute.

Last fall, during a rainstorm, an old tree fell in Sylvester Park, downtown Olympia, nearly crushing the gazebo. It was front-page news in the Olympian. On second thought, it wasn't that big a deal.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Katie's Kitchen

Katie's Kitchen (2007) by Brian L. Frye; video, color, sound, 1 minute.

Washington in winter is perfect for a "cool breakfast."

Ice Alaska

Ice Alaska (2007) by Brian L. Frye; video, color, sound, 2 minutes.

Every winter, the Ice Alaska sculpture park hosts ice sculptors from all around the world. The park is especially lovely at night, when they illuminate the statutes with colored lights. On the night we visited, it was well below zero.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Ice Classic

Ice Classic (2007) by Brian L. Frye; video, color, sound, 2 minutes.

The town of Nenana, south of Fairbanks, marks the approach of spring with the Ice Classic Festival. During the festival the town erects a four-legged "tripod" on the frozen Tanana River. The tripod marks the official moment the ice goes out, and break-up begins. All across Alaska, bars and stores sell tickets, on which people guess the fateful moment. In 2000, the jackpot was $335,000. We came to watch the tripod go up, and got shanghaied into helping out. It was about 20 below zero and plenty windy out on the ice. So we warmed up in Moocher's Bar with beers and hot toddies.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

North American

North American (2007) by Brian L. Frye; video, color, sound, 1 minute.

Dog mushing is Alaska's iconic sport. And in mid-March, most of Fairbanks gathers downtown on Second Street for the starts of the Open North American. I heard the dogs yelping from my office. They make a din like gulls at sunset, straining at their traces, eager to run toward supper.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

BENT Festival 2006

BENT Festival 2006 (2007) by Brian L. Frye; video, color, sound, 3 minutes.

Last year, we visited the BENT festival of circuit bending and related enterprises in lower Manhattan. The accumulated puttering, tinkering, and fiddling produced a wonderful series of performances and explanations. Unlike a joke, a good circuit bend is even better in the telling.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Wooden Whistle

Wooden Whistle (2007) by Brian L. Frye; video, color, sound, 3 minutes.
Just before winter fell, Jason took us up in his ultralight.

Elan Vital

Elan Vital by Brian L. Frye (2007); video, color, sound, 2 minutes.
Alaska is wet and dry at once. The water sleeps all winter, a blanket muffling the sod. But it is very cheerful when it awakens.