Clarissa models her latest Chilkat robe “Egyptian Thunderbird” at Eagle River Beach in Juneau, Alaska (Hmmm…Clarissa’s hair is the same color as the beaver fur trim and don’t you just love her “Raven” ears!) — photo by NEA photographer, Tom Pich
As part of the award ceremonies during the week of September 25-30, 2016, the NEA National Heritage Fellowships Concert will be on Friday, September 30, 2016. For those who are not in Washington, D.C. area, the event will be streamed live at arts.gov. If you are in Washington, D.C. area, the Friday night presentations/concert is wide open to the public. Feel free to pass this information along to your family and friends who aren’t able to be in DC that day.
Each of the 9 awardees will be doing an 8-minute presentation of their work. I will be doing a brief presentation on preparing the cedar bark and wool, then spinning, then weaving. Then the last 4 or 5 minutes, Irene Jean Lampe, Donna Beaver Pizzarelli and Darlene See will be joining me on stage to present some of my latest robes (and of course, the Weavers Across the Waters robe will be one of those robes, worn by Donna), along with an historical robe care-taken by my sister Irene. To provide the audience (far and wide) an idea of how the robes are used, the four of us will be singing/dancing a song composed and written many, many years ago by our T’akDeinTaan clan member Kloon’eesh (John K. Smith).
Bernie Worrell – rehearsing with Native-inspired jazz funk band “Khu.eex” — June 2014
72-year-old Bernie Worrell “walked into the forest” today. Pretty much a whirling wizard since he began playing piano at 3 years old, It’s hard to describe the feelings of loss. His musical influence reached vast and wide; even Stevie Wonder learned new styles of riffs from Bernie. Yet what I remember most about Bernie was his natural gracious humility.
Bernie Worrell — June 2014
Bernie was our keyboard artist in our Native-inspired jazz funk band “Khu.eex” which was formed in December 2014. Our first double LP’s will be released during our performance in Seattle (July 9th); little did we know our band and the recordings would be the last musical sounds with Bernie Worrell.
Bernie Worrell and Stanton Moore — rehearsing with the band “Khu.eex” — June 2014
Read more of Bernie Worrell’s musical genius, please check out his website at: www.bernieworrell.com —— So many in the musical world will miss you, Mr. Bernie Worrell…! Big hugs and lots of love to all who knew him and especially to Bernie’s family!
In the early 70’s I learned the songs from the Mt. St.Elias Dancers in Yakutat, Alaska via Harry K. Bremner, Sr. who came to my hometown, Juneau, Alaska to teach anyone who wanted to learn the songs and dances. (We must remember that at that time period, there were no such thing as dance groups like there are numbers today, and we never taught our songs to others outside of our clans.) As a teenager, I sang with many of the Mt. St. Elias elders (as there were very few, if any, teenagers or younger involved). At the time, I didn’t know they were singing two and sometimes three-part harmonies. By the early 80’s all those elderly singers were all passed on. Since then, I have always felt all the songs of the Tlingit need to include harmonies. In this way, we can truly hear and feel the meaning of the songs. The many drums in the dance groups of today is okay for those songs that just have vocables, however, the songs that have actual verses with meaning and history, need to be listened to, and what better way than the beauty of harmony. In this way, the beauty leads the way to retention of the story with the tune.
For nearly 15 years, my sister Irene Jean Lampe has taken it upon herself to learn the Tlingit songs of our T’akDeinTaan Clan songs. Like Chilkat weaving has helped carry me through my rough patches in life, I believe her learning the songs is what carried her through some very tough times in her life.
Here’s an example of a song composed by one of our clan relatives John K. Smith. One early evening in a moment of spontaneous combustion, Irene sang the melody and I sang the harmony in the lobby of the Walter Soboleff Building in the presence of our cousin, Miranda Belarde-Lewis.
Clarissa Rizal’s Chilkat mask in the making; no eyeballs were woven for the allowance of the black warp to be cut so the wearer of the mask can see out — April 2016
Initially I wove this Chilkat mask with the intention of putting it in the Stonington Gallery’s show of Northwest Coast masks which opened on June 2nd; however, due to attending to immediate health issues this past Spring and other significant deadlines, I did not complete the mask in time. Yet, I was determined to have the mask at least dance during Celebration, so during my few hours manning our booth at the Art Market, I finished the second part of the mask which was the headdress.
Click on the video clip (below) showing the dancing of the mask/headdress during David Boxley, Sr.’s dance group singing a great song and beat of their Exit song during Celebration 2016, June 11th. Thank you, Stephanie Maddock for the video clip!
“Rock the Cradle” Poster design and layout by Ursala Hudson – painting by Ursala and her dad, Bill Hudson
Last year in 2014, my daughter Ursala Hudson decided a charter school in Pagosa Springs, Colorado was a necessary addition to the community, especially now that she had two little girls of her own and was thinking into the future about their educational experience.
During concert practice, Clarissa’s granddaughter Simone Haas takes her first shot at the microphone with the support of singer Jen Toggle
Ursala was home-schooled until she was 9 years old; by 8th grade she was President of her class; before she graduated she already started her own web design business. It was only befitting she formed a Board of Directors, drafted up her outline, and submitted their application to the Colorado Department of Education with the hopes that they had met all their requirements and the DOE was inspired to assist her and a small group of other interested parents to begin their path towards the creation of this endeavor. A few months later, they received affirmation of a three-year grant for research to visit other Charter schools in Colorado, and to help get their own act together to open Pagosa’s own charter school in the Fall of 2017!
This past spring, Ursala had mentioned to me that she and her dad were thinking of doing an awareness concert sometime this Fall for the charter school. She asked if I wanted to re-write a cover tune and would I be willing to perform it. I asked her what kind of re-write to what kind of song and before she could answer, I gave her an example and began to sing other words to the famous Beatle song “Hey Jude”….It began like this: “Hey Blue, don’t make it red, take a sad song and make it yellow…remember, the world was meant to be green, so we could be, completely mellow…”
A lemonade stand provided refreshments for concert-goers
The “Rock the Cradle” concert was held Saturday, November 14th at the Pagosa Center for the Arts; it was a benefit for the Pagosa Charter School to bring awareness to the community of Pagosa Springs that this school is in the formation process!
Big thanks to the Pagosa Center for the Arts for generously donating their space for this concert!
Pagosa Springs Charter School Board of Directors at the admissions table: Ursala Hudson, Megan Riddle and Laura Hamilton
The benefit concert was produced and directed by Ursala and her father, Bill Hudson. They gathered together a group of volunteers and put together a band of local musicians to play for free: guitarists included Steve Sarkis, Steve Summers, Greg Millioto, and Bill Hudson; drummer D.C. Duncan, key board Venita Burch, and bass player Jarrett Hebert. Lead and back up singers included Lisa Saunders, Jen Toggle, Chris Haas, Greg Millioto, Bill Hudson, D.C. Duncan, Geoffrey Andrews, Ursala Hudson, Jen Sarkis and Clarissa Rizal.
In the audience, Jen Sarkis and Drie Young with their baby boys Shaydon and Wyatt
The concert was a huge success, standing room only, unfortunately, people were turned away at the door! On behalf of my daughter, Ursala Hudson and the Pagosa Springs Charter School Board of Directors, thank you to all who came to the concert! Truly, the support is appreciated!
Chris Haas, Ursala Hudson, Jen Toggle, Geoffrey Andrews and Lisa Saunders
About the Pagosa Charter School:
“The Pagosa Charter Initiative is a non-profit group dedicated to providing a public elementary school option to families in Pagosa Springs, Colorado.
Our vision is to form a school that will foster creative, self-sufficient children with inquisitive minds. We are committed to providing an alternative learning environment that nurtures and engages our community’s children through outdoor education, hands-on projects, and community involvement, while continuing to align with state educational standards.
We believe that exploring subjects through participation in natural environments not only strengthens student achievement, but also inevitably supports community vitality and healthy environments. The opportunity to observe, solve problems, and participate in real-life scenarios fosters life-long learners who are socially responsible, and have a strong sense of purpose. Click here to read our core values.
The group was formed in December of 2014 by several dedicated individuals wanting to invest in our community and children through education. Please contact us if you are interested in helping out, and/or join our mailing list to keep up-to-date with our progress.”
4 Guitarists and the drummer, L to R: Bill Hudson, Steven Summers, Greg Millioto, Steve Sarkis and D.C. Duncan
Clarissa wears her 2015 Halloween costume (all photos by Lis Saya)
It’s been a few years since I went out on the town for Halloween. It was once my favorite “holiday.” A costume designer since I was a little girl, Halloween was at the top in dressing up for any occasion! This costume came together by “accident.”
The pink, pleated cape has an 11-foot “wing span”
I borrowed the headdress from my daughter’s friend, Drie Young, who is a clothing designer and currently sells vintage clothing on eBay at Ghost Rabbit. This fantastic cape was borrowed from my daughter who had recently received it as a gift. The plastic pink necklace was borrowed from my grand-daughter. A few months ago, I was in a second hand store and bought a pair of black, faux leather, hi-top, 8″ platform boots with tons of buckles. All the accessories were from my own personal stock. I put together this costume in 5 minutes. Voile’…when others saw my costume and the dance I did in this cape, I was told that I could have won several Best Costume awards at various venues around town had I known about them…!
Feathered head dress, glittered rhinestone eyelashed mask, beaded Mother-of-Pearl inlay earrings, black lipstick, plastic hot pink necklace, beaded/buttoned black leather fringed belt, a pair of old cashmere gloves worn down to the skin, turquoise beaded cuffs,with purple pink glued-on nails, accessorize the normal “beaded” dress
I even performed wearing this costume during the closing ceremony dance of the “Clan Conference” at Centennial Hall last night. Though I wore my traditional beaded dance tunic over this cotton dress. Elder David Katzeek saw me walk in during the traditional dancing and he immediately motioned me to come up and dance with all the dancers! It was a kick! Nobody knew who I was and that is always the best part of Halloween! Because I was wearing 8″ platform boots, I was 5’10” and nobody realized that I was Clarissa Rizal…hahahaha! So much fun!
Though after I had gone out on the town dancing to various live bands, I realized that I totally enjoyed being taller. I realized that the Western world was made for people who were about 5’7 to 6′ tall. In fact almost everyone is about that height. Alas, I am back to being 5’2″. Sigh…
On a cold, surprisingly dry Halloween night in Juneau, time for some warm seaweed salad!
Stylish dancing shoes go out on the town in rainy Juneau, Alaska
It’s true; all three of these women are artists. They work hard for a living and how often do they get a chance to wear a nice pair of shoes from “Shoe Fly” and go out and boogie and shake out weeks’ worth of working, working, working!? Especially in Juneau, Alaska? For many, many years Juneau was known as the dancing capital city of Alaska. Now it’s very rare to dance to a live band; it’s the culture. It seems the latest generation of young folk don’t create dance bands anymore? I guess they are all plugged into their iphones music app instead of creating their own music?
Retired Juneau police officer Ben Coronell allows Grandma Suzi to sit on his lap, while his wife Penny laughs along with everyone else
Sharon Shorty is Grandma Suzi and her comedian partner is Duane Gastant’ Aucoin as Cache Creek Charlie. They both live in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. These photos were taken during the last feast during the 3-day “HaaKusTeYea” Celebration at the Teslin Cultural Center. Generally, I write a dialogue to accompany the photographs in my blog posts. In this case, I just let the photographs speak for themselves. All I can say is that not only were the comedians totally outlandish, and I laughed hard till I cried, I totally enjoyed watching the “victims” laugh like had never seen them laugh! Grandma Suzi and Cache Creek Charlie are excellent medicine. If they ever come to your neck of the woods or you go to theirs, catch them!
It was a good feeling to see our Tsimpshian carver David Boxley, Sr. laugh as hard as he did — and we laughed to will cried…!
Alias Duane Gastant’ Aucoin and Sharon Shorty from Whitehorse, Yukon are Charlie and Suzi
David dances the “grouse mating dance” while Grandma Suzi can’t contain herself…!
The “grouse” chases after his chosen “mate.”
the audience laughed as long and as hard as they…!
Creek Charlie pulled fashion designer Dorothy Grant up from her chair and made her get on her back like a rag doll and exclaimed “I am wearing Dorothy Grant…” (as opposed to “I am wearing A Dorthy Grant!”
Clarissa takes a photo of herself on KTOO Public Radio station’s monitor – Juneau, Alaska
who sponsors the weekly TV series called “Colores” at PBS New Mexico.
When show organizer John Morris contacted me about being a part of the Antique Native American Art Show in Santa Fe, New Mexico opening August 17th, I did not know it would involve doing my first public television interview airing on Saturday, August 8th in Albuquerque, NM. Modern technology made it so that the interviewer, who was in the television station in Albquerque, could interview me while I sat in the KTOO television sound room. Technology sent the visual interview via internet along with me providing about 100 images of my work to the TV company who sponsors the weekly TV series called “Colores” at PBS New Mexico in Albuquerque.
The interview will broadcast on the following dates:
Clarissa in the TV recording studio of PBS’s local station at KTOO in Juneau, Alaska
The episode with my segment will broadcast on Saturday, August, 8th at 4:00pm on Channel 5.l PBS New Mexico who sponsors the weekly TV series called “Colores”.
It will also repeat as follows:
Monday, August 10th at 9:30pm on Channel 9.1.
Friday, August 14th at 10:30pm on Channel 5.1.
Just a reminder that this is a segment not the entire show. The way Colores! works is that each show is made up of approximately 3 segments. Clarissa’s segment is about 5 minutes. They will mention the Santa Fe Antique Native American art show during the program.
Thank you Tara Walsh and Joan Rebecchi at PBS New Mexico and the folks at Juneau’s KTOO for getting this interview together.