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The Lookout – Solace in Mountain Solitude Exhibit Video

Posted by Leonard on November, 25, 2015

I recently had the opportunity to film a lecture given by a dear friend. Tori Karpenko’s exhibit ‘The Lookout – Solace in Mountain Solitude’ at the Traver Gallery in Seattle is a uniquely beautiful collection of paintings, spread around a to scale model of an actual forest fire lookout. Tori built the lookout in Twisp WA where he lives, and reconstructed inside the downtown Seattle art gallery. In the wake of his divorce and his young son moving 4 hours away, he sought solace from the emotional crisis in the North Cascades mountains. In his words, “The vast silence of raw wilderness gave me a place to bring calm to a troubled mind. Empowering solitude led me to the stories of three poets; Gary Snyder, Phillip Whalen, and Jack Kerouac, who spent summers in the 1950’s as fire lookouts experiencing their own profound personal transformations. The simple Lookout cabin, one of the Pacific Northwest’s most iconic hermitages, became a crystalized form that could encapsulate the sanctuary that I too found in the high peaks.” On this special night in mid December, Tori discussed his collection of paintings which were anchored in the gallery by the lookout itself, landscapes of the local mt wilderness, familiar to hikers of this region, heavy on reflective lakes and streams, the foliage and geology of our local mountains where I too love to spend time hiking and backpacking. This particular night had a focus on poetry, with Tori reading some of the beat poetry he was inspired by and special guest Saul Weisberg, the co-founder and executive director of the North Cascades Institute Link reading some of his own poetry and reflecting on his own journey in the North Cascades over time and the poetry and prose it inspired in him. It was a lovely night, a full house with a lively QnA that I was happy to have recorded on video, to help Tori tell his story and promote his work, and the lecture simply as a beautiful portrait of an artist.

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Filming on Stormwater Project for Regional Nonprofit @ Port of Port Townsend

Posted by Leonard on March, 7, 2014

Spent a day this week filming at the Port of Port Townsend on a storm water project with Seattle based nonprofit PPRC (Pollution Prevention Resource Center). The project is about sharing best management practice regarding removing heavy metals from surface water before it drains into Puget Sound, our regional body of water, and with this site specifically at maritime facilities. Specifically zinc, is present in tires, roofing and siding, gutters, paint, fencing, pressure treated lumber and so many other materials and products found in a typical setting like this. Ironic that the material used to protect against the elements, in this case rust in the marine environment, is the main polluter. So the pollution sources are both the marine vessel maintenance and the on site buildings themselves. It was quite fascinating to learn about the port of Port Townsend being the only remaining DIY port in the state of Washington and the battle to maintain that character and access, which means allowing boat operators to work on their own boats in the facility 24/7. To my surprise that is apparently unheard of in this day and age and the battle to do so is both an importantly held value there, and a top reason for the presence of a high volume of heavy metals in their stormwater that they’re responsible for before it returns to sea. We spent most of the day with the environmental compliance officer whose role it is to police the work being done in the port, and make sure the rules and regulations are being enforced, specifically around things like whether people who are sanding their boats before painting have the proper vacuum attached to their sander to limit the airborne dust, where the toxic chemicals removed from the hulls of ships are draining to, as well as the installation of proper downspouts on the gutters of the port’s warehouse and maintenance buildings.
One sound bite that stuck with me from the interview with our host were the challenges of bridging the two worlds- that he had the credibility of having worked in the maritime trade for many years himself, but enforcing the environmental rules with a lot of salty dogs not too happy to have him around looking over their shoulders and ‘seeing those same guys at community BBQs and events in ‘a county of only 37,000 people’…

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