on the Switzerland Trail

train station picnic ground

This chimney is all that’s left of what used to be a train station on the Switzerland Trail, formerly a narrow gauge railroad that ran from Boulder to Ward, hauling mining spoils and tourists. Now the railroad grade has trails/ dirt roads, and the former station is a picnic ground.

I am still looking for more recognizable railroad relics in the neighborhood of the Switzerland Trail for the film I’m working on that was originally about Ward and is now more about a reversal of the process of “civilization,” expansion and settlement as dramatized in Western films.

Los Matachines

Matachines with buffalo

Before the performance of Los Comanches, dancers filed out of the Alcalde church and performed Los Matachines, a folk dance that involves a monarch, a bride, a bull, and buffalo with whips. The costumes were AMAZING, but I couldn’t justify filming the dancers since they didn’t fit into my project (hello no budget!). Luckily, Nic took a bit of video.

Here’s a nice article that summarizes the symbolism and possible historical origins of both Los Matachines and Los Comanches.

Los Comanches

Battle, Los Comanches

After a very mellow holiday that included spending xmas eve at the pub, I headed down to Northern New Mexico along with Dawn (my MFA classmate) and Nic to film Los Comanches, an equestrian folk play about Juan Batista de Anza’s battle with Comanche chief Cuerno Verde, performed every year in the village of Alcalde. This is another part of my larger project about layers of history in the Southern Colorado landscape. Events depicted in the play occurred somewhere near Colorado City, as commemorated by the Cuerno Verde rest stop along the 25 (filmed that too). Continue reading Los Comanches

more stills from Libre and Ward

Nic developed some rolls of b&w recently, so here are some more stills from the projects I’ve been working on. The black and white looks so beautiful that it makes me second guess my decision to film in color. It’s so hard not to fall in love with the images; it’s so easy to forget that the most beautiful image is not necessarily the best/ most appropriate one for my films.

(all photos by Nicholas Seivert)

Sister Alchemy

I’m working on a film to accompany my friend Donovan Quinn’s song “Sister Alchemy.” We shot some super-8 during one afternoon last time I visited San Francisco with the assistance of Grace Cooper (in the goldish dress), Jason Quever (of the Papercuts and Donovan’s band The Thirteenth Month), and Michael McWay (behind the scenes). Here are a few stills from the work-in-progress.

Continue reading Sister Alchemy

Huerfano Valley

One of the projects I am currently working on examines the layers of history in the landscape of/ surrounding the Sangre de Cristo mountains in Southern Colorado. Over the years (decades/ centuries)  the Sangres and environs have served as something of a magnet for Native Americans not particularly interested in playing nice with usurping European settlers, outlaws of various stripes, and in the 1960s and 70s, hippies and back-to-the-landers forging new ways of living.

In the course of my research, I found that some of the communes established in the area were still going strong. This past weekend, I paid a visit to Libre, a community of hand-built homes nestled in the Huerfano valley and still very much vibrant 40 years after its inception. Nic Seivert snapped a couple of digital pics of structures and landscape while I wielded the Bolex.

dome home
dome home

Continue reading Huerfano Valley