Due to campaign exhaustion, I've missed the $12/per person Tribute to Veterans, which was free to any who'd served in this nation's military and who were also invited to be voluntary participants in that program -- in addition to their leadership representation in local festival parades -- at Jonesborough's beautiful new two-story and sprawling International Storytelling Center with its brick-lined plazas, diversely ample rooms, and floor to ceiling windows and doors. I am able though, subsequently, to attend a film and art exhibit that are part of this season's Abingdon Virginia region fabulously varied and always excellent Arts Array(sample offering from 2006 and 2009 winter film offerings) series.
"Mongol" is a cinematic tour of the terrifying and hazardous early days experienced by Temüjin (played by Tadanobu Asano) who became known as Genghis Khan, warring factions amongst his ethnicity and region, love of his child-bride Börte (played by Khulan Chuluun) and their little son and daughter despite obstacles and separations, and final success in uniting them under laws which seem fairly modern in their values. The dramatic performances are riveting and the ending battle sequence against one-time friend and life-saver Jamukha (played by Sun Honglei) orchestrated like a ballet in beauty and technique with the encounter scenes of blood and body parts flying reminiscent of abstract paintings. Co-produced by German, Kazakhstani, Mongolian and Russian companies, scenes were shot mostly in the People's Republic of China (Inner Mongolia -- the Mongol autonomous region), and in Kazakhstan. The movie was nominated for the 2007 Academy Award in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Although media reviews were mixed, I thoroughly enjoyed the sweep of history, custom, culture, and vistas and the revelation of personages and their interactions. Translated from Mongolian to English subtitles which allows the music and nuances of native speech to shine through also.
William King Regional Arts Center's exhibits featured "Female(s) Form(s)" and "Rebis: New Paintings by Virginia Derryberry." The latter is a professor of Art at the University of North Carolina in Asheville and her work blends realism with myth in interestingly modern ways. The former, spotlighting "seven individual female artists who were chosen not for their particular views on or involvement with Feminism, but instead for their individual artistic merit, interesting and experimental aesthetic and the content of their work," featured seven artists: Jennifer L. Collins, Jennifer Cox, Mary Nees, Suzanne Stryk and Joni Pienkowski (painter, printmaker, illustrator, and my personal favorite for concepts and technique) in painting and diversely productive Val Lyle, a relative of ACR contributor John Lyle and whose recent found-object rope work from a Manhattan sojourn has a socio-political slant, and Mary Tartaro, whose imaginative detailings are whimsically meaningful, in sculpture.
The Center has been nearly fully-funded, through federal grants and loans and private donations, for an excitingly extensive expansion of buildings, space and offerings for public and artists to begin construction early in the year 2009. These welcome and joyous extensions for the Mountain Empire arts community will include artist studios, a performing auditorium, doubling of the gallery size, and gardens.
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