Tag Archives: vaclav havel

Memento: Set Designs (for an Evergreen College class), 2003

Set design: inside “Stan” parliamentary building

My university journey in general, and Evergreen college time specifically, had many starts and stops taking in total from 1987 at Utah Technical/Valley Community College to 2004 graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Inter-disciplinarian studies at Evergreen in Olympia, WA.

Digression: While there are times I regret not having an “usual” university experience which I had anticipated being an “outstanding student” during much of my school time, there are some advantages of being a non-traditional student of having more diversity of age and background and expectation in the classes.

Anyway, along this journey, my pal Jay Stewart and I restarted Evergreen doing a class (something about Global Management and Leadership) which was held in-person on Olympia campus one complete weekend a month, with online work filling the time between.

[Noting: this was “early days” online learning which was an interesting thing to observe. Plus, the comprehensive weekends allowed you to do a lot of group work in a short period of time.]

Yeah, Evergreen in particular is particularly in love with “group work” and we had various group projects, some of which we could choose our group and some we were assigned a group… Ostensibly to teach us to work with people we weren’t necessarily familiar with or whatever.

Now, my usual inclination is to be that “person who drags everyone with them and makes a fun community out of the whole thing” but I was determined not to do that but, sort of ended up that way as much of the group floundered and spent more time talking about “why they couldn’t do things” than they did actually doing anything, and spinning useless energy on deciding when and how we would meet to talk about how and when we would do things. Generally very frustrating.

On the day of the presentation, some members went completely off script thinking that they were so fucking brilliant and loquacious they should just change everything on the fly because they were super good and a 10th grade debate class or something and I was fantastically unimpressed. (hey look i was learning!)

Our presentation with something about reforming labour laws in sweatshops or building up unions in emerging economies or promoting economies while protecting environment… something like that. So, I wrote a couple of plays (note to self: find these plays and publish them) set in a Central Asian, post-Soviet country (called Stanastan in the finished work) and did my favourite sorta arts-and-crafts part of making giant backdrops on refrigerator boxes with powder tempura paint. They were spectacular – ha!

I was so frustrated at the end of the talk that the prop some cells were left for custodians or late night ravers to dispose of, but in going through old notebooks, I found some sketches of my mock-ups.

Of course the finished works were even more majestic :) and interesting but looking at them brought back the flashback of just dealing with a bunch of hangers-on in the group. Probably a bad thing that that’s my memory but there were some other part of the class I enjoyed I suppose,…

I remember a presentation about poet-dissident-president Vaclav Havel and the frequent requirement of public speaking in the class (obviously) was a benefit for me. Plus hanging out with Jay during our clandestine lunches was cool.

As it goes, I went on to do some more of these kind of weekend classes, in some cases, going out to the Aberdeen campus studying legal/judicial systems, economies and privacy with a notion to go to law school which fortunately, did not pan out.

Set design: oil fields in a post-Soviet, central Asian country

Vaclav Havel – Playwright, President, Activist, Leader #report

Vaclav Havel – Playwright, President, Activist, Leader
By Dave Olson, Fall 2002

NOTE: Written for a course at The Evergreen State College (Olympia, WA) as an assignment to report about an admired leader. More resources to follow for archival interest.

Vaclav Havel’s career spans disparate jobs from brewery worker to playwright to President.  His life is highlighted by his unusual rise to power, writing of existentialist plays and political potent essays and his remarkable journey from a dissident in prison to the leading a fledgling country from the presidential castle in a matter of weeks.  Most importantly, his vision of bringing former-Soviet eastern European republics into the European community in a non-violent, efficient and sustainable manner is his greatest legacy.

Havel didn’t plan on a career in politics and came to his leadership positions in strange turns of events, perhaps he inadvertently refers to himself in his discourse, “Summer Meditations,” “…if your heart is in the right place and you have good taste, not only will you pass muster in politics, you are destined for it. If you are modest and do not lust after power, not only are you suited to politics, you absolutely belong there.”

Continue reading Vaclav Havel – Playwright, President, Activist, Leader #report

“Fck Stats, Make Art” Talk Transcription (Northern Voice 2008)

Dave Olsen Reads Rousseau

What follows is transcription of a talk called “Fck Stats, Make Art” at Northern Voice, 2008 in Vancouver, BC. Original audio (record by Jay Stewart who is identified as Speaker 1 below) exists, as does a “round-up” of photos, tweets, artifacts, and so on. See “Consider Perusing” below.

Speaker 1: We’re at Northern Voice 2008 in Vancouver BC at the University of British Columbia Forestry Science Center and I’m about to record Dave O’s presentation.  What is the name of the presentation?

Speaker 2: Fuck Stats Make Art.

Speaker 1: Fuck Stats Make Art.  It’s going to be a little bit controversial because he’s going to give a call to up the ante on quality of stuff people are posting.  He’s like, “It doesn’t matter if people are looking, it matters if it’s good content, that’s more important.”

Speaker 2: Certainly good content comes first and then you really [inaudible 00:01:06].

Speaker 1: I don’t need to know when people’s cats are going to the bathroom.  I see a lot of that on Twitter and other sites and stuff, you know?

Announcer: So, it’s my pleasure to introduce one of my best friends here Dave Olson.  He also works with me at Raincity Studios and I’m really excited that you guys get to hear him talk today.  I think this talk would be quite a bit different from everything else that you hear at Northern Voice.

I dragged, Dave, kicking and screaming in the world of Google Analytics and I just didn’t get it, just like every moment I spent either looking at my viewers or attracting new ones is one less moment I’m writing or doing something else that I love.  So, I always respected that about him.

He’s a poet, a filmmaker, an author, photographer and many other awesome things.  Anyway, I’ll leave it up to him to go with the rest.  So, welcome to Fuck Stats Make Art.  

Continue reading “Fck Stats, Make Art” Talk Transcription (Northern Voice 2008)

Questions + Answers from the Hero Dossier – Fresh Media, 2009

paper-point-podcast

At Fresh Media conference at W2 Arts + Media Centre, participants riff a spontaneous blurb about a hero from a Dossier of Importantcy in a workshop about storytelling + podcasting by Dave Olson (AKA Uncle Weed).

Features Samuel Pepys, RMS Carpathia, Amber Case, Thomas Paine, J. Garcia, Mudhoney, JJ Rousseau, Geoff Berner, Ed Abbey, The Numbskulz, DH Lawrence, Tin Tin, HD Thoreau, Jer Crowle, Bev Davies, Gary Snyder, Vaclav Havel, Lou Reed, Cory Doctorow, Dr. Seuss, Dead Kennedys, Theo Van Gogh & Derek K. Miller, Gillian Shaw and other personal luminaries liberated from an envelope. Thanks to @shermanscorner for tunes.

Choose a hero card for: Questions & Answers from the Hero Dossier (7:33,.mp3)

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