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June 4, 2007

Arigon, Ruth Wahpecome and Randy Reinholz at the FAITA AwardsWE "HEART" HARDWARE!


Arigon's CD "The Red Road" wins the trophy for "Outstanding Musical Achievement (Contemporary)" at this years First Americans in the Arts Awards.

For all of you regular Starrwatcher Online fans -- we've been running to keep up with Arigon Starr. [Some who caught up with her are pictured here -- in the center her mother Ruth Wahpecome and Artistic Director and co-creator of Native Voices at the Autry Randy Reinholz, aka Choctaw Man!] Part of that quest involves wrestling her camera from her and getting the photos uploaded to the website. The Diva is usually on the phone, in a meeting, driving hundreds of miles or working out with her I-Pod stuck to her head. Because she's alighted in Los Angeles for a few days, we were able to catch up on all the latest gossip in her busy life.

"Did y'all see 'Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee' on HBO?," she snorted. "I told my friend Robin Carneen that it was two hours and five minutes of my life I can't get back! The narrative of the film was tainted. Kind of like when a woman who gets raped is accused of asking for it -- this movie made it seem like the Indians brought all the horror, poverty, death and dishonor on themselves." Hanay Geiogamah, a professor at UCLA, had his widely e-mailed letter lambasting the production printed in the Sunday, June 3rd edition of the Los Angeles Times. "I don't always agree with Hanay, but this time he was right on the money. Indian folks need to write their projects, produce them and get them to the movie theater and/or on television. Dick Wolf and company should stick to 'Law and Order' -- cut and dried procedurals that leave little room for the shades of gray. I have never seen so many crying Indians in my life! I thought August Schellenberg gave Sitting Bull a lot of dignity that wasn't in the script. If only they had just focused on Charles Eastman (Adam Beach). Now there's somebody who's story needs to be told." Arigon said.

Native Voices at the Autry at FAITAOn a much happier note, we admired all the awards statues -- or as Arigon's musician friend Don Herron calls them "hardware" -- residing in her office. "Did you see the new one!" she beamed. We certainly did. As many of you know, Arigon was the recipient of a First Americans in the Arts Awards for her brilliant CD "The Red Road."

The Fifteenth Annual First Americans in the Arts Awards was a boon for many of the stable of talent that has been meticulously groomed by Randy Reinholz and Jean Bruce Scott of Native Voices at the Autry. Three of their core artists, including actress Thirza Defoe and writer Rhiana Yazzie as well as Arigon, received trophies for their work with Native Voices. "It's amazing to be a part of such a great group of artists," said Arigon. "I wonder if it was like this back in the early Merseybeat or punk rock days when a group of artists created some lasting, visionary work." The Diva is pictured in this photo with fellow award winner Thirza Defoe, plus other talented Native Voices artists including Janna Lopez, Noel Iribe, Michael Matthys, Rob Vestal (behind Thirza!), Delanna Studi, Kalani Queypo, Patty Gomes, Randy Reinholz and William Dufris. "Our group got to the awards show late as we were still taping 'Super Indian,'" remarked the Diva. "We missed all the hoopla of Mel Gibson and the Apocalpyto crew. I'm also bummed to have missed the comedy clips that Charlie Hill and I worked on the same week as the taping of 'Super Indian.' Charlie said that we killed! Yes!" grinned Arigon.

Arigon shared some of her production photos of the "Super Indian" experience.

Carolyn Dunn with Janna Lopez That's Janna Lopez (Sound Designer) and Carolyn Dunn (Assistant Director) clowning around during a break at the Autry. Janna and Carolyn also worked with Arigon on "The Red Road" last year at the Autry.
Super Indian cast onstage Carolyn Dunn, Janna Lopez and director William Dufris go over the many sound cues while Tony Palermo works with Michel Tyabji on specific sound elements. Tony's table was loaded with various gadgets to take the audience to Super Indian's universe.
Kevin Sifuentes, Actor That's actor Kevin Sifuentes being interviewed by Ian Skorodin for the archives. Kevin did an amazing job as bad guys Derek Thunder, Wallace Ward and Vito Couer D'Alene. Kevin and his wife Yvonne are expecting a little one in December! Congrats!
Thirza Defoe and Delanna Studi Thirza Defoe and Delanna Studi act up during a rehearsal break. Both ladies provided multiple voices during the two hilarious nights of taping at the Autry.

"Super Indian" will be part of the fall schedule of Native Voice One, the syndicated radio satellite service. As soon as we receive a confirmed airdate for the series, we'll pass this along to you. Everyone involved with the show did amazing work and we are looking forward to sharing the laughs with everyone.

One of Arigon's favorite places is beside family members, laughing, crying and sharing stories together. Her cousin Debra Cornell Johnson of Tahlequah, Oklahoma reminded her that the Cornell Family were gathering in Holdenville, Oklahoma at the Many Springs Indian Church over the Memorial Day weekend. Arigon called her Mom and a road trip was born. "It wasn't without trials," admitted Arigon. "My sister Gay Wahpecome Noble had emergency surgery just days before we were scheduled to drive to Oklahoma. We were worried for her, but she encouraged us to join the rest of the bunch in Holdenville," Arigon said. For those of you who are longtime Diva fans, you'll remember Gay was part of the touring band for many years. We can let you know that she is feeling much better and is recovering at home. "Health is such a precious gift," Arigon smiled. "I know it's often said we take it for granted when we're in tip-top condition! That's so true. Gay is looking so much healthier and has lots of color in her face. We had been on her to go to the doctor because she looked tired. Whatever y'all do out there -- don't take your health for granted. Taking some extra time to exercise and eat right is worth the effort."

Arigon took lots of photos and received a CD with some great shots from her cousin Rudolph "Jim" McGirt of Holdenville, OK. Take a look!

Here's the ladies who started it all, Sue Alford, Olelah Morris and Ruth Wahpecome. Sue and Olelah have multiple great and great-great grandchildren. Arigon's mom Ruth told her to get busy. AAAY! Jokes!
The Cornell Sisters
Rudolph "Jim" McGirt took this photo of Arigon performing during the first evening of the Cornell/Many Springs Reunion. We dig Arigon's new glasses! This looks like a photo from a soon-to-be-released independent movie, ennit?
Arigon sings at Many Springs
Arigon's mom Ruth takes a break with Wahoo Buck and the family singers. Wahoo plays the piano with much skill and his group performs old-time gospel numbers. Hanging with the Bucks
Many Springs Indian Church's current pastor Rev. Jimmy Anderson was also one of the kids who used to run around the grounds of the old church. Here, he dedicates a new fellowship hall in memory of Ben and Susie Harjo.
Rev. Jimmy Anderson
Earlier that day, members of the Cornell Family gathered from around Oklahoma, Kansas and California. In the foreground are Lucy Kemble (the youngest of the original Cornells), Sue Alford and Olelah Morris. Several family members had brought photo albums with tons of vintage family photos.
Harjo Fellowship Hall
On Saturday night, the Gospel Sing swung into full force. Many area groups performed. This picture is of The Buck Family.
The Buck Family Singers
Also performing were Rev. Jimmy Anderson and his brother. They entertained with their fine harmonies and humorous stories.
Rev. Jimmy Anderson and his brother
On Arigon brought down the house (thankfully, not literally!) with her renditions of "The Red Road," "Mountain Windsong" and "Junior Frybread." "Sure was weird to sing those in church," she smiled, "But my Mom assured me the walls wouldn't crumble down or that I wouldn't get hit by ligthing. AAY!" The action photo was taken by Rudolph "Jim" McGirt.
Arigon sings at the Many Springs Church

The Kembles"It was outstanding to meet so many new people that are family," said Arigon. The gathering went full force from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon.

Arigon and her mom finished the weekend with a lunch with their Aunt Lucy Kemble and three of her kids. "I had so much fun getting to know Aunt Lucy, Kirby, Sue and Terri at the Ponca Pow-Wow a few years ago. We met Rudolph and his galpal Willie at the Shawnee Golden Corral and had the best time trading stories. Aunt Lucy fired up some stories about growing up on the old farm and her trips to the local Stomp Dances," said Arigon. "I'll be seeing this crew again at the next Ponca Pow-Wow."

For those of you who want a taste of an old-school Oklahoma Pow-Wow, you can join Arigon and her family at the Ponca Pow-Wow at White Eagle near Ponca City, Oklahoma from August 24th through 27th.

Arigon's travels this summer will also take her through Arizona, New Mexico and on to Oklahoma. We hear she's also planning on returning to the Pacific Northwest in September. We'll work hard to keep up with her -- and hope you enjoyed the latest edition of "As The Diva Turns." AAAY!


Arigon got a call from her Menominee pal Richie Plass today about someone hacking his Yahoo account and emailing folks in his guestbook for "emergency travel funds." If you're a friend of Richie -- just know that he's safe, alive and well and NOT stranded anywhere. "Richie joked that he should just give up being online and buying a pony and naming it 'Broadband.' He's going back online folks, mainly to combat the fake emails," she said. If you really want to help Richie and the band, head over to their Flying Feather Band website and purchase their last CD "Lost In Nashville" or the latest project "Back Home On The Rez With Boogie." "I have both CDs and really love the homegrown, organic feel to their music. They play with a lot of heart, soul and pure joy," enthused Arigon. Arigon hopes to be a part of the concert being organized in Nashville in September that will feature Richie, Flying Feather Band, Qua-Ti-Si and Chuck Mead. More news on that when we get it!

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