PARADE OF SPIRITS, LIBERTY LANDS is a MAGICAL DESTINATION OF THE NORTHEAST

•November 30, 2016 • Comments Off on PARADE OF SPIRITS, LIBERTY LANDS is a MAGICAL DESTINATION OF THE NORTHEAST

oh my. did i really neglect to give this momentous occasion its own post?

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what’s in here?

 

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oh my!

 

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it would be wonderful enough to just say that we are featured in the book Magical Destinations of the Northeast, by Natalie Zaman, but it’s actually better than JUST that. i’ve gotten to know natalie some, and when we announced that chris would like to take a break from “being” das mädchen this year, and we were looking for a special volunteer, Natalie Zaman stepped up.

and she also learned to step down. curbs aren’t that easy for das mädchen.

 

chris has never really SEEN it from THIS angle.

chris has never really SEEN it from THIS angle.

 

the book is great, and FULL of road trips for this family. and having natalie join our family of spirits has been even better! if you want your book autographed on the 17th, it will be pretty easy to FIND her… but her hands MIGHT be kind of full.

2016 parade of spirits COLORING poster — download for YOU!!

•November 28, 2016 • Comments Off on 2016 parade of spirits COLORING poster — download for YOU!!

here’s this year’s poster — rendered by béla and claudia with the use of béla’s birthday light box (a thing we learned about from the mundie family). we took photos of previous years’ spirits, and the kids traced them. tucker resized everything so it looked like an actual “parade” coming through. and claudia did some AMAZING lettering.

EPSON MFP image

note, that there are two bélas. i think my favorite figure is ruby the deer. although i do also like rob and his boomba, and i like the way that “chris”, such as he is, is peeking out of das mädchen.

as always, we are grateful to the Penn Treaty Special Services District for helping to make our event possible.

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and here’s miss claudia, coloring a poster (and giving a foretelling of the earache that would plague the rest of the evening. luckily, we had spent the afternoon making bath bombs with marian and zoe — to give out at parade of spirits, in fact — and she had a nice hot rose-scented bath that helped her feel better.)

after posting on FB that we would be ready to bring posters to northern liberties later this week (we had even bought four-packs of crayola crayons — just like you get in a diner with a coloring placemat!) a preschool teacher asked where she could get some of the posters for her class. i’m sure ben would have driven them up himself, but shortly, parade of spirits friend toni suggested that we make the poster available as a printable PDF for anyone who wanted to color it!

and so we have. there it is, at the link below. use “tabloid” sized paper (11 X 17″) and you’ve got yourself a poster to color.

we depend on you to bring color to this event every year. each and every one of you brings something we couldn’t ourselves. this poster is yours as much as parade of spirits is — so enjoy, and feel free to share.

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a month away from our sixth procession… heralded by the god of death and scrapple

•November 18, 2016 • Leave a Comment

It is November 17, 2016. A month from tonight we will embark on our SIXTH procession from Liberty Lands… but our first without the word “Krampus” in our name. (It’s being used in enough event names elsewhere, we think.) And yet, the largest number ever from our household — three out of five — are coming to the procession as a version of Krampus. Claudia’s costume is a picture of feminine regency; Béla has based his on “Bender” from Futurama but also managed to get some samurai in there; Ben and I both somehow, without telling each other, imagined his (far from complete) new look to be something like “Fruit Brute”, of the lesser Monster Cereals.

Tucker and I are still Cailleach and Perchta, but cronier, angrier, older this year. We earned it.

I was extremely touched this weekend when someone who attends our event described it to a person who had never been as “The closest thing you can have to a religious experience without having a religious experience.” We were, in fact, at their religious rite when this was said. We were there in our secular, we-don’t-get-out-much way, in friendship and respect, and with a gift. I am happy to say that Phase One of Boomba Preservation has been accomplished, and Urglaawe has been presented with their handmade boomba (the one with the fox head sculpted by Béla) — an appropriate gift for the holiday, which was for Ewicher Yeeger, the Great Hunter, and the deity most likely to be conflated with or related to Krampus on such a folklore family tree. See photos of our fun, chilly time with our Urglaawe family — and a fire full of scrapple — here.

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So — what will this year at the former Krampuslauf Philadelphia be like? It is a big question. We have changed our name and essentially took out the word with the most commercial appeal (that happened fast), so that may leave some folks less interested, and looking for another nearby Krampus event. On the other hand, we have literally been named a “magical destination” in the book Magical Destinations of the Northeast, so we may well meet people we’ve never seen before.

Our beloved Guerilla Ultima BBQ truck is no longer a truck, but a brick-and-mortar restaurant near the Delaware shore, and so this year we will if all goes as planned have pierogies, and more, (and then more pierogies) from Mom-Mom’s Polish Food Truck (we are excited — Mercedes from Ultima recommended them).

It has been a stressful season, with the death of my father in September (and Ben and I the administrators of his estate), Tucker attending his final year of his undergraduate career and finishing graduate school applications over the next few weeks, the growth of our two family businesses, and the very recent decision to homeschool the kids. Being my usual Border Collie self, and pulling other people together — for planning, for workshops — hasn’t been possible, not in time or energy.

There has been no “maker workshop” for Parade of Spirits this year. Oh, something may pop up — add one person to our household and you’ve basically got a workshop — but nothing formal like we usually do. I just couldn’t manage. Although Natalie Zaman (author of Magical Destinations) and I had planned a small event at Laurel Hill Cemetery, it was more of a ceremonial one.  It is Natalie who will don the Das Mädchen costume this year, fulfilling my hopes of making that glowing monster an attainable, not just an “attraction”. Our event was to be a welcoming, complete with cinnamon and crypt-glass talismans (we will still see them given out!) but bad weather and a SEPTA strike had us cancelling at the last minute.

And yet… across the country… a woman held her own crowdfunding campaign to come to Parade of Spirits this year (with an enormous puppet). She was funded in a little more than 24 hours.

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Kari — who has crowdfunded her way here and has only explained to me that she will get that beautiful puppet here “in pieces” —  is one of our Tucson family from All Souls’ Processional Weekend. She is coming with Jhon, and some other friends, and I am happy, because I need to see friends. During recent weeks when I have thought “Boy, I ought to be getting people excited about Parade of Spirits,” and feeling guilty that I couldn’t make myself do something — seriously considered what my “doing” had to “do” with anything.

Even if I wanted to, what position was I in to stop it?

We laid good groundwork early this year. We harvested our first withies (although it may not be until next year that we use them — Chris has a plan). We had a week of project-making in August that we feel could lead to an official summer camp in the future, and Tucker and I worked with literally the American heroes of processional arts (if you ask me) in Manhattan in early September. We laid good groundwork early this year, because we knew Tucker would be applying to graduate programs and we knew there was a good chance of my father dying.

Other, good, but energy-using things (businesses thriving, writing being published, plans coming to fruition), we did not expect.

Political events, and Death absolutely pillaging the world of music, we did not expect. And we are kind of shaken up. And tired. Avoiding social media. Eating a lot of ramen. Lotta comfort foods. (There was a day that I cut a piece of cream cheese and covered it in rainbow jimmies.) Looking for comfort, but scared to open the next door on the Advent calendar, because things have gotten that unpredictable.

Maybe this is exactly why we need to get out there and walk together.

Whatever my hand does to shape this event, its tendencies are Dionysian. When it was time to get our poster ready, I deconstructed it as much as possible, letting the children trace images from previous years using Béla’s light box, basically creating a diner coloring placemat of a poster. We bought many four-packs of crayons to give out at the places Janet usually puts posters.

EPSON MFP image

Maybe it was a way of saying the input of others was more important and welcome than ever — and that maybe everyone should be picking up their metaphorical crayons.

Parade of Spirits has no political party but does have a platform of tolerance, love, acceptance, and expression. Expression of what is dark, in dark times, is important to bring to the community — in ritual — together. You can express what is terrifying in a community in which you are safe. We have done it five times in a row (no crying child yet, in a park full of monsters).

Two wonderful quotes I learned from Linda:

“Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.” — Carl Jung

“The person we choose to be, … automatically creates a dark double — the person we choose not to be.” — Thomas Moore, The Care of the Soul

Maybe this is how we take care of ourselves and each other.

As I said on Facebook earlier this week, I never thought that I would repost a video of myself so willingly, but once it’s out there, gods it’s convenient. Because this still says the things I need to have people hear (even though it was recorded in April 2015), I give you, again: my Ignite Philly talk about the event formerly known as Krampuslauf Philadelphia. Our message remains.

But as with our poster this year, our expectations are intentionally unfinished. We are relying on both our history, and on you — your creativity, your fear, your triumph, your can’t-get-out-of-bed days your need to gather and celebrate and surprise a stranger with a gift — to continue to evolve into what there is no other of in any city or town in America — Parade of Spirits, Liberty Lands.

Also, our rules remain:

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I can honestly say my mask this year is my favorite ever. I am proud of the new surprises that exist to make the park even more magical. I have Tucker to thank for both. I am grateful for our friends from the desert, who come not as bystanders but to leave their mark. And I am grateful for everyone who recognizes there has never been a better time to come together and bring light.

And I am grateful for that guy we haven’t even met who wants to wear the Rook costume. Seriously.

(The Es Meedli costume, though, is still uninhabited — looking for a kid between seven and ten for that one!)

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volunteering with Processional Arts Workshop for Astor Alive — a dream come true!

•October 12, 2016 • Comments Off on volunteering with Processional Arts Workshop for Astor Alive — a dream come true!

The weekend before we had our very first Krampuslauf Philadelphia in 2011, Ben and I took the kids to Rhinebeck, New York for the Sinterklaas Festival and Parade. (Tucker house sat for us. The day he came over to learn to work the locks and coffee maker and stuff was the first time he ever came to our house. It’s funny to think back on that.)

The entire Sinterklaas Festival Day was amazing; literally like something out of a fantasy. Everywhere you turned were puppet shows, jugglers, stilt walkers, goats wearing Christmas dresses… old-fashioned diners and spaghetti dinners in church halls… we went nonstop for literally eleven or twelve hours. We watched the parade appear at the top of the hill — those glowing stars with their human faces — and we were just astounded. And cold.

The next year, we volunteered in the Parade itself. And we did so again in 2015. The people who make the puppets and help organize the “parade” portion of the Sinterklaas festival are called Processional Arts Workshop. They do a lot more work than just the Sinterklaas Festival. When I saw a few weeks ago via Facebook that they were asking for volunteers to come in September to help prepare puppets and other dynamic sculptures for the “Astor Alive” festival, I signed up immediately. (As in, “See you later guys.”)

As it turned out, it was in the week between co-op and classes starting for Tuck, so I had a companion, and we were pretty excited.

We took a bus to New York, had time to get lunch, and went to our first making session.

We “met” Alex and Sophia in the space where all the making was being done (the site of the old St.Mark’s Book Store), but recognized Alex right away from lining up outside the library on top of the big hill in Rhinebeck, getting ready to be part of the parade.

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And we made legs. It wasn’t glamorous; but we were soaking up a lot of knowledge, about puppet movement, and joints, and manifolds… we said later that we felt like Boris and Natasha.

When we left, we were hungry, so Tucker had some cereal clumps soaked in liquid nitrogen…

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And we had dinner at Bareburger, which was great.(We had no idea there was one right here in Philly, but we are glad to know that now.)

Then we went to check in at the hotel, which was… insane. We had a free night from Ben’s business traveling, but how could we have expected to have been put in a room that overlooked not just Times Square, but THE NEW YEARS’ BALL? I presume on other nights, this is a five thousand dollar hotel room!

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(tuck reads a room service menu on the floor, by the light of times square)

The next day we tromped to the Museum of Mathematics (MoMath), which was a blast, and then back for more making. That day we worked primarily on reproductions of the famous Astor Place cube. This was very puzzle-like… and cube-like… and you can imagine who liked that a lot.

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And then we raced for the bus home. With new knowledge. (Like the Secret Power of Bearer Belts.) And we had met people who liked to just sit around and make big puppets and smell hot glue. I wish we had been there every day.

Check out our entire whirlwind 36 hours in manhattan in the Flickr set. We would have loved to have gone back for Astor Alive, and got to see videos from it, but that was Béla’s birthday weekend and although it would have undoubtedly been fun, “helping in parades” is just something he would consider “going to work with Mom” and not a real birthday. We know now how fast spots fill up to help make things for the East Village Halloween Parade, and that we should start thinking about that for 2017.

I would love Sophia and Alex to come to Parade of Spirits some year!

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parade of spirits summer camp (BETA)

•October 10, 2016 • Leave a Comment

by the way — kinda late to be reporting on it, i know, but we got a little bit of a start on a dream in the last week of august.

we believe that it will be possible to offer some summer programming in philly, featuring parade of spirits’ skills and crafts. this year, we did not want to get in over our heads, so we kept it as simple as possible — ben and i traded homes, projects and kids, back and forth with the mundie family (a longtime krampuslauf philadelphia/POS family).

in the post-analysis, some things were not surprising:

— the kids spent as much if not more time doing the projects we had planned for them doing things on their own, disappearing entirely, and watching gamarjobat videos on youtube

— when i told ben “get very easy, not-weird-food snacks for the mundie boys, they are not primal and they do not eat a lot of the foods we eat,” he came home with SWEET POTATO SMOOTHIE BOXES, and the kids gave him heck for it (he switched to smartfood)

— most of the projects that we planned did get completed and can be used in some way for this year’s parade of spirits. ben’s big dynamic spooky hands are still a bit under construction, but the hessian (our new word for “burlap” thanks to our scottish pals) faces came out really well (and a weird guy exposed himself to us!), and the beautiful large sheet the kids shibori dyed with kate will be the “body” of our ‘obby ‘oss/Rook costume this year.

and for me, the utter highlight of the week (because it is nice to be trusted, and it is empowering to teach another kid how to safely handle fire) was aidan using a palm torch. i wouldn’t say he was in “performance mode”, but he was working it.

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they also pitched a tent together, all on their own.

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i think next year new projects, even just a few more kids, could make this a super-fun week that makes our december event even better. (wait until you see all of the hessian tree spirit faces this year!) i was really glad we did this and am very grateful to kate mundie for all that she did with the kids… the shibori is amazing.

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anyone who is interested in participating next summer, feel free to drop ideas anytime!!

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preserving regional heritage and partnering with sister communities… we need more cowbell.

•June 28, 2016 • Leave a Comment

check out our current — and pretty successful for under two hours — gofundme campaign to purchase components for making four or five boombas, creating a boomba library for parade of spirits, urglaawe, and other sister communities and events!

my love of the boomba predates even seeing one, and even though i get to see that one every year, we need more than one. because we need one where WE are and one where YOU are!

check out the campaign for more details. as one of our early donors said, “Boldly bringing a bright tomorrow for better boombas!”

this fantastic photo of rob with his boombah at krampuslauf philadelphia in 2014 was taken by garth herrick. i just love the details of the instrument and the juxtaposition of the local band stickers on the pole behind rob.

please consider contributing to the campaign, and if you do that, please consider joining our thinktank and hopefully our day of boomba making at philadelphia pagan pride day 2016, on september 3!

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PARADE OF SPIRITS, LIBERTY LANDS, VOICES: NEIL KOHL (talking to béla levin-dorko)

•June 3, 2016 • Comments Off on PARADE OF SPIRITS, LIBERTY LANDS, VOICES: NEIL KOHL (talking to béla levin-dorko)

from the very first krampuslauf philadelphia in 2011, neil kohl has been there — with cameras. that first year, one of my favorite pictures taken from the whole event was of neil, who, at that point, was just “that nice, smiley guy.”

 

photo of neil taken by amber at krampuslauf philadelphia year one, 2011.

photo of neil taken by amber at krampuslauf philadelphia year one, 2011.

 

in subsequent years, neil has taken some of the best photos of our event, and even had a solo show at the beginning of 2015 at the random tea room!

 

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when krampuslauf/parade of spirits 2015 came around, neil surprised us all by bringing not only a helper, but a large format polaroid camera — and taking some of the most AMAZING portraits ever. there are very, VERY few occasions in which i could say that an image made krampuslauf/parade of spirits look even more magical than it is in real life, but, well, a lot of neil’s did.

 

i'm not sure we ever found out who this was. polaroid negative print by neil kohl, from krampuslauf philadelphia: parade of spirits, 2015 1/400s at f/22.

i’m not sure we ever found out who this was. polaroid negative print by neil kohl, from krampuslauf philadelphia: parade of spirits, 2015

 

are we waiting for the exhibit? heck yes, we are waiting for the exhibit. in the meantime, my son, who likes to know how things work, had a great time talking to neil about his cameras. there are some noisy, windy sound artifacts on this interview, as some of it was conducted out in the yard, which my son has told me a number of times “is bigger than ours”.

 

checking out the big camera!

checking out the big camera!

 

listen to the conversation as it is embedded below, or on soundcloud.

(transcription below)

BLD: Hi! My name’s Béla and I am interviewing Neil.

How did you first get started with Krampuslauf?

NK: Well, a few years ago, our neighbor Janet, told us about this parade, where people would make things and then go and march around, and she told us about the Krampus, and it sounded really cool! So our family went! And I took some pictures the first year, and that’s when Janet had her amazing coat of bones… it was there from the beginning.

BLD: Before you got started with Krampuslauf, were you still taking pictures a lot at different festivals?

NK: Not so much at different festivals, no, but just taking pictures of things around the neighborhood, mostly.

BLD: And… if you’re using a big camera, and you needed the light, do you mostly use that light – the light that you can adjust?

NK: Different cameras need different amounts of light. So the smaller cameras that I can carry around, those can practically see in the dark. So I can follow the parade, I can take pictures, and I don’t have to use a flash. But the big camera that I used last year (to create the Polaroids –ed.) – the film is very very slow, so it’s not very sensitive to light, and you need a LOT of light to get a good picture. And, it’s nighttime! By the time I was finished taking pictures, it was dark. So I have that flash, which can pump out a lot of light, and I actually had that turned all the way up. That’s probably the only time that I’ve had that flash turned all the way up, because it’s such a bright flash.

BLD: When you took a picture of me and… whoever else was in it (his sister – ed.), I was kind of also squinting because it was really, really light.

NK: Right. So there’s the light that’s on all the time, and I need that to focus the camera. I need some light so I can look through the camera and see if everything’s sharp, and then the flash is what is actually used to take the picture.

BLD: So the flash is used for like… these small cameras, does the flash come —

NK: Yup. That one has a flash built in. So that’s a tiny little flash. But then, so this is not very powerful, because it’s very tiny. So the one I plug into the wall, is huge, and it’s very powerful, very bright.

BLD: Does this one have — (who knows how many cameras Neil has given him access to at this point – ed.)

NK: This one doesn’t have a flash. So this is an older camera, and that one doesn’t have a flash, so that’s just, that piece there is just part of the viewfinder.

BLD: I can see the gear, but…. In this camera… when you look at it.. the film sees like, very far away.

NK: So this is a wide-angle lens. This lens will get a LOT of stuff into the picture — and then if you look at this one, this is slightly less wide-angle, and it – you get less stuff in there. And we can keep going. I can put a telephoto lens on there, and you get… my nose.

BLD: These cameras… was I taking it with the flash?

NK: The flash was up, so it was using the flash. That’s where you plug in… like you can get a flash that sits on top of the camera? That’s where you put it.

BLD: So what are these arrows for?

NK: Oh my goodness. So, there’s so many different controls, especially on a camera like this, this is almost like a computer that takes pictures.

BLD: Yeah, but with this, it’s different.

NK: So this one is a lot simpler – and again, this is a film camera, so you can’t see the pictures – this button, on both of these camera, this button tells the camera where you want to focus, and it’s the same thing with this but this doesn’t have as many places to focus. It only has five.

BLD: Do you know where it’s focusing on? (looking through camera)

NK: What? My ear?

BLD: Your mouth!

NK: Oh, my mouth! … And it’s in focus. Look at that. So that’s the difference between film and digital. With film, I take the pictures and the pictures end up on the film… this one’s older, so it’s harder to see where you’re focusing.

BLD: Oh, now… see, on the little arrow, you see it, but with this one, you don’t.

NK: Right.

BLD: When you first went to Krampuslauf, did you take lots of pictures of, like… what kind of Krampuses?

NK: Hmm. Well, the first couple parades, I took pictures by using these cameras, the ones I could hold in my hands, and walking through the parade with everybody. So, it was kind of… action photos of people walking in their costumes, and walking past restaurants, and things like that. So it was more, kind of like, taking pictures of it as it was happening. And the past year, I kind of wanted to take better pictures of people’s costumes, because people put so much work into their costumes, and I don’t always get really good photos of the costumes. So that’s why I figured I’d bring out the really big camera, and set up like a little portrait studio, so I could get really nice detailed pictures of people’s costumes. And it was very different than what I’ve done in past years.

BLD: In past years, was the route different than last year?

NK: Nah, I think the route’s been pretty much the same… except for the first year. I think the first year it was much shorter. I think the first year we just walked through Liberties Walk and then walked back to Liberty Lands, instead of walking all the way through the neighborhood, down Second Street and up Third Street.

BLD: It always seems longer each year.

NK: It seems longer each year? So you’ve done it since the beginning. How do you think it’s changed?

BLD: Not much. I usually forget a lot about the past years.

NK: Well, that’s why I take pictures. What do you think’s gonna happen next year?

BLD: Well, I dunno… (back to camera) THIS year, why did you have it so bright UP, and make it so, like, huge light, like the tallest it could be. Why did you do that?

NK: Because, my idea this year (Dec. 2015 – ed) like I said, was to take really nice pictures of people’s costumes. So that’s why I set up the backdrop, I set up the black curtain in the back, and that was so you wouldn’t see anything except people in their costumes. And the light, I needed the big light because of the camera I used. The really big camera needs a lot of light.

BLD: The big camera… needs so much light. So that’s why you couldn’t take it on the walk?

NK: Actually part of it is, with that camera anyway – and again, we’d have to look at it – but: you have to focus, and then there’s like ten steps you have to do before you can take a picture. So that’s why it’s kind of much slower than using a camera like this (digital). And it’s also relaxed. You can kind of tell people to find a place where you know they’re comfortable, where they can sit for a minute, and you get different pictures than you do with smaller cameras. It’s not a camera that you can really use on the run. It’s something where you really have to think about every picture you take, and because the film I used was so expensive, you couldn’t really mess up. You had, like, one shot to get each picture.

BLD: But couldn’t you just retake it?

NK: Well, the film I used – there’s not a lot of it. Actually there’s a company that’s making it by hand, and I could only get a little bit – they kept selling out of it. And so each picture was precious. And so if I messed up, that was one less picture I could take. With the digital camera, you can mess up as much as you want and you can delete all your mistakes. With this one, (another smaller film camera) I have thirty-six pictures, and film for this camera is not that expensive, you can mess up a little bit, but it’s more expensive than a digital camera. And with the biggest camera, you really can’t mess up.

BLD: Did you bring extra film during it?

NK: I used every sheet of film I brought. And when I ran out of film I just pulled out my digital camera and I was taking pictures of people in front of the backdrop, just with the digital camera. And they came out great too, but they were much different than the ones with the big camera.

BLD: So the ones that you took of us… we wheatpasted them onto our —

NK: I saw that. I wanna see it in person! I can show you the print – that film that I use, when you develop it, it’s kind of a sandwich. And when you peel it apart, you get the negative, which is what I use to make the really detailed prints for wheatpasting. And then you get a print, and the print looks very different, and I can show you what the print looks like.

BLD: How is it different?

NK: You would have to look, and tell me, how you think it’s different. It looks almost like a painting, more than a photograph. It’s not sharp and detailed, it’s kind of very… mushy? And it looks very different from the print from the negative.

BLD: When you – what do you mean by “mushy”?

NK: Even in the wheatpastes, I think you can see – like, you can practically count your eyelashes in the wheatpaste.

BLD: They are huge.

NK: But in the print, it’s almost like there’s no detail at all. So there’s not a firm line around your eyes, and your mouth… I’ll show you the print, and you can see what it looks like. They’re beautiful, but it’s very different than the negative.

… So this is the camera that I used at Krampuslauf. This is the case —

BLD: It’s huge! So what do you stand it on?

NK: So there’s a tripod right here, and I put it on the tripod.

BLD: How do you connect it?

NK: There’s a plate on the bottom – do you see that? – and it’s got a ridge, and it goes right in there.

BLD: So many knobs. What are all the knobs for?

NK: Well, one of the reasons people use cameras like this is they’re very adjustable.

BLD: And they give you a little, like um… ruler.

NK: Yup. And…

BLD: You need to unpack the lens… so what are this for, the extra.

NK: You can kinda see there are some blobs on there? … So if you look through the lens, the lens is open. You come up to the front. See, the lens is open – come right up to the front, you can see through the lens.

BLD: When you took them, did you see to look through the lens?

NK: Yeah! You’re gonna do that right now. You’re gonna look through the lens and see —

BLD: Is that the light you used at Krampuslauf?

NK: Yup! There you go! Then you have some light… now, if you can look through here – alright, it’s going to be blurry, so we have to focus – that’s what this rail is for, you have to learn to focus it, put this over your head, and you can kinda see a little bit better what’s going on. And, if you turn this back and forth, you might be able to get it to focus —

BLD: But when you’re doing that. How do you make it, like – how do you make the angle go up? So you can move it side to side, but… how can you make the angle go up?

NK: So that one, you have to be careful, because this is really heavy. So, you loosen this, and it’s on a ball; and you can just kind of move it: up, down… and what do you notice about the picture on the glass there? Is it right side up?

BLD: I think so…

NK: You think so? It’s actually upside down. Maybe if I get in here. (moves into viewfinder) Can you see me?

BLD: (Laughing) Upside down!

NK: Yeah, see? It’s upside down. So the other thing is that when I’m using this camera a lot of times I’m working with everything upside down. The picture somes through the lens, and it kind of crosses, and it’s projected onto the glass upside down.

BLD: That’s why I see the floor and I see all the tubes … facing downwards… when I got under here…

NK: And the other thing you can do – see, now it’s right side up – so if you look inside, that has a mirror in it, that reverses the picture, to make it right side up again. Well, so these are kinda complicated cameras, but these are the wheels that you use to change the settings for the camera, which on this camera are on the front, so, this is the opening of the lens, how long the lens stays open when you take a picture… what… don’t touch the glass. So if you look through the camera – and if I change this one white knob, and I’m gonna turn it and watch what happens.

BLD: Dimmer!

NK: Yup! It’s getting dimmer and lighter as I open it. And if you look in the front of the camera?

BLD: It’s closing up!

NK: And then the other thing you can do with this, is there’s the shutter speed, which is how long the lens stays open when you take a picture.

BLD: Oh my g— that comes off?

NK: Yeah. It all comes apart. Everything comes apart. So when you take a picture, you set how big you want the lens to be open, and then – so this dial is how long the lens stays open – and then you take a picture. See, it opens up just for a fraction of a second.

BLD: How do you take a picture, is that the thing —

NK: That’s the button, that’s the picture-taking button. So push that. And you see it just blinked for a second.

BLD: Yeah. Just for a second.

NK: So that would be taking a picture. But we don’t have film in here. So that’s the other thing, is that before you take a picture, you have to put film in the camera.

BLD: How?

NK: The film that I used at Krampuslauf comes in paper envelopes. This is one piece of film. This is one picture.

BLD: Oh my God, that’s huge for one picture.

NK: Yup. And then we put it in – this is what holds the film inside the camera.

BLD: ….So that’s only one?

NK: This is one picture. (Laughing.) So to take a picture you put your one piece of film in the camera, and now you can’t see anything because the film is there. So that’s what I’m saying; you have to focus the camera, and then you have like ten steps before you can take a picture. And then you would do that – (snaps shutter) – and there you go. And you can’t see anything when you take a picture. And then you would take this out, and, with this film, you would pull this, and then you get the sandwich of the negative and the print.

BLD: Are some of these just practice?

NK: Some of these were practice —

BLD: Oh! There’s my mom! And my dad.

NK: And some of them didn’t come out as well as others.

BLD: Aw, man.

NK: There you are. That’s the print. And then, the negative… look at that. Look at your face in there, and look at it on the print. See what I was saying about – like you can count your eyelashes, you’re practically – and here, your eyes are very mushy. And the same thing with like, the feathers and everything like that. It’s very detailed in the negative, and very mushy in the print.

BLD: So if you look at… you can count… the little… um… things.

NK: (Laughing) When I scan things and print them here, if there’s dust spots or anything, I can correct them on the computer. When I print things out on the enlarger, and I have prints like this, the dust spots are white spots and I need to use a teeny, tiny, little brush to paint out the white spots on the prints, and I need the magnifying glass because my eyes aren’t that good.

BLD: Especially ‘cause it’s really tiny.

NK: Yes. They’re really tiny little white spots.

BLD: Awesome!

NK: You’ll be my assistant next year? If I bring this camera out, now that you know how to use it?

(Apparently wordless response and laughter.)

BLD: Thank you.

NK: Thank you!