Local author catches up with former NHL players in new book

June 28, 2014

Originally posted on Brian D'Ambrosio's News/Articles/Books:

Helena author Brian D’Ambrosio details stories of former hockey enforcers in his recently published book.
June 24, 2014 • By TROY SHOCKLEY Independent Record

Penguins' McKee fights with the Islanders' Witt during the first period of their NHL hockey game in Uniondale
The playoff beards have been shorn and the year’s award winners will be honored in Las Vegas tonight. With next season’s schedules already out, the NHL year is utterly and completely finished.

But if you’re looking for something to help fill that void, Helena’s Brian D’Ambrosio may be able to help just a bit. The local author has published a book titled “Warriors on the Ice: Hockey’s Toughest Talk,” in which he catches up with more than two dozen former enforcers and tough guys. A longtime fan of the game, D’Ambrosio said the collection of old-time stories was most certainly a labor of love.

“I’ve always been interested in the psychology of the tough guy, and the mental prowess that goes into that preparation,” he said…

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Hockey Enforcers Speak Out: “Warriors on the Ice” review

June 23, 2014


Hockey Enforcers Speak Out

Originally posted on Brian D'Ambrosio's News/Articles/Books:

Hockey Enforcers Speak Out
by Kevin Mitchell, Vernon Morning Star
June 22, 2014


Brian D’Ambrosio of Missoula, Mont. used to work as a boxing writer in New York.

“In general, I’m a roaming, nomadic reporter, looking for the next cool subject,” he wrote me in an e-mail.

D’Ambrosio recently published Warriors on the Ice: Hockey’s Toughest Talk, a book available through Amazon.

He interviewed 30 of the toughest guys in the history of the NHL, in a 250-plus page book.

Some of hockey’s greatest enforcers, from Tim Hunter to Tony Twist, discuss the evolution of the tough guy position.

Former Vancouver Canuck Craig Coxe, ex-Philly Flyer Glen Cochrane, who lives in Kelowna, and one-time Flame and Panther Rocky Thompson also discuss their first fight and more. Each player shares a memory of Bob Probert, considered the toughest fighter ever.

“Secondly, it’s about the overall evaporating enforcer role and the…

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Leslie Smith III: I want People to Just Get It

May 25, 2014

I missed the introduction to the “rapid fire” lecture of UW-Madison professor and painter Leslie Smith III. Smith, in full force, as I entered the dark auditorium, showed little inclination to slow down. Immediately captivated, my senses prompted me to pay very close attention and strive to comprehend every word. I searched for a pen and paper to assist in increasing my chances of taking it all in and to also ” get it.” His choice of words fell on my ears as magic even as I missed chunks of phrases and bits and pieces here and there.

I instantly traveled back in time to my days as a UW-Milwaukee art aesthetics and philosophy student in the classes of Professor Haig Khatchadourian and much later as a student in the classes of Judith Russi Kirshner, then my professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a contributor to Art Forum. Khatchadourian’s and Kirshner’s command of aesthetics and delivery excited and gained my rapt attention. Smith’s command of aesthetics and delivery intertwined with his artmaking, inspired that same awe.

Smith provided glimpses into his educational background, museum exhibitions and assorted processes influencing the thought-provoking abstractions. He shared narrative observations and interpretations of sometimes quirky private dramas and interpersonal relationships. His real life references definitely distinguished themselves in the abstract paintings. Without these associations, the actual connections to pieces like “Piss Chair,” “Hungry Boy” and “You First”  remain with Smith. The uniquely personal references provide insights when the viewer needs them and when the artist desires, in some way, to provide them. Smith’s increasingly asymmetrically shaped canvas paintings, gestural brushstrokes and bold colors stand solidly alone as strong aesthetic images. My notes, following the artwork titles, reveal what I heard as Smith’s aesthetic concepts and welcomed as his references.

"Piss Chair" 96 x 108 inches, Oil on Canvas 2008

“Piss Chair” 96 x 108 inches, Oil on Canvas 2008

“Piss Chair”
In the white lawn chair we ate watermelon and barbeque/Legs and high heel shoes/Psychological aspects/Objects that function with little reference
Emotional Gravitas borrows language/language/isolates it from the language of object/You have to work with what you know. Work has to be more about me/How you tell the truth.

"Hungry Boy" 40 x 40 inches, Oil on Canvas 2011

“Hungry Boy” 40 x 40 inches, Oil on Canvas 2011

“Hungry Boy”

Hungry for work, Hungry for time, Hungry for a studio Infatuated with the romance/synthetic life of NY/Find objects that I can re-contextualize -find what I wanted/ I was asked, “Have you thought about Philip Guston?” It helps to organize the canvas/I thought about separating the making of a character from the act of creating the painting/I start out not knowing what they are all about/I’m interested in investigation/all the conditions of a painting/Dealing with the role of color, dealing with narrative/I thought about separating the making of a character/from the act of creating the painting/I start out not knowing what they are all about/I’m interested in investigation all the conditions of a painting/Dealing with the role of color/Dealing with narrative.

"Window" 24 x 24 inches, Oil and spray paint on Canvas 2010

“Window” 24 x 24 inches, Oil and spray paint on Canvas 2010


What came out of it is collapsing the space/Factor into a larger context/27” x 27” paintings/Infatuated with inanimate objects about the physicality of painting/How to not make it figurative/Make it volumetric/I realize that I just made a window/It reflects light with its metallic under-painting/I enter into an architectural space/Artist – Fra Angelico/He could negotiate space/Investigating Fra Angelico led to windows/Changing ways of studying subtle narratives and suggestion/“How Long has this been going on?/The Morning After”/Red hue is necessary for trying to solve the problem/Hard to quantify the saturation of color/Set within dream space/elements may float or exist in a semi-real space/I am interested in specificity and a certain reality/I want to create a sense of familiarity/I dream too much.

"You First" 26 x 26 Oil on Linen 2012

“You First” 26 x 26 inches, Oil on Linen 2012

“You First”

Do you know “Coming to America?”/Jerry Curls, Jheri Curls, Uncle’s/You first integrate multiple characters/Jerry curl juice/sweat.

"Self" 26 x 26 Oil on Linen 2011

“Self” 26 x 26 inches, Oil on Linen 2011


Annual self-portrait/Gestural characters clouds or a mop/Working around the peripheral/Strike a theme until I exhaust it/“Viennese Waltz”/Relationships with closest friends are closer or more like family than your real family/Dancing with the stars.

"Sticks Stone or Drones" 72 x 96inches Oil on Canvas 2012

“Sticks Stone or Drones” 72 x 96 inches, Oil on Canvas 2012

 “Stick, Stones, and Drones”

It was great, I liked it/But it did not satisfy what else I’m missing/A post-modernist painter/Everything is apologetic/Everything is working together/I wanted to give my painting the same kind of complexity/“Philip Guston at work in his studio”/he did not want to understand what he was painting/I think about the contextualizing/I do want to understand it and demystify things/Canvas/frame/Potent reason to allow the painting shape/once a square/Then disfigure/dis-invigorate it to a hump form/What the contradiction was/Contradicting realities.

"Night Baptism" 42 x 42 inches Oil on Shaped Canvas 2013

“Night Baptism” 42 x 42 inches Oil on Shaped Canvas 2013

“Night Baptism”

I flew to … the east coast to be re-baptized, it happened at night with about/6-7 little bitty people, then I flew back/“Drift Studio” carpentry/ Were all forces and working mechanisms/Equal and opposing-canceling each other out/Cyclical unsolvable realities/ Societal and cultural/Drawings are subsidiaries to the/Building off the idea of/Locked on and found if you lose it.


"Best Kept Secret" 48 x 48 inches Oil on Shaped Canvas 2013

“Best Kept Secret,” 48 x 48 inches Oil on Shaped Canvas 2013

 “Best Kept Secret”

 Under a vail/Broken fractured/Night                 twitch shows up/Things that show up/The  politics of dealing with human  dispositions/All the others become more  complicated/I deal more or less/These  objects/I want to take a more direct  approach/Moved back into just letting things  go. I order two or three shapes at a time because I don’t know what to do with them/A juxtaposing element of form not fitting that way/I just fuss with them until they kind of meld together/Post-minimalism neo-geo/My personal experience, an absence of self/The work becomes lost in the conversation/Big elephant in the room/packed with a certain amount of familiarity.

Untitled work on paper, 26 x 40 inches Oil on Chromcoat paper, 2014

Untitled work on paper, 26 x 40 inches, Oil on Chromcoat paper, 2014


Oil on Chromcoat paper/I can’t contextualize it/Something about these gestural painting/ Night Orchestra/Not figured out what that means/I just think it’s cool/Just needed something black to offset the newness/Want to make a painting that lifted those shapes up/The African American Abstract exhibition in Texas/The curator did such a good job of making me see the relationship my paintings had to abstraction in a multi generational context/I don’t believe mine are truly real abstractions/They are personified gestural subtle narrations of painting speaking to one another/I am working on more Chromecoat paper/their likeness helps fortify the shapes/I want people to just get it/A bad idea/My wife has told me no one can read my mind/unrealistic/my titles connect.

by Evelyn Patricia Terry

Terry received one of the Milwaukee Arts Board’s 2014 Artists of the Year Awards (along with Barbara Leigh), please contact Terry for juror, lecture, curator, commission, or workshop requests at terryevelyn@hotmail.com or visit the web page evelynpatriciaterry.com/news for more information.




DIY Girls Princess Skirt

February 16, 2014

Originally posted on DIY Mountain Mamma:

This is a child’s princess skirt.  I made it about knee length, buy you could choose whatever length you’d like.  I used one piece of fabric for the band (where the elastic goes) and two for the body of the skirt, a tulle piece and a silky piece (polyester).  You could eliminate the tulle piece and just use the silky piece (or two) if desired.  This is a good skirt for extra pieces of fabric.

Princess Skirt over Snowsuit

Princess Skirt over Snowsuit


Take measurements of waist, hips at the widest point and waist to desired length.

To Make the Band:

Band width:   3 ¼

Band length:   hip measurement + 1 ¼  (seam allowance) x 1.25= BL

Tulle and fabric overlay measurements:

Length:  waist to desired length + 1 ¼ seam allowance.

Width:  Band Length * 1.6.  This is an approximate value, the larger the multiplier, the more poofy the skirt, 1.3, would…

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Book Review – Warriors on the Ice

January 29, 2014

Originally posted on DIY Mountain Mamma:

This is a great book for the hockey fan in your life, or even a non-hockey fan like myself.  The book is written by a Montana author who personally interviewed 30 former hockey tough guys.  Each interview is chock full of great stories and fun insights into the sport.  I thought that the tough guy’s views on the safety changes that are occurring in the game were particularly interesting.  This book was fun and entertaining, I laughed out loud in multiple places – and I’m not a hockey fan, so I can only imagine how amusing the book would be to a long time follower of the sport.  This book gets two thumbs up and is highly recommended!

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DIY Fold Over Clutch

December 23, 2013

Originally posted on DIY Mountain Mamma:

I made this as a gift for a friend.  It is similar to the fuzzy clutch pattern with a few modifications…

Fold Over Clutch

Fold Over Clutch

It is super cute, but I sent it off so quick, I didn’t get to take great pictures.  Of course I made it last minute and had to run to the post office.  Hopefully if you’re gifting this you don’t have to mail it!


13’’ x 13’’ Canvas, outdoor fabric, burlap or another medium weight fabric

12’’ zipper (I used a recycled zip, worked just fine)

13’’ x 13’’Liner material, poly blend, cotton, whatever you like, I used a purple poly blend.

Light weight fusible interfacing (for lining)

I cut my patterns out of tissue paper, like the kind you get in presents.  I learned the hard way not to use colored tissue if you are using an iron with a steam function.  Even a…

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What high school kids want

September 4, 2013
Students in the Overture Center during High School Friday 2012. Photo by Jessica Becker

Students in the Overture Center during High School Friday 2012. Photo by Jessica Becker

“The first reason why I chose to go on this field trip was to miss school. When I got there, I discovered it was actually super interesting.” So said a 16 year-old high school student in reflecting on her day at High School Friday during the Wisconsin Book Festival.

This year is the third year the Wisconsin Humanities Council, where I work, is sponsoring a free day of programs for high school students at the Wisconsin Book Festival. One hundred and fifty kids will come to downtown Madison on Friday, October 18 for this incredible opportunity to engage in the civic and cultural life of our city. Authors, journalists, poets, multi-media artists, and spoken word artists are bringing their stories and real-world experiences together for a groovy day of exchange, exposure, and memory-making.

The day provides an eclectic mix of voices, perspectives, and ideas that will be thought-provoking and inspiring. I can promise that some of the things said, heard, and seen, will stick in some of those kids’ heads and push them in new, and positive, directions. Humanities experiences make an impact, though the effect tends to ripple and roll and reach into unplanned nooks and crannies of the mind.

We all know that what sticks in one person’s head is not what is going to stick in another person’s head.  Impact is uneven and unpredictable. Some moments, some books, some teachers, some students, and some experiences end up having more impact than others. And that is perhaps the one TRUTH about education.

“The Romans didn’t let people study the humanities, not the people they had conquered. You know that, right?” my husband asked me the other night, out of the blue.

He is one of the most well-rounded, well-read analytical chemists you’d care to meet.  Amazingly, he still remembers so much of what he learned in high school.

He and I proceeded to talk about how the study of philosophy, ethics, and history would be kept from those they wanted to keep subservient for obvious reasons. An educated citizen is a more powerful one, more inclined toward big ideas, more likely to sway opinions, more prepared for leadership roles.

I married a chemist though I somehow got through high school without taking a chemistry class (He is responsible for pouring things in our house!).  I opted instead for languages, art classes, and uncommon experiences. I don’t really remember (m)any of the facts I surely must have encountered along the way, but I grew up to be a true humanist. The humanities in the real world means being intrigued by difference, looking for ways to connect ideas, being curious to hear other perspectives, and staying wary of any fact out of context.

I value those skills and wish them for teens and everyone.

As we crafted the schedule for the annual High School Friday, we were well aware of the Standards that  high school teachers must use to shape their lesson plans. Specifically, the Social and Emotional Learning Standards for grades 9-12:

Respect Others: Students will identify positive ways to express understanding of differing perspectives and use conversational skills to determine the perspectives of others.

Civic Responsibility: Students will evaluate the impact of their involvement as agents of positive change and analyze their responsibilities as positive agents of change in a democratic society.

Yes, bring on the humanities. And the Wisconsin Book Festival! October 17-20, four full days of conversation, inspiration, and opportunity to participate in civil society!

The schedule for High School Friday includes hip-hop and spoken word performers from the UW-Madison First Wave program, female sportscaster and author Jessie Garcia, the dynamic trio of artists/librarians/authors from “The Library as Incubator” project, blog, and book, and multi-media experts from the Madison Public Library media lab. Every participant will go home with a library card and knowledge about how to make the public library a source of continued inspiration, access, and power.

Please contact me by October 1, 2013 if you know some high school students from the Madison area who would like to attend!

by Jessica Becker
Director of Public Programs, Wisconsin Humanities Council


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