Warrior in the Ring: The life of Marvin Camel, Native American world champion boxer

December 3, 2014

Warrior in the Ring: The life of Marvin Camel, Native American world champion boxer


Brian D’Ambrosio

In the Golden Age of boxing, Marvin Camel—a mixed blood from the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana—defied all obstacles of race, poverty, and geographical isolation to become the first Native American to win a world boxing title.

Complex and wildly charismatic, Camel combined tremendous physical talent with staggering self-discipline—forged by the sting of his father’s belt—to claw his way to the top, twice winning world titles in the newly minted cruiserweight division and fighting on the same cards as boxing icons Roberto Duran, Larry Holmes, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Bob Foster.

Camel’s journey was an amazing example of gritty determination: punishing runs on Montana’s back roads, relentless training in make-shift gyms, sleeping in beat-up cars before fights in glittering Las Vegas, and even training and fighting for a world championship in a foreign country, alone.

Always, Camel willingly represented his state and his people, proudly wearing his eagle-feather headdress into the ring. Yet with success came sacrifice and pain, both physical and personal, but in life as in the boxing ring, Camel emerged bloody but unbowed.

With irresistible detail gleaned from years of frank interviews with Camel, his family and friends, his former opponents, and seasoned boxing insiders, Brian D’Ambrosio’s gripping biography captures the drama, danger, beauty, and ugliness of boxing, of Indian life on reservations, and especially, of the life of a stereotype-shattering man who inspired his people and boxing fans everywhere with his courage, achievements, and great warrior heart.




“Life in the Trenches” book highlights eclectic names and talents

August 25, 2014


The nature of storytelling hints at a fundamental human restlessness and insinuates human imperfection. Where there is perfection there is no story to share. In the 37 profiles within, there is no perfection. There are successes, failures, struggles and redemptions. There are falls from extraordinary perches and crushing victories and defeats and people driven to climb high in the first place. “Life in the Trenches” offers 37 narratives and stories of modern day trench warriors – Stephen King’s favorite folksinger (James McMurtry); a Greco-Roman wrestler and MMA forefather from the Midwest (Dan “The Beast” Severn); entertainment wrestlers so convincing as villains that they repeatedly put their own lives in danger (Ivan Koloff). Some of the subjects have been retired and inactive for decades. Some simply swapped one trench for another. Some could turn even the simplest memory into something remarkably intense. “Life in the Trenches” is crammed with stories of the forgotten (Tim Witherspoon and the lost generation of 1980s heavyweights), the unpopular (one former NHL tough guy, Jim Thomson, has unleashed the wrath of hockey fight fans for his anti-fighting position), and the ultra-popular (“Rowdy” Roddy Piper is such a scoundrel in entertainment wrestling that he lives in seclusion on a mountaintop in Oregon). There are no run-of-the-mill stories here. Humanity’s legacy of stories and storytelling is the most valuable asset we have. This book is a nod to that precious quality. Subjects profiled and interviewed:
1) Baseball pitcher Jim Abbott
2) Iran Barkley
3) Mike Bass
4) Livingstone Bramble
5) Earl Campbell
6) Gerry Cooney
7) Ted DiBiase
8) Troy Dorsey
9) Daniel Gonzalez: Coal miner-boxer
10) Ivan Koloff
11) Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini
12) Angel Manfredy
13) “The Model” Rick Martel
14) Jameel McCline
15) James McMurtry
16) Anthony Muñoz
17) Lee Roy Murphy
18) Sean O’Grady
19) Diamond Dallas Page
20) Nathan Perrott
21) Richard Pilon
22) “Rowdy” Roddy Piper
23) “Leaping” Lanny Poffo
24) Folksinger Matthew Ryan
25) Mike Ryan: Montana bootmaker
26) Dan “The Beast” Severn: MMA forefather
27) Earnie Shavers
28) Billy Sims
29) James “Bonecrusher” Smith
30) George “The Animal” Steele
31) Pinklon Thomas
32) Jim Thomson
33) Paul Thorn: Boxer turned Musician
34) Jimmie Walker
35) Demond Wilson
36) Tim Witherspoon
37) Garo Yepremian

Wisconsin art environments host second annual plein-air event

July 31, 2014

Five fascinating Wandering Wisconsin art environments will host an August weekend of free fun through art making. If you’re not an artist come anyway because there will be plenty of them and they’re fun to watch, especially when they’re painting outdoors at places as unique as these.

Artists in the yard at Grandview, 2013

Artists in the yard at Grandview, 2013

The events include exploring some of the grandest, most astonishing, and original visions in American art and painting in the plein-air style on a postcard-size canvas. Professional artists, amateurs and children of all ages may also enter their paintings to win cash prizes. If you are an experienced painter you can just have at it; there will be lessons at each site for children and those new to the style.

The sites hosting a Plein-Air Postcard Event are: Ernest Hüpeden’s Painted Forest, Valton (August 2–3); The Paul and Matilda Wegner Grotto, Cataract (August 2–3); Fred Smith’s Wisconsin Concrete Park, Phillips (August 9–10); James Tellen’s Woodland Sculpture Garden, Town of Wilson (August 9–10); and Nick Engelbert’s Grandview, Hollandale (August 16–17).

Art environments are a different animal, and Wisconsin has a lot of them.  One of my favorite definitions can be found online at ITENet – Finnish Contemporary Folk Art: “An art environment consists of works of art, their relations to one another, and it also includes everything else in the living environment such as its architecture, plants and the geography of the area. The light and temperature in the environment vary according to the time of day and the season. The environment gets beaten by the rain and swept by the wind, parched by the sun and covered by snow. The sensual world of contemporary folk art embraces the perfume of flowers and the smell of manure

The 2013 first place adult category winner, by Stacey Lenz, painted at the WI Concrete Park

The 2013 first place adult category winner, by Stacey Lenz, painted at the WI Concrete Park

wafting from the fields, birdsong and sounds of traffic as well as the hum of mosquitoes and horseflies buzzing on the skin.”  These are unique places for art, nature, creativity and fun.

Prizes ranging from $15 to $250 will be awarded at each event. Judges will award three prizes in each of the following categories: children through age 12, youth ages 13 through 18, adult amateur, and adult professional. Award winners from each event will be entered in a statewide competition for a $500 prize.

Plein-air events begin at 8 a.m. Saturdays and end at 4 p.m. Sundays. Judging will take place from 4–5 p.m. on Sundays. Photos of all entries will be taken and photos of award winners will be exhibited on the Kohler Foundation website.

For beginners, there will be plein-air painting instruction from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. All ages and skill levels are welcome.

2nd place_Youth_ Valerie Carr_Grandview

Valarie Carr’s winning youth division painting, Grandview 2013

Paintings entered for judging must be on postcard-sized canvases/boards (5″X 7″), which will be supplied along with all other necessary materials. Professional artists may bring their own supplies and sell other works while painting at the art environments.

There are no registration or materials fees. For more information, call Emily Bianchi at (920) 694-4534 or email ebianchi@jmkac.org. Wandering Wisconsin is a consortium of eight art environments located throughout Wisconsin. The plein-air events are funded by Kohler Foundation, Inc.

Wisconsin is beautiful in August and the five participating Wandering Wisconsin sites are all around the state.  Maybe there’s one near you.  Bring family and friends for a unique, enjoyable Wisconsin experience.

Rick Rolfsmeyer, Hollandale, WI  (Pop. 288)

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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