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Sep 25, 2012

Extinction of the Montana Logging and Ballet Co.

The MLBC engaging in a treasured American tradition, fighting over money!
After 37 years of showering political satire, original music and comedy on unsuspecting crowds around the country, the Montana Logging and Ballet Co. gave its final concert in Missoula. In effect, we were able to sing at our own funeral!

The four of us guys got together at Rocky Mountain College in 1975 to perform for high schools to pitch the college. At the time we toured with different groups of 4 co-eds so we could show off some real talent. But after a couple years of that the four of us went on to sing together with a focus on political issues. Our specialty was incorporating the news of the day into our shows, even once hearing about a major event at 5PM and going onstage that night with a new song about it!  We also wrote a poignant song about 9/11, "Lullaby for the Lost" that we recorded and delivered to NPR 4 days after the event. (They didn't play it, saying the grief window had closed!)

We performed hundreds of concerts in nearly every state, landing before congress, the National Press Club, Charlie Rose, and countless tiny struggling progressive organizations for whom we raised lots of money, including nearly one million dollars for Archbishop Tutu's work in South Africa. At the end of the Clinton presidency we even became the "resident political satirists" on National Public Radio, fouling radios all over the country. Then that came to a screeching halt on the very day Bush came into office and NPR dumped us rather than risk their funding. We took that as a good sign of our effectiveness.

But even that didn't stop us and in order to call it quits we had to be overcome by, also effective, old age and decrepitude (our oldest guy is 70)! In honor of the upcoming season though, there will be one more public appearance from the grave. Our final Helena concert was filmed and will be broadcast on Montana PBS several times beginning on Oct. 13. If you have half as much fun as we had...well then we had twice as much as you!
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Tim Holmes Studio

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I'm a sculptor/filmmaker living in Montana, USA. I am using art to move the evolution of humanity forward into an increasingly responsive, inclusive and interactive culture. As globalization flattens peoples into a capitalist monoculture I hope to use my art to celebrate historical cultural differences and imagine how we can co-create a rich future together.

I see myself as an artist/philosopher laboring deep in the mines of joy. I've had a good long career of exhibiting work around the world and working on international outreach projects, most notably being the first American to be invited to present a one-person exhibit in the Hermitage Museum. Recently I have turned my attention from simply making metal sculpture to creating films and workshops for engaging communities directly, tinkering with the very ideas and mechanisms behind cultural transformation. I feel that as we face tragic world crises, if the human species favors our imaginative and creative capacities we can cultivate a rich world to enjoy.

For me the deepest satisfaction in making art comes in engaging people's real life concerns rather than providing simple entertainment or decoration. Areas of conflict or tension are particularly ripe for the kind of transformative power that art uniquely carries. I invite any kind of challenge that serves people on a deep level.