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Lifeforce (VOA Connect Episode 197)


VOA – CONNECT
EPISODE # 197
AIR DATE: 10 22 2021
TRANSCRIPT

OPEN ((VO/NAT))
((Banner))
Preserving Nature
((SOT))
((Divya Anantharaman, Gotham Taxidermy))

Taxidermy embodies the life of an animal. It embodies the life and the artwork and the passion of the person who preserved that animal.
((Animation Transition))
((Banner))

Returning to the Stage
((SOT))
((NATS))
((Ed Cook, Audience member))

It's great to finally get back out. You know, we've come to the concerts in the past before COVID. So, it's great to get a chance to come out again.
((Animation Transition))
((Banner))

Honoring Culture
((SOT))
((NATS))
((Keytlynne Lewis, Yupik WEIO Athlete from Juneau))

There are different games out there. They’re not based off being physical. It's all about technique. So, for example, the game that we did earlier, the Indian Stick Pull, that is all based off a technique.
((Open Animation))

BLOCK A


((PKG)) THE ART OF CONSERVING NATURE
((TRT: 07:36))
((Topic Banner:
The Art of Conservation))
((Reporter/Camera:
Aaron Fedor))
((Editor:
Kyle Dubiel))
((Producer: Kathleen McLaughlin))
((Map:
Brooklyn, New York))
((Main character: 1 female))
((NATS))
((Divya Anantharaman, Gotham Taxidermy))
I got interested in taxidermy because I've always loved nature, I've always loved art, and I've always loved science and taxidermy is a combination of all of that. This is a glossy starling, and you can see it's a cleaned and preserved skin. This is a domestically-raised bird that is naturally deceased. So, that is how I came upon this bird. ((Divya Anantharaman, Gotham Taxidermy))
Often the animals are sourced ethically, legally, sustainably. Everyone sort of has a different way of talking about the way they source animals, but animals that I source are sourced completely as sustainably as possible. And that's a real standard across the whole industry.
((NATS/MUSIC))
((Courtesy: Divya Anantharaman/Gotham Taxidermy))
((Divya Anantharaman, Gotham Taxidermy))

I got into taxidermy as a hobby. I started collecting antique taxidermy and started collecting natural history artifacts in general. So, shells and minerals and gems and rocks and all sorts of other stuff like that. So, this is what goes, this foam body is what will go inside of the skin to make the bird, to fill out the bird, to make it look alive again.
((NATS))
((Courtesy: Divya Anantharaman/Gotham Taxidermy))

((Divya Anantharaman, Gotham Taxidermy))
I work mostly with birds and small mammals. So, I really love working on sort of the smaller creatures that people often overlook or creatures that people often don't think of when they think of taxidermy.
((Courtesy: George Dante Studios))
People don't really think of small birds, but I love them so much because they're animals that I find just fascinating and breathtaking and just full of wonder.
((Divya Anantharaman, Gotham Taxidermy))
What I love most about taxidermy is just that never-ending sense of like
((Courtesy: George Dante Studios))
renewing that joy and wonder and fascination with nature. Every time you get close to nature, you see something new. And taxidermy gives us this really special thing where it's this amazing tool for conservation and that is a storytelling tool. You know, I can, through the art of taxidermy,
((Courtesy: George Dante Studios))
I can tell a story about an animal and someone can get close to that animal and feel something and see something that they might not be able to see if that animal were alive because we really
((Divya Anantharaman, Gotham Taxidermy))
shouldn't get close to wildlife when it's alive, you know. We should maintain our distance from wildlife so it stays wild.
((NATS/MUSIC))
((Divya Anantharaman, Gotham Taxidermy))
The types of clients I have vary. There are artistic clients, people who want taxidermy as home décor. There are also clients, I also have clients that are museums and educational institutions and things like that.
((Divya Anantharaman, Gotham Taxidermy))
I always consider taxidermy as a scientific art or an artistic science,
((Courtesy: Divya Anantharaman/Gotham Taxidermy))
because it does combine quite a bit of both. So, you need to have a knowledge of the species in order to recreate it. And then you also need to have sort of this artist’s touch, because in order to perform taxidermy, there are a few skills involved. There's, of course, skinning and fleshing and specimen prep, which can tend to be more on the scientific side.
((Divya Anantharaman, Gotham Taxidermy))
And then there's sculpting and painting and, you know, grooming and preening which can be more on the artistic side.
((Courtesy: Divya Anantharaman/Gotham Taxidermy))
For me, as a kid, you know, I've always grown up in big cities. So, nature kind of felt very precious. It felt very rare. It felt sort of like a little treasure finding that in the city. So, I really enjoyed the times I could spend at the parks or times I'd spend at beaches or sort of the city person's version of nature.
((NATS/MUSIC))
((Divya Anantharaman, Gotham Taxidermy))
I think there is a lot we can learn through old taxidermy pieces because when we think of a historic object or an artifact, we think of something like a sculpture or something like a tool or something like that. But taxidermy is so much more than that. Taxidermy embodies, it embodies the life of an animal.
((Courtesy: Divya Anantharaman/Gotham Taxidermy))
It embodies the life and the artwork and the passion of the person who preserved that animal.
((Divya Anantharaman, Gotham Taxidermy))
So, with that, you know, you’re sort of embodying the human/animal relationship. One of the most important sort of functions of taxidermy is preserving animals that have gone extinct or being a record of taxonomy for animals that have gone extinct especially. You know, there is the passenger pigeon. I've had the really great pleasure of restoring the passenger pigeon
((Courtesy: Divya Anantharaman/Gotham Taxidermy))
and it's really electric to be face-to-face with a creature that has gone extinct and knowing that, you know, knowing how haunting of a reminder it is that we need to, you know, that we need to take care of our planet. We need to preserve biodiversity as it’s living, as it’s current and now,
((Courtesy: George Dante Studios))
but it's also really interesting to kind of be face-to-face with something that has outlived you in a way.
((Courtesy: Divya Anantharaman/Gotham Taxidermy))
You know, even though the passenger pigeons aren't flying in our skies now, this specimen has outlived
((Divya Anantharaman, Gotham Taxidermy))
the others of it’s kind, in order to communicate this message, in order to be this representation or this ambassador of its species, so that we can all learn not just about the passenger pigeon, but about the conditions that led to its demise and hopefully prevent that for other animals in the future.
((NATS))
((Divya Anantharaman, Gotham Taxidermy))
So now, I'm going to be finishing up, you know, finishing up the little finishing touches on the bird. So here, I have these pins in the eyes. I'm just going to make sure that I'm adjusting the eyelid shape. I'm just going to sort of, you know, use a pin to kind of trace around the eyelid to get the shape really, really nice.
((NATS/MUSIC))
((Courtesy: YouTube))

But through taxidermy through, whether it's a piece of home decor, whether it's a piece that's a diorama, whether it's a piece that is, you know, something in between,
((Divya Anantharaman, Gotham Taxidermy))
I think that people can have a moment of stillness. They can have a moment of appreciation for that animal's beauty and get lost in the details and really surrender their curiosity to that animal and that will drive them to conserve nature. Because once you get close to something, you care about it. When you care about something, you want to conserve it. And I think that sort of summed up picture is the most wonderful thing about taxidermy.
((NATS/MUSIC))


TEASE ((VO/NAT))
Coming up
((Banner))
Music in the Park
((SOT))
((Ed Cook, Audience member))

It's great to finally get back out. You know, we've come to the concerts in the past before COVID and it's great to get a chance to come out again.


BREAK ONE
BUMP IN ((ANIM))


BLOCK B


((PKG)) ORCHESTRA CONDUCTOR
((TRT:
09:12))
((Topic Banner:
An Orchestra Returns))
((Producer:
Marsha James))
((Reporter/Camera:
Philip Alexiou))
((Map:
Arlington, Virginia))
((Main character: 1 male))
((Sub characters: 2 female; 5 male))

((NATS))
((Text on screen:

Musicians are finally practicing and playing together before live audiences again after going silent for a year and a half because of COVID.))
((NATS))
((Scott Wood, Orchestra Conductor))

This violin was made in 1902 by my great-great-grandfather, who was a dentist at that time, but earlier in his life was a Civil War bandmaster and had went on all these, you know, campaigns in the Civil War from [1862] to [1865]. So, we've been able to follow some of his tracks and read his memoirs and it's nice to have this violin which is actually a pretty good instrument.
((NATS))
((Scott Wood, Orchestra Conductor))

When I was really young, I started playing on piano and then I took up the trumpet soon after that. My military family that I was living with, was traveling all the time. And so, when we were living in Germany, actually there's a picture over here of a painting by my mom of the little tavern that I used to rehearse in. When I was in fifth grade, my dad would drop me off at a bar every Tuesday night and I would play with this little German town band. And so, music became for me kind of like a passport, so that every place we would go, that was my ability to kind of make friends with music and that's kind of stuck with me. That's really what got me interested in the first place.
((NATS))
((Scott Wood, Orchestra Conductor))

My name's Scott Wood and I am an orchestra conductor. So, I've got a concert today with an orchestra called the Arlington Philharmonic.
This is going to be a really interesting project because we are basically performing for an audience, almost rehearsing it and performing it almost at the same time because of COVID restrictions. So, we don't really have, we haven't had a place to rehearse indoors but we really wanted to reconnect with audiences and put on a concert.
((NATS))
((Scott Wood, Orchestra Conductor))

So, we're going to have a short rehearsal…..
Show time
…..followed immediately by the concert. And I'm intending to tell the audience that this is the way that we're presenting this. And I think they’ll kind of appreciate how spontaneous it is and how quickly the orchestra can actually learn music. Really haven't been doing anything live. Very few live performances of any kind for musicians for about a year and a, what, a year and a half almost now. And so, what have we been doing in our lives to keep the music going? We've been doing a lot of practicing, which is always something we value, but that's by ourselves. So, getting together has been, you know, kind of impossible and we're starting to do that during that real restricted time that we had. We did a lot of things kind of virtually. We tried to put together recordings and things like that, but it was no substitute for really getting together live and that's really only just starting to happen, especially for large groups like orchestras right now. So, you know, even in the very few things that I've done so far coming back, it returns very quickly, but you feel a little bit rusty. It's sort of like the socializing, even the way you work with your colleagues.
((NATS: Scott Wood and Band members))
((Scott Wood, Orchestra Conductor))

That's my cue for the last number in the…..
((Unidentified orchestra member))
What’s that?
((Scott Wood, Orchestra Conductor))
That's my cue for the last number in the Ellington.
And, of course, the technical thing of playing your instrument with other musicians, getting used to them. That’s all. You’re kind of all learning it again, but it comes back pretty quickly.
((NATS))
((Scott Wood, Orchestra Conductor))
We did a concert that was a small orchestra indoors. So, it felt like a real orchestra experience from that point of view, but we just had a very limited audience. We were filming it and then live streaming it. And so, that sort of pushed the button of a concert a little bit, but it felt really strange to not have an audience there.
((NATS))
((Laurie Loomis, Oboist))

From a musical standpoint, it's been really frustrating. Yeah, it's hard to get motivated to practice when there's nothing coming up and no real chance of stuff coming up until the pandemic is over.
((NATS))
((Scott Wood, Orchestra Conductor))

You're not necessarily trying to interact with the audience at every moment, but the audience is really part of the experience. And that's what's going to be different, I think, about the concert we’re about to do.
((NATS))
((Craig Teer, Stage Manager, Percussionist))

Everybody has to bring their A game because it's sight reading. We’ll give, you know, we have about an hour to rehearse it and then we perform. So, the pressure is on. In every group that I've worked with, the first thing is, “It's so good to be back.” That is, to a single person, “It's so good to be back.”
((NATS))
((Scott Wood, Orchestra Conductor))

There were phone numbers on past emails, but we don’t have…..
((Craig Teer, Stage Manager, Percussionist))
You see? You see things?
((Fabian Faccio, Librarian, Pianist))
So, I am the librarian. I am in charge of getting the music for all the musicians.
((NATS))
((Fabian Faccio, Librarian, Pianist))
It‘s been difficult. It has put everything on hold, and it's really been a whole year and a half. Everybody is excited about it. So, I got emails and I say I'm contacting the musicians to confirm the music and the parts. Many of them are very excited that we are playing some other concert and the weather is helping. So, everybody is very excited.
((NATS))
((Tom Gardner, Violinist))

I mean from a health standpoint, my family and I have been okay, but as a musician it's been pretty difficult. This is actually the first live concert that I'll be playing in, in almost two years. Musicians, we want to create, and we want to do it in front of people and share that with them. And just not being able to do that, that's been pretty difficult, so.
((NATS))
((Scott Wood, Orchestra Conductor))

Okay, the coda.
((NATS))
((Scott Wood, Orchestra Conductor))

Here we go.
((Craig Teer, Stage Manager, Percussionist))
Okay, give them hell.
((Scott Wood, Orchestra Conductor))
We're going to go out together.
((NATS))
((Ed Cook, Audience member))

It's great to finally get back out. You know, we've come to the concerts in the past before COVID and had to go through last year with none of this. So, it's great to get a chance to come out again.
((NATS))
((Alex Cook, Audience member))

It's so nice to roll right down here in the neighborhood. Easy parking, walk right in, great music. We love Scott's personality.
((NATS))
((Barbara Henry, Audience member. Wife of bass player))

I thought they were very talented especially knowing that, you know, they just had a short rehearsal right before the concert.
((NATS: Music and cheers))


TEASE ((VO/NAT))
Coming up
((Banner))
Playing for Pride
((SOT))
((Keytlynne Lewis, Yupik WEIO Athlete from Juneau))

So, there are many of us who are dealing with multigenerational trauma. But I feel that I'm going to be the one who's going to break that cycle to not, make sure that trauma does not repeat itself.


BREAK TWO
BUMP IN ((ANIM))



((PKG)) ESKIMO OLYMPICS
((TRT:
03:25))
((Topic Banner:
Indigenous Games))
((Reporter/Camera:
Natasha Mozgovaya))
((Producer: Zdenko Novacki))
((Map:
Fairbanks, Alaska))
((Main character: 1 female))

((NATS))
((Text on screen:

Since 1961, Native athletes from circumpolar regions have competed in the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics.))
((NATS))
((Keytlynne Lewis, Yupik WEIO Athlete from Juneau))

It’s a sport but if you think about it, it's also technique or skill that you can use for your everyday life because where I'm from, we hunt and harvest for our foods. I’m 24 years old. I have been competing in these games since the fourth grade.
((NATS))
((Keytlynne Lewis, Yupik WEIO Athlete from Juneau))

There are different games out there. They’re not based off of like being physical. It's all about technique. So, for example, the game that we did earlier, the Indian Stick Pull, that is all based off a technique. And that represents pulling a slippery, slimy salmon out of the fish [water]. And so, you got to figure out how to place your fingers to catch that fish, so it doesn't get away. It’s all the knowledge that you gain based off of the land and your elders and your people.
((NATS))
((Keytlynne Lewis, Yupik WEIO Athlete from Juneau))

I’m Yupik, which is located in the Kuskokwim, lower Kuskokwim area in the southwestern part of Alaska. But I currently live on Tlingit land, which is in the southeast region.
((NATS))
((Keytlynne Lewis, Yupik WEIO Athlete from Juneau))

My grandmother, she was forced into an orphanage home. And that orphanage home was run by missionaries from the Lower 48 [US states]. And they basically were forcing my grandmother to not speak her language. She would get severe punishment if they did hear her speak her language. And they were enforcing the Western society way of life into her that she was not familiar from. And so, that caused a lot of trauma to her. And then as she grew up, she got into alcohol. So, there are many of us who are dealing with multigenerational trauma. But I feel that I'm going to be the one who's going to break that cycle to not, make sure that trauma does not repeat itself because over the years in the past, you have seen stigma towards being Indigenous.
((NATS))
((Keytlynne Lewis, Yupik WEIO Athlete from Juneau))

For example, you, there have been moments where I walked into a space where it felt wrong for me to be Indigenous and I wasn't like white enough, like I wasn't living the white lifestyle perfectly. So, there was really no in-between for me, so I always felt out of place. And to see that here in a different way, like to be proud to be Indigenous.
((NATS))
((Keytlynne Lewis, Yupik WEIO Athlete from Juneau))

It’s very emotional for me, in a good way, to see our younger generations here, who are engaging with the games, who are engaging with the traditional dancing that, yesterday, that was a very strong performance with the Wainwright Dance Group. So, it's really good to see little ones, who are learning how to drum, who are learning how to sing in the language, and who are doing all this with no shame.
((NATS))


CLOSING BUMPER ((ANIM))
voanews.com/connect


NEXT WEEK / GOOD BYE ((VO/NAT))
((Banner))
In coming weeks
The Torcedores
((SOT))
((Fernando Morales, Owner, Mr. Cigars))

Lidia, the Torcedora, Cuban cigar roller, her cigars are simply magnificent, magnificent.
((Lidia Marcio Guerra, Cigar Roller, Federico Empire Cigar Factory))
I have been making cigars for 35 years. I love tobacco. It’s the only thing I know how to do. A good cigar is the one who has a good pull, that has good flavor, that is not bitter. ((NATS/MUSIC))
((Fernando Morales, Owner, Mr. Cigars))

The Torcedores, we respect them. And whenever an American sees a cigar roller or a Torcedor making a cigar, he stops, takes a picture. Even though he or she has seen it 20,000 times, he is always intrigued by the way it’s made, and appreciate it, enjoys it.
((NATS/MUSIC))




CLOSING BUMPER ((ANIM))
voanews.com/connect


((PKG)) FREE PRESS MATTERS ((NATS/VIDEO/GFX))
((Popup captions over B Roll))
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BREAK THREE
BUMP IN ((ANIM))



SHOW ENDS


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