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Posts Tagged ‘show’

WSU teacher helps investigate historical mysteries

Scott Rolle, Brad Meltzer, Christine McKinley, and Buddy Levy. Eric Ogden

Scott Rolle, Brad Meltzer, Christine McKinley, and Buddy Levy. by Eric Ogden

Tune in to the History Channel Thursday evening for the first episode of Decoded, which features a team of historical investigators including WSU faculty member Buddy Levy.

A ten-part series, Decoded will examine persistent historical questions, such as whether Meriwether Lewis really committed suicide and the location of the lost Confederate treasury.  With mechanical engineer Christine McKinley and lawyer Scott Rolle, Levy is sent out by history enthusiast and best-selling author Brad Meltzer to track down answers to the questions uncovered in the course of his research.

Levy is a clinical associate professor in the English department, teaching writing and literature.  He is also the author of Conquistador: Hernan Cortes, King Montezuma, and the Last Stand of the Aztecs (Bantam Dell 2007) and American Legend: the Real-Life Adventures of David Crockett (Putnam 2005).  A forthcoming history, River of Darkness: Francisco Orellana’s Legendary Voyage of Death and Discovery Down the Amazon (Bantam Dell) is due for release in early 2010.

As a freelance journalist, Levy has covered adventure sports around the world and is a frequent contributor to a number of magazines.

Decoded premieres December 2 at 10 p.m. on History.

The Daily Evergreen ran a story on Dec. 1 about the show, including some interviews with Levy’s students.

UPDATE: The New York Times also has a good article about the show, “Searching for Clues in History’s Nooks.”

Watch the trailer:

Something for a Ray-ny day

Ketchikan-based artist Ray Troll (MFA ’81) migrated south this winter for the opening of his latest show at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle.

Poster for Ray Troll's show at the Burke

Poster for Ray Troll's show at the Burke

Kicking off the show in December with a private, invitation-only event, the museum hosted several hundred people from tots and teens to aged professors, all eager to visit with Ray and his traveling companion and co-author paleontologist Kirk Johnson, who grew up in Mercer Island.

Troll’s work is fanciful, but accurate. Every scale, proboscis, and fin is accurately rendered. Still it’s all slightly “bent,” Ray’s words, not mine. Ray creates a dual world where the dinosaurs mingle with the modern features, like gas stations and televisions. The exhibit pairs Troll’s paintings and murals and Johnson’s research with real-life fossils from the museum’s collections.

Troll’s style is to pep it up with cool colors, 3-D, video shorts, and music that he co-created, like “Cruisin’ the Fossil Freeway,” and “Paleonerd.” The videos include action-filled scenes from Washington, including a beach on the Olympic Peninsula where Johnson and Troll break nodules of hardened ancient sediment to look for fossils of “little critters.”

Searching for Concretions

(Watch all the videos at the Cruisin’ website)

Since we last checked in with Ray, he has made another trip to the Amazon last spring, where he was again wowed by the fish, the foliage, and the food. And Ray and his band, The Ratfish Brothers, have released a CD titled, like the exhibit, “Cruising the Fossil Freeway.” To hear a selection of the songs visit the band’s MySpace page:

If you’re looking for something fun to do on a rainy weekend, or even on a sunny day, the Burke show is fun for everyone from the smallest kid to the oldest paleoethnobotanist. It will be in Seattle through May 31.


Cruisin’ the Fossil Freeway – Ray Troll’s show at the Burke Museum

Ray Troll: A story of fish, fossils, and funky art – Article from Spring 2007 issue of Washington State Magazine 

TrollArt – Ray’s official website