Alaska Robotics

Archive for the ‘Local’ Category

Mini-Con Website is UP!

Tuesday, January 19th 2016 by Pat

It lives! The Alaska Robotics Mini-Con website lives!

We’ve posted our guest list and more information about applying to exhibit or participate in our artist camp. Go check it out!

Alaska Robotics Mini-Con

Announcing Alaska Robotics Mini-Con

Tuesday, January 5th 2016 by Pat

comic bear

I’m very happy to announce Alaska Robotics Mini-Con, a festival and artist camp taking place right here in Juneau from April 22-26th.

Aaron, Lou and I have been hosting guest artists for several years through our work at the Alaska Robotics Gallery and JUMP Society as well as through partnerships with other non-profit organizations like the Friends of the Juneau Public Libraries. We’ve also spent many years attending and exhibiting at comic conventions and arts festivals. Encouraged by those wonderful experiences, we decided it was time for us to host our own tiny comic convention and artist getaway.

I hesitate to even use the phrase “comic convention” when describing the event but those who have attended such things know that the term has grown to include a much more broad collection of pop and contemporary arts, games, music and more. We’re planning to embrace the spirit of those outside conventions but provide a far more down-to-earth, Southeast Alaska experience.

This is far from the official schedule of events but should shed some light on what we have in mind…


**Draft** Schedule

Friday, April 22nd

Guests arrive. We’ll visit some schools and settle in during the day. In the early evening we’ll host a reception and kick-off event for the community and our guests.

Saturday, April 23rd

This is the mini-convention day, an event for the community where people can meet artists, get sketches and have books signed. I’m imagining all the trappings of a bigger convention, just on a much smaller scale. We’ll have spin-off events, drawing hangouts and presentations with guest artists as well.

In the evening, after the convention winds down, we retreat to our secret camp in the woods.

Sunday & Monday, April 24th & 25th

Two days of camp for artists. We’ve booked a multi-cabin campground, a little rustic but totally cozy, for workshops and lectures with lots of breaks for board games, books, meals and hanging out with some of our favorite people.

Guest artists have already proposed some really intriguing and unique workshops and conversations geared toward an audience of peers and working artists.

This camp has limited space. We have about 15 guests at this point and will select a small group of 20-35 attendees to join us for this unique camp experience. The first round of applications will open January 18th. 19th!

Tuesday, April 26th

Last day at camp. We’ll probably have a Together Breakfast, say goodbyes and fly people home. Maybe an optional hiking adventure for people who leave later in the day.


If that sounds like something you’re interested in, keep in touch. We’ll be announcing guests and opening registration for artist camp participants and convention exhibitors on January 18th when we launch a more official website for the event.

I’m excited to announce guests. I’ve let a few names slip already. They’re awesome. Humble superstars. Kind, generous, talented and thoughtful people who love comics, visual storytelling, music and art.

It’s going to be a lot of fun.

Halloween Haunted House Art Show

Monday, October 19th 2015 by Pat

haunted houses

We’re partnering with the good people at NorthWind Architects to put on a Halloween Haunted House art show.

Submit your unframed haunted house cross sections or blue prints to the gallery by October 28th.

If you’re unfamiliar with cross sections or cut aways, here’s a great pyramid by our friend Scott C.

This is an all ages show so please keep the blood and guts to a tasteful excess.

Alaska Kickstarter Roundup

Thursday, August 6th 2015 by Pat

Some excellent human beings I know are making these things! I trust they’ll dig deep into their hearts and scoop out all the good stuff.

Dee Jay DeRego & Conor Lendrum

Dee Jay and Connor want to be wandering vagabond poets for a while. I think it’s a great idea.

Connor is an overt and charismatic kid who wanders around with his shirt unbuttoned and a big speakerbox backpack slung over his shoulder. He’ll sing along enthusiastically to whatever moves him, he has a way of amplifying and adding meaning to another person’s voice.

Dee Jay is more subdued, humble and gracious in a way that’s difficult to pin down. He’s a listener, an observer. He sees the world and how things fit together, how people tick along, how they’re broken.

The real treat here is at the $250 reward level, these guys will come teach a poetry workshop in your community. This is something they’re good at, put them to work!

Seth Boyer

Seth Boyer makes sad songs. And some less sad songs. And some songs about Sailor Moon. Also, he likes dogs. I think that’s pretty much all you need to know about Seth.

I’d really like for this album to get made. Here’s a sample:

Lisle Hebert

Lisle Hebert is a longtime Alaskan filmmaker who is setting out to create a docudrama about the events that caused the Yupik Eskimos to turn away from spiritual shamanism and towards the churches of missionaries and settlers.

Lisle’s work is based on the essay, YUUYARAQ: The Way of the Human Being, by Harold Napoleon and it will touch on a lot of the important and uncomfortable bits of Alaska History we don’t like to talk about.

Listed under project challenges, Lisle has ALS. It’s not something that’s a part of the film but it is a part of his reality and I think it will provide the drive and perspective to create something truly unique.

Grand Ol’ Paranoia

Thursday, July 23rd 2015 by Pat

Alaska GOP Communications Director, Suzanne Downing, called me out in her latest newsletter as some kind of shady political activist. I find this hilarious.

The newsletter is brilliantly titled, MUST READ ALASKA, so I’ll assume it’s not just languishing in your inbox. You’ve probably already been through the section on the closely guarded secret revenue meetings that are taking place across the state. I’m listed among the worst offenders:

“Also among Juneau’s closed planning group are environmental activists like SEACC’s development director Emily Ferry, Oceana attorney Michael LeVine (formerly with Earthjustice), and Alaska Robotics owner and political activist Pat Race.”

I know Republicans are supposed to spit on the ground after they say SEACC or Earth Justice so the implication is that Alaska Robotics (ptoooie) is just as villainous. Probably we’ve destroyed, like, a thousand jobs.

I was a little surprised to make the hit list but not as surprised as I was to hear the Alaska GOP crying about closed door meetings. That’s some sweet irony coming from the most powerful and privileged group of back room dealers in the state.

So. Let’s talk about these secret meetings of secret evil secrets held in the moonlight by secret liberal schemers.

The meeting I attended was the first of two where local attendees shared our impressions of the governor’s “Sustainable Future” meeting in Fairbanks. The goal was to figure out ways to broaden that discussion on a local level.

This wasn’t some kind of locked door cabal, this was a group of people trying to figure out how to expand a conversation about Alaska’s fiscal crisis.

Of the five people who came to this follow-up meeting, one was a commissioner for Murkowski and another was a director under the Palin administration. Yes, Bruce Botelho was there too and he rode in on a kayak made of organic kale but I think he was on track to answer the same fundamental questions we’re all working on:

How do we save Alaska from fiscal obliteration?

There are a lot of different answers to this question and they all need to be weighed. Some people want to make more cuts, others want to impose taxes or close weird loopholes and I suspect some folks would be happy to just see it all come down.

Whatever the answer, you can’t solve a problem of this scale with just a few people, you need to stitch together a multitude of perspectives to see the solution.

The Alaska GOP is the most powerful political party in Alaska and has been for quite some time. They hold the purse strings, they make the laws and they decide who wears pants. If the Alaska GOP feels like they’re not a part of this conversation, it just means they aren’t interested in listening.

P.S. Please enjoy trying to decipher this completely awful chart with way too many pie pieces.

Kazu Kibuishi & Jason Caffoe to visit Juneau!

Monday, February 23rd 2015 by Pat

We’re very excited to announce that comic artists Kazu Kibuishi and Jason Caffoe will be visiting Juneau this week! They’re the team behind the New York Times bestselling series, Amulet.

Check out our Alaska Robotics Gallery Newsletter for information about workshops, hangouts, signings, presentations and more:

Update: The Making Comics and Graphic Novels workshop is from 12:30pm-4:20pm at Centennial Hall Ballroom 2 on Thursday.

Kazu Amulet

Boring Talk – Katie Moritz

Monday, February 2nd 2015 by Pat

boring talk

Today on Boring Talk, I sit down with Katie Moritz, government reporter at the Juneau Empire. Moritz is a fresh face in the capitol building this year and I was eager to hear about her expectations and anxieties going into the new job.

Here are some of Katie’s most recent stories:

On a technical note, I’m still working out some bumps with my audio gear so this does have some light clipping. Sorry about that.

Boring Talk is a podcast where I’ll be exploring Alaska politics through long, boring conversations. This is a personal thirst for understanding but I’ll be sharing my (largely unedited) conversations because I think civic discourse is important in the age of Twitter and maybe there’s some information here that will be valuable to other Alaskans.

Boring Talk – “Disco” Ray Metcalfe

Friday, January 23rd 2015 by Pat

ray

Boring Talk is back in podcast form! In this first episode, I sit down with anti-corruption advocate and the man who brought the VECO scandal to light, Ray Metcalfe.

Metcalfe explains that with cases like Citizens United, the Supreme Court may be signalling that states need to button up their corruption problems with strict, criminal ethics laws and longer statues of limitations. Metcalfe also talks about his current efforts to do just that through the referendum process.

Boring Talk is a podcast where I’ll be exploring Alaska politics through long, boring conversations. This is a personal thirst for understanding but I’ll be sharing my (largely unedited) conversations because I think civic discourse is important in the age of Twitter and maybe there’s some information here that will be valuable to other Alaskans.

Learn more:

Tiny Desk Fest Juneau

Friday, January 23rd 2015 by Pat

NPR Music is known for hosting Tiny Desk Concerts in their studio. The shows are intimate and personal, like packing into a house concert but with artists who you would never see in that context. T-Pain performed without the his life supporting auto-tuner and Neko Case showed up on Halloween in a gorilla suit. The music is good too. Outstanding. Because, of course it is.

NPR did a great thing, they invited artists from all over to perform tiny desk concerts of their own and to record them and share them. Tiny Desk Fest writ large.

Here in Juneau, I recorded a house concert featuring The Wool Pullers, Marian Call, and George Kuhar. Check it out.

Three reasons I live here:

U.S. Forest Service Photography Rules

Thursday, September 25th 2014 by Pat

EDIT 9/26/2014 – I’m not going to delete my original post but my thoughts on this have evolved quite a bit in the past 24 hours. The short version is that the rules aren’t quite as draconian as news sources reported. A tidy summary of the rules available at WNCOutdoors.info.

smokey bearThere was a sensational headline in our newspaper today related to a U.S. Forest Service proposal which could create more strict permitting for photographers. As a filmmaker and occasional photographer who lives in the Tongass, a 17 million acre temperate rain forest, this would have an effect on me and many of my friends.

The article makes it seem like the Forest Service is coming after anyone snapping selfies with a tree in the background but the reality is that this will only impact commercial photographers. The problem I see is that many talented artists make a living from their work and it’s often quite meager. To lump in Mark Kelly with Indiana Jones (some scenes were shot at Yosemite!) is an appropriate compliment but wholly unfair in a commercial context.

Here is the public comment I sent to the Forest Service:

Hi, I’m a filmmaker from Southeast, Alaska and I ask that you rethink your rule on commercial photography.

I run a small studio, I work on small projects and I worry that you are about to create a situation where small studios and independent producers will not be able to participate while those with deep pockets and vast budgets will roam free. I fear they will be the only ones who can afford to capture images of our shared wilderness under this proposal.

Ansel Adams was a commercial photographer whose work you should know well. He loved nature and made a living by sharing the images he captured. You probably also know that without his photographs, we would probably not count Yosemite Valley among our parks. It was his commercial photography and heartfelt advocacy that was key to the expansion of our parks system.

I insist that you do not create a rule that will be a barrier to true artists whose work may be of a commercial nature but ultimately aligns with the ideals of our National Park system. Do not create barriers to photographers who seek to document and share the beauty of nature.

While we’re talking about artists whose work is of a commercial nature, why should visual artists be singled out? Why does this fee not apply to the many poets and writers who draw their inspiration and make their living from within our national parks? I hope that is a question that you can answer before you move forward with your process. If it is a matter of impact then charge fees based on relative impact to all users of the parks. A single commercial photographer observing the rules of a park does no more damage than a single hiker.

I will of course understand if you decide to create a special level of permitting hell for projects related to commercial advertisements and reality television.

All my best,
Pat Race
Juneau, AK

Liz Close, the Forest Service’s acting wilderness director, claims that these regulations are required to implement The Wilderness Act of 1964. I think that’s a bit flimsy. In reading the document, it appears to me that commercial photography must be banned altogether or recognized, as it already is, as a proper recreational activity.

Commercial guides are allowed to help people find their way through the wilderness. Commercial photographers and artists help us to see, understand and appreciate these places from other important perspectives.

EDIT – Greg points out that I’m referring to the Park Service and the Forest Service interchangeably here and I shouldn’t. I hope my point comes through regardless, we need to protect small scale commercial use.

And to further lay bare my ignorance, a soothing walk through the issue by Carl Johnson complete with those decimal point number things that make me fall asleep.