Ledoux Street in Taos: The Story on the Street

The Story on the Street
by Tania Casselle for Local Flavor magazine.

On a chile-hot August afternoon, Ledoux Street in Taos has a far-from-the-madding-crowd tranquility that belies its location. It’s just a few steps from the Plaza and the busy main thoroughfare, but a world away in atmosphere. As I stroll down this narrow winding road lined with 200-year-old adobe homes turned artist galleries, I’m transported back to the Taos of an earlier, less touristy time. It’s packed with picture-perfect charm: sunflowers twice my height bob in the breeze, lavender bushes flourish against glowing adobe walls, turquoise painted doors and window frames are satisfyingly crooked.

The quaintness would be a New Mexico cliché if Ledoux weren’t so utterly unpretentious and real – a street where working artists have lived, made their art, and made their name for the last century.

Read the full article on Ledoux Street in Taos. September 2010.

International Outdoor Arts Venues

The Show Must Go On
Cover story for International Arts Manager by Tania Casselle

Lake Constance is not just a backdrop to the Bregenzer Festspiele’s Floating Stage. Directors use the lake for deliberate impact – in Carmen’s first act the brawling girls tumble into the water, and Fidelio’s Don Fernando zooms to the stage by speedboat. There are accidental effects too – one tenor fell in while playing a ‘dying’ scene. Opera Director Eva Kleinitz says security divers pull performers out so fast they barely register the dunking.

Whatever the weather, outdoor venues are special enough to attract big audiences and big name performers. Tania Casselle looks at the unique potential and challenges of leading open-air venues in the US and Europe, including Sweden’s Dalhalla, Austria’s Bregenzer Festspiele, London’s Kenwood, The Greek Hellenic Festival, and America’s Filene Center/Wolf Trap, Red Rocks, and Santa Fe Opera.

From Monkey Mind to Wild Mind with Natalie Goldberg

From Monkey Mind to Wild Mind
Interview with Natalie Goldberg by Tania Casselle for UK magazine Mslexia.

Just as a writer sits down to face a white page, so the Zen master must sit on a meditation cushion and face a white wall – hour after hour, day after day. Both are tormented by the chatter of Monkey Mind. For writers, there’s a lesson to be learned from the Zen way of taming the monkey…   Author Natalie Goldberg (Writing Down the Bones) tells us how.

“In our society we all have this great need to be productive,” says Goldberg. “Writing practice can be very frightening because I’m asking people to step into the emptiness of their own mind, with no project. That’s the landscape of the writer, understanding the mind.”

Feature for Mslexia magazine including interview with Natalie Goldberg and advice for writers.

Writers on Radio: Award-Winning Author Interviews

Casselle interviews poet
Sam Taylor.
Photo by Robin Collier of Cultural Energy

Writers on Radio Hosted by Tania Casselle

Tania Casselle was the host of Writers on Radio for five years, a literary chat show broadcast in New Mexico/ Colorado on NPR-affiliate KRZA, and syndicated to stations including KTAO, KVOT, KUNM and KLDK.  Writers on Radio was sponsored by SOMOS and produced by Cultural Energy.

Casselle interviewed 60+ authors and poets for radio including Pam Houston, Natalie Goldberg, John Nichols, Antonya Nelson, John DuFresne, Tara Ison, Lisa Tucker, Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, Levi Romero, Robert Westbrook, Miriam Sagan, Dana Levin, Don Waters, Robin Romm, Matt Donovan, Rick Collignon, Mirabai Starr, Judith Arcana, Eliezer Sobel, Judyth Hill, Heather King, Barbara Waters, Mark Scott, Anya Achtenberg, Katie Kingston, Lara Santoro, and many others.

She won the National Federation of Press Women Communications Contest 2010 for Radio Interviews, for her interview with best-selling author Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez broadcast on KRZA & KTAO.

Casselle also won the New Mexico Press Women’s Communications Awards 2009 for Radio Interviews, for her program with bilingual poet Levi Romero on KRZA, KTAO, and KLDK.  In the same year she was awarded 2nd place for her interview with novelist Frances Washburn discussing readers’ expectations of Native writers, and an Honorable Mention for her interview with author John Nichols.

Tania Casselle’s radio interviews are archived on the web by producers Cultural Energy for listeners all over the world.


Film Makers at the Taos Teen Media Conference

Miranda July and Student. Photo by Tania Casselle.

Teens Take Taos with Miranda July
Report and photos by Tania Casselle for Release Print Magazine.

“So, what do you want to film today?” asked video maker David Wilson to a quartet of teenagers, laden with cameras and mikes. How students from Massachusetts, California, and all points between went hands-on with indie film gurus Miranda July, Art Jones, and Mindy Faber in the Taos Teen Media Conference.

Release Print is the magazine of the Film Arts Foundation based in San Francisco, now part of the San Francisco Film Society.

Review of Taos Mountain Film Festival (for Film Festival Channel TV)

Adrenaline Junkies in a Mañana Town
Festival review and visitor guide to Taos for Film Festival Channel TV.

There comes a moment at the Taos Mountain Film Festival when you start feeling like a wimp if you haven’t hurled yourself over a cliff recently, kayaked the Orinoco, or out-skied an avalanche.

The festival focuses on films with a wilderness theme – mountains, rivers, deserts, and rainforests – and the many ways in which humans challenge themselves in the most daunting environments on earth, whether for sport, exploration, or the preservation of the natural world. This leads to much awe-inspiring footage from remote locations most of us will never see, and edge-of-the-seat moments as you wonder how the devil they’ll get out of this one. (You can rest assured that the cameraman survived – he’s doing a Q&A session later.)

Read the print story that accompanied my filmed segment for TV, by producer and writer Tania Casselle.

Movie Director Chris Eyre Exposes the Heart and Muscle beneath ‘Skins’

Movie fans awaiting the follow-up to director Chris Eyre’s hit feature Smoke Signals will not be disappointed by Skins. Filmed on location at the Pine Ridge Reservation, Skins tells the story of Rudy Yellow Lodge (Eric Schweig), a reservation cop whose job includes regular encounters with his unruly but endearing brother Mogie (Graham Greene). The climax of Skins presents a breathtaking moment of defiance at Mount Rushmore, involving a one-on-one showdown between Rudy Yellow Lodge and George Washington.

“Skins is a very patriotic movie,” says Chris Eyre. “Rudy as a trickster is making a statement. He’s counting coup. Patriotism isn’t about waving a flag. It’s about exercising your right to challenge, to question and improve and to open up dialogues about ways to make this country better.”

Read my full interview with Chris Eyre for Indian Country Today.

Images of Indians in Film: The Good, The Bad, and The Stereotype (for Indian Country Today)

“Those teepees need Viagra,”said comedian Drew Lacapa. He was watching an old black and white movie where a circle of whooping Indians hopped around Buster Keaton, tied to a stake in the center of a fire. “Do you know that dance?”

Story by Tania Casselle on images of Indians in film, and two movie premieres: Chris Eyre’s Skins and Sherman Alexie’s The Business of Fancydancing. Read the full article at Indian Country Today.


Don’t Take No for an Answer: Dealing with Rejection (for Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market 2012)

For Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market 2012 (Writer’s Digest Books) by Tania Casselle.

If you’re reading this book, you are no doubt all fired up to submit your fiction to the many great literary journals featured here, or to hit ‘send’ on queries for your novel. May the writing gods smile on you to receive an acceptance first time out, but if you’re in the writing game for any amount of time, sooner or later you’ll receive a heart-sinking “Sorry, this isn’t for us.”

As you rip up the letter and kick the nearest object that won’t kick back, THIS is the time to remember the real secret to publishing success: Only one thing differentiates between decent writers who are published, and decent writers who are not published, and that is perseverance. You can’t send one story to one journal and, if it’s rejected, throw your hands in the air and stop submitting. Well, you can of course, but then you’ll join the long line of other decent but unpublished writers who did the same thing. And to persevere on the writer’s path, you need to be able to handle rejection.

2,500 word chapter on how to deal with the dreaded rejection slip includes insights from an editor, a novelist, and a short fiction writer.