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Montana Folks brings fun and books to Society

Some unique people will premier their new book about some unique Montanans next Saturday (Oct. 23) from noon to 3 p.m. at what promises to be a unique day at the Montana Historical Society.

Authors John and Durrae Johanek and photographer Kurt Keller along with some of their friends, who are in the book and are entertainers as well, will be on hand to autograph and talk about the new book “Montana Folks.?

“This new book features some interesting people and the interesting lives they live in Montana. We are excited that we get to hold the premier release of it at the Society,? Museum Store Manager Richard Boyd said.

The new book, published by Globe Pequot Press, profiles in words and pictures 55 contemporary Montanans including such local celebrities as musher Doug Swingley, historian Jon Axline, as well as an astronaut, a yodeling wildflower botanist, a grizzly bear expert, the man who had the job of plowing out the Beartooth Highway each spring, and a one-man-band.

When asked the motivation behind the book, Durrae said, “I must have had a high fever at the time! About six months after we started to research it, we asked ourselves what the heck were we thinking.?

The “real? incident behind the idea for the book took place near Lewistown when Durrae saw a plaque along a roadway that said “something about here lie the ashes of Montana’s first astronaut.?

“John gave me about two seconds to read it, and some how I put the name of Acton with the plaque and came up with what I thought was the resting place of an astronaut,? she said.

It turned out after some research that astronaut John Acton is alive and well and living just a few blocks from the Johaneks in Bozeman. He was the first person chosen to be in the book.

When asked what she has learned about Montana during her many trips across the state to interview the people who live in it, Durrae said that no matter where you go or whom you meet, you always seem to know some of the same people.

“As big a state as this is, it’s really like one huge family. They might not always get along all the time, but they are all part of the same family,? she said.

The Johaneks live in Bozeman where John is a magazine design consultant and partner in Ayers/Johanek Publication Design Inc., and Durrae is an editorial freelancer who has been published in several nature-related magazines. Together they have traveled the four-corners of the state.

Keller is a commercial and fine art photographer from Helena who has spent the past 10 years “photographing the people, places and spirit of Montana.?

In addition to the Johaneks and Keller, four people who are profiled in the book will be at the public reception:

· Jon Axline of Helena, an historian and author who has traveled every part of the state gathering information and stories as part of his job for the Montana Department of Transportation.

· Erik Gustafson of Conrad, a one-man-band who will perform during the reception.

· Wayne Phillips of Great Falls, botanist, author and yodeler who says he might be persuaded to yodel a few lines during the reception.

· Sandy James of Dillon, a fiddle player who promises to keep the reception lively.

The free event will include refreshments as well as entertainment.

Posted by Michael L Umphrey on 10/14 at 03:17 PM






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