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Get ’em while you can, folks! Seriously, the buzz on this marvelously cheesy, funny/scary, B&W 1950s-drive-in-style creature feature by writer/director Christopher R. Mihm is over the moon, so to speak! The Heights Theater, where the premiere will be held on May 25, is not huge and I really think it’ll sell out fast! To co-opt a phrase used by my PetPAC colleague pet photographer Patrick Nau, “Don’t say ‘I wish I had.’ Say ‘I’m glad I did.'”

An added bonus is you’ll get to see my goofy ’50s hair as Administrator Ripley! I’m open to ridicule. 🙂

This event is a red-carpet affair—just like in Hollywood!—and everyone is encouraged to put their glad rags on. Assuming this will be following in the footsteps of Mihm’s five other movie debuts, you’ll meet the director and all the stars, hear a wonderful Wulitzer organ played, watch 1950s newsreels, eat cake and meet the Zombies created by Mitch Gonzales.

To order your advance tickets, click here.

Read about Christopher R. Mihm, the man and his movies in this May/June issue of SciFi magazine due out in April (It’s the official magazine of the SyFy channel) and in an upcoming Mpls/St. Paul magazine!

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I was discussing the importance of the human-animal bond today with my PetPAC colleague, pet photographer Patrick Nau. We noted the current expansion plans for the business Chuck & Don’s Pet Food Outlet, where Nau’s beautiful pet portraits are on display and for whom he does newsletter and advertising photography.

I wondered what might allow Chuck & Don’s to achieve success like this in the midst of the Great Recession, then I answered my own question. Studies have shown that pet-related businesses are one of the few recession-resistant ventures. Many people, myself included, will sacrifice their own comforts to provide for their animal companions. Why is this, when so many of us are losing sleep at night over our climbing levels of debt and dwindling incomes? It’s certainly not “rational.”

What I decided must be a motivating factor is the fact that our companion animals are our “anchors to sanity.” (Patrick really liked that phrase.) With them we find a relationship wherein we get out of it much more than we give, no matter how much we give. What work or interpersonal relationship can consistently boast that? Being around our animals lowers our blood pressure, reduces our stress, makes us feel unconditionally loved and accepted, gives us a sense of being necessary to another living being, etc. Is it any wonder we place such a high value on this relationship?

When the rest of our lives may appear to be spinning out of our control, we know we can still go for a walk with or play fetch with our dog, sit quietly in a rocking chair with our cat, talk to our birds, and so on. We are reminded by our animal companions of the simple pleasures, of the joy to be found in living in the moment. We may not be able just now to shell out money for expensive trips to Cancun, all the latest in techno-gadgetry, or visits to a high-priced psychiatrist to diminish our stress, but as long as we have our dearest four-legged (two-winged, etc.) friends with us, we just may not have as great a need for any of those things. —Sid

My husband, Anthony, with Blanche and Oliver

I love the slogan my friend, pet photographer Patrick Nau of Minneapolis, uses regarding having your pet’s portraits taken: “Don’t say, ‘I wish I had,” say, ‘I’m glad I did.'”

The photos below of my three West Highland white terriers were taken as part of an annual fund-raising event through the Photographer’s Guild of St. Paul, Minnesota. If you made a donation to Pet Haven Animal Rescue, your photo session for as many pets as you brought in at one time was free and so was one 8×10 photo. (Of course, they wind up with about 100 more  shots you’d love to purchase beyond that, too. And I did, naturally. One such triptych follows below.)

The point is to celebrate your pet’s life all through his/her life, not just as a memorial after he/she dies.

Now, prepare to enjoy my own personal BRAG BOOK of sorts! Click on any images you want to see full size.

Blanche, Keely and Ambrose 2010

photos by Photographers Guild of St. Paul, MN


Final Farewell Photos

Many pet photographers are starting to offer special deals to owners of elderly or seriously ill pets, allowing them to affordably capture their beloved animal companion’s image before it’s too late. If you do miss out on such a photo session, though, you can still memorialize your pet with a pet portrait drawn or painted by an artist from one of your own snap shots.

I’ve yet to meet anyone who’s felt they’d wasted their money after doing either of these things. Ali Jarvis of the Sidewalk Dog recently lost her dog Luc, and though she was initially unsure if she could emotionally withstand having her terminally ill boy in a photo, she had Sarah Beth Photography take the pictures. She is now beyond grateful that she did it. The photos allow her to stay connected with her sweet boy forever.

Ali Jarvis and Luc on his last day. Photo by Sarah Beth Photography.

Another great photographer in the Twin Cities area is Becky Kalin, Lucky Mutt Photography; see her website for her terrific portfolio.

A pet portrait by Peggy Krizak

Above is a beautiful sample Wisconsin artist Peggy Krizak’s work. Contact her at Peggy Krizak’s Pet Portraits.

A final plug is due pet portrait artist Jessie Marianiello of Stray Dog Arts. Go to her site to see more of her wonderful work. Below is a favorite of mine by her:

Lou the singing dog, by Jessie Marianiello

All of the aforementioned photographers/artists are fellow members (with me) of the Pet PAC, a networking association of Minnesota pet-related businesses. I can vouch for their abilities and integrity!

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