Good Morning Midnight, Flat Black, and Other Dark Matters

Every fall, teenagers worldwide go off to college expecting to find a career and themselves. Most of what they find is disappointing. Like, instead of a road trip with a manic pixie dream girl, there’s an exciting if ill-advised romance with a lady who sticks her finger down her throat so she can drink more….

All Senses Will Rock All. Your. Senses.

“It’s the most unique fest going on in the QCA with a very left of center, diverse line-up… not aimed to please everyone, it is meant to be a boundary-pushing showcase of art.” That’s according to Jason Parris of RIBCO and Wake Brewing and possibly the most reliable dude in the area’s music industry. Hey,…

Yellow UFO Sighted

Paige Underwood is a name already familiar to fans of Daytrotter and Paste Music. Her newly-launched press and booking agency, Yellow UFO, stands to capitalize on that cachet. The venture is essentially a guaranteed success just by virtue of the many solid relationships Paige has cultivated over her auspicious career. Based in the Quad Cities,…

How to Carve Pipestone

The first time I carved a turtle from pipestone, it took me three hours. From the general shape to the beeswax sealant, I carved the turtle using a small pocket knife I’d found in a drawer of odds-and-ends. I didn’t have any specialized tools – I would learn about those later – or even a…

Secrets of Pipestone National Monument

Pipestone doesn’t feel like a part of Minnesota. It should be its own district. On the surface, it seems like a place for people who take too much medication to live in South Dakota but not enough to live any closer to Edina. And I think Iowa just confuses them. They don’t know what our…

Kitchi-manitou and Finding the Future in the Past

When I was a kid at summer camp, the counselors told us the story of Kitchi-manitou. It was an old Indian story, they said, about the creation of the world. I hated it because it made no sense. The beginning, for instance, saw Kitchi-manitou floating in an ocean talking to a turtle. “Wait,” I thought,…

Fear in a Small Town

Update, August 22, 2018: Police found Mollie’s body in a corn field yesterday. They have someone in custody, and he has reportedly confessed. At this moment, he is appearing in court in Poweshiek County. My mother told me not to travel alone this week. “I read that 30 people have gone missing in Iowa in…

Ode to a Hemorrhoid: What Happens When You Get One

This title is a bit misleading because it turns out we all have hemorrhoids all the time. You have one right now. Multiple, actually. They’re little nubs inside your bum that keep poo from flying out of your ass like a bird’s. What most of us call “a hemorrhoid” is an infection or inflammation of…

Breaking News: Angry White Man Murders Innocent Bystander

I’m reading this article about a guy who killed his own father and am alarmed to see so much of myself in him. I get where his rage comes from. What I don’t understand at all is how he chose to channel that rage. I don’t understand what he did with it. This guy –…

Meet the Woman of a Thousand Muses

Heather Kanzaki has been called “Living Art.” At least, that was the title of the spread in Downtown that covered her June exhibition, and if that’s not what they meant, then I’ll make it official now: Heather Kanzaki is living art. Heather’s not posing there. That’s how she usually looks: active and engaged. She laughs…

“Art Will Save Your Life”

That’s something Chuck Knudsen used to say, and this is what he meant: For the past few months, I’ve been laying low and making things. It turns out that when I’m in a really dark place, I can’t write. I mean, I can, but nothing that’s honest or meaningful. Even now, I can’t describe the Really Dark…

A Cemetery is an Art Museum

Head stones are art objects. We don’t usually think of them that way, but they do exactly what art does. Each stone reflects the culture of its day. It’s a momento mori more effective than the Danse Macabre (“Dance with Death”). A concentrated few make an outdoor local art and history museum. Mount Joy Cemetery…