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ISSUE TEN

HAKIM ART MOVE CELEBRATES 10 ISSUES

NOLAN TREDWAY AND NANCY TEAGUE, PAINTING CONTRASTS MIKE'S ADVENTURES AT HOME, BY DOROTHY BOORAEM

WINTER 2017 PRICELESS


SPECIAL ISSUE 10 ISSUE TEN

THE BIRTH OF ART MOVE

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A Triumph out of Darkness

COVER EVOLUTION

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From Issues One to Ten OWNER Sara Kovanda EDITOR-AT-LARGE & SOCIAL MEDIA J. Fatima Martins COPYEDITOR Grey Castro ART DIRECTOR Lindsey Auten CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Dorothy Booraem Lori McAlister Vicki Wood CONTACT Email, text or call Sara: artmovemagazine@gmail.com (402) 630-0945 artmovemagazine.com

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK! ADVERTISE WITH US When we feature your ad we will work with you to get the best possible outcome for your brand. A BIG thank you to all the great businesses who have helped make Art Move possible. Special thanks to Jeanne Dill for her generous donation and deepest gratitude to Shirley, the Original Sidekick.

VISUAL THROUGH TIME AND SPACE

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Nolan Tredway, Surrealist

CREATIVE LIBERATION

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Nancy Teague's Abstracts

SOUND HAKIM AND FRIENDS

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Storming the Corn Coast

READ POETRY

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Charlene Neely Deborah T. McGinn

LIBRARY LOVE

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Treasuring A Plethora of Local Resources

WATCH MIKE'S ADVENTURES AT HOME

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A Comedy Web Series

GRUB FOOD OF THE GODS

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Sweet Minou Chocolate

We are one voice working together to support our community arts scene.

HUMANOIDS

Cover photo by Tarah Dawdy/Hear Nebraska

Artists Helping Others

THE GENEROSITY OF ART ANIMALS Caring for Outdoor Creatures

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THROUGH


VISUAL

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TIME AND SPACE realism and allegory in nolan tredway’s paintings

Lincoln-based Nolan Tredway is locally modern material culture; and post-contemknown as a master maker of scenes depicting porary realism. digestible, introverted pandemonium. Fans At the core of Tredway’s image-making of his work are fond of saying “I love his little is the purpose of storytelling via hyperrecreatures.” His mixed-media paintings and ality, a philosophical method where fiction film constructions are popular, immediately and truth are finely blended. He is a visual resonating with viewers because the imagery writer, similar to an illustrator, who gives his is presented in a familiar realist style, and audience freedom to complete the plot. In crafted into rousing and bizarre contem- many of his best-loved works, he depicts the porary allegorical narratives that are equal grotesque in a ‘creepy-cute’ manner superbly parts pleasant and abominable. expressing—and being a direct, in-context Tredway is commonly defined as an artist product of—today’s general escapist zeitgeist of the surreal, but this label is too elemen- and cultural tone of holism which values tary and limiting. While transversing historic time his imagery is obviously AT THE CORE OF TREDWAY’S and cosmic space. IMAGE-MAKING IS THE reality-versus-imaginaThis idea is crystallized tion-based, futuristic, and PURPOSE OF STORYTELLING in the character of the even childlike, exploring adult-child, alluding to VIA HYPERREALITY, A playful external-versus-inmythological elves and PHILOSOPHICAL METHOD ternal actuality, the comfairies—a wise and innopositions are much more WHERE FICTION AND TRUTH cent, earthy, human-anlabyrinthine and baffling imal, anthropomorphic ARE FINELY BLENDED. than speaking of surrealcreature, who exudes a ism alone would suggest, because within venerable generative violence. Along with them is a synthesis of the fullness of multiple a variety of flora-fauna-humanoid hybrids, art-historical and technical developments who are depicted punctuated, enhanced, or and conceptual modes. decorated with modern and futuristic design We can, in a general way, connect him elements, suggesting the melding of techto, as a continuation and evolution of the nology and biology, Tredway also depicts best practices of classicism; Renaissance and dreamy, pseudoromantic, memory-filled romantic portrait, landscape, and allegory landscapes, gardens, and grottos, that are construction; modern individualism; post- foggy, watery, and heavy with catastrophic (opposite) Twilight Zone Alone, oil on canvas

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J. FATIMA MARTINS


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mystery. Again, within these places historical fantasy is achieved. Long-lost ancient civilizations or not-yet-developed cities are brought to life. There’s a balance between dystopian and utopian possibilities. Because everyone likes monsters and fear is revitalizing, we delight in these disquiet worlds. But here’s the twist: Tredway’s worlds are aesthetically pretty, not ugly or repulsive. It’s the mix of sweet and charming, wicked and textured loveliness that makes his images accessible, engrossing, and favorable. Viewers are seduced and entrapped in a new reality. Tredway’s most-recognized painting to date, the portrait Simulacra (seen here) contains within it a broad swipe of various canoni(above) Crumble Elk, oil on canvas (opposite) Simulcra, oil on canvas

cal art methods. It can be considered a type of Mona Lisa, an enigmatic portrait of an unknown androgynous human, an earthchild, whose face has evolved into a honeycomb environment for insects. The connection, or similarity, to Renaissance and romantic portrait and landscape painting is clearly understood. The background in which the figure is placed is a wide and detailed view of the topography—land, mountains, and a town—as well as the atmosphere—sky and clouds—beyond the figure, pulling out the perspective, harmonizing the individual to the greater world. The title of the portrait, Simulacra, is a philosophical term meaning similarity to, or being a copy or derivative of, something specifically related to painting and sculpture. In spite of the unavoidable power of Tredway’s visual delivery, it’s too easy to talk only about his fascinating characters and to deconstruct the universal symbolism. It is when we move the focus away from the representational fantasy and dream scape themes to examine his painting method and style, looking at the structure of the work itself, that we understand who he is as an artist. Formally, he is an extremely skilled and focused portrait and landscape painter grounded fundamentally in exploring figuration. In a time when contemporary painters undervalue the importance of accuracy and ignore technical process, Tredway is a powerful example of the critical need to continue traditional realism, emphasizing classical techniques and the atelier method. You can see more of Nolan Tredway’s fascinating paintings and films on his website: nolantredway .com. He is currently the co-director of Tugboat Gallery in Lincoln.


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HUMANOIDS

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THE GENEROSITY OF ART

LORI M C ALISTER, LINCOLN ARTS COUNCIL

Artistic expression is such a personal sharing of self that it is no surprise to find a compulsion among artists to donate their work for the benefit of others. From talents such as Jeff Koons, one of the most expensive living artists in the world, to local budding artist Christian Scott, still in his teens, they are motivated to use their talent for the common good. It may involve making a statement, as with Koons’s Bouquet of Tulips, which will honor the victims of the 2015 terror attacks in Paris. Or it may mean generating needed funds for a cherished cause. We have had the privilege of working with emerging artists in Lincoln by providing an opportunity to show and sell as part of (above) Artist Christian Scott is pictured working. Photo courtesy Stephen McAlister.


the Lincoln Arts Festival. One of the first questions we often get from artist-entrepreneurs is “How can I donate my art for charity?” Amber Roland, an emerging artist at the festival in 2014, has always been quick to share her pieces to benefit causes that move her personally. She is passionate about the therapeutic, healing aspects of art because of her own experience. Most recently, she hosted a fund-raiser at her home to support animal rescue efforts by the Star Project. Luke Craig, an emerging artist in 2015, graciously offered the use of one of his graphic designs to help promote the festival’s Patron Program. He is eager to help and feels that his art is the best and most valuable thing he has to offer. It’s as true for performing artists as it is for visual artists. Flamenco guitar stylist Daniel Martinez enjoys collaborating with nonprofits to raise funds for a specific need through a benefit Christmas show. He designs a full concert inviting the members of his band, Jarana, and other musicians to donate their time and talent. Depending on the need, attendants are encouraged to donate an item—such as a can of food or a pair of warm socks—in addition to making a financial contribution. If an artist has reached a certain level of fame, it’s often more effective for them to donate an item rather than make a financial contribution. Such was the case for singer-songwriter Amy Grant in Nashville, Tennessee. At the height of her recording and touring career, she was frequently asked for donations for fundraisers such as celebrity auctions. She was very generous to donate autographed photos and recordings. She often said, “If I can donate a CD that costs me $2.50 and by signing it, enable someone to auction it off for considerably more, that is a great way to leverage available resources.” It’s easy for those outside the artistic community to take advantage of the generosity of artists when it comes to these freebies. I think this is more prevalent for performing artists, who are often offered the opportunity to play for free “for the exposure.” As a friend commented, “I know many an artist who has died of exposure.” Particularly when artists rely on their art to put bread on the table, they have to be discerning about what and how much they give away. Still, if a creative person is particularly passionate about supporting a cause, sharing their talent is a great and often powerful way to demonstrate solidarity and effect positive change. Through collaboration, amazing good can be unleashed.

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HUMANOIDS


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DEPARTURE POSTPONED

by Charlene Neely Closer to gone than arriving, I find life’s little foibles More laughable. Say don’t worry if the fudge doesn’t set, just nuke it and pour it over a bowl of ice cream. Find I play the Old-Lady-Card at every chance I get, Asking a near stranger in the middle of the night to stop the incessant chirping of the smoke alarm’s battery. Finding it’s fun To wear chartreuse and orange. At the same time!

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Saying whatever comes into my mind to whomever happens to be near. I may very well delay the going.


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TEXTING AN ENGLISH TEACHER FRIEND

by Deborah T. McGinn

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He types, I seen Pete today. I saw, I saw, I saw goes her teacher mind. He writes he buried the moms instead of mums. He is speaking to his iPhone a mechanical voice who dropped out of tech. school. Name the moms you buried. Were they already dead, or did you slay them? He apologizes. Spells apology wrong, it is a toughie Thank goodness when he texted greasy for good, as in have a greasy day, she had just poured a fresh cup of coffee on a chilly morning.


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GRUB

FOOD OF THE GODS

Sweet Minou Chocolate

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SARA KOVANDA

Cacao, the mythical seed from ancient Mesoamerica, is being celebrated once again right here in the Midwest. Sweet Minou Chocolate owner Rebecca Ankenbrand has taken chocolate-making into the lofty realm of fine art. This prized fruit from the Theobroma cacao tree has come a long way from its origins, where it was once so sacred it was used as currency and consumed only by royalty. Today it’s enjoyed by people all over the world in so many different interpretations and morphed so far from its mighty beginnings that its presence in our daily lives is barely considered. We just know we love it. Sweet Minou Chocolate takes cacao back to its roots. The difference between mass-market chocolate and this specialty confection is truly staggering. Ankenbrand starts with high-quality fair-trade organic cacao beans that are nurtured on small farms in select, remote parts of the globe where this tree grows. Locally owned farms produce better-quality beans and bring more income to the people working them. She receives a few large bags of beans at a time and starts to work her magic in small batches. It’s a long process that requires special handling and precise timing, so she carefully monitors and samples at each step along the way to assure the perfection of the outcome. The

Photos by Sara Kovanda.

result is an array of single-source and blendedbean chocolate delights of the finest quality. Sweet Minou chocolate tastes spectacular and the exceptional quality of the cacao used provides the added benefit of stimulating those same feel-good hormones that occur when we are in love. How lucky we are to have this rare bean-tobar shop with its devoted chocolatier right here in our town. Ankenbrand’s chocolate rivals premium brands all over the world, even those that are considered to be the masters of their trade. For now, Sweet Minou Chocolate runs out of Cultiva Labs at 25th and Randolph. The warmth and charm of the place make it a delightful spot to visit for a cup of coffee and to savor the latest creations made from this decadent “food of the gods.” Some day we will drive by and be reminded of this passionate woman in her little corner kitchen, with her big, welcoming smile and her chocolate-covered apron. We will be reminded of these wonderful beginning days of what will surely become a monumental success. In the meantime, she continues to work diligently to perfect her skills, while planning the next move to share her vision amongst chocolate devotees and getting the word out by hosting many events where people can sample her new, ever-tantalizing offerings. Sweet Minou chocolates can be found at Cultiva locations. Stop in and treat yourself to the ultimate chocolate experience. Visit the Sweet Minou Chocolate Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/sweet.minou.chocolate/.


NANC Y TEAGUE’S Creative

Liberation


VISUAL

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J. FATIMA MARTINS

(opposite) Thinking About It, acrylic on canvas (above) Persuaded, acrylic on canvas

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After a career of painting traditional, realist still life and friendly outdoor scenes, Lincoln-based Nancy Teague experienced an artistic reawakening. She describes her expansion into abstract expressive image making, which has garnered her important critical attention, continuous gallery and museum exhibitions, and sales, as an explosion of personal and professional self-determination. Her abstract paintings are vignettes that tell the story of her public journey as an artist and her private change as a person. Teague channels her spiritual and physical need to move, breathe, shine, and speak openly without constraints into her visual art. During the early stages of her metamorphosis she approached abstraction with cautious curiosity. As her early experiments with abstract structure became more successful, she felt that her intuitive gut feeling was being validated. During a studio interview, Teague described her creative epiphany as being a gift from a divine source, saying she began to see herself, the world around her, and even God “in a different way.” From the secular end, she points to the masters of abstract expressionism as influencers of her work, particularly the women who originated and expanded the form, such as Elaine de Kooning (1918–1989) and Joan Mitchell (1925–1992). Through the freedom of deconstructing real objects into abstracted forms and experimenting with chaotic gestures and clashing color juxtapositions, she’s moved from being earthbound and tied to painting with precise rules to being sky-bound and interpreting the world from a more vague and open-minded, liberating perspective. Teague has always been a rebel at her core, willing to experiment, but as with many artists, she remains watchful and influenced by social constructs. She courageously admits that every painting is a new challenge and each accomplishment empowers her to stay on the nonrepresentational path. What remains constant in both her realist and abstract paintings is the focus on structured gesture, order tempered by free expression. Examining her older still-life arrangements it’s obvious that she was already moving to deconstruction. Her paintings, therefore, communicate the important tension between letting go and holding on. This creative anxiety is translated into beautiful, loose-edged blocks of


Refreshed, acrylic on canvas

engaging colors and indeterminate lines that act within the painting as a type of writing, transforming the compositions into indefinite visual poetry. There’s an abundance of spontaneity, calming void or rest space, spatial depth, and physical texture, as well as dance-like movement, but all the activity is systematic and prudent. Teague’s paintings are untamed parties mollified by suggested guidelines. Her visuals evoke a heedful, vibrating attitude with touches of wildness. On her website, she’s organized the paintings into themes: Adventuresome, Restful, and Relational Abstracts. The reason Teague’s paintings are exciting to examine is because she’s engaged in a joyful struggle

and has not yet eliminated representation and replaced it with pure form. Looking deeply at her abstracted compositions there are evocations of landscape, street scenes and architecture, interior space, human figuration, and still-life arrangements. Identifiable motif has not left Teague’s work; it’s still there, but it’s been emancipated and no longer follows restrictive dogma. See more of Nancy Teague’s soulful paintings on her website, nancyteague.com, and follow her exhibition schedule and travels on her social media pages.


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SOUND

HAKIM STORMS THE CORN COAST

“I  WANT TO CREATE EXPOSURE FOR ALL OF THESE GREAT ARTIST[S] AND MUSICIANS HERE. WE HAVE SO MUCH TO PROVIDE.”


GREY CASTRO

Lincoln emcee HAKIM, 22, has been rapping since the seventh grade, and he’s been hitting especially hard lately, playing show upon show upon show, releasing a new record, and planning big for the new year. Royale W Cheese came out in November, but HAKIM already has his eyes on April, when his next project will drop. Singles will tide listeners over until it arrives, and he says the record itself will be on a level beyond his past work, “a game changer.” The rest of 2017 holds more good things: HAKIM will be reaching out to new listeners and refining his style, already strong, through collaborations with other artists, and he’s planning to go on tour for the first time with his team, focusing their dates on Midwestern college towns. His new audiences will be seeing the work of a natural live performer—HAKIM spits with command, moving across the stage fluid and sharp by turns, leaving mic cables knotted on the floor while trading verses with close friend and frequent collaborator Dey-Jean. Dey-Jean has a new release coming soon too, titled Nostalgia. In the longer term, HAKIM wants to “create and build a much larger music scene here in the Corn Coast,” so future artists in the Midwest are better positioned when starting their careers. “I want to create exposure for all of these great artist[s] and musicians here. We have so much to provide.” Keep your eyes open; HAKIM has good things coming. To check out HAKIM and Dey-Jean’s work, see oursocietycc.com. (clockwise from left) HAKIM performs at The Bourbon, photo by Tarah Dawdy/ Hear Nebraska; HAKIM and Dey-Jean at The House of Loom in 2016, photo courtesy Mike Machian; Dey-Jean takes a quick break from performing, photo courtesy Jeanne Dill; HAKIM exudes energy on stage, photo courtesy Jeanne Dill.


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SPECIAL ISSUE 10

MAGAZINE OF TRIUMPH

a history of art move

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SARA KOVANDA

There is a universal BC and AD. I have my own. I was fierce in my BC timeline. Independent, free, prolific in my creativity—unbelievably so, superhumanly so. Strong, reckless, and hedonistic. I played in bands, wrote music faster than most people blink, painted on a daily basis, traveled, went to parties. I had the energy of fifty people and felt like I was on a superhighway chasing a tiger by the tail. Creativity was such a force it felt as though some alien beam was pumping ideas through my brain at lightning speed. This was my life, all of my life, until five years ago, when the lights went out. Imagine this person, then imagine that same person sitting in the dark for months, afraid to leave the house, not bathing, not sleeping, with a condition of tooth chattering so severe it wore down teeth. Friends would drop food off on my doorstep while I stayed in the same dark, dirty spot in the corner of the living room, lights off in the rot. I’d had the same job for twenty years in a health food store and since I couldn’t leave the house, I lost the job I loved. Poor dog Pilot didn’t get walked. She got fed but stayed inside, close by, worried eyes constantly on me. One night, in the absolute grip of deep, black anguish, I just couldn’t take the searing torture anymore. I decided I’d take my life in my kitchen. Just as I was about to swallow a handful of pills and slit my wrists, Pilot ran to me, frantically jumping up on me, barking, whining, clawing the pills from my hand and knocking the blade away. She knew I was about to leave her, and her cries shocked me into split-second sanity. I fell to the floor with her in my arms, licking my face. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. The next day I had my first bath in three months. Another day and I threw away the rotted chicken carcass. It went like this for a long time. Eventually I got to the end of my driveway, then a half block from my place. Fast forward a couple of years, and I’m walking Pilot successfully to the nearby park several days a week. I remember the wind was strong during a walk in the park one day. It was blowing, burning across my skin. I realized that I had become so afraid, even the touch of the wind on my skin terrified me. A great thing happened that day: the wind told me I needed help. That night when enough beer made me brave enough, I called Voices of Hope. PTSD is a weird thing. It took some time, but I finally got into my car and tried to drive there. It took three attempts, but I eventually got to their doorstep. Pilot was with me—I was terrified of being


SPECIAL ISSUE 10

*** It all started after I married an Englishman. I was so happy, so in love. I gave away all my belongings, planning on spending the rest of my life in the north of England with the man of my dreams. I sold all of my art at a successful, sold-out art show, my last American show, in order to have money to ship Pilot and my cat Blue over in special crates. I gave away my music studio, my art supplies, my furniture, my clothes. I was beginning my fabulous new life. And then the nightmare began, and the brutal, violent beatings started. Fast forward a few months to when I was

screaming and running, running without shoes in the middle of the night in the streets of strange England, knowing no one, with no phone, no money, screaming for help, banging on doors . . . the blood, and freezing rain coming down on my battered face and body. That night I escaped. I ran and ran and ran. I finally ended up in the hospital and got stitched up. I was a lumpy, broken mess. I was put through a machine that showed I had severe brain damage. There had been too many blows to my head. My brain damage would be permanent. *** Enter my AD timeline. There I was trying so hard to heal. I hadn’t worked in over two years. I was terrified to be away from Pilot and still having PTSD symptoms, but I needed to work. My unemployment was running out. I still couldn’t be in public because, inevitably, someone would recognize me and bring up England. I had to think of something. One night, I had a dream that told me Contact Roger Yant. I didn’t really know him, but knew who he was. I thought I’d follow this strange dream and contact him. He told me he had an idea for me. He had a successful business doing a local magazine and suggested I start a magazine like his. But mine would be about art. I went home and thought about it. Maybe I could make it work. I knew nothing about publishing, and was afraid to be around people. Eventually I discussed it with my mother, who loved the idea. Her grandfather ran a newspaper and she was sure it was “in my blood.” And so Art Move was born. I began research into how to make the physical thing. Roger said I could use his printer people and introduced me to them. I needed software, a computer, office-type stuff. And I’d need ideas. Little by little, things fell into place. I made my first mockup on stock paper (OMG) and took it around to potential advertisers.

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anywhere without her. I’ll never forget that day, sitting in the waiting room, huddled with Pilot on the couch in puddles of tears. It was the first time I’d opened up to anyone about what had happened. I was embarrassed, ashamed, and frightened. They said I was one of the worst cases they’d ever seen and convinced me to start coming right away. I only agreed to do so if they let me bring Pilot, my security blanket. And so we started making our daily trek to that place, with the exception of some days when the fear was too great and I was once again held captive by my demons inside my own house. I started reading piles of books and articles, trying to make sense of things. I wanted to heal, but I wasn’t getting better. One miraculous day the counselor gave me a different kind of book, not like the regular ones about abuse, which I had read with no results. This book was about abuse specific to psychopaths and about the inner workings of their minds and behaviors. And there was the key that opened my cage of horror. That single book was like decrypting some morbid, unbreakable cypher . . . I knew where to look for answers, and I was determined to heal. I found a good shrink specializing in PTSD and started going twice a week. Pilot always waited for me in the car.

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SPECIAL ISSUE 10

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A page from the first issue of Art Move includes an original mission statement.

One of the first places I went, the wind caught my mockup pages and swept them around the parking lot as I was trying to show the guy. It was a disaster, and no, he didn’t buy an ad. So I made my own fake ads with the programs I didn’t know how to use. They turned out surprisingly well. The first issue is laughable now . . .

I remember it took me four solid hours to make a square in InDesign. It was only twelve pages, or maybe ten, but when the printer’s truck pulled into my driveway with stacks of my first issue, I was proud. Here I was, brain damage and all, holding that silly first issue, not even knowing how I made it happen. For the first time in so very, very long, I smiled. You know how things seem to have a life of their own? That’s little baby Art Move. It has a heartbeat all its own. Eventually issue two was born. By issue three, a dear friend came to its design rescue. Only poor people give the last of their bread to the opossums and nighttime beings. But maybe not . . . maybe kind people do that. I think about these things. What do they have to do with Art Move’s beginning? Maybe everything and maybe nothing, but surely there is this absolute: I am who I am now, so radically different than “before.” As we release issue ten, there are so many reasons it’s a true milestone. It’s still hard to leave the house sometimes, to be around people. But Pilot gets daily walks, my house is fairly clean, and Art Move is alive and breathing, not just a magazine that supports the local arts culture, but a magazine of triumph. A little rag that rose out of profound darkness to help this woman overcome. For this I am eternally grateful.


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Thank you to all of our readers, advertisers, donors, and friends who help make Art Move possible. Our love for you is GARGANTUAN. We can’t wait to discover shit, build more ideas, part waves, chase tigers by the tail on superhighways, and embrace alien beams of ideas with you. —Art Move staff

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Donate! If you wish to help Art Move support the local arts, please donate even a small amount. I mean, damn, you can even give us fifty cents. Or order a plain coffee instead of a triple latte and give us the difference.


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COVER EVOLUTION

from issues one to ten


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WHY YOU SHOULD LOVE YOUR LIBRARY MORE THAN EVER

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VICKI WOOD

When was the last time you showed your library some love? Now I know that your parents took you to storytime, and they read to you before bed, and made sure you were a Summer Reading Program kid, but maybe it’s been a while since you spent an hour browsing the shelves serendipitously, just to see what was there. So, seriously, get the heck off Amazon and get into your neighborhood library. The library is the most democratic of institutions and we tend to take it entirely for granted. It’s not like you can go just anywhere for the COMPLETE ACCUMULATED KNOWLEDGE OF HUMANKIND. Okay, I exaggerate, but you, dear reader, get the picture. If we don’t have the information, the book, the obscure article, or the esoteric quote you seek, we will find it somewhere. And it’s entirely free and open to any person. I challenge you to name another such brick-and-mortar institution. Did you know that your reading history is entirely confidential? If the police come a-knocking, wondering about what you’ve checked out of the library, we require a court order or subpoena before we hand that information over. You may not know this, but librarians are committed to the exercise of free speech, free thought, and free access to information. Speaking of free speech, have you read the United States Constitution lately? Do you know your rights? What about those constitutional amendments? If you are like most people, you may have quit thinking about the Constitution after that test in ninth-grade

civics class. For a quick refresher, don’t pull the daunting four hundred–page tome on the Constitution from the adult section. Do what I—and many others—do: read a book written for children. All of the salient points are covered, and there are usually great graphics and interesting layouts. There’s a great fortyeight-page book called The Constitution of the United States, by Christine Taylor-Butler, available at all branches of the Lincoln City Libraries that will break it all down for you, and a companion book on the Bill of Rights. Bonus if you have a child in grade school; read this book aloud and become enlightened together! This holds true for any subject you seek to understand, Personally, I’ve learned about how a computer processor works, why the Egyptians mummified cats, and why Pluto is no longer a planet, quickly and painlessly, by reading books written for children. So, it’s a new year and we’re all thinking, at least momentarily, about self-improvement, fixer-upper projects, or maybe just buying a new car. I offer ideas, but trust that everyone has their own freakish intellectual passion or burning knowledge desire that can be sated by a trip into the stacks. True story: a friend of mine completely remodeled her basement—yes, tiling and drywall—using videos she checked out from the library. I know a guy who is reading his way through the books on artists and art movements at the main library—it’s quite a collection.


READ

You know, Modern Library has a list of one hundred of the best English-language novels. It’s my own personal project to read these, but I’ve been stalled out at sixty-four for a while now. Help yourself to this list: http://www .modernlibrary.com/top-100/. Just ignore the fact that Ulysses, by James Joyce, is the first book. Don’t start there! Start in the middle or jump around, whatever suits your fancy. Maybe that list is too sedate and you prefer walking on the wild side. Check out this list of books that have garnered a cultish following in the years since their publication: http://flavor wire.com/466048/50-essential-cult-novels. If you want to read some of the best books ever published, peruse the American Library Association’s list of the hundred most frequently challenged books: http://www.ala.org /bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/top100. There are sure to be some of your old favorites on this list; read a few more and make a banned book your new best-ever-read book. I guarantee you that unless you work here, or visit us daily, you are unaware of the plethora of goods and services the library provides. For example . . . did you know:

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In addition to downloadable audiobooks and ebooks, we now have a streaming service for books, movies, television shows, and music, called Hoopla? No waiting, and you can have up to ten items a month. Homework HelpNow provides a live online tutor to help your child get their homework done from 2:00 to 11:00 p.m. EVERY DAY, yes indeed, and that includes Sunday, when geometry homework must be tackled at 10:00 p.m. Lynda.com is a super-snazzy resource providing instructional videos on thousands of topics, including technology, business, design, and more. Oh, and did I mention that we now have mobile printing, we’ve always had musical scores and sheet music, and now there’s a cool teen space at the downtown library? Lincoln City Libraries is an essential part of the fabric of a community that believes in education, openness, information, and access to all. There has never been a better time to show it all of your love by using it—regularly, passionately, and with intention. The library circulates, physically and virtually, over 3.5 million items per year. That’s a lot of love.

photo by Creigpat/Wikimedia Commons


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WATCH

MIKE’S ADVENTURES AT HOME

a local comedy web series DOROTHY BOORAEM

(above) The opening graphic of all episodes of Mike's Adventures at Home (opposite) Screenshots of Mike Crawford and the imaginary Jeff in the improvisational Jeff

Mike’s Adventures at Home is a Lincoln-based comedy web series that has posted an original sketch (almost) every week for over three years. The series began in 2013, when creator Mike Crawford had the urge to share his personal take on comedy via a YouTube channel. After realizing he didn’t want to “bother the world by going out in it” to find a cast or crew, Mike decided to set his sketches where and with those he was most comfortable—in his own words, “me being weird by myself in my own home.” Over the years Mike has found a few key collaborators to join him in writing and acting, but he is still the primary writer, shooter, actor, and editor of the sketches. While the production values of Mike’s Adventures are more garage band than corporate pop star, the comedy level is high and often hides sophisticated perspectives inside a wrapper of lowbrow concepts. Every week is different and sketch setups can be the vehicle for a single joke or take viewers on a multi-layered story ride. Viewers should be aware that despite the sometimes childlike humor and puppetry, Mike’s Adventures sketches often include adult language and sexuality. Visit durnkindustries.com and scroll down to the Art Move playlist to watch the sketches reviewed here.

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“Jeff ” (2013, 5:52) “Jeff ” is almost six minutes long, but worth every second. It begins inside a locked room and ends on a world at the brink of civil war. The first three minutes explain how Mike has been trapped and detail his spiral into a paralyzed mental breakdown. Then we meet “Jeff,” an imaginary friend Mike conjures up to help deal with his forced isolation. The two friends experience a complicated and dramatic relationship. Soon Jeff turns on Mike, and the room, which through well-chosen framing has become more and more claustrophobic, suddenly becomes much bigger. Jeff ’s betrayal forces Mike to take action and a perfectly timed ending wraps up the story. This sketch was entirely improv and Mike maintains that whatever destroyed his friendship with Jeff, he—Mike—is to blame.


“Got Game” (2015, 1:30) In a rare sketch set outside Mike’s home, “Got Game” opens with a game of basketball among friends set to Cheech and Chong’s 1973 song “Basketball Jones.” Too much description would ruin the joke, but “Got Game” is a subtle commentary on machismo in the game of basketball, romance, and life. It ends on an honest and surreal note, pulling the viewer through different perspectives in the style of a Monty Python sketch. “Got Game” was inspired by a line of dialogue that came to Mike in a dream. Although carefully scripted and shot to minimize censoring, this sketch is still NSFW. “Riddle Troll” (2016, 2:06) Actor Chad Haufschild plays the Riddle Troll, a fairy-tale character who appears in Mike’s house, demanding the answer to a riddle as payment from anyone who wishes to enter Mike’s living room. Although awkwardly framed with low quality audio, this sketch is a tight character study wrapped in this situational joke. From his accent to his costume, the Riddle Troll is ridiculously annoying, yet ultimately sympathetic. Watch for the bonus ending. Mike’s love of fantasy role-playing games and his desire to get the best of irritating know-it-alls inspired this sketch. Mike describes Mike’s Adventures at Home as a comedy centered around how people entertain themselves when they don’t think anyone else is looking. “Most people do what I do,” he says, “I just have a lack of dignity that allows me to share it with others.” Full disclosure: the author of this article is a collaborator and creative partner with Mike Crawford and Chad Haufschild. Dorothy Booraem is a writer, director, and producer. dorothybooraem.com/unfiltered-ent.com


WATCH

(opposite left) Drake Tucker, Walter McDowell II, Josh Crawford, Morgan Capek, and Mike Crawford appear in Got Game. (opposite top) Durnk Industries is the production company that creates Mike’s Adventures at Home. (left) Mike Crawford and Chad Haufschild appear in Riddle Troll.

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ANIMALS

CARING FOR OUTDOOR CREATURES SARA KOVANDA

A common thread that runs through many creative souls is the fact that many of us love animals. We cherish our dogs, cats, birds, and fish. During the cold winter months it’s important to remember our wild friends outdoors, who can have their food supply become inaccessible during snow and ice storms. Providing seed for the various species of birds is as enjoyable to us as it is helpful to them. Birdwatching from a window can be both relaxing and rewarding, and catching a glimpse of a rarely sighted species is simply joyous. The squirrels are grateful too; if you observe them long enough you’ll find them to be an often hilarious, entertaining addition to backyard feeding. Offering a heated water supply is especially helpful to these creatures and attracts even more wild friends to our feeding stations. Suet should also be considered for the woodpeckers, as it provides extra energy to help keep them warm. We have a wonderful retail supply store with two locations here in town, called the Wild Bird Habitat Store. They offer a huge variety of affordable bulk and packaged seed, feeders, watering systems, and educational books, as well as a helpful, friendly staff that can answer questions about which kind of seed different species of birds prefer. While our spirit of giving and instinct for the welfare of animals clearly defines us, what they give back by connecting us to nature is the biggest gift of all.

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Illustrations by Sara Kovanda


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