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art 4 issue seven

Artists on the Edge Presented by Indigo Books


Constellation Studios Education for the Arts 22

Jean-François Leboeuf Exploring Consumer Culture


film 16

Grounded in Horror

ADDITIONAL LAYOUT Lindsey Auten COPY EDITOR Grey Castro CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Lindsey Auten Dorothy Booraem Grey Castro Jim Jones Sara Kovanda Lori McAlister Jon Weirman Vicki Wood CONTACT INFORMATION Email Phone 402-630-0945 ADVERTISE Please help us by advertising your business! We are one voice working together to support and celebrate our community arts scene. Made by artists and supported by art lovers we can make a difference


Dustin Ferguson

music 14

Better Friend

Ear pleasing Awesomeness


Caulfield Records Punk Rock back in the Day

articles 26

Book Review

Vicki Wood on Children’s Books


Nate Hamel Cover Artist


Warp Drive

Discovering Natural Warp Bubbles


Local Events

Events happening soon


Zip-Line Brewery Lincoln based brewery


Artists and their Pets Oscar the Cat

NO 01

NO. 01

O. FROM HEARTLAND 1 HORROR TO SEOUL THRILLER It’s hour twenty-three of the first day of shooting on Synthesis, a short film I wrote and am directing. I’m in Seoul, South Korea with my co-director Jessica. We are wrapping up in our present location, a deserted industrial area, and are heading for the Gangnam district, where we hope to shoot in Club Octagon. About a month ago the Wachowskis shot at Club Octagon for their Netflix series Sense8. In comparison we are a tiny production shooting on a miniscule budget. I can hardly believe Club Octagon will even let our camera and crew in the door. But if I’ve learned anything from ten years of indie filmmaking it’s that once a production starts miracles can happen. I squeeze into the crew van and look around. Everyone is tired but in good spirits and ready to keep shooting. How did I, a microbudget filmmaker from Nebraska, end up here, on the other side of the globe, making a short film with this international cast and crew? I’ve lived in Lincoln, Nebraska, long enough to produce two feature horror movies, two web series and over twenty shorts; most of that work was done with my creative partner Chad Haufschild. We don’t make a living from our creative work but our features have gotten distribution and recouped their budgets, which has allowed us to keep making movies. Despite that good fortune, in the summer of 2014 I was experiencing a creative lull. I reached out to my friend Chris White, a filmmaker himself (, to talk about my frustrations and fears. Chris is a great listener and after our conversation he connected me with Jessica Marie Berggrun, a fashion photographer in Seoul who had been the cinematographer on one of his past projects. Jessica and I hit it off right away. I started writing a script that eventually turned into Synthesis. After the new year Jessica found the cast and crew, then together we created our Kickstarter campaign. In May of 2015 I flew to Seoul. Seoul is an amazing place; everything about it is photogenic. It almost didn’t matter in what direction we pointed the camera; it all looked gorgeous. Our shoot schedule was five days and as it turned out I got almost no sleep while I was there. Our longest shoot day was twenty-six hours and our shortest was fourteen.


Every production I’ve worked on has taught me a lesson, usually


through a mistake (or mistakes) I’ve made. The Synthesis lessons I learned were: don’t write a script that requires Groundhog Day–like

Henry Darger is considered one of the

scenes in public locations if you have a short shoot schedule. The

most important artists of the 20th century.

repeating scenes were a continuity nightmare for hair, makeup, and wardrobe that took a lot of valuable time. Also, don’t try to create and run a Kickstarter campaign while doing pre-production. Do those things separately. Your mental health may depend on it. Synthesis was my first time in Korea and my first time shooting in a foreign country. I knew there would be some cultural differences but I hoped they wouldn’t be barriers to completing the shoot. I quickly

However, Darger worked as a custodian his entire life and no one ever saw his work during his lifetime. The mission of Darger HQ is to expose the world to important and innovative works of art from underrepresented Nebraska contemporary visual

realized that in business interactions Korean people are very polite

artists, and bring to the communities

but they have a strong sense of hierarchy. To get what you want it

of Nebraska the artwork of new and

is important to act like you already have it, even if you have nothing

emerging artists from around the world.

to back that up. I am terrible at doing that. If the production had depended on me securing locations or props from local businesses

Darger HQ is an artist-focused, censor-

we would have been out of luck. Fortunately, Jessica is really good

free, environment that originates

at it and our Korean producer, Jenick Kim, made sure she talked to

presentations of contemporary arts,

the right people. Jenick later told me that creating art for art’s sake is

particularly work that is experimental,

not a widely held philosophy in Korea. There is a cultural sense that if

under-recognized or challenging in nature.

something doesn’t have an immediate economic value it’s not worth the effort, which is certainly a wise business practice but makes it hard for artists to experiment or take creative risks. Even with those cultural differences and my fears of inferiority, Club Octagon agreed to let us shoot in their VIP section and on their largest dance floor. People in the club seemed happy to be on camera and we ended up with a higher production value in those scenes than we could have imagined. It was the production miracle I had been hoping for! While the shoot was short, post-production will take more time. But once Synthesis is ready our plan is to submit it to festivals worldwide. I’m grateful to the Nebraska Independent Film Project for helping me make Synthesis happen and to Colby Coash and Laurie Richards for being such strong supporters of Nebraska filmmakers. Follow Synthesis on Facebook (synthesismovie) or check out the Kickstarter campaign at

A Nebraska Filmmaker in Korea BY


Darger HQ is a 501(c)3 no-profit that strives to make Nebraska a global player in the visual arts.

At The Mill or in your own home

Fresh-roasted coffee

To order: visit our website or give us a call!

The Heartbeat of Your Community

Also find us on

NO 02



An eye for style is something a person is born with. In the world of fashion, it comes with an innate sense of visual placement and the ability to see the future to the extent of what’s current, what’s still relevant and what needs to be revisited. This natural instinct allows one so blessed to take a small thing from the past that everyone has forgotten about and pull it forward, laying the path for a brand new trend. They are the keepers of the past, the seers of the future. The power of a great look often begins with a great stylist. Enter Nicholas Wasserberger. Immaculate stylist, sometimes model and party planner, he is a veritable fashion icon in Omaha. His work has graced countless magazine layouts and transformed many music videos. He’s worked with legendary bands from Icky Blossoms to The Faint. He is a must-have at Omaha Fashion Week and works regularly with great designers like Audio Helkuik. Nicholas is responsible for bringing Bowie Nights to The House of Loom. The Sweatshop Kids are his young, loyal followers. It seems everywhere there is fashion magic, innovation and inspiration, Nicholas has been in the mix. The desire to express himself through fashion found his early years shaped by influences taken from Boy George and his beloved Yoko Ono, who’s name he has lovingly tattooed close to his heart. Nicholas firmly believes great style can open doors, but it’s about more than that. “It’s really about confidence,” he says, “confidence is the most important thing.” And while he worships high-end designers like JW Anderson, he wouldn’t dream of walking out the door dressed in head to toe designer, preferring to ‘mix things up’ with both high and low end fashion.

There is a practical side to what he does, he says. “You can shop thrift shops to save money, so when you do want that expensive piece, you have it in your budget.” A huge supporter of buying local fashion and art, Nicholas regularly uses local designers in his work. If you want your star to shine brightly, Nicholas Wasserberger can help you achieve that wondrous glimmer. Eye for Style




NO THE BOMB 03 FACTORY The 17,000-acre munitions plant five miles outside of Mead, Nebraska, operated from 1942 until the end of the Korean War in 1954. In 1971 The University of Nebraska was given part of the complex and set up an observatory with a thirtytwo–inch telescope. Brook Taylor used to go out there as a teenager with his UNL astronomy professor dad. Something about those decrepit abandoned buildings stuck with him. Years later, when he was in the band Lunch Meat, he told his friends in the local punk scene about the place and they began a series of convoys to what became known as the “Bomb Factory.” People in the punk scene, including members of Lunch Meat, Baby Hotline, Power of the Spoken Word, the Click, and their friends would gather there a few times a year to drink, play games and pranks, and revel in this apocalyptic setting away from any adult supervision. The visits began in 1983 and went on for several years. Many people remember the 30-mile rides to and from Mead almost as fondly as the complex itself. There often was a ritual to the whole thing. According to Steve Warsocki (bass player for the Click), it would begin at the liquor store at 19th and K where everyone bought cases of Old Style or Milwaukee’s Best before beginning the drive. One of the car games they played on the way was throwing full cans of beer at road signs as they passed them. Al Wilson (singer for Baby Hotline) said it was always a feat to actually find the place, since they relied on their half-drunken memories. There was also the thrill of the cat-and-mouse game against local law enforcement when a car full of punks would rumble through towns like

Valparaiso and Wahoo. Al recalls one time Bill Bored (bass player for Baby Hotline) was driving fellow Hotline member Doug Kaufman’s car, a huge Pontiac Bonneville called the Blademobile, and got pulled over. As he recalls, Blade was not even in the car. He’s still not sure how Bill talked himself out of that ticket. The rides home could be just as entertaining. One time, Brook discovered a pile of old fire extinguishers at the Bomb Factory and loaded some into his car. Once back in Lincoln, when they stopped at a light on 48th and O, gearheads began yelling at them, and Steve Warsocki grabbed an extinguisher out of the trunk and sprayed the offending car until a cloud covered the entire intersection. Bill recalls they usually returned to Lincoln at sunrise, and another happening was Rob Fallas ramming his 1970s-era Cadillac into the Happy Chef sign near the airport until it would start talking to them. The Bomb Factory was off of a lonely dirt road. Some of the

it was the worst concussion he’s ever suffered. The

buildings were imposing—three stories tall with slides built into

band Lunch Meat wrote a song about it called “Bomb

them for quick escapes in case of an explosion (see photo).

Factory,” which Baby Hotline later played as a cover.

Giant fans that had once ventilated gunpowder sat silent. The

Baby Hotline also titled their cassette-only release

main building was in a U shape, and cars could be driven in

“Boxman Gets a New Forehead” after Rokke’s injury

between and not be seen from the road. According to Brook,

and began using Bomb Factory found objects like a

the complex was filled with broken glass, toxins, abandoned

giant four-foot wrench, a barrel labeled “Toxic Waste,”

farm machinery, hundreds of pigeons in the rafters, and rats

and a valve wheel (see photo) in their live shows.

gorging on piles of experimental grains stored there by the

All good things must end, and so it was with the Bomb

university (see photo). The pigeons lived in the front area of

Factory. The university began noticing the increased

the complex where the workers once changed their clothes. To

traffic at the building and hired a security guard to

escape the mess the pigeons made when they were disturbed,

watch it. When the kids also heard some unsavory

the punks began wearing helmets fashioned out of the twelve-

people with rifles were showing up, they ended their

pack beer cartons they brought with them (see photo). Karen

excursions. And so the Bomb Factory became just

O’Hara also remembers seeing piles of unopened tin cans of

a Lincoln punk memory for the lucky few who got to

food rations. She pried open one of the tins to find it full of

experience it.

dried up biscuits. She also remembers the smell of old grease and metal and the thick coats of dust over everything. Once inside the complex, the kids created their own entertainment. One game was an early version of laser tag, using squirt guns with dyed water. They chased each other through the pitch-black tunnels and the person with the most colored stains at the end of the night would lose. This was dubbed the “Bomb Factory Olympics.” Bill Bored recalls a trick he and Al Wilson played on the others when they snuck into a room where giant tractor tires were stored and rolled them down the tunnel, knocking over the unsuspecting people at the other end. Miraculously, John Rokke was the only person



who ever got seriously hurt while being chased in the junkfilled tunnels when he hit his forehead on a combine. He said






Photographer Justice Strong

filling up with trash. Leaves Brown is one artist who transforms it into something beautiful.

consider to be ‘throw away junk’ in a new light when it’s put into art. This world is increasingly

He calls it a “great game for the brain.” It also allows us as consumers to see what we might

plausible. Using found objects and trash in his art is not only affordable, he says, but smart.

we can all recognize make the fantastic and often apocalyptic scenes in his work seem highly

they take on a whole new purpose far removed from their original function. His use of items

batteries, dice and his trademark bread clips. However, when put together in his assemblies,

landscapes contain common objects from everyday life such as birthday candles, salt shakers,

mini-worlds that seem familiar yet strange at the same time. The building blocks of these

Diorama artist Leaves Brown uses trash, iconic toys and found objects to create fascinating

Architect of the Imagination


NO 04





Meet Sam! Adopted by Yvonne Meyer in 2012 when he was four, Sam is a 130-pound Great Pyrenees, a working dog breed that traditionally guards livestock. He is a loyal companion and coadventurer. Sam often joins Yvonne while she is walking about photographing slices of life in Lincoln, including street art—even the stray graffiti cat. Yvonne Meyer moved from the family farm to Lincoln twenty-three years ago “for the summer.” Since then, she has earned an MFA in photography from UNL, has had her photographs featured in over fifty solo, group, and juried exhibitions over the past seventeen years throughout the Midwest, and was the 2006 recipient of the Governor’s Mansion Exhibition Award from the Nebraska Arts Council. Yvonne currently teaches art at Lincoln High School and enthusiastically pursues a variety of creative projects and processes. Photography is a daily activity of living and also serves as her visual poem and artifact of time spent in the simple meditation of creative flow and walkabouts.




MEGHAN STRATMAN Replace rock-paper-scissors with gluepaper-scissors and you’ll have the foundation for paper-collage artist Meghan Stratman’s beautifully intricate work. Okay, you’ll have to throw in lots of X-Acto blades and a dog that likes to eat paper. On the whole, the first look at her colorful, three-dimensional pieces reminds you of a scene from a movie set or a great book; they seem to tell stories. Pop culture, space girls and strange animals are frequent inhabiters of these veritable microworlds.

As you continue to look, you find yourself drawn in, and you

that she discovered her dog Sullivan likes to eat paper. By now

simply can’t help but get lost in the details. It becomes rather

though, she has her system down to a science, although she

like taking a visual core sample. The precise nuance of every

keeps a jar of broken blades nearby as a sharp reminder of her

shape, curve, and color has been meticulously cut out by hand.

past struggles. Every finished three-dimensional piece starts out

Each layer seems to tell more of the story, adding clues as to

as a sketch. From there she moves the project to Photoshop to

what the character is up to.

make composition decisions, arranging and rearranging until all is perfectly placed. Everything has to be set at this stage before

Trained as a graphic designer, Stratman had to teach herself

she can move forward. When she’s satisfied with the layout,

the process of building these lush paper collages that are

then begins the laborious task of tracing out all the many pieces

almost like sculptures. The beginning involved much trial and

and cutting them from heavy watercolor paper. Then it’s time

error and an extreme amount of patience. She experimented

for the gluing process. As the pieces dry, they must be locked

with different weights of paper and various kinds of glue and

together using her high-tech pressing system which is a big pile

cutting tools. And that’s not to mention the frustrating battle

of art books.

with the tendency of the many layers of paper to bubble. Or

NO 05

NO 05

What started out as a fun hobby has quickly become a thriving Internet business where people can browse her wide selection of interesting characters and range of sizes from larger original framed works to small pieces set into jewelry, which are very affordable and utterly charming. Her greeting cards and prints are wildly popular among her fans and followers. You can see her work locally at Gallery 9 or check out her website to see the newest and past creations. She is constantly evolving as her work continues to become more complex. And no, Sullivan, the paper-eating dog, isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t allowed by her work desk anymore.





NO 06


father, Watkins incorporates clean lines, strong color and bold typography into AZP’s visual imagery. Their logo is two triangles set together, imparting a feeling of strength and unity. Promotional posters and merchandise often use repetition and straight lines within a minimalist concept to make a masculine, powerful statement. An admitted perfectionist, Watkins says, “the fun in art is playing with boundaries.” Their commanding visual presence is uniquely balanced with the use of images found in nature, as seen in the stunning artwork on their latest CD, Red Moon. “People today want an image,” says Watkins. “It The modern landscape of music is far different than it was even a decade ago, gone are the days of passing demos around to record labels. In today’s environment,

helps them feel even more connected to the music.” Check out the QR page for access to APZ music and video

record companies look for image branding and marketability as well as good music. Singer/songwriter Zachary G. Watkins, founding member of the local band, AZP, knows the importance of this, and believes in running his band like a small business, performing daily maintenance to keep it thriving. Writing music and booking tours are just one aspect of the complete package which also includes merchandising, producing videos and using social media to keep in touch with their many fans. Schooled in design, Watkins uses his skills to essentially ‘brand’ the band to help create their image. Influenced at an early age by his architect


You first pick your size, then choose the types of greens you want to include from arugula, iceberg, spring mix, romaine, and spinach. You then choose up to five regular ingredients, from the luscious list of goodies like basil, broccoli, cottage cheese, cucumber, mandarin orange, jalapeño, tomato, and feta. Next on the agenda are premium ingredients at just an extra dollar or two apiece; you get to grab from items like candied walnuts, avocado, ham, almonds, pepperoni, shrimp, or even vegan taco meat. Finally you pick the dressing type, with choices ranging from organic goddess and low fat Caesar to Dorothy Lynch and Italian or balsamic vinaigrette. With treats like gluten-free cheesecake and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and cookies, the dessert route is well covered to boot.

NO 07


You can also go the pre­made way if you feel indecisive or know what you are after already. Chinese chicken salad, Greek, Caesar, chicken medley, and the consistently awesome taco salad are part of this list from which you can find a favorite to stick with for a while. For a blast of Big Island flair and tastes of tubular proportions, try the Crazy Hawaiian: greens, bell peppers, red onions, pineapples, jalapeños, parmesan, and pepperoni give any

Hunkered down in the C Concourse of O’Hare airport

growling-tummied mainlander no excuse to go back to the

in the dead of winter, or perhaps in some nameless

cubicle hungry. My partner in crime went with the standard

chain with characterless croutons in suburbia, many of my fellow food critics have had a subpar experience with salad. Grateful Greens provides the

Caesar salad and said it met her expectations and went well above and beyond: fresh, well textured, and full of savory sustenance.

very pleasantly polar opposite: a fresh and vibrant smorgasbord of greens and goods that puts you in

I opted for the turkey and provolone: a panini sandwich

the driver’s seat of selection. Activist Jane Elliot once

that was perfectly melted and crept yummily toward the

lamented that in a salad, you “want the vegetables, the

neighborhood of comfort instead of health food. Next time

lettuce, the cucumbers, the onions, the green peppers,

I believe I’ll put together a creation that lets me sample

to maintain their identity. You appreciate differences.”

banana peppers, dried apricots, or at the very least

From edamame and wasabi peas to garbanzo beans

cucumber. Gazing over the fresh goods on the prep line

and bell pepper, there are many ways you can get a

here left me excited to return to Grateful Greens: a Star

salad here at Grateful Greens, a spot on the O Street

City garden well worth eatin’ in.

strip with a penchant for the delightfully healthy. BY


NO 08

EXPLORING LINCOLN’S STREET AESTHETIC Graffiti, though derided by some, has long placed among my fa-

ored, elaborate works are called pieces—or burners if they’re

vorite art forms. Claiming public ownership of public space with

especially good.

bold and beautiful form and color, graffiti refuses the capitalist

There’s also plenty of art on walls, trains, and dumpsters that

idea that only corporations and the wealthy should control what

isn’t part of the hip hop graffiti tradition, and likewise plenty

people see as they move through the city. Practiced world-

that combines that tradition with other styles, using a variety of

wide, it connects lone taggers in tiny rural towns with globally

approaches in a single piece.

renowned painters in the world’s largest cities through shared currents of aesthetic sensibility, stylistic innovation, and love of

Though Lincoln has far less graffiti than many cities, there’s

artistic tradition. In its many forms it’s used to express love of

some very strong work to be found here. The art in the follow-

beauty and craft, political ideology, pride in oneself and one’s

ing images can be found around the city and is proof that, while

community, and as many other ideas and emotions as there are

Lincoln’s graffiti scene may not be as expansive as New York,

artists at work.

Istanbul, or São Paulo’s, the forms and colors are still alive and well across this small Midwestern metropolis.

The styles that come to mind for many people on hearing the

(top) Lincoln is home to a number of graffiti and tag styles. Above is a crisp graffiti piece under a bridge on Salt Creek.

word “graffiti” have their roots in the early hip hop culture of 1970s New York City. Early pioneers like the taggers who wrote under the names JULIO 204 and TAKI 183 used markers and spray paint to put nicknames, sometimes paired with their street

(left) These cats are all over town. Keep an eye out. This one can be found in a little nook behind Kiechel Fine Art.

number, up around the city. Over time increasing emphasis was put on style, and the fruit of that creative drive is today’s range of approaches to painting a chosen name. The simplest common form is a tag, usually done in marker or spray paint and just one color. Throw-ups are a bit more


complex, usually two or three large letters executed in two


colors—one for the outline and one to fill it in. Large, multicol-



(top left) A memorial in vivid color and a diversity of styles near the back door of Yia Yia’s Pizza. (above) A character executed in multiple colors. (left) Dusty windows often get tagged; markers aren’t needed and there’s less risk if cops see it happening.

(right) Marker pieces don’t frequently incorporate imagery this detailed; SOER also has more straightforward tags elsewhere. (far right) Stickers are used a lot; they allow an artist to spend more time putting detail into a work but less time putting the work on a wall.

There’s a tradition of artists adding crowns to their tags and considering themselves “kings,” either when they or other writers in their community feel they’ve earned the right through their work or simply as a declaration of pride. SEKTR here takes a witty approach. While there’s no inherent gender in a crown, and “queen” is used occasionally, “king” is very much the assumed title, even when it isn’t written out. Despite its ethic of freedom, graffiti can be as

Compared to some of the more elaborate marker work out there, the trend in Lincoln’s tags is toward simplicity, but that’s not to their detriment: streamlined and refined, the city’s handstyles are excellent. From jagged, choppy, and angular styles to relaxed and flowing ones, the city’s writers have masterful aesthetic command.


Becky Boesen Creative services specialist at the Lied Center for Performing Arts and playwright Becky received a Kimmel Foundation Award for a Literary Artist as part of the Mayor’s Arts Awards 2014. This honor includes a two-week residency at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center in Nebraska City, which Becky completed in July 2015. Reflecting on her residency, Becky wrote, “I am currently commissioned by the Lied Center for Performing Arts for a new family musical that tackles the difficult issue of food insecurity for children in our community. Puddin’ and the Grumble will open at the Johnny Carson Theater on March 10th, 2016, so I knew the completion of that script would be my first priority.” “Imagine it: You’re living in a luxury apartment with an attached writer’s studio. You spend the majority of your time alone . . . and writing is your only job. You’re surrounded by orchards, museums, scenic landscapes and a historic downtown . . . so of course, the mind veers. The feet veer. The imagination veers.

NO 09


This is the biggest gift you can give an artist—time, space, and permission to let the imagination wander. It is fair to say that I was entirely shocked by the amount of writing I was able to produce at the Kimmel Center. I was given a true gift and a remarkable opportunity, for which I will always be thankful.” Wendy Jane Bantam Recipient of the Artistic Achievement Award at the Mayor’s Arts Awards 2015 and selected to create a piece for Community Supported Art 2015 Wendy recently posted “Thanks to the Lincoln Arts Council, I was able to create a project for Community Supported Art. This means public concerts, and a small press of the completed project. Thanks to all the busy, talented people who led me down the road to other talented people and to those

The Lincoln Arts Council has been championing

who are working on recordings with me . . . I really want to make

the arts, connecting people, and changing lives

something sweet and tremendous with other people as a gift

since it was formed in 1968. Some of the work is

for the community . . . I’m looking forward to performing, and

very visible, but much more of the work is behind

recording with you, and seeing where this goes down the road.”

the scenes, yielding the kind of results that keep the staff energized and inspired to come to work each day. We hope these stories will inspire you, too.

Amber Roland Visual artist who participated in the Lincoln Arts Festival 2014 with an Emerging Artist scholarship, Amber is returning to the Arts

Festival in 2015 as a full-fledged artist/vendor along with nearly one hundred artists from around the country. Amber observed “At the 2014 Lincoln Arts Festival, I sold more in one weekend than I earned at my normal job in a month. That experience gave me the confidence I needed to devote my career to my art. I also learned that festivals are a great way to exhibit my work outside of websites, galleries, and other venues that have displayed my art.” “As someone who has struggled with mental illness for years, I hope my art will allow me to become an advocate for others who must endure the pain of a mental disorder but might find comfort through artistic expression . . . I believe there is a strong link between mental illness and creativity. I want to inspire others to use their artistic talents to help cope with mental illness.”



Development Director Lincoln Arts Council 402-434-2787 |





animals—is what Modern Love is about. Moskowitz and her crew support a cruelty-free future and use local ingredients from places like One Farm and Bloom’s Organics. It’s a find for any customer looking for some evening comfort in their food—aside from the stereotypical Midwestern comfort dishes piled with meat and cheese. That’s a feat in my book, because, full disclosure: I’m not a vegan but a Nebraska farm girl and meat-and-cheese kind of woman. While I wasn’t blown away by the food as much as I am by Bowie’s dance moves, I was still delighted by the surprising



flavors and creativity in some of the dishes. My friends and I started with the white bean hummus. The sun-dried tomato and thyme flatbread was overloaded with spice and salt, but the delightfully grainy hummus swimming in rosemary oil tamed the plate. Cucumbers, harissa carrots, olives, and radishes were also present. I had heard much hype about the amazing Mac and Shews—my favorite dish of the night. When the wait staff brought it out, I could smell the comfort. The creamy cashew cheese in combination with the braised kale was a dream. The pecan crusted tofu and barbeque cauliflower was hearty, and I was satisfied halfway through the dish. Luckily, my similarly non-vegan friend across the table was just as, if not more, enthusiastic about

Some buoyant and magenta-flavored vibes radiate from

the perfect tenderness of the noodles (integrity of the noodle

David Bowie’s 1983 single “Modern Love.” “There’s no sign

definitely intact!), savory cauliflower, and the delicious cheesiness.

of life/it’s just the power to charm,” he sings. The ditty hadn’t

The nectarine raspberry pie provided a nostalgic closer even if

crossed my mind in a while until I saw “MODERN LOVE”

it wasn’t as dreamy as the Mac and Shews. The pie reminded me

painted in bright red and mauve on the side of an otherwise

of an experience I used to have as a young child eating lemon-

mundane building at 50th and Saddle Creek Road. A

flavored cookies at daycare—a much less complex time. The

Bowie-esque, rosy coolness emanated there from Omaha’s

zing of the candied lemon and the star cutouts in the crust took

midtown vegan eatery,

away the teeming complexity of adult life at the moment. Vanilla

Modern Love.

bean ice cream and coconut whip melted into the depths of the

The place offers some sass and charm, much like Bowie’s fluffy dance moves in the music video. It has wooden tables, aluminum chairs, vases of real flowers, a wait staff in comfy T-shirts, and slightly swanky but cozy vibes. Isa Chandra Moskowitz, a Brooklyn-born and -raised

raspberry—a sweet and tender coolness providing a river of nostalgic refreshment to the heart. The best thing about Modern Love is how it encourages warmth among the people who dine there. It’s a fun place to be, whether you’re vegan or not. Even while the food didn’t knock

baketivist (baker + activist), vegan, cookbook author, and

my socks off, the little sunny trinket of a place has the “power to

Modern Love owner is a believer in using taste buds for

charm” with its modern, magenta-flavored bonhomie.

change. “No sign of life”—in this case, no life taken from






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Falling down a rabbit hole describes the process whereby we become unintentionally lost while trying to find our way. This phrase alludes to the fantastical trip of Alice into Wonderland, where she meanders from one surreal experience to another. Reading Little is Left to Tell by Steven Hendricks (Starcherone Books, 2014) feels a little like taking that fictional tumble. The narrative morphs from pure fantasy—all talking animals and creatures moving between life and death—to a real and chilling look into a mind unraveling into dementia. The cover features a somber rabbit face and much of the drama of the story is centered around a rabbit mother and her children, thrust suddenly from their idyllic life into a nightmare of destruction, death, and mayhem when a mysterious zeppelin destroys their cozy warren. They are rescued by a flying ship, piloted by a character named Hart Crane. One of many literary allusions in this book, Crane was an early twentieth-century poet known to be unstable and volatile, especially when drinking. It becomes clear that the tale of the rabbit family is part of an on-going bedtime story that Mr. Fin, one of the human protagonists, constructed over many years to entertain and explain the world to his young son, David. Mr. Fin is losing his memory and struggles to hang on to the pieces of the stories he remembers: made up stories he shared with his son, the stories in his beloved library of books he once taught as an English teacher, and the slowly revealed tragic story of his own life—the loss of his son and the grief that encompasses that loss. I suppose this book is classified as “experimental fiction” because of the unconventional plot line, the combination of the real with the fantastic, and the way these worlds morph and meld, both in the book and in the mind of Mr. Fin. Much of the power and appeal of this book has to do with Hendricks’s deft way of weaving these seemingly disparate elements into a whole. The descriptions in the book are refreshingly unconventional also: ears are “pressed haphazardly under a hat,” a character’s face “boiled with joy,” and tiredness becomes a character’s “body aching with the goo of sleep.” One of the most compelling passages comes early in the book, when Mr. Fin is telling his neighbor Viv about what “being in the present” means to someone watching their past and future slip away: “When the words come back—and when the little memories that make up a person, a feeling about them, when they come back, when memories are speakable, it’s like…it’s like…being a kid in a candy store, it’s like you’ve come back into the world from elsewhere.” Each of our lives is a conglomeration of stories: the ones we tell ourselves and others, the novels that shaped us, the narratives we hold dear. Our world makes sense when we are the owners of our stories. These stories resonate, they explain, they can right our wronged world. As Mr. Fin learns, nothing makes sense when our stories slip away. Steven Hendricks grew up in Omaha and now teaches at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.


NO 11

LITTLE IS LEFT TO TELL PSYCHEDELIC EVEREST Brion Poloncic’s second book, Psychedelic Everest

(Journal of Experimental Fiction, 2015), is a love story, wrapped in a stream-of-consciousness narrative, punctuated by verbal hijinks poetic and playful.

Poloncic, a musician and a jazz lover, interrupts his

narrative to segue into lovely and profound riffs: on the inevitability of love, on art, and on the nature of genius and madness.

The narrator introduces us immediately to his

muse and soon-to-be lover June, an eccentric

neighborhood character he admires from afar. Their

fates are linked through art and a joint psychosis that binds them, each deeply cognizant of the madness

of the other. They form a club of two, the way those profoundly in love do, creating routines in which

each can flourish and create. Both are tuned in to another frequency, outsiders in the “sane” world, their dials set to be in synch with each other.

Poloncic’s idealized love story is counterbalanced

by passages in which the realities of mental illness

crowd in: the torturous voices, medications, and long stays in the hospital that both characters endure are part of the narrative of their lives.

Laying out the plot in such a straightforward manner doesn’t do justice to the verbal pyrotechnics of this book. Poloncic puts words together in a strangely

aural way; certain passages read as kooky poetry: words that don’t often live side by side set each

other off, burst from the page and suddenly make

their own haphazard sense. And the humor, both sly and innocent, is ultimately irresistible.

Poloncic lives in Omaha, Nebraska, and is a visual artist and musician, as well as a writer. Little is Left to Tell

- Steven Hendricks

Psychedelic Everest - Brion Poloncic


Art Move Issue 07  
Art Move Issue 07