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Redneck Rap and More! April 01-13 2010


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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

Editorial Editor-in-Chief Eric Brew

Sound & Vision Editor Deniz Rudin

Managing Editor Maggie Foucault

Humanities Editor Ross Hernandez

Cities Editor Trey Mewes

Bastard Ryan Webert

X

Voices Editor Matt Miranda

“’Mother, good grief. Don’t you see’–he rasped away the roughness in his throat–’if when we die there’s nothing, all your sun and fields and what not are all, ah, horror? It’s just an ocean of horror.’”

Production

-John Updike, Pigeon Feathers

Production Manager Tarin Gessert

Photography Editor Ben Lansky

Graphic Designers Tarin Gessert, Jonathan Knisely, Lucy Michelle, Ryan Webert

Art Director Keit Osadchuk

Distributors Maggie Foucault, Tarin Gessert, Matt Miranda, Pammy Ronnei

Y The desire to die was my one and only concern; to it I have sacrificed everything, even death. -Emil Cioran, All Gall Is Divided

Copy Editors Katie Green, Brady Nyhus

X “He found a tennis ball behind the piano and went outside to throw it against the side of the house.”

Business Business Manager Colleen Powers

This Issue Cover Artist Talia Carlton Illustrators Talia Carlton, Angie Frisk, Dani Frye, Meher Khan, Rachel Mosey, Natalie Obrantz

Advisory Board James DeLong, Kevin Dunn, Courtney Lewis, Eric Price, Morgan Mae Schultz, Gary Schwitzer, Kay Steiger, Mark Wisser

Contributing Writers Kyle Berg, Sarah Boden, Matthew Crawford, Mazy Dehkordi, Ilana Ostrin, Angela Sanders, Krista Web

“The universal view melts things into a blur.”

Yea.

-Eric Brew

9:4 Established in 2002, The Wake is a fortnightly independent magazine and registered student organization produced by and for the students of the University of Minnesota.

Y -Emil Cioran, A Short History of Decay

Photographers John Hooper

©2010 The Wake Student Magazine. All rights reserved.

-John Updike, Pigeon Feathers

Ch(Editor)ief

The Wake Student Magazine 1313 5th St. SE #331 Minneapolis, MN 55414 (612) 379-5952 • www.wakemag.org The Wake was founded by Chris Ruen and James DeLong.

The Wake is published with support from Campus Progress/Center for American Progress (online at www.campusprogress.org).

disclaimer The purpose of The Wake is to provide a forum in which students can voice their opinions. Opinions expressed in the magazine are not representative of the publication or university as a whole. To join the conversation email ebrew@wakemag.org.


voices

A Call for a 24/7 Library By Eric Brew

Starting in a few weeks University of Minnesota Libraries will open Wilson Library for 24-hour service. Not really. But that’d be nice wouldn’t it? Any university with over 50,000 students and claiming to be research-oriented shouldn’t leave their students with limited access to the libraries we pay for. Out of this number of students, surely there are a few left who are not simply dotting their x’s with Bachelors Degree in Whatever and actually care about reading and the investment they’re making in their own personal growth. It is these students that recognize the value of the constant library. A 24-hour Library would most likely be used for study binges. Ideally, it would serve as the antithesis for the bourgeois construct stating that nighttime is for sleeping. In defense, the library would proclaim, “No! The night is for discussion! For knowledge! And so is the day!” But we shouldn’t run away with ideals quite yet, they’re some matters I’m sure the regants board would like to discuss first. One of the overlooked aspects of operating a 24-hour library is the increased expenses: electricty for the lights running through the night, wages for a staff of insomniac book keepers, reshelvers, security gaurds and maintainence crew. If University officials are really concerned about increases in operating costs, they should first ask themselves why they’re calling the U of M a research institution without a single fulltime library. The aforementioned costs need not be drastic expenditures with the right amount of planning. Lighting in our 24-hour library should be carefully constructed; exteriors of the building should largely be left in darkness: only interiors and select study areas should be lit. Besides, the students who are navigating the cooridors of Wilson Library at 3 a.m. on a Wednesday probably have a sixth sense as to where that book is that they need. As for staffing - let’s be honest - when was the last time anyone has spoken to a library worker? They’re more introverted and useless than patrons stalking the engineering shelves. Ever since the University adopted the machinery for checking out your own books with the swipe of a card - the “Self

Checkout Service” - the need for anyone’s help but our own has been abolished. Slap someone at the reserves desk to dig into the archives for whichever random audio CD a patron might request, a person to sit at the desk near the main exit to look like he or she matters, a security gaurd or two to comfort the ailing, neurotic mind of suburban, white library patrons and someone to reshelve in an overly energetic fashion and you already have what I would call an overstaffed library.

All we really need from the University is a couple lights and open doors.

continues to operate their 24-hour library five days a week. But wait. Didn’t the University do something like that a few years ago? In 2007 the U kept its doors open for the second half of the year, starting in May. Unfortunately the libraries saw virtually no use during their overnight headcounts. Whoops. I guess I was wrong about our student body. Oh wait? Which library was kept open? The Bio-Medical Library? Where the fuck is that? Do I look like I care about science? I want literature and art goddamn it. Did the University ever think perhaps they opened the wrong library for 24-hour service? Open WILSON. Do you want a 24-hour library? Email ebrew@wakemag.org and let’s talk about it.

In all honesty though, I would argue that every library with a staff is overstaffed. Sure, most of our peers will never step foot in a library after they graduate to some mediocre job with their $40,000 dollar degree, but guess what - I bet they’ll still remember that B comes before E and 553 before 988. In fact, I’d go as far to bet they knew that before they were dignified sheep. We don’t need anyone to help us find books. We don’t need some snotty, lazy employee go to the ‘secret’ archive stacks to retrieve our books! All we really need from the University is a couple lights and open doors. Go ahead and keep the heat low; it keeps us awake. What’s keeping the University from a 24-hour library? Many universities set up 24-hour libraries on a trial basis. The duration of the trials have been anywhere from three weeks to two years. Regardless, it’s an effective way to directly assess the costs of operating the libraries as well as the demand and use of the facilities overnight. Harvard’s undergraduate library, Lamont, undertook a two-year assessment period several years ago and Photos: John Hooper

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voices

The Futon: Official Furniture Piece of College Romance By Sarah Boden If romance in your twenties were a piece of furniture, it would be a futon. In its perpetual identity crisis, the futon cannot make up its mind. Neither bed, nor couch; always folding and unfolding, the futon is in constant motion. A friend in her mid-twenties—who I’ll call Jane—recently decided to dismantle house keeping with her boyfriend of five years and get a place of her own, but maintain the relationship. That is, they are continuing to date but will no longer live together. The proverbial futon of Jane’s relationship is folding back into a couch, but has the potential to rearrange as a bed. Jane signed a lease for a one bedroom in the Wedge neighborhood—a relatively young part of town—which, according to Wikipedia, has the highest percentage of single person households in all of Minneapolis. Just as the name implies, the Wedge is a neighborhood full of futons. When choosing furnishings for her new digs, Jane bought a Swedish designed futon. Though a logistically obvious choice for a one-bedroom apartment, I couldn’t help but marvel at the symmetry of Jane’s love life and furniture selection. The number of relationships and liaisons I know whose catalyst was a poorly cushioned futon is staggering. Like Minnesota in April, this furnishing is a force of nature, unpredict-

ably folding from that acute angle into a horizontal line at a moment’s notice. Futons muddy your love life; they create roadblocks and new opportunities. On this oh-so-deviousdavenport, Saturday night Netflix viewings fold out to Sunday morning awkward silences. Walking twenty feet to the bedroom is too serious as it implies agency but taking the last bus home only delivers no fulfillment. On a futon one can claim that something “Just Happened.”

The futon is a couch that wants to be a bed and the back rubbing beta male does not want to be your friend at all.

when you move back in with your parents or Craigslist one for free while performing a three month internship in some distant time zone. It’s the relationship you can’t quite shake; like an ex who would take you back if you asked nicely enough, futons are cheap and dispensable. I recently started talking to an ex-boyfriend, and while I will not start seeing him , there is something not entirely healthy about our relationship. I should not talk to my ex because I am his futon and he mine. One day I desire real furniture, like a rocking chair made by Amish woodworkers or a couch that is just a couch—one that lacks alcohol stains or emotional baggage. Maybe there will be a matching settee or ottoman. However, at the moment, I can only function as a futon.

At times I question the motives of a futon and its owner. Futons seem nefariously deceptive, like that straight guy pal who loves giving backrubs. You know the type. That ubiquitous beta male who is practically your sister until one night when he pours three strawberry daiquiris down your throat and then tries to make out with you. The futon is a coach that wants to be a bed and the back rubbing beta male does not want to be your friend at all. This futon business extends beyond trite love affairs. The relationship is deeper, more codependent. You sleep on them Meher Khan

A Novel Idea: Beer Sales in a Stadium By Krista Webb Alcohol sales may soon be coming to a stadium near you. The University of Minnesota could make up to $2 million a year if the Senate Finance Committee passes a new bill allowing the school to choose where it sells alcohol during sports events. Currently, Minnesota law states that the University has to let all vendors sell alcohol or have a dry stadium. The bill would allow the school to limit the sale of liquor to premium seating only. Selling alcohol in the premium seats in the TCF Stadium, as well as at the Mariucci and Williams arenas, could bring in anywhere from $1 million to $2 million a year for the school, according to University spokesman Dan Wolter. The bill would make these seats much more profitable. Sales from alcohol itself would contribute around $200,000 to the school, he said. During a time of financial worry for the university, this bill could really make a difference. The extra money could ease a bit of the strain recently put on the University by the Legislature, which recently decreased the school’s budget by $36 million. The bill could also generate money for certain students. The $200,000 made from alcohol sales would go toward scholarships for University athletes. It’s not as if the concept is anything earth shattering, either: Over half of the schools in the Big Ten sell liquor in privileged areas during certain events. Earlier this month, the University of Illinois began a pilot program to sell alcohol. Dani Frye

For most Gopher fans, the benefits of the bill will not be overwhelmingly obvious. Only those who spend the extra money to get premium seating for sports events will have the oppor-

tunity to have a cold one during the game. Though the rest of us average folk might be jealous, at least we will stay dry as the overly enthusiastic fan next to us won’t be spilling beer everywhere. As many have pointed out, the University could make even more money if they allowed all fans of legal age to purchase alcohol, but there is little chance of that happening any time soon. Though critics have accused the school’s approach as being elitist, University President Bob Bruininks and the Board of Regents have continued their refusal to allow liquor to be sold throughout the three buildings. Their view resulted in an alcohol ban in all sports facilities since the all-or-nothing Minnesota law first went into effect last year. Other issues with the bill include the recipients of the $200,000 from liquor sales. Non-athletes might be annoyed by the exclusivity of the scholarship, particularly since student fees, which went to pay for the new stadium, came out of all students’ pockets. Others might argue that athletes already get too many perks, a practice which is most evident to those who have almost been run over by speeding mopeds on campus. Despite these imperfections, the bill’s shortcomings are easily outweighed by the positive financial impact it could have on the University. With all the money the school lost from its recent budget cut, any new chance of revenue is a good thing, especially for students. Because every dollar the school makes through this elite beer and scholarship scheme means smaller increases in tuition and less debt for students. Now that’s something to toast.

www.wakemag.org

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voices

Talia Carlton

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voices

The

Girls A Deconstruction of 1950’s America. By Mazy Dehkordi

In 1953, to prevent Iran (and tons of Iranian oil) from becoming Soviet property, the CIA overthrew Mossadegh and planted a U.Sfriendly dictator to rule Iran. The Powerpuff Girls demonstrate a similar form of totalitarian justice against their “evil” enemies. The Powerpuff Girls, a show on Cartoon Network from 1998 to 2005, appears on the surface to be a simple child’s show about three super-powered little girls, fighting crime and the forces of evil. However, beneath its bright veneer lies a biting deconstruction of life in the United States back in the 1950s. The Powerpuff Girls are three little girls, created accidentally in a lab by Professor Utonium. The Professor’s original intention was to create the perfect little girl, using sugar, spice, and everything nice. However, a mishap caused Chemical X to be added to the mixture, and thus, the Powerpuff Girls were born. The town they live in is unmistakably set in the 50s. The people are always nice to one another, and happy to be living in their idyllic city of Townsville. Blossom, Bubble and Buttercup are the perfect little super-powered girls, representing everything that is good. When a rampaging monster shows up, the girls arrive and defeat them without asking any questions, and use excessive force to subdue the enemy. At the end, the villains are defeated, and suffering from overwhelming blood and teeth loss. Massive collateral damage is done to the city, but the citizens look up from the ruins and happily thank the Powerpuff Girls. When it comes to evil, the ends justify the means.

In the 1950’s, life was simple. The Soviets and their Communist ideology were evil, and we were good. Therefore, it was perfectly fine to blacklist people based on rumors of sympathizing with Socialists, and to destroy the lives of perfectly honest people. This was the McCarthyism era after all. In 1953, the CIA overthrew the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammad Mossadegh, based on false intelligence that Mossadegh was going to turn Iran into a friend and ally of the U.S.S.R. To prevent Iran (and tons of Iranian oil) from becoming Soviet property, the CIA overthrew Mossadegh and planted a U.S-friendly dictator to rule Iran. The Powerpuff Girls demonstrate a similar form of totalitarian justice against their “evil” enemies. Let’s take Fuzzy Lumpkins for example. He’s a villain who has anger issues. In one episode, he chased a squirrel from his property in the hills and into Townsville, merely because he didn’t want anyone, even a squirrel, on his property. In Townsville, he gets hit by a bus, and loses his corncob pipe, hat and gun. When the nice citizens of Townsville tried to give those items back, Fuzzy Lumpkins went on a rampage because they were touching his property. After attacking those nice people, Fuzzy Lumpkins went back to his cabin in the hills. The Powerpuff Girls, following the squirrel who instigated the entire incident, went to Fuzzy Lumpkin’s cabin, broke into his house, and calmed Fuzzy by threatening to destroy his banjo. Once close enough, Buttercup smashed his banjo over his head, knocking him out. Was the day really saved? Fuzzy Lumpkins appears five more times in the show after this episode, always as an antagonist. Maybe what Fuzzy Lumpkins really needed was some therapy and pills to control his anger and ownership issues. Instead of whacking him on the head with his favorite banjo, the girls should have gotten Fuzzy Lumpkins some professional help. Another villain who could have been rehabilitated after her first act of villainy is Princess Morbucks. She was a girl in the same class at school as the Powerpuff Girls. Being a spoiled rich brat, she wanted to become a Powerpuff Girl, but vowed to destroy them instead when the Powerpuff Girls wouldn’t let her because she had no super powers. After defeating her,

the Powerpuff Girls threw her in jail. In jail, she met other villains, such as Mojo Jojo, and gave them access to her vast fortune, for purposes of evil. She reappeared six more times in the show, always as a villain. There’s also the Gangreen Gang. They’re a group of five lower-income, teenaged hoodlums, who cause trouble. And, yet again, the Powerpuff Girls beat them mercilessly every time and throw them into jail. As all troubled teens, they just needed a strong adult role model to lead them in the right direction. Yet they were repeatedly thrown into jail, where they associated with hardened criminals. It’s not just the villains who are example of 1950’s deconstruction on the show. Look at the Professor. He’s the perfect father, who teaches the Powerpuff Girls valuable lessons, like the father in the 1950’s TV show “Father Knows Best.” Even the shape of his body has no curved lines on it. However, in a few episodes, we see that he is not as perfect as he seems. In one episode, the villain Sedusa seduced the Professor, so that he would enforce a curfew on the Powerpuff Girls while she robbed Townsville freely. In another episode, the Professor realizes that all of his successful scientific creations, like the Powerpuff Girls, were created by accident, and never by his designs. Miss Sarah Bellum, the Mayor of Townsville’s secretary, is modeled after the sexualized secretaries of the 1950’s. She’s long-legged, large breasted, and is considered to be beautiful by all the other characters. However, she is not the typical 1950’s secretary. She is the brain behind the Mayor’s operations, who is a dimwit, and takes care of all his duties. Once, three criminals found out that they could get away with committing crimes by dressing up as the Powerpuff Girls. When the real Powerpuff Girls were falsely thrown in jail, only Ms. Bellum knew the difference. So she was quite more than just a pretty set of legs. The Powerpuff Girls is a show with hidden layers. Beneath the “cute” and retro tendencies, there lies a sharp mockery of the idyllic times of the 1950’s. So the next time you skip by a cartoon on TV, watch closely. Even serious topics can come in pretty packages.

www.wakemag.org

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cities

The Safety of Our Campus By Ilana Ostrin

Mutterings abound amongst students and faculty about how this year seems different from prior years at the U of M. Among other hot-button issues, one of the big dilemmas affecting the atmosphere at the U is the far-too-noticeable increase in crime. College campuses and students are prime targets for petty crimes, mainly involving theft, and this past year the U has fallen victim to some disturbing crimes, most involving the threat and/or actual usage of severe physical violence. The U of M campus hosts the needs of about 50,000 students and 3,000 faculty and staff members. Everyone deserves to feel safe on campus, but how can anyone when one faculty member was robbed one afternoon in broad daylight in her office? Why is the U falling victim to such crimes, and what precautions can be taken? The location of the U, close to many neighborhoods in the Twin Cities, is an often-appealing fact of the campus. The bus lines that run throughout and near campus make the U accessible to many, which is appearing to be both a blessing and a curse. When viewing the maps of campus crime the U of M makes available online, crime seems to be fairly even among the campus neighborhoods: Dinkytown, Stadium Village, Marcy-Holmes, and Como. Yet, all these neighborhoods sit along easily accessible bus lines that can potentially carry unwelcomed visitors.  These unwelcome visitors figured out that many college properties are old and neglected, often with poorly locked doors and easily opened windows, thus creating easy opportunities for a quick and simple robbery. The correlation between crime and location cannot be ignored, especially when compared to statistics from other Twin Cities schools. The differences between the amount of crime that occurs at the U and at Macalaster College, a liberal arts school in St. Paul, are significant. The most recent accumulation of crime statistics available for Hamline is from 2003-2006, and these crimes were recorded from both on and nearby campus. In the total span of those years, Macalaster was only hit by 4 sexual offenses, 22 robberies, and 18 motor vehicle thefts. To give one an idea in the amount of difference in crime on the campuses, in December 2006 alone, the U was hit by 14 robberies, which is over half of what Macalaster suffered between 2003 and 2006. This past week was Campus Safety Week, and an effort is being made to focus on these concerns. The U of M defends itself on its web site by saying they “have many resources in place to make the campus safe,” such as university police, security cameras, security escorts, security monitors and a safe ride home for students from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on weekend nights. While this is true, and the U is lucky to have such services, is it enough? For instance, campus escorts are not trained in any sort of physical defense program by the U upon hiring. It is not a requirement to be hired that they must be sufficient in self-defense. When accompanied by an escort who has not studied any sort of defense, is not looking to go into a crime or protection field, and is not much bigger than oneself, is their presence enough to make one feel safe? Secondly, while the campus ride is an extremely convenient feature for early birds, bar close is at 2 a.m., the same time the

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vans stop running. This may leave many people to wander the streets, with potentially catastrophic results if they’ve been previously partying. Campus Safety Week is emphasizing issues by creating events Monday through Friday that allow students, parents, faculty, etc. to discuss recent issues and concerns with members of the UMPD force over coffee and donuts. Students are concerned enough, and perpetuating the coffee and donut appetite of a ‘lazy cop’ was perhaps not the wisest choice of the U. Justin Yarrington, the Assistant Program Director of the Campus Security Monitor Program, says that while he couldn’t directly explain the rise in severe crime, in the last three years crimes have gone down around the U’s campus. Yarrington said that the 150 student campus escorts are aware of the recent events, and this has caused them to take more pride in their jobs as they are aware of the significance and importance that accompanies their work. The campus escorts have a nonphysical intervention policy, and most nights receive anywhere from 15-30 calls. Yarrington said he did notice an increase in calls about a week after the Super block shooting, but the distribution between calls from male and females stayed the same (with females more likely to call). Students have had different reactions to the recent crime on campus. Many worry, others fall into the mindset that danger won’t happen to them. Juniors Teresa Logemann and Tracy Merth are two who fall into this mindset. Logemann says she realizes others are more worried than her. She feels prepared and safe, because she is careful and has taken a self defense class. Both agree that they are “cognizant of dangerous situations and avoid them” by doing such things as walking in groups at night, etc. The two agree that this is a “big city and stuff happens” and if you took precautions, you are doing all you can. Several events on campus made them temporarily nervous, but then they forgot about them. Both have used escorts, and appreciate the U’s e-mails and texts about crime. The two feel that as long as they make smart decisions they should be fine. No matter how one feels, it is hard to ignore the recent violent crime on campus. UMPD and other organizations are doing all they can do, but it is important for students to protect themselves and others.

Natalie Olbrantz


cities

Hip Hop at the Weisman By Angela Sanders

When considering “hip hop”, what is the first idea or image that comes to mind? Perhaps 50 Cent appears, or maybe graffiti along trains, pimp cups, beat-boxers, break dancers, or those sunglasses that Kanye West insists on wearing. But if it is not too bold, perhaps imagine how Minneapolis and St. Paul connect with hip hop culture. Is that a stretch? Perhaps, but From April 9-11, the Weisman Art Museum will serve as a venue of creativity, connection, and empowerment for the Twin Cities’ hip hop community. “From Vices to Verses: A New Era of Hip Hop and Action” is a three-day conference organized by the University of Minnesota student group Voices Merging, along with the Cypher Coalition, Substance, and numerous supporters from the Twin Cities, that is bringing some of the most influential and innovative voices in hip hop culture, including hip hop activist Rosa Clemente, journalist Bakari Kitwana, and spoken-verse poet Marc Bamuthi Joseph. The conference’s completely free weekend is filled with workshops, panels and performances. On April 10, a concert will be given at the Cabooze Club featuring Twin Cities artists like Toki Wright, Maria Isa, PosNoSys, Ill Chemistry, the Tru Ruts Crew with hip-hop legends Dead Prez headlining. The goal of “From Vices to Verses” is demonstrating how hip hop pedagogy can be used to educate, empower and transform communities. This year’s conference will focus on three major issues in hip hop culture today: feminism and women’s roles in hip hop, hip hop as an agency of unity that is capable of crossing generational, national and cultural boundaries, and hip hop’s transformative and healing powers amongst individuals and communities. Anna Pirsch, co-chair of the Voices Merging student group, is very excited about the conference, saying “it is important because it is the first of its kind in the Twin Cities. It is a true collaboration of over 25 different partnering organizations.” In Bakari Kitwana’s book The Hip Hop Generation, he says that he wants “the discussion of hip-hop [to go] beyond the music and cultural movement to consider the sociopolitical forces that birthed the generation itself. It [is his] hope that within that more enlightened climate we could find ways to empower our generation and effect positive social change.” This is the goal of the conference, to thoughtfully engage members in the local and global hip hop communities to work toward a stronger future and rejecting stereotypes, while inspiring new modes of social change. For Pirsch, “the conference will remind us of the change we are capable of making, and it gives us a tangible way to do so.” This event will not only affect the Twin Cities, the Twin Cities’ hip hop community, or the global hip hop community, but it has the potential to transcend all communities—no matter the age, location, academic level, race, or sex—and establish a framework for social activism and sense of community. “From Vices to Verses” will bring an important dialogue to the local community; it is not just calling for change, it is starting the change, going from vices to verses. Register at http://vicestoverses.com.

Rachel mosey

www.wakemag.org

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mind’s eye

University Grants to Build Alternative Energy By Matthew Crawford

If you simply skim over the facts regarding the U of M’s latest blockbuster grant you will see that the Department of Energy has awarded the U with 8 million dollars to construct a wind turbine that doesn’t produce any viable power. In the logic of money and energy it is no doubt unusual, even risky, for a $ sign and a large string of 0’s to not be tied to a guaranteed usable, sellable megawatt output. However, the U of M institute which has leveraged the acquisition of the grant money, The Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment (IREE), has entirely different and more critical plans for the new wind turbine to take residence in the UMore Park: research. The IREE was founded in 2003 at the point when the climate change discussion broke into mainstream consciousness and became our prevailing zeitgeist. In the face of the immensity of the climate change claims that began pouring through America’s countless media outlets, the populace splintered into a number of clear cut, politically-charged groups: some thought the whole thing was a lie, some were dumbfounded by the implication of our civilization’s power and unintended effect, some were indifferent or dimly hailed the warmer weather and others began planning how to facilitate a flow of money and human resources into an attempt to mitigate or even avoid a significant climate change scenario. The IREE has proven to be one of the most effective local institutions at not only addressing climate change concerns, but also fueling progress in research and development that will one day, hopefully, have some part in stemming the tide of rising CO2 levels and diminishing oil reserves. Their annual report for 2009 states that they have awarded more than $24 million to research projects and leveraged an additional $47.8 million from other sources. As their mission statement makes clear, the money goes towards projects which: “…promote statewide economic development; sustainable, healthy and diverse ecosystems; and national energy security through development of bio-based and other renewable resources and processes. “ Though the projects that are funded by the IREE span the gamut from utilizable biomass produced from algae to polymers that are not constructed from fossil fuels, it should not come as a surprise that the big bucks are being put toward wind energy. The DOE grant that was just awarded is part of a federal funding blitzkrieg that is aiming to achieve the goal of meeting 20 percent of the nation’s electricity demand through wind energy by 2030. The renewable energy movement has blossomed under the shadow of the apocalyptic scenario of worldwide climate change. Accordingly, it is a field that has always been imbued with the urgency of both dwindling oil supplies and rising CO2 levels and has all too often seemed to be defined by this failure of oil instead of as a potential for a different way to live and prosper within the various ecosystems that exist on this planet. That is why these $8 million dollars will be better spent on researching wind turbines instead of buying ones that can start pumping energy into the war for a sustainable alternative to oil.

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It boils down to a matter of brains over brawn. Fighting energy issues with brawn alone is what has got us into this problem in the first place. Fossil fuels provided the requisite amount of energy, but now with the benefit of hindsight it is clear that, as an energy source, fossil fuels were not thoroughly thought out.

Renewable energy reliance is an endeavor that needs to separate itself first and foremost as a field that depends on research, ingenuity and long-term consideration. So, as renewable and alternative energy are struggling under the bulk of the decaying body of oil energy, renewable energy reliance is an endeavor that needs to separate itself first and foremost as a field that depends on research, ingenuity and long-term consideration. It cannot simply replace the oil industry, but must head in a different direction. If this does not happen, what could be the result? We already can see a microcosm of what a brawn-based energy solution looks like: Oil sands. That monstrous last ditch effort to squeeze every last bit of fossil fuel out of the earth.

At what cost? Extreme land destruction, lower production of utilizable oil and significantly higher amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. Renewable energy needs to differentiate itself not only in its sources, but in the philosophy of the approach to how it will be integrated into human and natural climate. The situation of money being spent on brawn before brains is not too uncommon, especially in an industry that needs to work the other way around. A recent Star Tribune article, “As the turbine blades turn…” highlighted the myriad issues The Minnesota Municipal Power Agency was having with 11 of its turbines that were purchased from a California wind farm. They stood motionless for months because of unforeseen technical issues, such as thickened liquids due to low temperature, and in-fighting between contractors and maintenance companies. The investigations and research that will be undertaken by the team making use of the grant funds are planning on addressing some of these various concerns directly. With Minnesota already ranked fourth nationally in wind energy generation, the couple of megawatts that the planned wind turbine could produce won’t be missed. The opportunity for research, however, is sorely needed as new innovations and better designs are paramount in bringing about the full realization of the potential found in the wind.

Angie Frisk


mind’s eye

Koala Crisis by Maggie Foucault

Sydney Wildlife World

AIDS may have come to us from monkeys, but now it has worked its way over to koalas. According to recent data, 50 to 90 percent of our fuzzy Australian friends are infected with either KIDS, the koala version of AIDS, or Chlamydia. Scientists blame the high rates of STDS among koalas on deforestation; the koalas are forced to live closer together in a more stressful environment, and thus rates of infection increase. While the high rate of infection is shocking, many of the koalas infected with the KIDS virus never contract full-blown KIDS. The koala version of Chlamydia attacks the eyes and bladder of the koalas, in addition to the reproductive organs.

50 to 90 percent of our fuzzy Australian friends are infected with either KIDS, the koala version of AIDS, or Chlamydia. Researchers are working on a Chlamydia vaccination for the koalas, but other options, like medication to treat KIDS, are not a top priority. Researchers worry that attempting to give daily medication to koalas still living in the wild is not a feasible solution, and are not even sure whether or not the medication will have an effect on the koalas. Surgeries are being performed on koalas to remove growths caused by Chlamydia on reproductive organs. Many koalas never recover from these surgeries. The attempts to improve and save the lives of these koalas is certainly admirable, but where does it stop? Are we going to end up curing KIDS before curing AIDS? We don’t even know whether or not human AIDS drugs will have any effect on the koala immune system. It’s interesting though, that humans do not have a Chlamydia vaccine in any form, yet now koalas are top priority for such a vaccine. It is possible that koala

DNA is just easier to deal with compared to human DNA? Protecting and preserving animal species and habitats are important to keep diversity on the planet, but just because something is cute does not mean that it deserves to be saved before actual human lives are saved. The same thing is happening with pandas in both their wild habitats and in zoos around the world. The giant panda’s diet is made up of 99 percent bamboo, which it needs to eat constantly because of its low nutritional value. They usually give birth to one cub every two years, with the help of panda porn and Viagra because they are not all that interested in mating. If the mother gives birth to more than one cub at a time, it will abandon the other one, who then dies a short while later. Zoos and conservation areas around the world are working tirelessly to save a species that even without habitat loss would probably be on the endangered species list, solely from its own lifestyle. However serious these diseases are, koalas will not be extinct any time soon. Like their lazy panda friends, koalas bring tourists and their money to Australia. According to CNN.com, koalas bring in $1 billion U.S. to the island. Pandas brought in almost $2 billion dollars in one small province of China alone. While the cost of treating KIDS and koala Chlamydia is unknown, the amount of money that Australia stands to make on tourism by saving the fuzzy creatures is a good enough reason to save them. If it is true that the infection rates have increased because of deforestation, then by all means we should work to increase the living space of the koala and preserve the species. But we can only do so much. We can’t operate on every koala infected by KIDS and Chlamydia, and we certainly can’t force pandas to mate any more than we already do.

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sound & vision

Anders Ponders

Nodes of Overtones By Zach McCormick

Pokémon Heart Gold and Soul Silver By Trey Mewes

Shutter Island by Trevor Scholl

If Indie Rock’s folk wing has any sort cardinal sin it would be the often saccharine level of twee-ness that seems to saturate the works of artists that are not wary of its toxicity after prolonged exposure. Anders Mattson, whose alias was originally designed to aid with a common mis-pronouncement of his name, abandoned his strict classical training on the viola during his teenage years in favor of the guitar and has found his way back to his native instrument in a similar fashion to Andrew Bird or Sufjan Stevens. Mattson’s classical training shines through in the beautiful, delicate string arrangements on Nodes of Overtones, but unfortunately that’s where the similarities between him and his colleagues stops.

Tracks like “How We’ve Grown” and “Pomegranate” start quite pleasantly, with a catchy viola melody that loops along while layers of strings and percussion are added, with Mattson’s lilting voice providing a delicate vocal melody. Quickly however, the almost limerick-like sing-song nature of Mattson’s voice starts giving the listener painful flashbacks to Barenaked Ladies. Mattson seems to almost be working against himself in a fashion, as the painful subject material of “The Icarus” seems downright silly when it’s being delivered in such a fashion, and the constant looping of the omnipresent viola wears those initially catchy melodies to death. The album’s strongest moments come when Mattson steps outside of the sing-song: “Mr. Butterfly” is a touching ballad showcasing the real vulnerability and emotion missing from the rest of the album, hopefully a sign of better things to come from the very promising Anders Ponders.

Pokémon—the cultural zeitgeist over a decade long and going just as strong—continues to run wild on the wallets of parents, kids, teens and twenty-somethings, having just come out with Pokémon Heart Gold and Soul Silver but a few short weeks ago. Although this latest batch is just a remake of a previous round of Game Boy games, the quest to catch ‘em all hasn’t been as fun, or as addicting, for quite some time (yes, even to college kids who wax nostalgic about playing the original games when they were little children).

features and controls are simplified and much easier to deal with than the Diamond, Pearl and Platinum games released in 2007 and 2009 respectively.

Both Heart Gold and Soul Silver (previously the second-generation Pokémon Gold and Silver games on the Game Boy) have been graphically updated, maxing out the 2.5D capabilities and the full color pixilation the Nintendo DS has to offer. The gameplay is, of course, centered on the neurotic quest to be the very best, to catch all the Pokémon, to overcome your rivals and to be champion of Nerdtopia, crushing all those who dare oppose your PokéGod-like powers. The gameplay has changed little from previous iterations of the popular RPG, except that the

“Which would be worse, to live as a monster or to die as a good man?” This encompassing theme spoken by Leonardo DiCaprio’s main character Teddy Daniels is just one of the mysteries audiences are left with in Martin Scorsese’s latest film aptly titled Shutter Island. The plot focuses on two detectives in 1954, Teddy and Chuck (Mark Ruffalo). They travel to an insane asylum on Shutter Island near Boston to investigate the disappearance of a patient who is considered extremely dangerous. As the detectives dig they find that all may not be what it seems, and Teddy has secret personal motives he is slow to reveal. The film twists and turns as the investigation grows and things become strange. The search is intercut with visions of Teddy’s back-story from World War 2 and his family. It culminates with a shocking reveal from the main psychologist on the island, Dr. Cawley (Ben Kingsley).

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The big draw to these games is the add-on accessory, a pedometer that you can download your Pokémon to in order to gain experience, find more Pokémon and items, and get classically-conditioned exercise. Appropriately titled the Pokewalker, it adds another dimension to your PokeSkills by finding stuff that isn’t available in the games proper. It’s yet another gimmick that guarantees addiction to the PokeMadness, but it’s still kind of neat and fun (in a very, very geeky way) and adds a new dimension that makes an otherwise semi-stagnating game franchise feel fresh and current. It’s juvenile. It’s geeky. It’s Pokémon. Unfortunately, it’s still a lot of fun for those who remember playing the original games or even some of the recent games. While spending time playing Pokémon may garner you a few looks, Heart Gold and Soul Silver are still an enjoyable handheld experience for gamers everywhere.

The film begins as a crime drama but becomes very creepy quickly. The patients have all committed violent crimes and act like zombies, making every encounter chilling. As the film becomes more about Teddy’s inner demons and less about the original investigation, the truth is revealed. The actors carry this movie and in some spots are absolutely brilliant, never tipping their hand as to what is really going on. The screenplay is well written but the pacing in the middle of the film becomes slower and arduous. The CGI is unfortunately cheap. Overall Shutter Island is a good movie but not great as expected from Scorsese. It holds interest but drags on a little long and drives too deep into the human psyche. The twists become too much and the focus of the film becomes lost until the dramatic final minutes. If you want some thrills, this is worth seeing but don’t expect to be blown away.


Guy Wagner

sound & vision

OK Go and The Benefits of Hard Work by Kevin Coss In early January, OK Go revealed the second stitch in their line of unique, contagious music videos. To the tune “This Too Shall Pass,” the alt rockers marched in the uniform and style of the University of Notre Dame Band, beating their drums and mimicking the step with relative success. And when the video started bleeding interest almost a minute in, a company of actual marchers appeared in camouflage, blasting their horns. At this moment, two things became clear. First, that only the likes of OK Go could summon the Notre Dame band out from their camouflaged dwellings in the brush to record a song from their new album and second, that you needed to circulate this video to all of your friends. After that, should it really be any surprise that the foursome would follow up with a second video for the song? One with a Rube Goldberg machine that was more stunning and ambitious still than its predecessor? Not really, considering that after their low-budget, choreographed video productions for “A Million Ways” and “Here It Goes Again,” OK Go are regarded as something approaching music video demigods. Dancing demigods on treadmills, yes, but demigods all the same. And after this newest release managed to bring their ingenuity to a new level while maintaining their trademark OK Go charm, yet another revelation presented itself: The feathers in the band’s proverbial caps were amassing. Really, there’s no better evidence of the strong correlation between the effort a band puts into their work and the success

they meet. Take Las Vegas natives The Killers, for example. Frontman Brandon Flowers is known to none too modestly regard his band as one of the harder-working groups around. The Killers have a colossal fan base, an international tour schedule, and four full-length albums to show for it, not to mention an exhausting supply of videos. The band won NME magazine’s 2008 Best Indie/Alternative Band of the Year award. The same holds true on a smaller scale. Blind Pilot, a Portland quintet growing rapidly in popularity, has only one full length, yet they work endlessly to promote it and refine their songs. Any song played at their Minneapolis concert in April last year sounded distinctly different just two months later at their show in Madison. And while many bands change their songs, few could brag that they’ve twice toured the western coast of the U.S. by bike. They knocked on doors to find gigs and lodging, and hauled their own equipment the whole way, with no van to back them up. Was the dedication worth it? An iTunes “Single of the Week,” a Starbucks “Pick of the Week,” and thousands of devoted fans would suggest so. It’s worth mentioning, then, that OK Go’s newest music videos ricocheting around the Internet this year are, at the least, promising for the band. Add to that frontman Dameon Kulash’s online announcement about the band leaving Capitol/ EMI records to form Paracadute, its own label, and the news of a national tour starting in April, and the future is looking bright for OK Go. Maybe being a rock musician is harder work than it looks. This isn’t to say the famous mantra of sex, drugs and rock n’ roll is a misleading lifestyle; perhaps it just works best when you take it easy on the first two and go nuts on the third.

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sound & vision

Young Widows at the Turf Club By Ramon Mercader We get there and the cover is eight bucks, which is a pretty quality price for an awesome band like Young Widows. I haven’t seen them in a year, I’m excited. We shell out the cover and go to the bar. A tallboy of PBR is four dollars with a weak tip. The first band hasn’t started playing yet. The bar is starting to fill up. We go back outside to smoke a cigarette. A guy with a moustache looks at me and laughs to his friend. Go back inside. Let’s have another PBR. We manage to get the big important booth normally occupied by women you can’t have. My friend gives me a back rub. It feels pretty good. Hot girl at the table across from me makes “bleh” face at her friend. Get up, enter bathroom. Nobody around me, score, easy pee. Exit shitter, walk towards bar. I see cute girl from history class. She has a nose ring and studies “gender shit.” I told a bad joke first day of class and never talked to her again. I walk by and she glances at her wrist. Another PBR. First band is up. They’re mathy, angular, clear and accessible. Guitar is delayed and bass is dirty. They’re really good. One rhythm sounds exactly like “Formerer” so rest of set spent shit-talking band with friend. Cigarette. Girl from

South African Redneck Rap Group Makes Viral Splash by Michael Hessel-Mial I represent South African culture… This place… a lot of different things. Blacks, whites… Coloureds, English…. So begins Die Antwoord’s debut album, $0$. That’s right, dollar signs. Representing Zef culture, South Africa’s white, post-Apartheid redneck community, Die Antwoord makes shiny, grimy world party music. How to describe their sound? Let’s take M.I.A.’s electro-African beats, the trailer-trash soul of a Kid Rock music video, with a little old-school 90‘s Aqua (think “Barbie Girl”) on top. Die Antwoord, Afrikaans for “The Answer” strikes each of those notes. Recently shaking up the blogosphere via Hipster Runoff and Pitchfork, this South African rap group has entered the music scene via the gimmick route, but they be here to stay. To be honest, I don’t always know if I like all of their music. At times they seem to exude a type of world-conscious cool, the songs bursting with synthesizer blips and tinny drum machines, with a solid array of guest rappers from the South African hiphop scene. And their music is perfect for dancing. At other times, they seem a little, well, gross. Like rat-tail gross, or baloney and white bread without flossing gross. What from afar seemed to be so goofily glitzy seems sweaty, sun-baked and tacky, as Ninja raps about masturbating, pelvic thrusts on video (his junk flailing wildly under his boxers) and says things like “drop tha muthafuckin’ beatbox, dog.”

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history class comes outside and smokes cigarette into a wall five feet away from me. I talk all loud and smart to my friends.

Entire band looks at bar. I look at

Go back in. Words like “moog” and “alesis” are scattered all about the stage. Big afros, big facial hair. Eerie lights. PBR, Yukon. They start and I know I’m supposed to be scared. Oscillating vocals and guitar solos and big, old music machines and the drummer is standing up, dude. Incredible; sends ocd-addled brain into powerdrive. Slam half of friend’s PBR. Cigarette. Brain going wild, bar super full. Everybody here is much, much cooler than I am. Lungs hurt. Throw up in road. Take a deep breath.

myself. “Nothing new, right,” replies

Re-enter hell where a drummer has been playing the same beat for 10 minutes. PBR. Bass has been playing for three. Guitar for zerHOLY SHIT THAT’S THE LOUDEST THING I’VE EVER HEARD his guitar looks just like STEVE ALBINI’S dude. Right ear = tinnitus. Bassist repeats “there are others like you” over and over and over again. This show rocks. Girl with nose ring still at bar. Tall guy standing up next to her, talking loudly. She looks up at him expressionless. Gotta pee. Middle slot open. Gotta cig. Pee on side of Turf Club. Cough. Cough, cough.

psyched. How’ve you been? Good. We laugh about I don’t know what and then she talks to my friend. Get out of here. PBR. Cigarette. I’ll do it myself and I don’t care who comes with me. Young Widows are up. I go up front. Thick bass shuts everyone up. Those cabinets are huge and have lights in them. Guitars cut through the crowd like a rusty saw through a stray dog. It hurts. The crowd stands still. Nobody knows the words. Everything hurts. I’m instructed to Just Forget ‘Em. I turn around for a final look. She’s in the forbidden booth yelling loudly into friend’s ear. Girl with nose ring is nowhere to be seen. Guy at the bar yells “sad dude sausage party!” Entire band looks at bar. I look at myself. “Nothing new, right,” replies the guy holding the coolest-looking guitar you’ve ever seen.

Re-enter. She’s finally here. Pretend not to notice. Air drum until band ends. Our eyes meet. She’s drunk so she talks to me. She’s wearing blue jeans and a bright shirt. She does not have a nose ring. I sit and for the first time tonight, I’m

Yo-Landi Vi$$er, who’s pretty despite her one-inch bangs and mullet, sings in a high-pitched, metallic chirp and all but strips in the music videos, the results painfully unsexy. But their best song, “Beat Boy,” seems to be strongest when they combine the elements of world-party awesome and trailer trash. Over stellar couplets like “look in the mirror, you can see it’s true, two nice boobs and a penis too” and the most painful beat-box intro I’ve ever heard, the song evolves over its eight minutes into a solid dance track. Though a little light on the bass end, the production makes up for it in style, and may be a well-needed break from your standard Justice muscle-flexing. Along with making a case for the talents of Ninja, Yo-Landi Vi$$er and DJ Hi-Tek, the music speaks from a post-Apartheid South Africa. The layers of race and class concerns are astounding: music empowering an underprivileged class of white descendants of slave owners, displaced by a genuine need to break the half-century of legally imposed racism. Holy shit! A room full of cultural studies majors couldn’t navigate the politics of this band. But the politics are just a tiny part of this puzzling, awkwardly funny band. Watch some of the videos circulating on youtube (I recommend “Zef Side,” which has mock interviews and a minute or so of “Beat Boy”) and you’ll feel like they’ve taken a permanent lease in your brain. What starts as revulsion will keep you coming back, sometimes dancing, sometimes amused, but ever curious to figure it out. One last note on their puzzling entry: watching their videos, your inner hipster will think “next Chocolate Rain,” but remember early 80’s Prince? His music was disgusting. He wore nothing but sequined jackets and bikini bottoms and sang about fucking his sister. And it was awesome.

the guy holding the coolest-looking guitar you’ve ever seen.


sound & vision

Three artists you should know about By Jon Schober

Owen Pallett Owen Pallett used to be called Final Fantasy, and that name might ring a bell in many more heads than the new moniker he’s adopted. While no one is sure why exactly he switched personas for the release of his new album, Heartland, it really shouldn’t matter. This is the same ol’ Owen Pallett we’re used to: beautiful, heart-breaking and violent compositions filled with advanced violin looping and crooning vocals. The guy has written scores for Arcade Fire, Stars, Do Make Say Think, and Beirut—he is damn prolific, and the good news is this: he’s coming to the Varsity Theater on April 11 in what has become a rare US tour. Consider coming out for that intimate show because he might not come back to the Twin Cities for years. He also did an in-studio with us all the way back in 2007 when he was still Final Fantasy. Check it out at radiok.org.

Malachai Malachai is exploding. The band’s single, “Snowflake,” is tied with the Gorillaz’s single, “Stylo,” in the UK, and they produced their album with only $15,000 compared to the the $15 million that the Gorillaz utilized. In Minneapolis, they’ve been charting at the Electric Fetus for weeks, and I can say without a doubt that their debut The Ugly Side of Love is one of the best things I have ever heard. Changing their name from Malakai due to copyright issues, the Bristol duo are the nicest guys I’ve ever met. They performed almost their entire album at our SXSW broadcast in Austin this year, and their live performance is unrivaled. Check out coverage here: radiok.org/sxsw and here: myspace.com/malachaibristol.

Here We Go Magic Did you see Grizzly Bear last year at the Cedar? Here We Go Magic opened up for them, and in my opinion, they were better than the Grizz. The six-piece combines fast-paced, canon-style melodies with the women in the group doing some incredible synchronized backing vocals. Their newest single, “Collectors,” is seriously incredible: a five-minute song of pure pop bliss and impressive guitar work from lead Luke Temple that would make everyone melt. They have a new album coming out called Pigeons, and they will be hitting up the Twin Cities on April 23. Signed to Secretly Canadian a few months back (the home of Yeasayer, jj, Jens Lekman, and Antony and the Johnsons), the band is setting itself up for a promising future. They came in for a session with us last year which you can find at radiok.org, and they debuted their new single “Collectors” at that time.

04.01 04.01 04.02 04.02 04.02 04.03 04.03 04.03 04.04 04.04 04.04 04.04 04.05 04.06 04.06 04.06 04.07 04.07 04.08 04.08 04.09 04.10 04.10 04.11 04.11 04.11 04.12 04.12

Rocky Votolato, Triple Rock, 18+, 8pm Anders Ponder, Whole, 18+, 8pm Xiu Xiu, 7th St., 18+, 8pm Spoon w/Deerhunter, First Ave, 21+, 8pm Tobacco, Triple Rock, 18+, 9pm Cymbals Eat Guitars, Turf Club, 21+, 8pm Black Lips, Varsity, 18+, 8pm Weedeater, Triple Rock, 18+, 9pm Beach House, Cedar, AA, 8pm Passion Pit, First Ave, 18+, 8pm Passion Pit, First Ave, 18+, 8pm Gospel Gossip, 501, 21+, 9pm Titus Andronicus, 7th St., 18+, 8pm Rx Bandits, Triple Rock, AA, 5pm Mike Snow, Varsity, 18+, 8pm Shearwater, 400, 18+, 9pm Blue Ox, Triple Rock, 21+, 9pm As Tall As Lions, Varsity, AA, 7pm Surfer Blood, 7th St., 18+, 8pm Black Blondie, Triple Rock, 18+, 9pm The xx w/ jj, Varsity, 18+, 8pm The Soft Pack, Turf Club, 21+, 8pm Crime In Stereo, Triple Rock, AA, 5pm Through The Eyes Of The Dead, Triple Rock, AA, 5pm Awesome Color w/Hair Police, 7th St., 18+, 8pm Owen Pallett, Varsity, 18+, 8pm Dead Meadow, Triple Rock, 18+, 8pm Sonata Arctica, Station 4, AA, 5pm

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humanities

Stromley By Deniz Rudin

A concrete porch, concrete steps, a three inch wide cascade of what was recently ice coming down from the balcony into the bush and long thin lengths of spittle ejected disdainfully onto the sidewalk in the intervals between draws on the fat wet cigar, Billy Stromley sitting here on the step in his goodyear cap and plaid shirt unbuttoned, pocked and ravaged chest exposed to the spring air, ROCK AND ROLL in gothic script across his belly and a blue stratocaster wrapped in staff-notated music on one shoulder, an outline of wisconsin filled in with HEAVY FRIENDS on the other, banjo in his hands, green plastic bic lighter as a bottleneck, an empty gaze fixed on the dirtywhite van parked with two wheels up on the curb, a broken music coming from the instrument manhandled by giant fingers, dirt and scum and grime, the cigar shortening until it is burnt down too low to smoke, the cigarend tossed without interest, its arc unobserved, catching in the bush and drizzled on endlessly into the night. Stromley stood and propped the banjo against the porchrailing and wiped his hands on his pants and rubbed the hair on his face and spat once more and got into the van.

In the parking lot of Gun ‘n’ Loan chickenfucker sits in his diesel pickup revving and looking at you like what., no muffler and teeth out to HERE. You buy your ammunition and leave. Goodwill on the way out to the woods, just to talk to that skinny girl. The bones in her shoulders. She’s got a cool tattoo, something about FEAR. Can’t see it when she wears long sleeves. Driving on gravel, door open, hanging out of it to feel the wind on you, can in your teeth, drinking by tilting your head back. That girl. Could put your foot through her torso she’s so tiny.

An improvised melody:

GUNS!

guns

guns The casing spit into the snow from the side of the gun, the space where it had been crossed with smokewisps, the crack of the shot filling the silent air and then fading while he misses the orange discs fired from a footoperated launcher and then cocks the gun and then misses again, the smell of fireworks, the heat of the barrel, the butt pounding into his shoulder with each pull on the trigger, the length of the gun, how far in front of his face the tip is. The 12 gauge auto that he sleeps with, cradled under his chin, loaded and the safety off. Reloading the gun, idly singing to himself about america. Shooting guns in america. Beer can sitting in an improvised crevice in a patch of obstinate snow. He holds the butt against his crotch and cocks it over and over and over.

My uncle Jimmy got real fucked up in nam, had an imaginary friend, can’t remember his name. But anyway they got in a real serious argument and somebody told him that he had to kill his friend, and he was just like: OKAY. So then a couple days later he went out to the warehouse and started wrapping rope around a wood post, big thick rope, and then he rammed the post with a forklift and his imaginary friend was dead. And so anyway once Jimmy told me: if you ever see a hmong in the woods shoot him, I’ll figure out what to do with it.

Billy walking the path from the clearing back to his van: he stops, squares his feet, points the gun at nothing: freeze, gook! and a sharp about-face: die, chickenfucker!

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humanities

Lament of My Withering Water Pressure and Shoddy Showerhead By Kyle Berg Caretaker o’ caretaker who live just upstairs— when a fortnight ago the plumber you did summon to set right again that leak ever recurring and common— when he gave you the diagnosis grave, and costly, as these poor pipes had dread that the whole unit was in shards and so off to Menards! for a new shower head. Did you, o’ fair caretaker commit utility mutiny of the highest degree? and with a nod to the man, and his wrenches knowingly betray me and my ‘mate— leaving us for the trenches! and siphon for yourself 101’s water pressure, owed, and fair? for you too must sing by the same steamy muse, of hot-water charity the daybreak, or day end’s repose of holy, godly, born-again clean clarity.

Now I look forward not to the time— now doubled in scope, of cleansing— once spent in joy and relaxation! Now merely the laborious rinsing of soap. O’ muse do you mock me with these sudden changes in temp? that draw soapy-eyed blind curses and futile contempt or do you sit there and laugh at what results of my hair weakly water’d, unruly, and unkempt? but I dare not complain as mighty as my disdain for then you might chance to mention my months’ unpaid rent.

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humanities

sitting on the toilet, i realized a hangover is the closest we’ll ever get to a lucid dream (again). an alarm blasted in the next room: i’d prefer you to defend yourself. it won’t work. last week a wax ring appeared to me no one even had to look through it to realize why it was there. we were all wax. this week it was a stack of wooden rings splintering and colliding: the destruction of an apparatus carefully composed, crumbling . (forgive me, self-interest delusion and yourself have never been more indistinct) but a reconstruction began: where once it had been hard to contain the flames-with-chickenwire now the rings started to rebalance. (i still can’t help believing magicians and acrobats are one in the same: balance is an illusion) -gorman rockwell

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BASTARD

That’s not a lobster!!

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19


LIMINAL

LITERARY JOURNAL

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Issue 10 Spring 2010