Sunday, November 16, 2014
Sunday, January 19, 2014
Thursday, November 07, 2013
Sunday, March 04, 2012
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Friday, January 06, 2012
Thursday, January 05, 2012
Monday, November 14, 2011
What a find! The complete Koerner, Ray & Glover PBS documentary from 1986. Plenty of archival footage of these virtually unknown, outside of the Midwest, Blue-eyed bluesmen.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Mt. Holly salutes its former Animal Control agent, Jackson Dahlke, in his second place finish in Sunday's mascot derby.
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
20 Years Ago, this week I began work on my first Zine, an anthology featuring Jason Sandberg, Zak Sally, and Scott A Dolan. Recently, I was asked by Metro Magazine for my thoughts on zine culture, zines in Minneapolis and the upcoming Twin Cities Zinefest (Saturday, September 24, 2011: 12pm-5pm) Here's what I wrote, an overview of how I got into zines and what it was like to be a self-publisher back in the days before the internet. As a bonus, I've also included the complete contents of Rump #1, a highly-relevant benchmark issue.
Here's a start. Please help with editing and spelling and stuff. I'm a bit of a knucklehead. Anything you'd like me to extrapolate on?
I grew up in Shakopee. Like most small town punks in the 80's, I moved away as soon as I was able (1987). I was lucky. MPLS wasn't far and there was a shit ton of music and lowbrow art happening here at the time. Along with, Kevin Cole's late night radio shows on KBEM, the fanzines and DIY mags (Uncle Fester / Your Flesh / Art Police / Losing Faith / Ferret Comix / Baby Split Bowling News / Profane Existence) I would pick up on my sporadic escapes into the big city were the Harlequin™ romance novels to my locked-in-my-bedroom-against-Reganomics-and-rednecks loneliness.
Up til moving to MPLS I worked in a butcher shop. The U of M was a magnet for of outstate DIY'ers. I was a 'fine arts major'. Don't remember much of actually going to class. (only lasted a year and a half). My life revolved around WMMR (now Radio K) (lasted 3 years before my non-student status was discovered) where I met Jason Parker and the THD crowd . Making xeroxed playlists, station newsletters (Hooray for the Devil!) and gig posters with those punks was a hell of a lot more fun than sketching hirsute transient 'models'. I picked up an internship at Twin Tone aback when Am Rep was still squatting there, and started doing posters for the Uptown Bar. It was a pretty inspiring time and fueled my move out of the fine art program and eventually out of school.
I left school with the mission to forget about art and “make toys and draw fucked up shit”.
I spent a lot of time at Kinkos, and figured I'd get an overnight job there to 'facilitate' my practice. I was not alone. Zinesters are night owls. Being a copy connection' I was in the right place to meet the broad spectrum of MPLS DIY publishers, the anarchists and socialists; the cartoonists and the writers. One late night I met Earnest Mann, who had been publishing his amazing double-sided 8 ½ x 11 zine, The Little Free Press for nearly 20 years. (his zine was also freely reproducible. I host a digital version of one of his collections in the Mt. Holly Public Library (LINK). You should put down this magazine or your computer and go read it now.)
I was introduced to fellow Kinko's employees, Joel Orff and Dan Cahil [CHECK SPELLING] about this time. They were publishing a collective comics zine called Marvelous Martha's Comic's. It inspired me, in 1991 to try to put out my own collected zine, Ye Olde Stinkhammer Press (bear with me, grunge was casting a heavy, flannel-draped dude-vibe on everything in those days.)
The music and art scene back then was reeeeeeeaaaaaalllllly small. It was local, close, and because of this, there was a earnest quality to all of it. Remember, this was a time before 'Alternative Radio' and the internet which 'legitimized' saturated, diluted and commoditized art and music. (sorry, folks, I'm old.)
This was a time where one discovered music through reading Maximum Rock & Roll, going to the record store, catching touring bands or grabbing a beer with friends who just got off tour and would regale with stories and swapped records and tapes. The same was true but to a lesser extent with zines.
If you were lucky enough to visit another town, you did so with a 25 cent Goodwill suitcase, jammed with zines and an extra pair of socks. You sold them at shows. You hit every record store in said town, buying every zine in sight and dropping off zines for consignment. Most shops would take 5 copies. At a quarter a pop, after the 60/40 split, it was hardly viable checking back to collect (via a long-distance call over a land-line, remember this was pre-cell phones). Still, occasionally, the envelope full of change would magically appear in the mailbox. But that wasn't the point. The point was to perhaps, through your hard work, or picking up someone else's hard work, connect with another like mind.
The other option was Fact Sheet Five. It was less of a magazine, more of a published lexicon of self-publishing. This thing was a tome; a couple hundred page brick infested with the classified ads for America's publishing underbelly: comic books, music mags, alternative lifestyles, UFO enthusiasm, rampant conspiracy and dissent (yay!), and (barf!) poetry. . . lots of god damned poetry. Shit was cheep; much was open to flat out trade. Most items were shipped with hand-written letters and offers of friendship.
Most of my best friendships, today, were forged via the U.S. Postal System, 20 years ago. It's crazy to think about.
I met Zak Sally while putting together that first xeroxed collection. Within a month of meeting, I finished printing the book including his work and he and I hit the road for the West Coast to ply our wares for two weeks along the Jonestown / Les Thugs tour. We've been friends ever since. We decided to put our books out under the jointly under the La Mano imprint. Zak's the hardest working self-publisher out there. He spends years sweating over a ink and eraser ort riddled desk and shambling printing press to create a understandable yet unfortunately small portfolio of highly detailed, brutally beautiful works of art. I ejaculated my little turds of magazines in 3 hour sessions. We're like Felix Unger and Oscar Madison in a lot of ways. In the past decade, I've become much more of a dabbler. (I slapped together my latest travesty, a zine of dirty jokes written in code called S.E.C.R.E.T.S.H.I.T. That is distributed with a decoder over 2 years ago.) Zak is pretty much the sole driving force behind La Mano at this point. I'm a liability.
Minneapolis has always been a hotbed for DIY publications. Back in 1919 Fawcett Publications was born of a mimeographed pamphlet of bawdy military jokes called Captain Billy's Whizz Bang. Being a hotbed for socialism and the union movement in the 20's and 30's Minneapolis was littered with hand-made propaganda.
As Minnesotans, our penchant for self-publishing stems from many things. We tend to be pretty self-reliant people here. We have to be, given the climate. With self-reliance comes a certain amount of alienation. This alienation was compounded, in the pre-internet world, by our location. Minneapolis was in the middle of nowhere. With a certain amount of alienation, comes the desire to connect, to be heard. We are a culture of makers here. The folks on the coasts would have their mind blown to be made aware of the breadth of Midwest innovation, in engineering for sure, but also in the creative arts. The volume of zines being published here is a natural extension of our history and a response to cold-ass winters and plague-like summers.
The internet has done much to make zines accessible. I would argue that the internet has also superficialized zines, turning them into pretty products more than an exercise in soul rendering. Crap, who am I fooling. I've always felt that way. I'm just old. I still stumble across gold every once in a while. To each his own, right? That's what zines are about. Not pleasing everyone. It's about banging away on something that makes sense to yourself, putting it out there, and hopefully making a connection with a reader. Plus, did I mention I'm old.
Regardless, there is alchemy in zine crafting that is undeniable. And the end result is, for better or worse (remember - poetry mags), highly personal and gloriously tactile. There is no better venue, today, for getting jumped-in to the zine culture than zinefest, where you can pick up and read from a huge swath of today's MPLS DIY publishers.
Monday, May 23, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
I'll do my best to keep this updated through the spring
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Jonathan Nowak co-directed this documentary about a Belgian couple (Godfried Willem-Raes and Moniek Darge)and their love for each other and of robots and music. The film will be debuting at SXSW this year and looks amazing.
Godfried's theories about new music got him kicked out of a Belgian conservatory and sparked his development of a robotic orchestra, bicycle symphony and an instrument based on sonar reactions to a dancing nude body (Warning it's a bit NSFW).
I had the fortune of working with Jonathan back in my advertising days on the best project I ever was a part of. Congrats, Jonathan.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Here was this dude who looked a bit like Paul Shafer in a tie die carrying a tape case on which he had drawn a ghetto blaster and a piece of corrugated cardboard advertising "Will freestyle on any topic 25¢ " I gave him 75¢ to rap about the girl I was with, Pizza Hut, and Moby Dick which he did, flawlessly. I bought a couple of the tapes he was selling from his own label, Krazed Up Records.
Read more and download here: Mt. Holly Municipal Records
More recent jams on MySpace, YES!
Saturday, February 05, 2011
This week, I outfitted my ice fishing sledge with a rattle-reel, a super-sketchy homebrew detonator (the trigger involves a guitar pick) and a launch pad. Now, I know when a fish bites because a rocket launches.
No one lost a hand today, but we did lose 2 rockets.
Thanks to the dudes at mission control: Dave, Jake and Jeff.
Here's a hi-res photo of the set-up:
Friday, February 04, 2011
What do people in Minnesota do in the long cold winters? They dream shit up. Then they build it. This is the story of my pal Joshua Kahn's homemade backyard ice rink. Now keep in mind, this thing is in his backyard in Typical Suburbia, USA. Also, note that we've had 60 inches of snow this year. Look at the quality of that ice!
I'd like to say that this is a unique project, but it's not, these things pop up all over the Twin Cities Area. Still, Josh's rink is pretty incredible. The sophistication grows every year, like lights embedded below the ice to create the scrimmage lines and a homebuilt push Zamboni. I know Josh has been tinkering with an Arduino controlled scoreboard as a future enhancement. Nice!
Thursday, January 27, 2011
My pal Dave loves to boil water. He's built a steam powered motorcycle. So, of course, I knew he'd bring something special to fish with when he suggested we go ice fishing together.
The column heats the water that drips into the sardine can. A stick on a bent spring pops up from under the reel's handle, signaling a bite.
Dave's next modification will be a small chute that will direct the spilled hot water into the hole keeping it ice-free.
Speaking of sardines, that day Dave caught the only two.
Friday, January 14, 2011
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
A few years ago, in order to combat some strange memory loss issues, I needed to find a way to meditate a bit . . . which sucks. I am one of those people who cannot shut off their brain. I guess I just didn't understand meditation. I found that rather than snuffing my thoughts, I just needed to apply a focused self-pacing task to them. It apply a regulator, if you will.. Well, thanks to my Uncle Ron, who has been knitting for years and is a patient and entertaining instructor, I found that regulator in knitting. I've gotten good enough to actually make gifts for people, and proud enough to order up some labels from the good folks at Miles Kimball. They showed up this weekend.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Thursday, November 04, 2010
Discovered a stack of these old Hardware Hank Summer Sale Mailers sitting on the overwhelmed checkout counter at the Waterville, MN Hardware Hank.
I particularly like this rendition of the Hardware Hank character. He looks alot wiser and handy than the neutered later (through current) baby-faced checkout-boy they have employed as a mascot. "Hey, boy, how about showing me fewer teeth and more smarts about straightening or replacing this fan blade?"
On our visit, Autumn and I also found plenty of neat old stock amidst the packed from floor to ceiling shelves. We left with some camping fuel, a battleship-strong Swing-a-way™ can opener, a skeleton toy and the mailer.
What was even cooler than this nifty old advertisement? We've been to many a hardware store where the staff takes interest in you because they are paid to. We've been to others where the advice is handed down from a pulpit. The Waterville Hardware Hank store is still run by the Jacobson family, a family who has handed down more thna just a business. They were welcoming, interesting, smart, and absolutely love what they do, helping people, and it shows. Long live the family store.
View the complete 1957 Summer Sales Mailer.
Don't miss the fabulous insecticide spread on page 22.
Monday, November 01, 2010
This is incredible. Please, tell me it comes in middle-aged man sizes.
PS: Dear Santa - you love sneaking into people's homes. Please, leave this under the tree and our silver where you find it.
From Blackbird: The second burglar of interest in our series, we bring to you Colton Harris-Moore
Colton A. "Colt" Harris-Moore (born March 22, 1991) is a former fugitive from Camano Island, Washington. He is suspected in the theft of at least five small aircraft, a boat and two cars, and in the burglaries of at least 100 private residences in various locations around the Pacific Northwest of the United States and Canada. He fled to the Bahamas on July 4, 2010, allegedly in a plane stolen from Indiana. He was indicted on July 6 by a U.S. Federal Court in Seattle, Washington on charges of transporting another stolen aircraft in that state. Harris-Moore was arrested in Harbour Island, Bahamas on July 11, after police shot out the engine of the boat in which he was attempting to flee. Two days later, he was deported from Nassau, Bahamas to Miami, Florida and transferred on July 21 to SeaTac, Washington where he is awaiting trial.
DETAILS: Soft 80% cotton 20% polyester crew-neck sweatshirt with 1" double-stitched ribbed collar, double-stitched shoulder seams, and 2 3/4" ribbed sleeves and waistband in black. Runs a little big so size down (if M then buy S) for a slim fit or get your size if your feeling relaxed.
NOTE: In no way are we promoting or glorifying crime. Sweatshirts are the known uniform of thieves and this is our inspiration.
Thanks Sean Whipps for the find!
Friday, October 29, 2010
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Ellie would have turned 70 today. She blew up the Brill Building in the 60's writing such hits as Leader of the Pack and this monster which reportedly put Spector over the edge. Spector paid Ike $20,000 to stay away from the studio during the recording and an additional $22,000 on production, which is probably why he scrimped (with fabulous results) on this promo for the song.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Be a part of The M*A*S*H Pole Project
1. Make your own arrow pointing to whatever you like - your home town, your barbershop, your favorite spot for a beer, where you hid the bodies or anything really that you can point an arrow at.
2. Send your arrow to
305 Holmes Street S
Mt. Holly, MN 55379
3. I will nail your arrow to the M*A*S*H pole pointing to your destination and add it to our map.
4. I will send you an individually numbered Mt. Holly arrow that you can nail up pointing to our little city.
For more info and to follow the progress visit The Mashpole Project
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
This Saturday as part of the Scott County Art Crawl, we are opening the Beautiful Hands Gallery in Downtown Mt. Holly. The gallery will be open from 9am - 6pm, followed by a campfire. The show will feature artists from the Greater Mt. Holly Area including:
- Morgan Hawley - Dolls and Wooden Robots
- Gary Hawley - Toys, Painting and Photography
- Autumn Haeg - Photography and Emphiria
- Isabella Zadra - Birdhouses
- Mike Haeg - Junk Guitars, Red Arrows and Mini-Mini-Comics
Plus some surprises.
Whether you are coming to the show or not, you can be a part of the show. I whipped up what I hope to be only the first batch of 100 little wooden red directional arrows that point to Mt. Holly. Each is individually numbered. If you send Mt. Holly an arrow, we will put it up on a big post and send a Mt. Holly arrow back for you to nail up wherever you choose. It's a real world mapping project which will be supported by some online stuff like a blog and, well, if I can figure it out, a map.
What can you put on your arrow? Whatever you like:
- where you live
- your favorite city
- an imaginary city
- the business you build with your own 2 hands
- your studio
- anyplace with really great donuts
- where you hid the bodies
- your band
- pretty much anything that can have an arrow pointing at it.
This project is inspired by the directional sign post from M*A*S*H*. That sign post kept a lot of those characters going. Whether the unit was under friendly fire from an American soldier delirious from a gangrenous compound leg fracture, or shivering holes through their long johns on a frigid Christmas night in Korea, Klinger, Hot Lips and the crew could look up at that sign and believe that places like Toledo actually exist . . . and feel a bit of comfort.
We'd like to share a little belief with you all who have believed in Mt. Holly all of these years. So send your arrows!
If you're coming to the show:
- bring a shirt or something to screen on and we will print a big ol' Mt. Holly arrow on it for you (printing at 4:00)
- bring some quarters for the Crap-o-Mat
Friday, September 24, 2010
A single button on a wooden box. Press it and a digital display reads "Hello, This is attempt 1 of 50" The message is suddenly replaced by a new one: "Access Denied". A third message give the only clue as to how to open the box: "Distance 257 miles".
Despite being subjected to the old box in a box in a box birthday gag repeatedly as a kid, I love when the delivery of a present is filled with mystery. It doesn't get much more mysterious than this.
There's a great write up on the spirit of this project over at Arduino artist Mikal Hart's Arduinia Website.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Thanks to @benhedrington who caught this on late night TV IN THE PAST WEEK!
Digital cameras take good pictures. The problem is your photos end up staying on the camera, or you are forced to sit at your computer to see them.
Looks like the folks at Vivitar are squeezing the last drops of blood out of this withered industry . . . Plus, a free roll of film!
(Don't get me wrong, I still do shoot some film. However, I choose film in these instance because of the difficulty and care involved, not because it is easier or frees me up from all the cables, confusion and costly home printing.)
Sunday, September 05, 2010
My Buddy, writer, bedazzled ass hunter (SFW), and music expert, Casey Brewer has finally given me a key to his unholy k-hole, the Superbeast Creative Blog. I'll be throwing him a righteous bone now and then like this:
Sage Advice From E. Bloom
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Zak Sally says:
heads up here; big party/ signing at Big Brain comics here this friday: it's a pre-MIX (about which more in a second) kickoff, and the release event for 3 new books: look, that's the flyer up above:
WILL DINSKI will have his debut book (from Top Shelf) FINGERPRINTS
AARON RENIER's newest, (via First Second) THE UNSINKABLE WALKER BEAN
i'll be signing/ selling copies of the brand new third issue of SAMMY THE MOUSE (Fantagraphics/ Coconino)
Will and Aaron are great cartoonists-- i'm excited to be doing this with them (and i can't wait to see their books).
and then the next day-- Minneapolis Indie Expo, or MIX.
this thing is shaping up to be a fantastic event. Minneapolis (being the great city that it is) has a bunch of different comics events that occur over the course of the year, be it Zine Fest or Fallcon or the Rain Taxi Book fest: i like all of em, but they all serve different...niches, somehow.
but i'll tell you: both US coasts have a sizeable "Small press" convention (SPX in Maryland, APE in San Francisco, and MoCCA in NYC). all of those are great, but where the heck is the one for the midwest? i don't want to jump the gun, but there's some significant signs that the organizers of this here thing a) have their act together and b)have put a ton of work into this thing that has already paid off; from all your local knowns and unknowns to out of town heavy hitters like Sparkplug Comic Books and Top Shelf. hell, John Porcellino's coming out for this thing, and it's only the first year.
i have every belief that this thing is going to be fantastic for Small press nerds and casual "consumers" alike.
La Mano will have a table, but unfortunately i'll only be able to be there for a limited time (due to a family wedding), but i cannot urge folks enough to get down to this thing; just go check it out.
if it's terrible you can get real mad and yell at me next time i see you, but it won't be.
terrible, that is.
Minneapolis Indie Xpo (MIX)
Sammy The Mouse #3
Monday, August 09, 2010
Mt. Holly Shirts - Free! Send me shirts an a SASE (That's Self Addressed Stamped Envelope to You Whippersnappers)
Free* . . . *send me shirts and a SASE (That's a self addressed stamped envelope to you whippersnappers)
For those of you who missed the best Mt. Holly Days ever, shirts are still available. Send shirts and return postage to:
305 Holmes St S
Mt. Holly, Mn 55379
I'll screen batches of shirts once a month.
Be on the lookout for the real-world mapping project around these little red arrows that kicks off in October.
Check out the totally B.S. Chairman Mao / Mt. Holly hybrid that I had to screen for the LaMano overlord in the clothesline photo (above).
As Dr, Seuss, Ted Geisel delivered a lesson with every story. Such was the case with the work that he did for internal use by the US army in World War II. Tomorrow night, you can catch a glimpse of rarely seen original prints at the Trylon Microcinema. A caveat: These films were made in different times and thank goodness we have grown beyond many of the racial streotypes portrayed in these films. (The cartoon above show's that our beloved doctor, himself also outgrew them.)
Film archivist Dennis Nyback will be on hand to present his collection and to take questions.
The Trylon Micro Cinema
Friday, August 06, 2010
"Stay Off The Internet and Learn How To Play An Instrument" - Ratso Interviews Dead Moon on Chic-A-Go-Go!
Toody & Fred Cole not only blaze the hottest rock & roll in any bar today, they are a hell of a couple. If you get a chance to watch Unknown Passage the documentary about their longest running incarnation as Dead Moon, you will see how genuinely great Fred & Toody are to eachother. It's really sweet. This clip from Chicago Public Access' great Chic-A-Go-Go is equally sweet.
Chicagogo's YouTube Channel
Monday, August 02, 2010
Photo by Curtis Thompson
Last week, the Open API group that I've been working with at Best Buy had a hack day. It was phenomenal. Gone were our computer screens and in their places appeared soldering irons, arduinos, robots, drawdios, LEDs, tweet-a-watts, ping pong balls, Legos and even a professional lock-picking course.
Any of you who know me well enough know that I hate talking on the telephone. I really, really, really hate it. Inspired by the Retro Wireless Handset project from Make Vol. 20, I decided to mod a Bluetooth earpiece for my phone out of a kids plastic toy gun. Now, I look forward to receiving a call from the First Lady while I'm at work. I draw the gun out of my pocket, stick the barrel in my ear (the speaker is in the business end), and pull the trigger to answer the call.
Below is a larger photo of the guts (in charging mode with the cable attached). It still needs a bit of work to flush mount the microphone and I've been debating on painting it to look like a real gun. (I get equally giddy and frightened by the panic that this could cause should someone not notice that the gun is a fake or should I accidentally take a call while at the bank.) But you can see how perfectly the trigger and switch work together on this model of toy gun.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Friday, July 02, 2010
Thursday, May 06, 2010
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
Friday, April 30, 2010
On May 1st, 2000, the US Government disabled a feature within its Global Positioning System (GPS) called Selective Availability (SA).
GPS includes a (currently disabled) feature called Selective Availability (SA) that adds intentional, time varying errors of up to 100 meters (328 ft) to the publicly available navigation signals. This was intended to deny an enemy the use of civilian GPS receivers for precision weapon guidance.
On May 3, 2000, civilian, Dave Ulmer hid a bucket of swag here and posted the coordinates on the internet, creating the first official geocache. Since then over a million caches have been hidden. The city of Mt Holly has found over 250 of them.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Please stay in touch: Haeg / 305 holmes st. / Mt. Holly, MN 55379. Or you can follow my further endeavours at: http://lifewassomuchmoreinterestingbeforethe.blogspot.com/
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
I stumbled across Mr. Womach's records while crate-digging metro Goodwills back in the early 90's. Bought the records for the covers, still listen to them for the spirit and the undeniable set of pipes exhibited in the recordings. Had a friendly chat with Spokane's The Makers back in the day in which they charmed me with stories of recording some of their previous band's tracks at Merrill's studio, sightings of Merrill rollerskating around the city's paved trails wearing a terry cloth outfit , and the only Rolls Royce in Spokane! Enjoy!