Category Archives: Articles

An interview with Alex DiFrancesco on their forthcoming book, All City

Alex DiFrancesco has had a busy year. Their essay collection Psychopomps was released  by Civil Coping Mechanisms in February, and their novel All City is being released by Seven Stories Press on June 18. While both books are excellent, this interview focuses on All City. It is an important book, and very possibly a prophetic one. All City speaks for the people whose stories do not often get told, much less told with nuance and compassion.

All City takes place in a New York City of the near future. The chasm between the haves and have-nots is wider than ever, and climate change has sent superstorms of increasing violence to the shores of the city, tearing it down with wind and water. Those with the means always leave before the storms hit, but those without resources and means, those who have nowhere else to go, must remain and hold on to what they can by sheer force of will.

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BURLESQUE STRIPPED DOWN TO ITS COMEDIC ROOTS

Laughter is an important part of being human. We use humor to navigate unfamiliar territory and to make bad news more palatable. We use it as an outlet for stress and to make others and ourselves feel better. And of course, we use it just for fun. Is it any wonder that humor also plays a key role in burlesque?

“Burlesque’s far-back history is that of comedy,” said Paige Rustles, a burlesque performer from the Pacific Northwest, in an interview with Crixeo. “I think that using comedy in current-day burlesque is so important because it allows us to tackle big and important topics in a highly accessible way.”

Early burlesque was more about lampooning or satirizing social and political figures. The acts also involved scantily-dressed ladies to add to the appeal of the show. The striptease, as we know it, came much later. Actors would perform skits featuring thinly-disguised caricatures of famous people. Even existing and well-respected literature and music weren’t safe. The Weird Als of the 17th century made fun of it all — and showed their ankles while doing it.

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ARTIST’S HYPERREALISTIC REPAINTS TURN CELEBRITIES INTO LIFELIKE DOLLS

Cyrus Bronock’s day starts just like anyone’s might: He rises early, brews some coffee, gets dressed, gives his still-sleeping husband a quick kiss on the forehead—Kamden is a college professor—and then it’s off to work. But here’s where his day diverges from the average nine-to-fiver’s. Bronock—known to his fans as Cyguy83—is a repaint artist who specializes in lifelike dolls. Specifically, he takes pre-fab 11.5 inch fashion and character dolls, strips off their assembly-line paint, then lovingly recreates them into astonishingly accurate one-of-a-kind representations of celebrities and musicians in some of their most iconic incarnations.

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Pro Special Effects Makeup Artists Talk Monstrous Transformations

Before 1981 there was no Academy Awards category for special effects makeup. One movie changed that: An American Werewolf in London. The film’s first transformation scene was shocking in its realness. It took a frightening folklore tale and dragged it, growling and biting, into the real world. Rick Baker, the Special Effects Designer and Creator for the film, is now a legend in the special effects makeup industry.

The film industry can thank horror movies for many things besides a new Academy Awards category: the films are notoriously reliable money-makers for studios, and many A-list actors get their start in horror, including Kevin Bacon and Renee Zellweger. Horror franchises themselves have built cult followings that have morphed into yearly conventions, turning D-list actors who hadn’t managed to move up the alphabet into beloved celebrities in their own right. But perhaps the greatest contribution horror has given the film industry is in the field of special effects makeup.

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Controversial artwork removed; Professor says potential for violence led to decision

News Article for University of Alaska, Anchorage newspaper The Northern Light

Jessica Keil (maiden name)
Northern Light Features Editor

A sculpture depicting a Ku Klux Klansman was erected in the Arts building on Wednesday, but was taken down two days later after repeated threats were made to tear it down if it was not voluntarily removed.

It was created by engineering major Tony Hamilton for a project in Professor Ken Gray’s beginning sculpture class. The assignment was to create a work using natural materials like wood, fiber and rope for inclusion in an exhibition titled “Nightmare Images.”

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Sinfonia: it’s not just for music majors anymore

Features Article for University of Alaska, Anchorage newspaper The Northern Light

by Jessica Keil (maiden name)
Northern Light Features Editor

If music hath charm to soothe the savage breast, members of the University Sinfonia might well be the most placid people on campus.

A sinfonia is an orchestra scaled down. Way down, if you’re looking at UAA’s sinfonia, with its core group of about 15 members.

The University Sinfonia is run as a two-credit class, so anyone can sign up, but the prerequisite may make some people rather squeamish. You have to audition to get in.

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Connachen talkes life, hitchiking and underwear

Features Article for University of Alaska, Anchorage newspaper The Northern Light

by Jessica Keil (maiden name)
Northern Light Features Editor

From beehives to bell-bottoms, it appears the 70s are making a comeback in a big way, so one might assume that the era’s favorite mode of transportation – hitchhiking – will be coming back, too.

But will anyone stop to pick up those restless souls?

Steve Connachen, 23, wondered the same as he stood with thumb poised by a Canadian highway. Tired of watching cars pass him by, Connachen decided it was time to pull out the heavy ammo.

Stepping behind a tree, he doffed his jeans and faster than you can say “shazam!” he was clad in his national dress.

Less than 45 minutes later, someone stopped and offered him a lift.

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