I am currently in graduate school for social work at the University of Montana. This came to me after about fifteen years of being an activist and artist, and trying various ways to combine my passions. One day I realized I needed a lot more education to accomplish the kind of community work I was trying to do. So I enrolled in school, and now that I am here, I have to say it was the perfect decision.
I have origins in the St Paul/ Minneapolis progressive scene, starting with St Paul Open School (now called Open World Learning Community ), with heavy influence from the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask theater starting at age twelve, and becoming a worker-owner at the New Riverside Cafe at age 19-20. The lines between social justice and art have always blended for me.
My past art-related projects have included the Missoula Storefront Art Project, Slumgullion, the Zootown Arts Community Center, and the Lost Dog Productions Theater Company. I was the program director for the Missula Cultural Council for two years, where I organized First Night Missoula,and First Night Star.
I have been making zines and books since the 90s. My earliest and possibly most insane zine was a weekly poetry zine I co-published for 3 years in Minneapolis. I cant say what it was called because the name is too inflammatory for this day of the patriot act, and the mag had nothing to do with inflammatory things, only poetry. Since then, I’ve created several zines of my own including Sump Pump, At the Top of Either Truth, House Story, Social Skills. I also make little hand made books that have more 3-d features like the box book in the image. My poems have been published by Proper Tales Press (Canada), and Unarmed Poetry Journal (Minnesota).
Slumgullion 2005 – Present
This was a collaborative small press project that I founded and directed. Slumgullion means, “A stew of most anything.” The main mission was to create small publications (zines) of artwork, poetry, and interesting book forms… and sell them on the street. At our peak of activity, we had our own section at Shakespeare and Company, a local bookstore. We also had a bicycle-powered bookmobile, originally designed by Madeline Ffitch, built by amazing bike-ricksaw folks (ancestors of Garden City Gondola), and mainly pedaled around by me, and sometimes by LadyPajama. We created and hosted all kinds of crazy events, like Sock Puppet Poetry on the street, The Great Typathon (12 hours of typing), The Rapid Memo Typing Service, and we even made real Slumgullion Stew. Later, I taught after school classes on how to make zines (and snuck poetry and art classes into these) . The underlying ethos of the zine class is: to pass on the heritage of small press: personal artistic freedom, setting goals and meeting them, getting your work out there, and creating community. I continue to teach zine classes here and there, mainly through the Missoula Art Museum.
I keep slumgullion.org active so that people can see pictures and find out what we did. I only say “did” because nothing’s been going on for a couple years with Slumgullion– but at any moment I could decide to make a zine and put Slumgullion’s name on it. Or recreate the sock puppet poetry, the Rapid Memo Typing Service, etc.
The Missoula Cultural Council
Working for the Missoula Cultural Council was one of the most formative experiences in my trajectory thus far. It was highly professional, very multifaceted, and I really enjoyed the challenge, and still think the job was perfect for me. Can I just say: I seriously loved doing my job. I contributed to cultural planning for the City of Missoula, I was in charge of a huge city-wide New Year’s Eve event called First Night Missoula, and I interacted with all kinds of great businesses, artists, and community leadership, all the time. I even had to go on TV , radio, get interviewed for the newspaper, and we had dignitaries visit from New Zealand spring of 2010. When you’re at yet another a luncheon where the ranch dressing is in a silver gravy boat, you know you have a good thing going. But, alas. I decided to leave this position and have filled my days with many other wondrous things that you can read about on this site.