Monday, September 30, 2019

lethal ladies: the women of true crime

Plans are in the thick for our upcoming focus topic this semester, the exhibit for which drops on Thursday with our kick-off artist panel.  I will have some of the {licorice, laudanum} image and text pieces up as well, since they focus predominantly on the women as victims and co-conspirators with Holmes.  Below is a peek at all the upcoming related programming happening over the next couple of months. 


As both perpetrators and participants in our shared cultural fascination with the subject matter, women have made vast contributions to true crime-related art forms. From murders to heists, deceptions to general unruly behavior, we will explore the patriarchal structures and societal constraints/expectations that true crime, and its subject matter, subvert and transform. Further, this exhibition shows how we as artists and consumers create and further these conversations within the genre.

“Lethal Ladies: The Women of True Crime” Artist Panel and Kick-Off
THURS. OCT. 3rd|  Library | 5th Floor | 7pm-9pm
Join us for a discussion with the artists featured in the Library’s Lethal Ladies: The Women of True Crime exhibit.
As both perpetrators and participants in our shared cultural fascination with the subject matter, women have made vast contributions to true crime-related art forms. From murders to heists, deceptions to general unruly behavior, we will explore the patriarchal structures and societal constraints/expectations that true crime, and its subject matter, subvert and transform. Further, this exhibit explores how we as artists and consumers create and further these conversations within the genre.
Each semester, Aesthetics of Research (AoR) addresses a portion of our programming to a particular genre, art form, movement, or special topic of interest via exhibits, displays, workshops, readings, lectures, panel discussions, and other activities. Focus topics reinforce the Library as a place of creative conversation and inquiry, bringing art and scholarship together, as well as to explore available resources in the Library, on campus, and in the greater Chicago community. 
Library Zine Night |  Lady Killer Edition
MON. OCT. 7th|  Library | 1st Floor | 7pm-9pm
Join Us for our monthly Zine Night, a chance for you to work alone or collaboratively on zines, comics, artist books, or other paper projects in the library.
You Need:
Ingenuity, creativity, and inspiration. A desire to show off or learn new techniques. A want to work and get to know other zinesters and artists…
We Have:
Staplers, trimmers, basic drawing supplies, paper, adhesives, scissors, discarded book scraps, scanners, photocopiers, and occasional guest how-tos.
Book to Art Club | The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death
WEDS.  OCT. 9th|  Library | 1st Floor | 7pm-9pm
In celebration of our “Lethal Ladies: The Women of True Crime” focus, we are venturing into non-fiction territory with Corinne May Botz’s The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, whose subject matter explores the life and work of master criminal investigator Frances Glessner Lee and her amazing crime dollhouses. We will be meeting to discuss the book, Glessner Lee’s work in general, her legacy on other art forms, AND to make paper dioramas of our own favorite crime scenes.
Book to Art Club Meeting
Wednesday, October 9
7 p.m.–9 p.m.
Library, 1st Floor
How to Participate:
  1. Check out a copy of The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death at the Library (copies are also available via I-Share Interlibrary Loan).
  2. Watch this space and Library social media for more resources and further reading on Glessner Lee’s life and work.
  3. Join us on October 9, when we’ll have discussion and diorama-making supplies aplenty for you to design your own paper crime scenes (both real or imagined, benign or grisly—your choice!)

SAT OCTOBER 19th |  LIBRARY | 3rd Floor East | 12pm-4pm

Join us for readings in all genres by Columbia & Chicago community writers celebrating both the women of true crime from all perspectives and the women who make them real through art and media.
CCC LIBRARY GAMING SOCIETY presents Horror Movie Trivia: Lethal Ladies Edition
FRI, OCT 25th | LIBRARY | 1st Floor| 5pm-7pm
The Columbia College Library Gaming Society invites you to unique variation on our annual Halloween season Horror Trivia Night in conjunction with LETHAL LADIES: THE WOMEN OF TRUE CRIME. From perpetrators to victims to survivors, women in horror movies play many roles.  Come test your knowledge of the women of horror and true crime.  Prizes!  Snacks!

Wicked Week: Domestic Goddess Gone Wrong |  Spooky Soaps and Bathory Bombs 
TUES, OCT 29th | LIBRARY | 1st Floor | 7pm-9pm
Join the Library and the Aesthetics of Research (AoR) for an evening devoted to making spookily-shaped soaps and bloody bath bombs devoted to everyone’s favorite Hungarian countess: Elizabeth of Bathory. We will also have resources on making your own molds and packaging. The workshop is part of the Library’s “Lethal Ladies: The Women of True Crime” AoR celebration.

THURS OCT 31st |  Library | 1st Floor | 7-10pm
Stop by the Library on Halloween night for some great public domain horror films in honor of LETHAL LADIES:  THE WOMEN OF TRUE CRIME.  We’ll have treats, flicks, and conversation.
Lethal Ladies: The Women of True Crime Panel
MON  NOV 11th |  LIBRARY | 5th Floor |  7-9pm
Join for a discussion with fans, experts and creators on the enormous popularity of True Crime in American Culture– the good, the bad, and the terrifying. What does the popularity tell us about our obsessions as a society?
Lizzie Borden Murder Mystery                                          
FRI DEC. 6th |  LIBRARY | 1st Floor |  5-7 pm
Help us solve our version of one of the most famous crimes of the century. Did Lizzie Borden really give her mother 40 whacks?  We’ll have clues, red herrings, and great fun for all.  Individuals and teams welcome. Sponsored by the CCC Library Gaming Society.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

changes afoot

Some decisions are the harder ones. My decision on whether to renew the lease on the studio space is coming up and I have pretty much decided to move the dgp operation back to it's origins--aka my dining room.  Each year, the rent goes up, both there and home. The past year has been like trying to rub two pennies together to make a dime, stretching myself unbelievably thin, occasionally overdrafting my Chase account to make ends meet. And just in general running at a financial stress level of about 11.  While the press mostly pays for itself in terms of supplies and ink and making of the books, the studio rent was oft augmented by my own artwork, vintage, and etsy sales, and when those came up short, my own libary income.  As the press has grown, we sell more books, but we also publish more books so the income/spending has remained stable.   I've been juggling these things for over a decade, hoping that at some point there would be some equilibrium, but I've yet to find it.

When I left etsy and my vintage/ craft focus 8 years ago, I decided to focus more on art & books, which has paid off in innumerable ways creative and intellectually, and allowed us to grow the chapbook series in a huge way, but there was a toll.  Publishing takes more than it gives, which I knew at the start, and which I was ready to sacrifice some things for .  However, coming up with an additional $850 each month got a little harder over the past few years.  I relied a bit more and more on my regular paycheck, which in turn left less and less for things like living in a pretty expensive city. I scrambled, I overdrafted, I paid bills late and more late fees and just hoped they wouldn't turn off my phone or my electricity.  I tried, but sometimes I failed.  I made do--tried to spend less of my disposable income, bought clothes mostly second hand,  never traveled, got rid of my home internet.  But still, I struggled.

And all the while, as well, I felt I was paying a whole lot for a place I didn't get to spend nearly enough hours in--2-3 per day mostly.  Even when I would have wanted to work late into the night, my prime creative time.  The building pretty much closed at 10pm (unless you were willing to stay there with no attendants/no elevator service, which I did a couple times, but it never felt safe.) For over a decade it has felt like most days I run in there, do a bunch of stuff, then run out frantically trying to get to work on time at 2pm. I also never have felt caught up on things in the way I might I am always behind, and for the most part, always am.  I am also, always scattered, split between two places when it comes to creating, some of my supplies there, some at home.  Nothing is every where I need it it seems, and I would like to feel a little more centered.

The last few weeks have bought some difficult, awkward situations that have only compounded the financial fatigue, and with another rent increase on my horizon, I feel a need to pull down the hatches, fold up the sails,  and focus on righting the ship and moving the operation back to my apartment. Some of the larger furniture will have to go into storage until I decide what to do with it (storage racks, the mini-fridge, the ikea tables), but if I move the large metal shelves into my dining room, I can probably set up the printing operation with little difficulty there once again (and much more attractively/ less chaotically than it initially was).  Shipping supplies, paper stores, all the supplies will be in one place again, and I will be able to go home and work on books as late as I need to like I did pre-2007. which was pretty much the last time I felt caught up in any way.

I also feel, that while it was nice to have the options of open studio hours, I was pretty much either working or too exhausted to actually do them more than once a year.  The bulk of business has always been online and not in person anyway , so little will change except maybe I will close up my shipping delays and get books out a lot faster and more expeditiously when my studio hours are less limited by the times I can be there. (also weekends, when I never wanted to have to go all the way downtown just to work on my days off) And with more money to devote to the press without the rent, I can finally do all the other projects I've been wanting to do but haven't been able to scrape funds up for in the past few years.

So while I will miss my little studio space in the gorgeousness of that building--my view of the brick wall opposite, and my little loft above the city, there are perhaps kinder, less financially strangling things ahead, which I am all for.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

writing & art bits | september edition

My upcoming full-length collection due out from Black Lawrence in 2020  has a cover and it is a beauty! Really, what else says my work like a bit of Victorian bdsm, raw meat, and doll parts?  It's actually a modification of a /slash/ collage, initially created for a dgp cover and I love it so much! The pre-sale page will be up in the next couple months for an April release, so keep an eye out for that.

Work on extinction event continues to go well and I should have lots of material for my reading on October 9th at the Field Museum.  Apparently, I am also getting PAID for said reading and am always incredulous when I do...seriously, I would read for nothing.  And for this one, hell, I would pay to read in such an awesome venue.  I  will be headed back for a couple more visits (and just to also see some unrelated things I missed my first go round.)  I haven't started submitting any of the work around yet, but it's pretty good. Weird, but good.

Some of the {licorice, laudanum} poems, aka the HH Holmes project,  landed in a new issue of decomP. 

The third and final segment of the Nasiona Magazine editor interview is now available for reading.

Keep an eye out soon for pieces in The Journal, Typehouse, and Midway Journal from several different projects...

Thursday, September 19, 2019

paper quilling workshop

Next Tuesday night, we'll be teaching a paper quilling workshop in the library as part of our How-To-Tuesday Series.  I've been Pinteresting like mad, and while nothing I make is even half as beautiful/intricate/complicated as these, it should still be some fun experimenting with papery objects.

Columbia College Library
624 S Michigan
1st Floor
Tues, September 24, 2019

Saturday, September 07, 2019

all sugar, all milk

I was thinking about how it's the 15th anniversary of the dancing girl press chapbook series, and realized  that also makes it the 15th birthday of my first chap bloody mary.  

In the spring of 2014, a lot was going on.   I'd been editing wicked alice for a couple years at that point and had a dream of a possible print operation companion.  I was finishing out my first year of grad school getting my MFA and had started sending out my first full-length mss..  I had just won a pretty big Chicago based prize and the 1000 bucks attached to it (and thus had a little wiggle money to devote to poetry). 

The previous year, Moon Journal Press had taken my first chap, The Archaeologists Daughter, but it would still be another year before it was published.  I was doing a lot of readings locally and fending off incredibly flattering inquiries about whether I had a book people could buy.  Also engaging in a flourishing online writing community where everyone was always trading work.   I thought to myself, if this press thing was going to be a go, I might want to start with issue-ing something that, if I botched it or found it horrible, only I would be affected. It actually worked out pretty well--since I was clueless, I taught myself how to layout something that could be manually double sided (something almost comical in these days of duplex booklet printing).  I bought some nice resume parchment paper for a the cover, used the library's pamphlet stapler, and I had a book.  The cover image was courtesy of Alaina Burri-Stone, whose work I encountered in stirring and would also use for another chap of mine, my first full-length, some of the wicked alice print annuals, and a couple later chaps by other people.)

That first edition was slightly shorter than the one pictured above.  After the initial 25 were gone, I did a second revised printing of another 25 , with a few more poems tacked in and a new, more sturdy watercolor paper cover. The entire chap only exists in those 50 copies.  Where they went or wound up, who knows?  We do have a copy in the library I donated.  I traded them to a lot of other poets and gave many away.  I sold a few at Quimby's here in Chicago. When I read at the Poetry Center that fall, I sold quite a few there, along with a second chap, belladonna, also released in 2004.

Looking at the poems themselves, there is much of what went into the fever almanac here, including the title poem. An earlier version of "nebraska."  What are more interesting are the poems that never made the jump--either thematically or quality-wise.  Poems about ghostly twins, memorial photography, wicked stepmothers. An early poem about Little Red Riding Hood that would be revisited as the "book of red" project.  Some of it' s overwrought.  Over done. I had to learn to reign back on the "poeticalness."

"When you speak it's like honey.
The flutter of wings and drones
harbors in the bones of your throat."
from "sugar"

The bulk were written in 2002 & 2003, when I was really beginning to publish work in online journals, so almost all of them appeared in various places electronically.   I would follow it up with that second 2004 chap with some newer work and a cardstock cover, most of which also made it into the full-length, but this one holds an especially fond place in my heart for it's roughness.

on routines

As I've mentioned a few times in various arenas, the fall semester brings me back around to my ideal and preferred schedule--when my studio time is a little more productive a the the beginning of the day and my routines a little more stable.  I thought I might give you, dear readers, a peek at what goes down in any given day...

10 am:  Linger in bed until the alarm stops sounding (which negates the purpose of leaving my phone on my desk in order to propel me from bed and not keep hitting snooze, but oh well.)  Eventually, I get in the shower, though sometimes I wait for the shower to warm up whilst scrolling through instagram and lose another 10 minutes.

10:30 ish:  Finish showering, and sometimes, esp. if it's cold, crawl back into bed to warm up in my robe and a towel wrapped round my head. Get piled upon by cats for another 15 minutes while I convince myself I should get up when I would actually much rather stay here.

10:45: Get dressed (luckily I usually know what I'm wearing, and it's all just dresses, so this is easy.)
I have a lot of shoes, but usually will grab whichever pair is closest and matches and/or do not make my feet want to die. . My beauty routine pretty much only involves face lotion, deodorant, tooth paste, and a defrizz serum.  My hair is usually still pretty wet when I leave the apartment, and then I usually apply lipstick rather slapdash on the bus ride downtown. I tell myself this makes my hair look beachy and wavy but more likely I look like someone who has no mirror. I'll put it up at the studio and out of my way, and this tames it a little into something more presentable.

11-Noon:  I try to get out of the house by 11am and at the Fine Arts shortly before 12 (my commute is about 45 minutes door to door in low traffic..I spend this time planning my day or reading, or once I'm downtown, people watching on the Mag Mile). If I'm ready to go early and have proper groceries (on rare occasion) , I'll have breakfast and coffee at home before I leave and write a little.  If not, I'll get food downtown and do some writing there while I wait for my printers to start up with whatever I'm printing that day.

Noon-2pm: I'll answer e-mails and do some layout work while I wait for printing. Then assembly, trimming and such the rest.  I try to have the envelopes & package labels ready to go for things going out that day already, so it's a matter of popping them in and sending them on their way as I head out the door.  I'll get up earlier and get in more hours as needed here, but 2-3 is my standard.

2pm-10pm  My shift at the library starts, which is only a couple blocks down from the studio.  My days here vary depending on what's going on, what's priority, and what might come up.  Right now, I'm busy with beginning of the semester reserve collection processing and ILL mostly, and around those I squeeze in some A of R planning and materials design.  There are sometimes meetings and handling desk trivia. By evening, I'll usually have eaten a snack (I have dinner later at home) and if there isn't anything happening programming wise, I will either work on A of R things, or some design stuff for that or the press when things are quieter and/or read submissions. On a productive day, I might have time to work on my own creative pursuits, but these are most relegated to weekends.

10-11pm. Commute home--usually a little faster b/c there is less traffic on LSD.  I do a huge chunk of my leisure reading here--mostly novels.  When I get home I typically make dinner --sometimes a salad (lest you think it's healthy, I pile it with cheese and croutons and dressing) or more often something microwaveable. I'll read blogs or futz around on the internet while I eat. 

12pm-2am:  I usually will settle in with an episode of something while I am doing the stationary bike (pretty much the only exersize I get besides walking)  and then tidy up the apartment (clothing and papers and dishes--my mess) and then the cat boxes and sweep (their mess) then lately will watch netflix or youtube fashion vlogs until I go to sleep around 2am. I try to be religious about 8 hours, especially in the cooler less-daylight prone seasons, but in summer I get a little less.

There are of course variations, when I have the usual  phonecall with my Dad on Weds nights., when J sleeps over Thurs or Fridays, but this is pretty much my schedule during the school year.  Weekends, if I'm not working are devoted to editing work and maybe submissions and mss. plotting. Painting or collages on Sunday sometimes (though not lately). Occasional date nights, but a lot of watching streaming. (currently Gilmore Girls.  Again.)  And of course my marathon horror film watching now as we move into fall...

Friday, September 06, 2019

notes & things | 9/7/2019

We are already one week into the semester.  One week into a routine or a flow or a chaos, who knows which.  I am enjoying my mornings in the studio instead of going straight to the library, which always leaves me too tired to be really productive when I'm there.  (no one cares if I'm sluggish in the evenings--the most strenuous thing might be having to hold down the cir desk for awhile, but nothing that involves designing or answering e-mails or making books.) Tonight was our Board Game Night, always a crowd pleaser and one of our most well attended events each semester.  The weather has been cool and rainy, and next week I will start swapping the fall wardrobe in (normally I do it at the beginning of September, but we got a late start to summer this year.)  But I am already eyeing fall colored things, and have even drawn out the denim jackets a couple times this week. It's coming.

This weekend I am hoping to cut a wider chunk out of dgp submissions for next year.  We wound up at around 470 this year, which means I have my work cut out for me.  I'm hoping to have a batch of responses out soon, and the entirety done by Thanksgiving.  Since I'm busy in the library, and possibly a little busier now that I'm chairing the Program & Events Committee (where I'll be orchestrating some exhibit policies and a promotion inventory) in addition to the usual A of R stuff, my days will be packed tight with only a little legroom for press work there (which is where I've traditionally spent time reading submissions in past years.)  I'm also point person on the Artist in Residence program this year, which is going to be AMAZING (check out or resident artist here) and some other random stuff that has been shuffled over in all the restructuring. So it will be busy, but all fun creative things.  We'll also be presenting at a couple library conferences in October, one a session on zines and Chicago zine resources at the Chicago Resource Summit, and another, a poster session on curated learning at the Illinois Library Assoc. Conference.

Since this may be last weekend of freedom for a bit (I'm in Rockford next weekend and working the following.) I intend to also spend some time getting some horror movies in and drinking a lot of coffee and maybe some more work on extinction event, which has a couple more segments from this past week.