1. Mediander with me
Over two years ago, I was sworn to secrecy as I started writing for a crazysexycool new website, the likes of which the world had never seen.
This month, it finally launched, and the world got to fall in love with…
MEDIANDER DOT COM (com, com, com…)
I’ve linked you to the place where most of my “Culture Maps” live––nine and counting. What makes Mediander different is that the research connects disparate topics: Charlie Chaplin to The Atomic Cafe to books by dictators, Nabokov to synesthesia and lepidopterology, and much! Much! More!
Got off to a good start when researchers at the International Space Station liked my map on the Space Race:
2. That Smithsonian magazine
A childhood dream came true this month when I had an article published in Smithsonian. The piece allowed me to explore science+art at its best, in the form of Guillermo Bert’s 2D-coded traditional indigenous tapestries––one of the coolest artistic concepts I’ve seen in a long time.
3. WRITE FIGHT
The night before my birthday, I sat down at an old, malfunctioning Olivetti typewriter, on the train tracks.
The purpose? To battle it out in Revolver magazine‘s WRITE FIGHT, a single-elimination showdown with some of my favorite writers in town. It was both humbling and harrowing.
Competitors got the first line of the story, ten minutes to think for the first two rounds, no time to think for the last round, AND there were insane, orchestrated distractions at every turn. First round, I wrote as audience members came up and whispered suggestions in my ear. Second round, I had to put the typewriter on the lap of a stranger, who smack-talked me all the while.
Third round, at the center of a dancing mob, I wrote the story behind what improvisors would call the cruelest possible set-up:
“Even as it happened, I realized this was the most hilarious death ever.”
See what happened in the last three paragraphs of this article! [Spoiler alert, I won.] It was one of the most difficult feats of art I’ve ever undertaken, and my comrades in arms are my heroes more than ever. The… End…?
It’s been awhile. Here’s a the haps:
- Last month, Ken Eklund and I got to share Ed Zed Omega with Tribeca Film Institute Interactive, alongside the other incredible Localore producers. I mean wow. The future was then and there, folks.
- I was honored to have a story in the first “Choose Your Own Adventure” Night at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Many thanks to my illustrious comrades Ed Bok Lee, Katie Heaney, John Jodzio, and to Paper Darts for putting it on. Check out the gorgeous map Meghan Murphy at Paper Darts made special for my story:
- In the same vein, I have two story poems up on the “Poetry Trail” as part of Walker Art Center’s series at Silverwood Park. If you can’t make it to the park, you can listen to them here.
- New science pieces up at Mental_Floss, including my “authoritative” breakdown of what makes a platypus a platypus. More in the coming week(s).
- Revolver lit mag just published my short short story, “The Poke,” which is potentially NSFW.
- Last week at Two Chairs Telling, I swapped stories with Linda Gorham about growing up poor and figuring it out as you go.
- Just this morning I was featured on KFAI’s Story City, telling my totally true tale of vodou overseas. (You may want to turn volume down due to some mic trouble at the start, plus my voice was terrible that day. Here’s me sounding way better on KFAI last year, talking women in comedy.)
- Oh, and I have a very specific tumblr now, called Orphaned Panels. I don’t update it much. It’s a slow-motion tumble.
Just got called on as Writer/Producer for a cutting-edge new interactive documentary, paid for by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. It’s called Ed Zed Omega.
But what is Ed Zed Omega…?
Let’s find out together, August 15, 2012.
this week, discussing dolphins in captivity.
It’s been a while since I’ve written for mental_floss magazine, but now we’re reunited, and feels so good.
Three from the future*:
And one from the vault:
When Propaganda Backfires (reprinted on neatorama)
Look for my commissioned piece on the Berenstain Bears in next month’s paper issue. And more blogs like these *EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK.
As of May, 2011, yours truly has been published in a real, hold-in-your-hands, paper-and-binding book, which has been translated into ONE language other than English. Guess which one. Italian. You nailed it.
The book in question is titled A While Back: Sarà stato il succo di carota (It Was the Carrot Juice), and was authored primarily by one Mr. Clark Sandford, who, in addition to being an engaging storyteller, talented actor, skilled carpenter, and former fisherman/longshoreman/ferry boater/chiropterist, is also an awesome dad. I should know.
The book contains 20 chapters of real* stories from Mr. Sandford’s colorful 50+ years on Earth, and due to his colloquial, perhaps “cowboy-esque” style of storytelling, English professor Jodi Sandford of the University of Perugia thought that the collection would be a perfect tool with which to teach Italian students American English the way Americans speak it. And A While Back was born.
My participation in the project began over 27 years ago when I was born, and, as such, became a character in Mr. Sandford’s repertoire of tall tales. Some time later, after he started writing his stories down, he would often email them to me for my opinion. On a few occasions, I wrote back more than he had bargained for: a disagreement with his recollection of events, an additional remembrance, a verbose, daughterly opinion. Several of my participatory replies are included in the collection as well, and that, my pretties, is the deal with this book. It’s now in its sixth printing, by Morlacchi Editions.
Give & Take is a community experiment that breaks down barriers among disciplines, people, and ignorance vs. knowledge. …The perfect platform for a scientifically minded humorist (or comically minded scientist) to talk about their super-weird niche expertise.
My topic of choice: The Noble Dolphin. More specifically: Why the dolphin deserves better than the corny, new age symbol of playful peacenickery it has come to represent, and is actually a complex, highly intelligent, and utterly badass beast.
The presentation was a success, and reinvigorated my belief that people both love learning about dolphins (as well as other big-brained mammals and cetaceans) and know relatively little about them. Look out, World. You’re about to learn way more about dolphin behavior than you even though you knew you wanted to but DID.