Lisa Lux, writer
anything you want to add?
Alisa Heinzman, poet and co-editor of Octopus Books, will be reading at the Petshop Book Exchange May 25 at the Petshop Gallery in Benson (details below). She shares with LFF about her anti-inspirations, feminism, the friendly Omaha writing community and more…
I was born and raised in Lincoln and went to college there. I lived out of state for a handful of years and am really happy to be back for now. I love Nebraska.
How’d you get into writing?
Writing’s something I’ve enjoyed for as long as I can remember. In the sixth grade I won poetry contest with a rhymed poem about a lighthouse. As a child of the Great Plains I think that at least proves I had an imagination. That’s probably around the time poems in particular started to interest me. I don’t know, though, I think most kids really like rhymes.
tell me about your work, style, inspirations. does feminism play a role in your work?
I write poems. They’d probably be described as prose-y. I am inspired by pretty much everything except for, like, doing my taxes, which is a horrible thing, or returning emails that I’ve inexplicably put off for too long, or scrubbing the shower. Being around people I love makes me feel inspired, being alone definitely does, talking and not talking, reading and not reading, looking out a window. Because I’m a woman, especially a woman who went to college, and have chosen to take a lot of the opportunities available to me because of feminism, I know it’s a part of who I am and is certainly a part of my writing. I’d be hard pressed to point to moments where I overtly discuss these things in poems, but it’s crazy to say that that means it’s not a part of them.
what will you be reading from next week? anything you want to add?
Thank you for asking—I’m so excited about this reading! I’ll be reading with my friends Teal Gardner and Lisa Lux. All three of us have been working on long poems that correspond in a lot of ways, so they had this great idea to create a combined long poem for this reading. So that’s what we’ll all read from, all at once. It’ll be an arranged and edited combination of our three long poems. We’ll ask the audience to read along with us some of the time. It’s going to be fun! Dylan Thaemert—who’s a good poet and organizes readings at Petshop—is organizing a book exchange for this weekend. There are a lot of reasons to come. Also we have a weekly writing group at Petshop, on Sundays at 5pm, open to anyone. We’re on facebook (Omaha Writer’s Group). That has nothing to do with the reading…just wanted to plug it.
Hear Alisa read May 25, 7:30pm at the Petshop Gallery, 2725 N. 62nd St in Benson for the Petshop Book Exchange. Details here.
Checkout Octopus Books at http://octopusbooks.net/.
Amber Keller is the director of RAW: Omaha, a multi-media arts event May 23 at Sokol (details below and here); she will also be exhibiting in Pandora’s Box 2 May 24 at Waiting Room Lounge (details below). She shares with LFF about her packing up her car with art supplies and landing in Austin, then to backpack thru Australia, being the first international RAW artist; getting involved in RAW events, her own art and feminism, and more…
Background / How’d you get into art?:
Tell me about your work/style:
I work in all sorts of mediums and a few different styles. I see creation and art in almost everything, so it’s hard for me to stick to one thing, but one style that was birthed in my sketchbook and has become pretty constant with me over the last year or so, is of these little monsters, or soul entities, if you will. They each tell of their own story, typically one that is vulnerable and honest.
Inspirations: Emotions, Dreams, Love, Psychology, Children, Music, Words, Earth
As RAW:Omaha Director, I’m aiming to expand the creative community, not only in Omaha, but to combine forces with Lincoln and surrounding areas. I want to bring the creative genres together to create cross exposure and inspire collaborations and I want to show the rest of the world what we’re made of! Nebraska has a plethora of talent, most of which has been untapped and RAW is the perfect opportunity to put ourselves on the creative map.
It’s about recognizing possibilities, capturing passion, and giving artists a conducive atmosphere that will help perpetuate a healthy self-confidence and a brighter outlook on their environment. This, in turn, produces more ideas, more productivity, and larger goals.
RAW Omaha Presents: Expressions at Sokol Auditorium, 2234 S. 13th St., May 23, starting at 7pm. Details at rawartists.org.
Gina Morong will be performing at Omaha’s Waiting Room’s Pandora’s Box 2 May 24 (details below). She shares with LFF about performing for the first time on a dare, her inspirations from Whitman to life’s mysteries and more…
Tell me about your background/from NE? How’d you get into writing/performing?
I am from Nebraska, born and raised. Oddly enough I was raised in a pretty conservative family and environment. I’ve been performing for a little over two years, I originally performed for the first time on a bit of a dare. I have a really good friend Mike Norwood that has been doing spoken word for a long time and he got tired of me enviously watching everyone else perform while I was too shy to even bother. Luckily I did because it lit a fire in me that I can barely put into words.
Tell me about your work/style/inspirations.
I’ve been writing since I can remember, I perform poetry but write everything from screenplays to short (or not so short) stories. I am very influenced by many of the naturalists, especially Walt Whitman. I find myself very inspired by the many different adventures life has to offer, I want to live in and appreciate it’s mysteries, not figure them out.
Does feminism play a role in your work?
I’m not sure if I directly reflect on feminism in my work, but I do think that as women sometimes we are our own worst enemies. I try to empower myself and others around me with a positive message in my words. I’m performing two pieces at Pandora’s box 2 at the waiting room May 24th with multitude of other amazing local artists and performers, come check it out!
See Gina perform May 24, starting 9pm, at Pandora’s Box 2: A Night of Arts & Music at the Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. in Omaha. Details here.
“It Just Makes Me Want to Set Myself on Fire” by Meghan Stratman
Artist Meghan Stratman is exhibiting at the Apollon Gallery (1801 Vinton St. in Omaha) May 17-June 29. She’ll be giving an art talk during the Grand Opening Preview tomorrow night, though its sold out, you can visit the show thereafter during open hours. She also has work on view yearround at Gallery 9 in Lincoln. She shares with LFF about growing up in an art-filled household, how stories influence her work and more….
Tell me about your background/from NE?
I’m originally from New Jersey, but my family moved to Lincoln when I was 7 so for all intents and purposes I’m from Nebraska.
How did you get in to art?
I grew up in an art-filled household so I think it was inevitable. Both of my parents work in theatre and are artistic people. I’ve always liked art and spent a long time trying to figure out what kind of art I actually wanted to do. I originally started college thinking I wanted to do computer animation, but eventually figured out that I like my art more tactile and hands on.
Tell me about your work/style/inspirations. Does feminism play a role in your work?
I work in paper collage and am inspired by my generally nerdy disposition. I love stories, so anything that has a good story is an influence for me. Books, music, movies, video games, etc. My style is also influenced by my graphic design background. I don’t know is feminism plays a role specifically, but almost all of my subjects are female.
“Subject 13” by Meghan Stratman
Where is your work on view?
I’ll be doing a Q&A at Apollon Omaha tomorrow (May 17) and they will be displaying my art through June 29. I have art on display year-round at Gallery 9 in Lincoln (www.gallerynine.com). I’m also participating in a number of pop-culture related shows this year in Los Angeles and Seattle.
You can see my work on my website: www.bunnypirates.com, my blog: bunnypirates.blogspot.com, and on Facebook and twitter (bunnypirates).
Jessica Lane, aka The Good Lady Hussy Brazen of
Resplendent Jezebel Burlesque will be starring in FILTH live tomorrow, Saturday, May 11, 9pm at the Q in Lincoln (details here/below). She shares with LFF about getting into performance via Madonna, her view of burlesque, sexuality, feminism and more…
Background/where are you from/how’d you get into performing?
I was born in Chicago, but moved to Lincoln just a couple of years afterwards. As a young child I became obsessed with Madonna after an Italian aunt gave me a tape of all of her Immaculate Collection music videos. My brother and I would watch it on a regular basis and quickly memorized not only every lyric, but also the every dance move. We also idolized her wardrobe and makeup. Although I appreciate a full and eclectic spectrum of performers and artists, I would have to say that she was my very first inspiration in that regard.
Burlesque has interested me for at least a decade now. I’ve always viewed it as a celebration of the human body and sexuality. Three years ago I started to seriously discuss forming a troupe with my friends Corey and Jessica. We wanted to be as creative as possible, advocate sex positivity and consent, deconstruct gender roles, and above everything have a kick ass time together. Over the last few years we’ve put on dozens of original shows at many downtown venues, music salon houses, and even Star City Pride with reprising and new members including women, men, queer, and trans people of all ages and body silhouettes. We most recently had a multi-leveled 1920s murder mystery burlesque at the Ferguson House and before that we held a variety show at a theater past capacity with more than a couple hundred people in attendance. Resplendent Jezebel Burlesque is an ever-evolving collective troupe including everything from classic tease to modern performance art.
Tell me about your creative work, inspirations, style.
I’m am inspired by everything from my self-love to the aesthetics the world offers me. I have always had a love for fine and performance art. I studied ceramics for a time and always surround myself with artistic and creative people from my concert pianist and organist grandfather to drag queens. Of course I get inspiration from famous (from pop to underground) icons, but there is nothing more thrilling than to watch a loved one express themselves. I’m inspired by anything from particular songs to fashion to an inside joke I have with a friend. Performances can evolve from anything. My favorites include a fop number to Vogue and large group number I came up with where I had everyone dress as a burlesque bird and lay me a glittery egg while the Flower Duet of the Lakmé opera was playing. It seems that my burlesque persona (The Good Lady Hussy Brazen) and performances always involve glamour, at least a little something bizarre, and a touch of humor to them. I feel powerful in red and have accumulated quite the collection of lingerie, vintage jewelry, fans, makeup, and wigs. My body is to do whatever I want with and burlesque is a major way of celebrating that for me.
Does feminism play a role in your work?
I believe that every person in this world is in charge of their own body and sexuality. Sexuality is not shameful. A naked woman is not shameful. As a woman I have the right to present myself however I wish to the world and as a human being I still respect others around me as I make my choices. I believe that having a body/sex positive group in a community is wonderful for it, especially the women of it. Many women I have spoken to after shows have shared with me how inspired the feel to love themselves, celebrate their bodies, and own their sexuality. My co-founder Jessica said “images of women and queers reveling in their own sexual nature are rare and radical and I proudly present that image each time I go onstage.” I am always proud of myself no matter what I look like or am wearing partly because of my burlesque experience. In the troupe we help and empower each other. We make decisions together and everyone has equal say. Every member in the troupe is heard and only wears and performs what is comfortable to them. I never compare myself to another performer. I will never be anyone but myself. My relationships with my female friends and fellow burlesque performers are always about supporting one another and building each other up with love and honesty. This is also how women should treat one another. This is how human beings should treat each other.
Tell me about this event and why its important to you.
Our next event Filth is this Saturday, May 11th. It will be at the Q (226 S 9th Street Lincoln, NE 68508) at 9:30pm, ages 19+. We have saved our most shocking, disgusting, offensive, messy, and vulgar concepts for this one. There are more than a dozen of those kinds of performances for only $5 this time. I have always been drawn to and fascinated by what is considered by most to be bizarre. I believe in waving your freak flag as high as you choose. Filth is what came of these ideas. Hopefully people will leave the venue not feeling so strange in their skin or at least have been entertained.
Keep up with Jessica & her troupe:
The LFF…Ciao! Farewell show at Caesium Gallery last week was awesome. So awesome in fact, I’m almost starved for words. It seems when I’m riled up I have more obsessions going around in my head to get out on paper. This time, though, it was refreshingly settling.
Thirty-two artists contributed 1-4 lovely pieces of art for the pop-up show, some of them collaborations…all of them from someone whom I admire. Mike Scheef, co-owner of the gallery, offered me a few months ago the opportunity to host an LFF show there, and I quickly took him up on it before I leave (June 1 to West VA) to try to put into action some sort of good-bye, community friendly show. And it was really stellar!
(see if I can get most of the artists from left to right: Laurie Sewell, Evelyn Katz; Erin Blayney; Trilety Wade; Kristin Lubbert; Bart Vargas, Eddith Buis, Megan Loudon Sanders, Linda Garcia Perez; Laurie Sewell, Erin Blayney….scarves at far right by Ann Myers with imagery by me, Sally Deskins)
Wednesday night, friends old and new showed up, and I finally got the chance to actually talk (for real, not schmoozy or small talk) with some of them, which felt really sweet.
me (Sally Deskins, in tank top painted by myself & Ann Myers) with Bart Vargas (and the “Feminist” piece behind us by Vargas) and Larry Ferguson, who also had a piece (with me) in the show…photos at left by Trilety Wade and K. Lubbert. photo by Larry Ferguson.
Saturday afternoon it was open again, and I had a few readers—Bonnie O’Connell, Kelsey Reifert and Felicia Webster—read/perform (Felicia at the last minute!), to a warm tight audience, and it was a perfectly mellow “end” of my “LFF” time here.
me (left) chatting with Bryce Bridges and Kristin Pluhacek (whose beautiful drawing is at right) Other art in the image from left to right: Megan Loudon Sanders (mixed media far bottom left); Larry Ferguson (photo top left); Heather Peebles (painting back left); Lori Wegener (drawing middle); collaboration of myself, Rachel Mindrup and F. Higgins; Maureen Phalen; Kristin Pluhacek; bottom bottle by Molly Kiely; silk scarf by Ann Myers with imagery by me. photo by g thompson higgins.
Plenty of kind words, and new meetings were made, which is all I can hope for. A few awkward ones, too, but what’s an event without a little clumsiness? Keeps me on my toes. And, as I’m finally perhaps letting my hair a bit down, I’m moving on; for the next couple of weeks, my last ones here, I’ll try to spend it out, enjoying other’s events, art and experiencing Omaha at my most favorite, warm early summertime!
photo by g thompson higgins of art by me (top left, “Nebraska State Breastfish”) and g thompson higgins bottom left; Sarah Rowe and Ann Myers.
Sweet things going on now: Saturday, May 11, at RNG Gallery’s Museum of Alternative History (curated by Tim Guthrie; RNG is at 157 W. Broadway in Council Bluffs); I’m a writer in the show for the amazingly talented artist Megan Loudon Sanders; the opening craziness begins at 6pm…Monday, May 13, I’m hitting up Pageturners Lounge (5004 Dodge) for the first time to hear Jiha Lee and Doug Kabourek starting at 9pm…Thursday May 16 I’ll hit up Bemis for the opening/art talk with Jarrod Beck (6:30) then later to Verbal Gumbo at House of Loom! Do join!
Other gnarly happenings:
I’ll stop there…
I will continue LFF (you may have already noticed some features with PA/WV artists), and more so working on my own art—I’ve got a few shows in the works out there—see my new website sallydeskins.tumblr.com. Thanks for all your love and support! And haters too. Ying yang.
For your enjoyment; a few images and experts from LFF…Ciao!…
Kelsey Reifert’s new sweet chapbook of poetry she read from; excerpt:
“The ice gets thicker in layers—my time with the girl gets shorter every day. I lost her somewhere between me and the sky and the ice.”
screenprint by Mike Scheef on record album cover using imagery from one of my (Sally Deskins) body prints. So love! He has about 10 others still available…
collaboration with JJ Carroll; if you look close enough, you can see some of my (Sally Deskins) body print…love this “chick” piece… :)
closer view of collaboration (left) by Rachel Mindrup, F.Higgins & myself; next to Maureen Phalen’s painting, above Denise Brady’s handprinted book and Ann Myer’s scarfs with imagery by me.
Sally Deskins is a mother, wife, artist, writer, art model and general art & enthusiast living in Omaha until June when she moves to West Virginia. She founded LFF; preview and purchase LFF books at blurb.com. See her art at sallydeskins.tumblr.com. Contact her at email@example.com.
Artist Shea Wilkinson just finished her spring Fellowship with the Union for Contemporary Art, and is having a solo show at the Florence Mill ArtLoft opening May 12 (details below). She shares with LFF about how she got into free motion quilting, her favorite thing to listen to while quilting, how her fellowship impacted her work and more….
Background/from NE? How did you get into art?
I’m from Nebraska, and I’ve lived in Omaha off and on for the last ten years. I grew up in a small town, and since there wasn’t much to do, I was an avid sewer. I made quilts, clothes and costumes, and soft-sculpture dolls that I sold at the local craft boutique. In 2010, after moving to Mexico to teach English, I found myself in a similar environment with not much to do, so I again delved into sewing. For many reasons, I found myself learning how to free motion quilt, and I was quickly hooked. What began as a sketchbook for simple quilting designs evolved into a book of drawings, which have then become quilts.
“Mind Manifesting III”
Tell me about your work/style/inspirations.
I basically draw with the sewing machine. It’s as if someone were holding a pencil stationary in one hand and moving the paper around underneath it, just with a needle and fabric. I primarily use black for a background, so that the colored threads are fully represented. I’m inspired by the strange and unusual, whether normal or paranormal. If I were to elaborate beyond this, I wouldn’t even know where to begin. I’d like to point people to a podcast I often listen to when working, called Mysteries Abound, by Paul Rex. It’s amazing, soothing, and so informative.
Tell me about your show at Florence MIll Artloft and why its important to you.
The show is at the Florence Mill Artloft at 9102 N. 30th Street and opens May 12, from 1:30-4:30. The gallery is open Wednesday through Sunday, 1-5, and the Mill hosts cultural events and Farmer’s Markets. Linda Meigs owns the Mill and she was the first person in Omaha that I showed my work to for an informal critique. She gave me encouragement and a few ideas to get started. Two years later, I’ve improved my work ten-fold with the help of many people, and now I get to present it to her again, this time in her own space. I’m honored for the chance to stage my first solo exhibition there. “The Serpent in the Story” is a series of quilts inspired by serpents, and the attributes given to them in ancient stories from around the world.
Tell me about your residency with the Union for Contemporary Art this spring.
The Union residency was amazing! Again, I just don’t know where to begin, there’s too much to write about. From the mentoring, to the community service, to the multitudes of new and diverse people I’ve met, I wouldn’t have enough time. I encourage everyone to check out the vision and work of the Union for Contemporary Art at www.u-ca.org.
I am continuing to work with the Golden Threads Quilting Club, which meets at the Washington Branch Library on Tuesdays from 5-7. We instruct anybody on how to make a quilt, and provide machines and materials. The first quilt goes to a senior citizen and the second belongs to the quilter. I have a lot of friends there and they are progressing very well. The helped me tremendously with my community quilt by contributing beautiful and unique blocks. I also received blocks in the mail from Omahans all over the city. The quilt is now in the finishing stages to be presented at various venues, tba.
Does feminism play a role in your work?
The imagery that I choose is pretty androgynous, I think, but my medium is historically one for women, and most of the people that I work with in textiles are women. Quilting always strikes up a conversation like wildfire among female quilters. It’s a pretty funny phenomenon, but that’s what makes quilting as an art form so fun. Even men relate to it, as most people have gotten a quilt sometime in their lives from a grandma or an aunt, passed matrilineally.
Keep up with Shea at sheawilkinson.com/.
“Propeller” by Maggie Mills
Maggie Mills is exhibiting at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts thru August 18 (Rites of Passage; details here) and The Schuylkill Center in Philadelphia (details here). She shares with LFF about her inspirations from her work in nonprofit to nature and industry; the role of feminism in her work, and more…
I have lived in and around Philadelphia for my entire life. There are a lot of opportunities to see and exhibit work here, ranging from established galleries, performance spaces, and university affiliated spaces to co-op galleries and pop ups. The energy here is great.
Tell me about your work, inspirations, etc.
I work for an outsider art non- profit, which is both emotionally rewarding and serves as a constant source of inspiration for me as an artist. I instruct and promote a group of artists that deal with mental health and intellectual challenges and deliver some of the most genuinely inspired and beautiful work that I have ever seen. I find that it grounds me and reminds me of what is important in life and in art.
My work deals primarily with issues relating to contemporary spaces. I am interested in how nature and industry coexist, at times infringe on one another’s spaces, and how the boundaries between them at times dissolve. I am also interested in how the fragmentation of time and space due to technology affects our perceptions of these spaces. I depict children moving through these spaces because they have inherited them and navigate them with little guidance- a sort of Lord of the Flies scenario. A large part of the impetus for the representation of children in my work is maternal anxiety, nostalgia for moments that pass too quickly, and the innocence that children possess in their exploration of the environment. I am fascinated with the rituals and rites of passage of childhood and creating a “wild west” environment in which they can occur. The narratives in each of my paintings are a compression of subtexts. There is a subtext that may be a more literal depiction of an event in which I am struck by the anxiety, comedy, or poignancy of an event, but there are also broader environmental and social themes in my work.
“Skinny City” by Maggie Mills
The scenarios in my paintings contain elements of the literal world, but trade literal spaces for fantastic spaces. I love the idea of representing space not as moving back into the canvas through variations in value, hue, and linear perspective, but like stacking thin pieces of paper out toward the viewer. Each element exists on its own spatial plane and relates to other elements on their own planes- kind of like the old view-masters where separate cells stack up to create the final image. I use color, distance between objects, the scale of objects, the texture of the paint, and the level of rendering to create space.
Does feminism play a role in your work?
I suppose that feminism plays a fairly obvious role in my work. The dynamics in the world around me which seem to be most important to re-create in painting are pretty solidly grounded in maternal, protective feelings. I am first and foremost a mother. Taking the longer and more winding path to sustaining my artistic practice has proved to provide me with a more well-informed and grounded practice. The lessons learned from working towards a sustainable practice while being a good role model for my child have been invaluable.
Tell me about your current exhibits and why they are important to you.
I have current exhibitions at both the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education in Philadelphia. At the Schuylkill Center, I am showing a body work that depicts children moving through expansive, natural spaces that are marked with beneficial, but entirely adult man-made elements. I was intrigued by how the children that I photographed there re-appropriated these adult man-made objects in their play. At the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, I am showing a body of work that references rites of passage of childhood. I am exhibiting there alongside two incredibly talented and informed female artists: Kay Healy and Allison Kaufman.
Keep up with Maggie at maggiemillsart.com.