Como Theatre: Upcoming Auditions

With a couple of big productions coming up, now is a great time to get involved. It’s getting busier and busier in the Columbia, Missouri theatre world as it always does in the spring and summer.

Exterior of the new Maplewood Barn.

Exterior of the new Maplewood Barn. Their first production, Fiddler on the Roof, auditions this Monday and Tuesday!

The Maplewood Barn is opening it’s 40th season with Fiddler on the Roof. This production will be playing at the new barn (or is it the old one, it looks identical, people don’t call the new Heidelberg the new Heidelberg, do they?). They’re wanting a big cast for this, so if you’ve been wanting to get involved in theatre in some way, I’d strongly suggest you come audition this Monday and Tuesday, March 19th and 20th. They’re wanting males and females from 18 to 60 plus. They’ve even got four slots for kids age 7 to 13. Go befriend them on facebook for more pictures of the new barn.

Columbia Entertainment Company is concluding it’s 33rd season with the musical The Drowsy Chaperone. Auditions won’t be until next month on Monday, April 2nd and 3rd, but you can go ahead and start considering it. They’re wanting a wide range of ages as well, though there are no specific parts for children.  (Don’t worry, they’re making up for that in their 34th season….)

I don’t know much about this group, but there’s an independent film doing some casting in town. They’re looking for 30 women and 30 men.  It looks like it will be a bit on the “R” rated side, but they won’t be requiring any nudity etc. from anyone who is cast. Plus, it looks like a fun way to get involved and see how a movie is made.

For the kids, PACE has some events coming up this summer, with auditions in late April and early May.  Little Women promises to need lots of girls (err, little women?), but they also need some boys (little men?).  I’d encourage you to check it out if you have a little one. Heck, my first involvement in theatre was as a 5th grade kid in a production of Music Man. There weren’t many guys in the show then, but by the time high school hit, I knew a lot of the girls there because I was first exposed to them before, umm, puberty… sure that’s it.

Additionally, PACE will be doing Fame with auditions in May, so consider that one as well!

Finally, I wanted to point to some other art resources for you in Columbia. For one, the Office of Cultural Affairs is now on facebook. They’ve done a great job in posting and getting the word out, go like them so that you can stay on top of everything artistic going on in Columbia.  I also want to encourage you to check out the facebook group started by a few COMO theatre actors: Mid-Missouri Stage has become a stomping ground for anyone needing actors in a production, or letting people know of theatre productions in town. Even a few MU professors have started using it. Also, check out COMO Cabret. They’re doing a performance next week on the Broadway flops: songs from shows that didn’t make it.

Shout outs to IAT and Talking Horse Productions and also TRYPS. I don’t know why I don’t have anything on you in this post, but you too deserve recognition.  This post became a lot longer than I expected. That just goes to show how many wonderful opportunities there are in Columbia!!

DO THIS ON FRIDAY: Midwest By Southwest 2012 tour@ The Blue Fugue

Midwest By Southwest 2012 tour this Friday March 9th The Blue Fugue at 9pm. These bands are on the way to play South By SouthWest (SXSW) or the “place you’d rather be seeing shows”.

Whenever Cincinnati bands/musicians tour, I try to let people know. It’s one of those cities that when you live there you say “if this was somewhere else, it’d be huge”. Or if you’re a musician there, you also say “this is bullshit, imagine if we lived in Brooklyn”. I cut my musical teeth on the mean (not really) streets of Cincinnati Ohia (my mom pronounces it “O-Hi-Uh”). I moved there from the best state in the lower 48, Kentucky, way back when the internet and all banking systems were set to explode-The year 2000 and have played some of the best shows in front of the best people there. Outside of the suffocating nature of far-right christian conservatism, GOP city/county domination, and annual Christmas time crucifixion crosses hosted by the Klu Klux Klan, I met an amazing set of friends, comrades, artists, rebel-rousers and rockers that I still keep close. There’s also a stellar music scene that gets national news only when a band moves out of the city and acts like they’re above it now-see: The National, Heartless Bastards, Afghan Whigs, Oh and that awesome pic of Iggy Pop crowd surfing was from Cincinnati too, etc.

I met the good folks in The Sundresses back in 2003. They played a Books Not Bombs show that I organized at my alma mater and it smoked. The Sundresses went on to make a couple of incredible records since then and have extensively toured the U.S. Imagine a punk rock band stuck in Memphis right after Brown vs. Board. Anti-racists playing music in the midst of the violent white backlash. Imagine the politics of the period, the convergence of some Old Crow-soaked speakeasy mixed with front porch hollerin, cranked fender amps, and fucking trombone. It’s Lead Belly using Muddy Water’s gear with Nina Simone’s snarl, and the jump-boogy that connects it all in a really weird way. It’s all over the map and delicious. CoMo doesn’t have this so get it while it’s in stock.

Listen to The Sundresses “An American American”

 Wussy is the good therapy session that you walk out of on Friday and plan your weekend too. Dueling vocals that fit that duel-voice narrative in your head that argues the merits of whether you should buy some “party supplies” from that dude Gary or just commit to being a shut-in. At once melancholy and at the other hyperactive, all wrapped inside addicting melodies and primal rhythms. I hated 90’s college rock for the most part (that includes the Pixies) but this stuff is on another level, different. The production on all their records is flawless in my opinion. For chrissakes, the New York Times and Village Voice are in on the pile up. They’re a huge draw back in the ‘Nati and should be here too.

Listen to Wussy “Muscle Cars”

The Whiskey Daredevils from Cleveland are also along for the ride. They remind me of fistfight between two guys that have brand new cowboy boots. They’re nice guys but those boots are brand-fucking-new, like the tags got cut off right before they walked in. Uber-clean country twang hot licks that won’t be found at a Mitt Romney Revival. There is pierced tongue as a leftover from bad decisions placed firmly in the cheek of most of their songs. I like to think that they’re one of the guys fighting Brad Paisley in that boot fight.

Listen to Whiskey Daredevils “Skulls” via the Misfits

Oh Me My ,from the greatest state in the lower 48, Lexington KY, are also tagging along. Big soul vocals make this a winner already. These kids clearly have been raised on WRFL (Ky’s version of KCOU, but back in the day, way better). If the Flaming Lips listened to more soul records and did less L.S.D. and had more sex, this is what would’ve happened. Somewhere along the way of listening to more soul records they got hooked on low-fi garagey stuff. That Wayne dude is super weird and one of the FL dudes now lives in Newport Ky.

Listen to Oh My Me

The Midwest by Southwest tour hits The Blue Fugue for the first stop on an epic 10-day run to Austin, TX and back, featuring of some of the best bands the Midwest has to offer. 

(hear ’em all at: http://snd.sc/AzxQ8V)

 The Midwest By Southwest 2012 tour, presented by the Bunbury Music Festival, is spreading the Midwestern musical love to and from the South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival. 

FRESH COMO MEAT: Porn & Groceries

Not to be confused with dead basil.Commodities are one of those things that most people just use in a cliched phrase. A “hot commodity” is usually attributed to the latest in an endless series useless bullshit that is about to sell out at your local widget seller or retailer. Don’t get me wrong, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t one to also get in on the latest/greatest techy things but, generally speaking, I prefer the used variety of “things”. Under capitalism, everything is commodified to sell on the open market. Everything is judged on its monetary value. If you’re one of those 99 percenters (which, judging by the “readership” here, I’m going to venture to say that you are!) then you’re probably selling your labor to someone in exchange for some kind of compensation that you use to sustain yourself. Usually that’s money. You are worth X amount to your employer. Its kind of disturbing to consider. From the most essential things needed to survive (Food, Clothing, Shelter) to the banal (how many toasters do we need?) to the most private (Sex, Sexuality). Speaking of porn, this city has an disproportionately high amount of porn shops. Sure, its close to many colleges but I’ve lived in college towns before and there is a ton here. Does anyone else find that weird? I mean, I’m not morally opposed to porn shops-the industry, commodification, and exploitation of sex workers, I am.

Back to the matter at hand: Everything can be used to make profit (see: stealing). Some see a beauty in being able to buy anything but I think its a product a really crummy world. Color me Danny Downer all you want, I embrace it with open arms or in the words of the famous dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson (no relation) “I AMMA MERCILESS REALIST AND ITS NOT DEFEATIST”. Maybe its just me, but destroying food so that food commodity prices stay profitable to agri-corporations while close to a billion go hungry is one of the greatest crimes in history.

While we all are being forced to buy commodities, and you can’t buy used food, I thought I’d put together a little list of place I like to get our supplies from here in COMO. There are your usual sort of big box chains that are convenient (Hy-Vee, Gerbes) and there are smaller chains (Schnucks, Patricia’s), I like to get the most bang for the buck, reasonably speaking of course. I’ve been hitting up Moser’s for things like staple items and it’s been pretty great and cheap. You’re not under the watchful eye of some security guard or have to rent a cart like Aldi’s. Moser’s has sweet all-plastic carts too that don’t feel like I’m pushing a sled when packed with The Dude and week’s worth of food. The produce is just as fresh as the others and I found that it’s about 20-30% cheaper than the bigger chains too. If you got some extra cheddar to throw down on some all-natural organic foods, there’s also some great things you can get from places like Clover’s, The amazing Peace Nook, and The Root Cellar. There’s also couple specialty stores like World MarketChong’s Oriental Market and the new Campus Eastern Foods at 4th and Broadway (which has fresh organic lamb!). THE TEAM likes to mix it up between these depending on what’s on our weekly menu or if we’re hosting a bonanza at the CoMo Bungalow.

Of course when the season hits, you simply must get as much as you can from the Columbia Farmer’s Market. Now, with the wonders of indoor buildings and greenhouses, you can go every Saturday 9am to Noon at the Parkade Center, 601 W. Business Loop for the INDOOR Winter Farmers Market!

SALE SALE SALE! BUY BUY BUY!

FRESH COMO MEAT: SOUNDSYSTEM GONNA…

Being a lover of all things live original music, moving here was a return to a happy place. Living in a remote Iowa town last year really made me appreciate the music scene in my former Cincinnati. Growing up in an area where there was, in all likelihood, live original music in some setting 7 days a week and then moving to a town with weekly and sometimes monthly shows began to drain me. In a period where auto-tuned, talentless, morons with unlimited resources are able to record, tour, and and endlessly promote a soulless product ripe for youth consumption, watching and listening to something that a real person made with real analog instruments brings an enormous shit-eating grin to my face.

Don’t mistake my perspective for being instrument bias nor am I apart of the Analog Taliban who will make the dumbest choices in the name of analog purity. I cut my musical teeth on the best of 1980’s and early 90’s rap. In fact, I didn’t even listen to anything with a guitar until I started hanging out with the kid who pushed carts at Central Hardware. Seeing live music, has at this point in my life, has become a crucial part of creating my own happiness. With seemingly endless wars, the emergence of Police State USA, and horrible election fever, seeing a really loud rock band whilst having some adult sodas is a fine temporary vacation.

Last Friday I got the chance to see Jack Buck (the band, not the dead Cards announcer who made the 1990 world series a painful listen) and Shaved Women (Crass anyone?) from St. Louis. They were both loud, noisy, chaotic, and slightly dangerous on stage. I could name drop a bunch of bands that they sound like but that rarely works. You should also pick up Jack Buck’s brilliantly packaged 7″ vinyl record. Its pretty much the best thing I’ve bought since I moved here. They played at the Hairhole, a DIY art/show space here in CoMo. I had heard a lot about it and know some of the folks who help out there. It was a great time and much needed. Needless to say, I had fun and met some really genuine people creating some great sounds. Everyone should have the opportunity to do that every now and again. I’m just lucky enough to have a TEAM that supports it. For its size, this town has a boatload of live music venues. Not all of them book good music but its live and mostly original. Do yourself a favor and go see some. GOOD NEWS: I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a couple of righteous gentlemen and we have a band now. Our debut will be sometime in the early part of 2012 which may spell the end of civilization according to the Mayans or if Newt Gingrich is elected president.

Wordless Wednesday : CoMo Derby Dames

CoMo Derby Dames Columbia Missouri
CoMo Derby Dames Columbia Missouri
CoMo Derby Dames Columbia Missouri
CoMo Derby Dames Columbia Missouri

Taken at the CoMo Derby Dames inter-league bout at Boone County Fairgrounds Saturday November 12th.

Halloween Costume FAIL

Who’s ready to trick or treat?  Or in my case, take my 6 month old around to show him off and score a bunch of free candy that my fiance won’t let me eat.  Either way, we are all ready to trick or treat, party, or whatever it is you do for Halloween.

What we may not be ready to do is pick out a Halloween costume.  Here is a quick Top 10 list of the worst Halloween costumes and being the nice guy I am, I included a few Halloween costume tips for you.

10. A California Raisin: Putting a trash bag over yourself and going as a raisin that was in a fictional band is pretty lame, almost as lame as me remembering this 1989 tragedy of a band.

9. Kris Kross: Wearing your clothes backwards will make you look like an idiot. No one will look at you and think of two 12 year olds who liked to jump and missed the bus back in 1992.

8. Party Boy from Jackass: Only bad things can come from a dude wearing a bow tie and a speedo. Think wardrobe malfunction.

7.  The Scream Mask: 1996 called, they want their Halloween costume back.

6. A Ghost: Seriously think long and hard about who else cuts two eye holes in a sheet and wears it around. Not going there.

5. Dudes dressed as girls: As funny as you might think that is, it’s really creepy and other bros are not laughing with you. They’re laughing at you. And vice versa, no one goes out on Halloween to see a chick with slicked back hair looking like a dude. If I wanted to see this I would watch “Just One of the Guys,” well, until the end which makes another one of my Top 10 lists.

4. The Mammogram Testing Costume: Good idea in theory but trust me. If anyone comes in for a test, you’ll probably want to turn them away. If you do go with this don’t stop by your Grandma’s house, especially if she often mistakes you for the doctor.

3. Jersey Shore Character: If I see one more over-weight, middle-aged dude lift his shirt up, point to his beer gut, and say “look at my situation,” or a girl who is oompa loompa colored, I am going to seriously question where our country will be in the next 5 years.

2. Vampires: You might be thinking “hold on, vampires are totally awesome and a staple of Halloween.” This was true until they started sparkling like a bucket of glitter was dumped on them and 13 year old girls were obsessed with them. Thanks Twilight.

1. Yourself: This is some BS that Adrian Grenier or Vince from Entourage would pull. Totally lame just like the Entourage finale but that’s a different story. Everyone thinks you are an idiot when you do this.

Here are a few tips to make sure your costume doesn’t fail:

Topical costumes – This is a tricky area. If anyone has ever told you that you have a bad sense of comic timing, you should avoid topical costumes. For example, stained Monica Lewinsky costumes were all the rage in Oct. 1998, and it was funny. But the sad handful of girls who chose the same costume in 1999 found new meaning to the phrase “walk of shame.” And Lewinsky had a decent amount of staying power back then. If you were to show up this year with a Michelle, or even Marcus Bachamann costume, you should know that people are making fun of you when you turn around.

Women costumes – We get it you want to be a little naughty. There is nothing wrong with wearing a sexy costume I for one enjoy it, that is until I feel like the house party I am at has been transformed in to Club Vogue. As a general rule, if your schtick involves putting the word “slutty” in front of your costume name, then stop right there, because you’re about to become a walking, talking cliché.

Dude costumes – Quite the opposite of the women costumes. Skin is not better. No need for you to take this opportunity to show off how big of a meat head you are. Leave the Tarzan outfit at home. No one wants to watch you chug your beer and beat your chest like a cave man.

Kid costumes – Moms, what you think is cute will probably get your kid beat up or made fun of. Your son doesn’t want to go as Winnie the Poo even though you think it is super cute. Also dressing the family up as a theme is a terrible idea. Trust me your husband doesn’t want to dress up as Mickey Mouse.

This Top 10 list and these tips shoud help you from having a disaster of a Halloween costume. Feel free to comment below with other terrible costumes you have seen. In my 30 years one thing is for sure, people need help picking out Halloween costumes.

Peace out until next Halloween

FRESH COMO MEAT VOL. V: RADIO REBELDE!

Remember that grinning sax player asshole who told us in 1996 that deregulating the Telecommunications industry was a good thing? I do, I think he’s still a war criminal. One thing you never hear from the right wing Ayn-Randian-Ron-Paulistas is any mention of the effects of deregulation has had on the U.S. If they had their druthers, we’d all be visiting the Halliburton Library and Monsanto would be regulating our food supply. But I digress.

As a product of the 1980’s, I fondly remember dubbing all my favorite jams from the radio for my super sweet-whiffleball tournament-all night party mixes. I could barely get this one R&B station in at my house in Union Ky. I’ll bet that I had every LL Cool J song mixed in with some mouthbreather breaking the up the intro with promises to the next caller right up until Mr. Smith killed it. Even the amplitude modulation was another universe because my Mom & Dad killed the crushed the classic rock station 24/365. If it wasn’t that, there was a steady dose of Bob Seger System, Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, and the rest of the usual tight crotched bell bottom lot occupying the needle. All of which I hated until much later in life. I listened to rap and proudly rocked my Public Enemy shirt for two full years. I can thank them for teaching me more about the Black Liberation movement than all of my AFAM classes combined. In 7th & 8th grade no less!

[insert “back in my day voice”] The only thing I had growing up were stations that played music by genre. One for pop, one for country, classic rock, new rock, R&B, etc. etc. It’s the format we’ve all come to hate know since multinational media companies have been consolidating their competition for well over a two decades. How were they able to do this? Well, deregulation, a well lobbied and compliant FCC, and the always present lining of political pockets is a great first step. Radio was for many generations, a central gathering point and distribution of culture. Sometimes it has served the worst parts of empire. But in the hands of the people fighting for justice, it can play a remarkable role in educating, agitating, organizing, and entertaining.

In the CoMo, there are three standout radio stations that have become my “when my ipod is boring” staples. Honestly, I listen to 89.5FM KOPN everyday. They broadcast Democracy Now! Everyday. They have NPR. They have Alternative Radio with David Barsamian. Understand this: if you live in an area where you cannot get a daily, independent left wing news source on the dial, it sucks. Let’s be honest, NPR kinda sucks every now and then and most of the time their analysts leave much to be desired. KOPN has a plethora of shows that are hosted by real human disc jockeys. They also have a fund drive going, help them out if you can.

88.1 FM KCOU is “the University of Missouri’s only student-run radio station since 1963”. They actually play some decent indie stuff as I was introduced to this band through them and have been enamored since. It’s odd when that happens today in the hyper cycle world of wall postings and networking. Their studio apparently caught fire sometime this year and for most of the summer, they just had one long playlist. It was way better that way since listening to Amanda or Josh tell me about the big game or when campus wifi went out isn’t that interesting. However, I don’t Mizzou so that makes more sense.

88.9 FM KLJU out of Lincoln University in Jeff City plays some pretty cool stuff too. They play a lot of cruise boat/waiting room jazz but the stand out programs are the Friday Night Jamz from 8-Midnight and Classic Soul Sunday from 3-5pm. 

Remember how bad y’all felt back in November when we lived in a “center-right nation”? How you were seriously thinking about your escape route to Canada or Mexico? Normally this time of year we’re being choked to death with the endless detailing of horrible campaign trail story boarding and throwing the nearest objects at TVs. Occupy has changed all that. Let’s occupy the radio! Occupy Everything!

 

 

 

 

CoMo Family: Homecoming Happenings

Homecoming is NOT just for college students and alumni.  It is actually a great opportunity for community members and the University community to come together, especially when it comes to Mizzou and Columbia.  After All, MU takes credit for inventing homecoming and this is the centennial year.

Last year, my kids really enjoyed the parade.  While I find it hard to endorse any event where candy is thrown – really, we need extra candy two weeks before Halloween???? – I will say that the parade participants interact with the crowd making this more fun than the average, home-town parade.  At two my daughter loved to answer the chant of MIZ with a hardy ZOU.  I am looking forward to hearing my son get in on the action this year.  The parade’s route runs through campus and downtown so there is plenty of wonderful spots to enjoy the show.  This year’s parade starts at 8:30 am on Saturday, October 15.  More details can be found by clicking here.

Another Mizzou tradition is the campus decorations and skits put on by the sororities and fraternities.  I admit we skipped this last year.  My kids were too young and I assumed that skits produced and performed by a bunch of college students might not be appropriate for my toddlers.  I have since been told that this activity should not be missed and that my kids will love it.  The performances take place between 6 pm and 10 pm and are easy to happen upon if you just wander around “Greek town.”  There are vendors offering food and a Spirit Rally scheduled for 7 pm.  The weather is supposed to be beautiful and I highly endorse any excuse to eat “street food.”

And, oh, there is also a football game.  If you are into that kind of thing.  Kick-off against Iowa State is scheduled for 1pm.

I love living in a college town.  I love the unexpected opportunities it provides our family.  And I plan to take full advantage this weekend.

Homecoming activities all weekend long on MU’s campus.

Family highlights include:  Friday night decorations and skits in Greek Town, Saturday morning parade and Saturday afternoon football game.

For more information visited the Mizzou website by clicking here.

 

CoMo Tech: Joy Mayer

@mayerjoy

Who are you?

A mother and wife. A social, optimistic journalist. A person who’s lived in eight states and can never answer the question “where are you from?” but is thrilled to call Columbia home now.

What do you do for money?

I teach journalism at Mizzou and am the director of community outreach for the Columbia Missourian. I’ve spent the last year studying audience engagement in journalism, and how a participatory culture demands a more social, more responsive, more collaborative, more connected journalism. I’ve taught multimedia and print design in the past, and now I teach a class called Participatory Journalism.

What do you do for fun?

I read Harry Potter with my 8 year old. I solve the world’s problems with my 5 year old. I sometimes manage to have grown-up conversations and see movies at the Ragtag with my husband. I swim at the ARC and hang out in Columbia’s parks. I volunteer in my kids’ school (Ridgeway) and Sunday school (the Newman Center). I eat sushi and play board games with friends. I mess around with technology. I dream about the sailboat and kayaks we left behind when we moved here from Florida (finally replaced with a canoe last summer).

I would characterize my relationship with technology as:

Tethered. Whether that’s good or bad will depend on your perspective on life, I suppose! My tech use is both utilitarian and fanciful. I rely heavily on digital tools to keep my life organized. I’m a Remember The Milk junkie and can’t imagine what I did before online To Do lists, for example. I keep control over everything I read through Delicious.com bookmarks. I get ridiculous amounts of satisfaction from a well-organized digital life. (Thrilling, I know.) I also just love to play. I love messing around with technologies and services that seem merely silly, then realizing there could be more substantial uses. Or just enjoying their silliness.

Smart or dumb phone? What kind? If smart, what are the three apps you use most?

I’m an iPhone user. My three most-used apps have to be:

  1. Facebook
  2. Tweetdeck
  3. Remember The Milk

Mac or PC or Other?

I’ve been a Mac admirer since I first made a square appear on the screen of an Apple II in elementary school. Admiration turned into an actual affair with my first adult computer purchase — an original Bondi blue iMac.

I use twitter for …

Keeping up with my future-of-journalism folks, CoMo folks (for news tips and socialization) and friends. I use lists mercilessly and really listen to only a fraction of the people I follow. I also use it to get feedback on my work, share links I find interesting and make connections with people I want to meet. It’s gotten to the point where I forget who I’ve met in person and who I just know through Twitter, because I’ve built relationships that really mean something, even if we’ve never met face to face. Oh, and I use it for customer service. There’s nothing like complaining in public to get quick responses and avoid long wait time on the phone!

I use facebook for …

Keeping up with people I know in real life. My network there is large because I’ve spent seven years (Facebook showed up early on in that time) working in a newsroom that sees hundreds of students each year (no exaggeration). But they’re almost all people I’ve known in person. It’s a funny mix. Facebook is how my far-flung family (seriously — we’re in probably 20 states) keeps up with my life and my kids. But my favorite Facebook moments are where I realize I’m having a conversation with a friend from middle school, my high school English teacher, my cousin in Florida, a colleague from my first newspaper job and a current student. And then I wonder why my grandmother doesn’t understand how people connect online? It’s crazy how fast things have changed. (Grammie’s also on Facebook, by the way. She just doesn’t get it.) I also love Facebook groups — that’s the way I network and share ideas with people I DON’T actually know.

Do you read any blogs? What are three of your favorites?

Tons. I can’t keep up. I won’t bore you with all the future-of-media blogs I follow. They make up most of my “read these every day” folder on Google Reader. A few others that inspire or delight me are

  1. Pictory
  2. CoMo Homestead
  3. Quotes on Design

Go-to menu item and restaurant in CoMo?

My favorite local restaurant is Osaka. When I’d just given birth to my 5 year old, and my friend Liz asked what she could bring me in the hospital, I requested avocado rolls from Osaka. When I’m downtown or on working dinners , I love the oysters and local salads at Sycamore. When I’m with the family, our options are limited because I have a son who’s allergic to corn, which is in most processed food. So I rely on local restaurants that know what’s in their food, like Shakespeare’s, Uprise and Broadway Brewery. I’m still on the hunt for really good Mexican food here, and would welcome suggestions.

Complete this sentence: Archers of Loaf is/are ________________.

I think it would be cheating to look it up, but I sort of remember from reading your interview with Sarah Hill that it’s something I’m no longer hip enough to know about. I love band names, though. My brother’s in a band called Tea Leaf Green. I love that.

Friends are visiting from out-of-town. You’re for-sure taking them to:

The quad, Ragtag, the pool at the ARC, Twin Lakes Park, the Katy trail, Rocheport, the patio at Flat Branch.

My second-favorite city/town/hamlet/state/country/province in the world is:

Ever? Anywhere? Rome. That I’ve lived in? Either San Francisco or Juneau, AK.

Thanks, Joy!

CoMo Tech spotlights how wise, local folks use his or her tech and town powers for good (or evil). Check out the archive here. If you have someone you’d like to be featured in CoMo Tech, please let us know!

Fresh CoMo Meat: Books before Facebook

Fresh CoMo Meat: Books before Facebook

Until the last month of living in Decorah, there were no bookstores within an hour drive that were worthy. The TEAM’s arrival in CoMo has seen a host of bookstores that carry, GASP! used books. Living in a college town, one would expect a rash of crappy academic, dry textbooks with those dreadful orange and yellow “used” stickers on the binding. The local bookshops have a really great selection for all readers. It makes sense when your local economy is built around education i.e. College Town USA. Note to readers, I’m in the minority on THE TEAM in terms of fiction reads. Not sure why, but there are few and far between of the fictional variety that hold my interest. Most that do are based on historical events. Recommend all you want, I’ll gladly accept them but in all likelihood I’ll skip it for revolutionary history and struggle or Marxist theory. Seriously though, send them my way, I need it.

The first place I went to was The Peace Nook. This was place had been heavily promoted by a St. Looie native friend of ours in Iowa. Not only do they carry an incredible selection of titles under the broad tent of “social justice” but also they carry books from important radical book publishing houses like Haymarket Books and many more. It has all the characteristics of things I miss about real, independent bookstores. There are lots of staff picks (with hand written signs), book clubs, discounts, and above all a warm and welcoming staff. Bonuses are that it’s a non-profit, has a bunch of shirts and stickers that will offend rich people, and serves as meeting space for organizing. It’s in a basement and cramped but given the fact that a place like Peace Nook exists in this town, makes it worth supporting. It also serves a great place to make those conservative family members that are visiting feel a wee-bit awkward.

On one of many of the walks that the Dude and I go one, we stumbled into Get Lost Books on 9th. Not a stroller friendly store but pleasant and very woody inside. This place carries the canonicals of American literature as well as cookbooks, literary criticism, art, children’s books, news and art magazines and literary journals. It’s mostly used but they don’t appear to be killing it at estate sales. The staff were quite accommodating for newbies like the Dude and I to the store. They also host a monthly reading by a local and national authors complete with music. I’ve not been able to make it out to one of these yet but judging by the quality of the people that I’ve met who attend them, they sound like fun. That’s a lost art in my opinion. When authors or speakers would go on speaking tours to talk about their latest work. It happens mostly on campus’ now and for those working folks who aren’t totally acclimated with the mazes of massive college campuses, it poses a problem. Having events like these in places like Get Lost is great and should be celebrated.

Village Books on Paris road, while out of the way from downtown, is also quite promising. They offer 25% off on cover prices for new books and used books are half off cover prices. Admission of guilt: I have not been able to fully explore and give a detailed report of this bookstore but the fact that it is independent, doesn’t have a rip-off non-union coffee shop in it, and carries used books it deserves to be promoted.

Books, the one’s printed on paper, are not dying a slow death. Remember, servers can crash, Wifi signals can get cut (because there are cables that supply the signal!), and there is a digital divide. For those that aren’t familiar with the term, the Digital Divide is the gap between those that have access to the internet versus those that do not. It could be a multitude of reasons: geography, lack of income, lack of computer skills, etc. It amazes me that we live in the wealthiest nation in the history of the planet, with the fictionalized tale that it’s also the greatest democracy, yet high speed access to the greatest educational tool is not a right.

One final note: History is being made by the Occupy Wall Street Protests. They need your support and you can do it by visiting and offering solidarity with the handful of folks at Occupy Como. Yes, it’s here too.