My First Tattoo!

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June Osaki with ink (photo courtesy of Lindsay Cameron)

So, Monday, I embarked on a new adventure and got my very first tattoo! It was a great experience and I am already considering another one! They say you can’t get just one, right?

I had talked a lot with my cousin over the years about getting a tattoo, but for various reasons, never got around to it in the past. He was a great proponent of tattoos, getting some pretty awesome ones and we talked about what I would get if or when I got a tattoo. When he put his zine together, Out of Context, among the collages he created was an archaeopteryx from one of my old dinosaur books I shared with him from when I was a kid.

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Famous archeopteryx fossil, Berlin

So, I decided that it would be cool to celebrate his creativity (and his love of tree climbing and exploring) by getting an archeopteryx backed by geologically accurate ginkgo leaves, in autumnal foliage. An archeopteryx, for those less well versed in childhood dinosaur obsession, was the “first bird,” discovered in 1897 in Jurassic formations in Germany, known as the “Urvogel.”

Finally, this year, I got my stuff together and actually strove to make this idea a reality, and I stumbled upon a great artist to put the thought on my skin, June Osaki, at Twilight Tattoos. I first encountered her work at the Creative City Market back in August and, looking at her work, her style seemed ideal for creating my idea. Working with her was great, and soon she sketched out a wonderful piece of art for my arm, advising me and making the whole process very helpful and easy! She had such helpful information and guided me through the process, as a first time tattoo getter, very nicely.

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Warmer days, Creative City Market, August 2015

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Well, it didn’t hurt that much! (Photo courtesy of Lee Burkhalter)

So, this Monday, I came into Twilight Tattoo in the Powderhorn Park neighborhood in south Minneapolis for the major part of my tattoo. Donning the Kate Beaton t-shirt my sister bought me for the occasion, I took June’s advice, got plenty of sleep and drank plenty of water and, with Lindsay and my sister to support me/watch me suffer, I sat down for the first session with June. I have to say, it was a lot easier than I had imagined, feeling like a series of light scratches. In no time at all, June got everything etched into my upper arm, so that I have officially joined the guild of tattooed librarians! It was all awesome and I can’t wait to go in to get the colors in a couple months!

If you are interested in June’s work, check out her website here!

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Finished tattoo! (photo courtesy of Lindsay Cameron)

 

 

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Twin Cities Zinefest 2015

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Bryant Square Recreation Center, site of the Twin Cities Zinefest 2015

On an unseasonably warm Saturday, my sister and I stopped by the latest Twin Cities Zinefest, on hiatus since 2013. I attended in 2012 and really enjoyed it, so I was very excited to see what awesome stuff was on exhibit this time around. Held at the Bryant Square Recreation Center off of Lyndale Avenue just south of Lake Street, more than a dozen exhibitors displayed their creations to an appreciative audience. It is amazing how much talent  and ideas from the metro came together to share their visions.

As I have written earlier in my exploration of the Floating Library this summer, the medium of the zine is one that I find fascinating and evocative. As a DIY way to explore your own creative impulse and share stories and topics that are often neglected, ignored, or hidden, zines are a great window into other people’s lives. Whether intricate and elaborate or simple and spare, each of these pieces are something to treasure. We were both very inspired by the many diverse offerings, each representing a different style, genre, or topic of creative expression, whether comix, photography, memoir, social justice, fantasy, poetry, or the undefinable. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Minnesota, and the Twin Cities in particular, have a very strong and vibrant zine community, one that I have found very influential to my own writing styles. As I reported recently, I am trying to put together my own zine with the help of anyone else who is interested; check out the details in my blog entry here. Hopefully, we can share them in future Twin Cities events!

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A few of the awesome pieces we picked up from the exhibitors at the Zinefest

 

 

 

A Zine Exploring the Hidden Sides of the Twin Cities: Searching for Contributions

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Shock a Piece of History

There are a lot of stories out there, stories that reflect our lives in this place that we live, stories that illuminate things we didn’t even know were there. Everyone knows secrets hidden below the everyday, in a city we all think we know. I’ve kind of been yearning to put a few of them together into a little self-published zine and I was wondering if anyone would like to collaborate?

I’m planning to put together a collection of stories that would explore the strange, quirky, wonderful, and just plain obscure aspects of life in the Twin Cities. Anyone interested in contributing stories, poems, art, fiction, non-fiction, anything exploring or capturing some of the stranger feelings and ideas of what it means to live in the Twin Cities would be greatly appreciated. Whether, eerie, beautiful, or just weird, I’d like to show some of the mysteries and lesser known things hidden under the surface of the metro.

I’m just doing this for fun and I’m definitely open to suggestions about distributing, creating, or producing the end project. There could definitely be multiple issues if enough material comes in, but I’m aiming to get one done by the end of the year. So, as of now, a (flexible) deadline of December 31st for volume one. If there is anyone else you think might be interested, let them know too. Feedback, criticisms, and questions are highly encouraged, too. Email any contributions, questions, etcetera,  to burk0277@gmail.com. Thanks!

The Floating Library 2015

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The Floating Library

On Saturday, I went on yet another new adventure, one of my favorites of the year so far.

After the fierce storms of the night before, which knocked out power across the metro (and which I completely slept through except to note, hey, there’s lightning), the day opened sunny and warm, with a stiff, refreshing breeze. My internet was down. A perfect day to head up to Silver Lake at Silverwood Park and visit the Floating Library.

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These open topped kayaks were a little funny.

The Floating Library is an experimental public art project organized by Sarah Peters, a library of art books set adrift upon an urban lake, one the Twin Cities most prized summer locales. Also, as a librarian, I find it awesome to see how the ideas of the profession are reflected through the lens of art; Peters’ collection of unique and bizarre, lovely and thought provoking books, zines, and other mediums which expand what can be thought of as a book and what can be thought of as a library.

It is a great melding of Minnesota’s geological landscape with its wonderful cultural resources, the natural and the made coming together. On its third year, the Floating Library has traveled to Silver Lake, in St. Anthony, which seems a great place for the project. Silverwood Park is the designated “art park” of the Three Rivers Park system, and one I had never been to before. The lake is a small but picturesque place, with a couple of wooded islands, all bright green under the blue skies of the Minnesota summer. A perfect backdrop to enjoy some art books and zines.

Renting kayaks from the park facilities, my sister and I paddled out to the Floating Library, we found ourselves the first visitors to this years library. We pushed through the wind, moored to the cute library raft with its fluttering flag and shelves of materials overlooking the water and learned about the project and its history from Sarah. The collection includes circulating materials, which you can take anywhere in the park to peruse at your leisure, and return in some of the book drop receptacles scattered throughout the park.

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Library Ahoy!

Though the breeze on occasion made browsing a bit duct over the next couple hours, we browsed many titles from the stacks, both from the circulating materials and the reference collection, being recommended many interesting materials by Sarah and the other volunteers. There were examples from all over the country and the world, but my favorites were of course the local pieces. The little purple zine recording all of Princes’ lyrics that mention food, or the book that detailed the bodies of water from all of Minneapolis’ sister cities throughout the world. The breathtaking stereoscopic photos of miniature ships in their little box with the viewfinder like viewing glasses was particularly awesome, but those were among the tip of the iceberg of the things kept in the library. Speaking of that, the iceberg book, made of biodegradable ricepaper printed with images of icebergs patrons were encouraged to set adrift in the lake was also a really fun project. Of course, I have to mention the folding collection of water themed postcards, being a postcard fanatic.

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Duck Rabbits, accompanied by an art book available from the library.

I was really inspired by the innovation and creativity illustrated by these items; so many different styles, subjects, and ideas. You really have to see them to appreciate the diversity of the offerings. I have come to be very interested in zines and other physical self publishing, especially after the work my cousin accomplished in the medium, and I just need a little push, I hope, to start putting together more of my own. My goal next year is contribute something to the library, which is made from the donations of artists, bookmakers, writers, and other creative types.

In addition to the books and zines, we enjoyed the natural denizens of the lake as well, the turtles, purple martins, dragonflies, great blue herons and egrets that inhabited the banks.

The library will be setting sail again next weekend, July 25-26 11 am to 5, and on the evening of August 1st, for a moonlight paddle and poetry reading closing event at 8:30. Visiting Silverwood Park and the library is free, though you can rent canoes and kayaks from the park for the reasonable price of $5 an hour, if you can’t bring your own.

Another great place to check out zines year round in Minneapolis is the MCTC Library Zine collection; a few that I’ve collaborated on in the past can be found here, along with a lot more.

Silverwood Park, 2500 County Rd E
St. Anthony, MN

Minneapolis Community & Technical College
Library Zine Collection
1501 Hennepin Avenue

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Book Return Box, Silverwood Park