Skip to content

The Writing Life: The Life of a Pop-Up

2013 July 12
Comments Off on The Writing Life: The Life of a Pop-Up

The Writing Lifepd pop upToday we present a Friday The Writing Life treat, all for your weekend literary pleasure. If you’ve got room in your weekend schedule for some literary greatness, make sure you catch one of the last events happening at the Paper Darts Pop-Up. On Sunday, Bang Bang Poetry brings twelve spoken word poets in a round-robin reading that will blow your mind, while on Saturday, local rowdy literary magazine Revolver invites you to DESK, a performance art installation featuring writers and artists attacking a desk throughout the day.

The Pop-Up, with the moniker, “A Storefront for Storytellers,” started in June with the unique vision of bringing together fledgling literary and art organizations that don’t have a permanent home space. Paper Darts generously opened their doors for many of these organizations to program their own events, within the collaborative and visually striking space curated by the PD crew. So many great organizations were involved, including Mizna, Thirty-Two Magazine, Story City, and more.

The collaborative month and half of events has added a new dimension to our local literary and art ecology, which Holly Harrison, PD Marketing Director echoes with what they’ve seen through the Pop-Up: “Just when we thought we understood the scope of the local art and lit scenes, we’ve been proven wrong. We should’ve known this already, but there’s always more to discover about the Twin Cities and its creative communities.”

This model intrigues me, as Hazel & Wren is a young literary organization without a permanent home itself. We’re constantly looking for people and organizations with a home to partner with on events. While the internet, social media, and today’s increasingly collaborative culture in general make it easy for us start-ups to pop out of the woodwork, it’s also limiting in that we don’t have the monetary base to have an office to work from. Hence the PD team’s collaborative venture. Here’s hoping it transforms into a collaborative model that can sustain itself permanently!

Apparently, I’m not the only one to think so: “The Pop-Up store has been a huge, HUGE success.  The patronage of the arts in the Cities is absolutely incredible. I think we need a space like Paper Dart’s Pop-Up full-time. The great turn-outs are proof that a mixed media venue could flourish,” says Ross Nervig, the editor from Revolver who came up with DESK. “The ladies of Paper Darts deserve all their success.” We’re agreed there, Ross.

Don’t fret if you’ve missed the last month or so of events: you still have (a little) time to experience the Pop-Up in all its glory. Get over there for DESK, in which ten artists and writers get an hour each to attack a desk starting at 9:00 am on Saturday. As more of a performance installation, the event embodies, in its own way, the founding principals of the Pop-Up: collaboration, and the blurring of boundaries between the arts and literature.

As today’s culture, especially within the arts, grows increasingly collaborative, events like this are becoming more and more common. “We’re drawn to the interdisciplinary events because where there’s friction there can be a spark. We chase that spark,” says Nervig.

Revolver created a brand for themselves with events that don’t fall within the standard literary magazine shindig. Rather, their first launch party pitted some of our local favorite hipster artists and writers in a boxing ring, and they’ve since produced other events with a similar vibe. Why are they drawn to this type of event? As Nervig puts it, “Simply, we want to put on events that we’d like to attend. Like, what if we mash a banging house party with an art opening?” So far, it’s proven to be a successful equation.

Get over to the Paper Darts Pop-Up this weekend to experience DESK and the space itself before it leaves (although hopefully to be re-birthed somewhere down the road)!

Have you gone to any of the Paper Darts Pop-Up or Revolver events thus far? If so, what were your highlights? How do you think collaboration is changing the literary and/or arts scene locally?

What We’re Reading: The Liter-nerdy Holiday Gift Guide

2012 December 13
Comments Off on What We’re Reading: The Liter-nerdy Holiday Gift Guide

What We're ReadingLast minute shoppers, rest easy. We’ve got you covered for every wordy nerd on your list here at Hazel & Wren with these recent releases packaged up for your easy purusing pleasure. Behold, the Hazel & Wren Liter-nerdy Holiday Gift Guide!

For the outdoorsy, environmental reader: My Green Manifesto by David Gessner (Milkweed Editions)
Environmentalism is fun AND meaningful with David Gessner in his most recent book of nonfiction, chronicling his journey down Boston’s Charles River, to find a new kind of environmentalism. (Throw another book or two in your cart, and Milkweed will send you a FREE limited-edition, letterpress chapbook called Winter Fiction. Totally worth it for this letterpress nut. I got mine in the mail today, and boy-oh-boy, I almost started believing in Santa again.)

For the true fiction reader: Round House by Louise Erdrich (Harper)
The 2012 National Book Award winner from well-known author Louise Erdrich is an easy choice for any true fiction lover. The main character, a teenage boy, grapples with the violence of his North Dakota reservation, including an attack on his mother.

For the graphic novel-devouring reader: Building Stories by Chris Ware (Pantheon)
From the guy who penned Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth (which Timothy reviewed here), we get a box (yes, a box, not a book) of 14 different comics in different formats: magazine, newspaper, different sized strips, pamphlets, etc. Dig in with all you’ve got with this one, folks.

For the classic-with-a-twist reader: Dante Alighieri: Inferno, translation and introduction by Mary Jo Bang, illustrations by Henrik Drescher (Graywolf Press).
By far the heaviest book of its size on my shelf, this book is a piece of art. Printed on art-quality paper, poet Mary Jo Bang puts her stamp on the classic epic for our age. Publishers Weekly says “This will be the Dante for the next generation.” In her introduction, Bang describes how she lovingly broke down the original text and brought it into a contemporary space, with our vernacular language and idioms. Henrik Drescher’s quirky drawings on almost every page bring another element of beautiful irreverence to this translation.

For the bookstore-browsing reader: Read This! Handpicked Favorites From America’s Indie Bookstores (Coffee House Press)
I reviewed this book when it came out, and still can’t help flipping through the pages now and again. Initiated by Hans Weyandt, co-owner of Micawbers Books in St. Paul, MN, this is a collection of favorite books from bookstore owners, managers, and employees from independent bookstores around the nation. Take it with you as a tour guide on your next visit to one of the cities, or use it to figure out which book you’re going to pick up next. A gem among gems.

For the lit-mag drooling reader: Revolver
Eegads, there are just so many options with this. For smart, solid, new literary magazine, Revolver just came out with their first print issue, Oblivions, JUST IN TIME for the holidays. With the tagline of “rowdy reading,” the issue includes the fantastic likes of Alex Lemon (a personal favorite), Lightsey Darst, Laird Hunt, Bao Phi, and more.

For the Minnesota-loving reader: Thirty Two Magazine
I just reviewed this beauty last week here. It’s the perfect blend of proud-to-be-Minnesotan culture, arts, literary, current affairs, and more. Smartly designed and written, it also features a variety of formats, including longer, investigative pieces alongside shorter blurbs, or page-long creative essays.


Do you see any books that are plainly missing? What books are on your holiday wish list?


Psst. Need something for a letterpress-lover? Check out our Hazel & Wren 30% off sale on all sassy limited-edition letterpress wordy prints!