5 local sites you should be visiting
5 local sites you should be visiting
by Kristoffer Tigue
Data, data, data. The internet is ubiquitous and overbearing. Everyone and their aunt has a blog and praise Jebus, you simply don’t have the time to check out every friend’s personal feelings and creative expressions. However there is light in the haze. There are some proverbial needles in that stack that are worth the search, and luckily for you, we did the heavy lifting. Here are 5 recommended local websites you probably don’t know about that are worth the trouble of perusing.
1. Hazel & Wren
Paper Darts set the standard for local literary magazines, both in print and online since they popped out of inexistence back in 2009, but that didn’t stop local sisters Amanda and Melissa Wray from jumping into the mix. Adequately armed with their pen-names, Hazel & Wren, and a pinch of wit and a critical eye, they launched their online literary magazine in early 2011.
(Photo courtesy of hazelandwren.com)
The visual appeal of the site screams Paper Darts, but the material inside has taken on a very distinct personality of the two sisters. Columns like Three Things To Start Your Week, where three pieces of art are organized under a similar theme, or What We’re Reading, their literary review segment, are smart and savvy with a hint of offbeat earnestness. In addition, What We’re Reading often reviews local authors, such as Arlene Kim, Kelly Barnhill and Catherine Friend, to name a few.
But what really stands out with Hazel & Wren is their How-To advice. Anywhere from how to copyright your work, to advice on applying to an MFA program, to learning how to make your own book bindings, they’ve really filled in their own niche and have truly become something that isn’t just Another Lit-Mag.
Bobby Maher, Erik Martz and Andy Voegtline have decided to slow things down with their new multi-media website, Minneapplesauce.com. Their website, which they launched earlier this year, won’t be updated daily or even weekly. Instead, they hope to run it at a leisurely pace, in the fashion of good ol’ print magazine.
The site is as unconventional as it is colorful—the Nabokov of online creative hubs. Their idea seems to be avoiding categorization, other than that of art, varying between fictional short stories, photography, poetry, music and even audio-fiction.
The topics are eclectic too, varying from quirky pieces of Paul Bunyan to dark, disturbing, Woyzeck like phone calls to girlfriends. And while the speed at which they update their content may be lacking, the content itself may be well worth the wait.
This site will make you laugh, and I’m not talking about one of those forced, superficial laughs you give most of your friends everyday out of kindness. I’m talking about a deep down, life is finite and you’re-a-speck-in-an-everlasting-sea-of-emptiness-and-meaninglessness kind of laugh.
(Photo courtesy of existentialdreadforbeginners.tumblr.com)
A collection of short-shorts, the main character, bravely written in the 2nd person (in other words, it’s you), ventures through the days experiencing some profound sense of dread, as the conclusion that life is beyond his pathetic existence becomes more and more apparent.
One day your drug dealer is quoting Nietzsche. The next day you’re attempting to bond with your kidnappers over the shared love of Fugazi, just to realize that every relationship you’ve ever had is just a futile attempt to escape the loneliness and abandonment you’ve experienced your whole life.
Robert Fones, the author, delivers with consistent irony in every post, and although he’s an obscure author (for now), he’s managed to prove his stories are well worth your time. Read this shit.
The site itself isn’t directly linked to art, but in a sense, it’s the essence in which art is created.
In an interview with MPLS.TV, one of the site’s anonymous creators explains how the site, which is basically a summer calendar, aims to be the reincarnation of the flower child, the great American revolutionary lover. And if you can say anything about those days of the flower children, it’s that that time of rebellion truly produced some great art.
The site’s promoted events all revolve around the idea of love. Love in public policy. Love in sexuality and relationships. Love of your own body.
The irony that if you’re reading this you’ve already heard of our site is not lost on us. Thank you for your patronage, and we hope you continue to check in with us, every Wednesday and Sunday (but in reality whenever we can god damned do it). God bless America!