BY BRIAN POLK ALL MY FRIENDS WHO ARE NEW PARENTS NEED THREE MONTHS' NOTICE BEFORE MAKING ANY PLANS And even then, it’s super touch and go. For example, if I wanted to make plans for them to attend my birthday in July, I would need to send out invitations now. And if the day falls on a previously scheduled kid thing — a trip to the zoo, hiking (i.e. carrying a baby through the woods for a few hours), or an all-day nap-a-thon — well then, I’m out of luck. Also, sometimes the parent may have cleared their schedule of kid-related activities, but when the time comes to throw down, they’re like, “Sorry, No. 98 but I am just too tired. Maybe some time next year.” All this is to say, I miss a lot of my friends. IT'S KIND OF WEIRD THAT MY UNCLE LIKES GOOD MUSIC My uncle Joseph watches Fox News all day, says things about immigrants that offend me to the bone, and probably has QAnon ties (I say “probably” because I’m terrified to bring it up). He also has three ex-wives who hate him, doesn’t tip on principle, never shovels his sidewalk when it snows, and has bad things to say about everyone who JASON WHITE

isn’t straight and white. Yet, the other day I was looking through his CD collection and couldn’t believe the vast amounts of early new wave, proto- and post-punk, surf-rock, and generally badass records he owns. The Stooges’ first record, tons of Ventures stuff, the first three Ramones releases, the first two Television albums, The Cars, The Astronauts, Gang of Four, Talking Heads, New York Dolls — if you can think of something cool that came out between 1965 and 1985, he has it. I expected him to own every Jimmy Buffett CD ever released, maybe some Kiss, latter-day Rod Stewart and definitely Ted Nugent’s Greatest Hits. But no, his musical tastes are impeccable — especially for someone with his background. It all begs several questions: did he borrow someone else’s CDs and just not give them back? If so, does he even listen to these bands? If so, does he vehemently disagree with the subject matter? If so, then why would he listen to these bands? And should I steal all of the CDs, since someone as closed-minded as him doesn’t deserve such good music? To answer that last question, I would be seriously tempted if they were on vinyl, but I never listen to CDs, so I probably won’t. Still, assholes should stick to their lane and not listen to bands I like so the world can make sense again. I AM CURRENTLY TAKING SUGGESTIONS FOR MY IMPENDING MIDLIFE CRISIS Since I’m only a couple of years away from officially joining the ranks of the “middle aged,” I know for sure that I will be embarking upon a midlife crisis. But so far, I have been unable to determine what I should do exactly. (If you have suggestions, please send them to birdy@birdymagazine.com.) Here’s what I’ve come up with so far: 1. Getting a motorcycle, crashing it, enduring a monthslong recovery process where I have to learn to walk again, and then finding God and thanking him for my recovery (even though I should be asking Him why He let me buy a motorcycle in the first place). 2. Trying to date someone either 10 years older or 20 years younger — whichever comes first. 3. Purchasing my first tool kit with the goal of using one of the tools one time. (I’m not going to be one of those guys who buys his first toolkit at 45 and says, “From here on out, I’m going to be handy with tools!” Outright lying to myself will have no part in my midlife crisis, I’ve decided.) 4. Quitting my job, selling off my records, buying a crappy RV, becoming a permanent resident of Rancho Cucamonga, California after breaking down there, and then growing increasingly bitter at the young people who are all so much better looking than me. 5. Getting a new skateboard and repeating all the steps in No. 1 (except “getting a motorcycle” obviously). 6. Starting a jam band with the express purpose of bilking neo-hippies out of money and drugs. In fact our first record will be called, Give Us Your Money And Drugs. (If you have suggestions on what I should call my jam band, please send them to birdy@birdymagazine.com.) 7. Looking at myself in the mirror and wondering what the fuck happened to my youth and dreams. (This is most likely what I’ll settle on.) THE ONLY TIME I EVER SEE A BRIGHTER WORLD IS WHEN I CLEAN MY GLASSES And I only remember to clean my glasses a few times a month. AND THERE WAS THAT TIME I WAS DJING AND BOTH THE GIRLS I WAS DATING SHOWED UP AT THE SAME TIME, AND BOY WAS I UNPREPARED “Why don’t you come watch me DJ tonight?” I ask Iris. I figure it’s a safe invitation since my other girlfriend, Tanya, drove home to Wyoming for the holidays and won't be back until next week. “Sure,” she says. Then she holds my hands and kisses me passionately. Later, on my way to the club, I get a phone call. Tanya informs me that she got into a fight with her parents and she decided to drive back to Denver. She’ll be at the party too. I can't think of anything else to say but, “Oh cool. See you there.” At first, it's easy to avoid them both since Tanya sits at the bar and Iris dances up front. But then I play “Shout” and Tanya and her friends storm the dance floor as well. My lovers are less than six feet apart from each other. I spend the rest of the night playing records and then avoiding the two of them the best I can at the far end of the venue next to the bar, bathrooms and emergency exit. At 2 a.m. they're both waiting for me in the parking lot. However, while I was cowering at the bar, I met a third woman, and I am taking her up on the invitation to accompany her home for the evening. So now I’ve got 99 problems and three of them are women. 7 TYLER GROSS



“A wolf without his pack — what a sight,” said Aerl the rabbit, teasing Sköll as he approached. “Watch your ears, rabbit,” Sköll bristled, haunches tensing. “Or what?” Aerl replied. Sköll peeled back his lips in a snarl, ready to leap upon Aerl, but the butterflies’ whispers grew in his ear — an indecipherable hiss, soothing him, easing the tension in his tendons. He found himself calmed against his own wishes. “That will be enough,” said the pale hind, known to these rabbits as Dust. The rabbits found it curious that the butterflies seemed to follow her will. They knew of no other hind or stag who could communicate in this way. “You may have the spirit’s protection now, rabbit, but wolves have a long memory.” “As do I, Sköll,” said Dust with an expression of utter calm, leaving Sköll perturbed that this delicious creature showed no fear of him. “I thought hinds were supposed to be red,” said Sköll. “Oh dear …” chittered Burl, the other rabbit. “You shouldn’t be here, Sköll … Odin isn’t going to be happy about this …” Burl blabbered, his ears pinned back with nervousness. “I can't bear to see the All-father again … The last time I- I- I- was a human! But that snake son of his— ” “Loki,” added Aerl. “Yes! He- he- he- banished me to this body.” “And what's so bad about being a rabbit?” Aerl asked, tone hinting that Burl ought to watch his words. Burl sneezed out of nervousness, his nose twitching. “Ah, well, nothing, it's just, ah- I miss certain … pleasantries of being a human.” “Pleasantries?” Aerl asked. “Well, I could focus more … My, eh, libido was much calmer.” “Enough!” Barked Sköll. “I will not be convened by any spirit to hear of a rabbit’s libido. If my grandfather put you in this rabbit suit, he did so for good reason.” Burl shivered at the wolf’s words, acutely aware of how tasty he would be to a wolf such as Sköll. At the same time, Dust whispered words on the wind, something the butterflies picked up on. Within seconds their fluttering wings coalesced, taking on the angular form of a hawk. “Can they just turn into anything?” Aerl asked, astounded by how many creatures seemed to slip from one form to another. “A being can transform into anything they set their mind upon,” said Dust. Sköll groaned. “And yet here you are — a walking, talking dinner plate.” “You know why I’ve called you here, Sköll,” said Dust. “Just look up.” Above the creatures hung the roots of Yggdrasil, visibly shrinking in the baking sun. They’d become brittle, the wind snapping off dried root bits and felling them to the ground. Burl moved to sniff one of these bits now, wondering what would happen if he ate it. “I wouldn't do that,” said Aerl, snookering his fellow rabbit. “No? No, of course not, you’re right … It's the world tree.” The wolf stepped between them and ate the piece of root whole. “It’s a tree like any other you fool.” “It is not, Sköll,” said Dust. “It is Yggdrasil. It is the world tree. It is where your great grandfather hung from its gallows. It is the tree that binds our world together such that we may all live in harmony. And it is dying — because of you.” Sköll groaned meekly, “The tree is not of my concern,” and curled up into a ball on the dusty basin. The pale hind eyed the wolf, seeing the despondence within him, and whispered more words to the wind. The hawk took flight then, disappearing out onto the horizon. She knew that without Sköll to chase the sun and moon, these endless days would continue on, eventually burning their world to ash. ** “Look,” said Aerl, staring off into the distance where a spec floated in a cloudless sky, and beneath the spec a figure wriggled in the air. As the spec and the figure grew larger it became clear it was the hawk, returning with Dust’s request. “Put me down this instant you infernal spirit!” Shouted the wriggling figure in the sky. The hawk acquiesced, bursting into a ball of orange color — a flock of butterflies fluttering about where a beak had once pierced the wind. Loki, that wriggling figure, meanwhile plummeted down toward the earth, smashed into a pile of dust and dirt, and laid limp on the ground beside Sköll, Dust, Aerl and Burl. “Welcome, son of Odin,” said Dust, unable to hide her amusement. Loki groaned as he pulled himself up from his own crater, brushing the dirt off of the crisp cut black leather of his suit. “It’s a pleasure to see you again,” added Dust as Burl shivered behind her legs, trying to shield himself from the trickster god. “I’m afraid you have me mistaken for someone else, hind,” said Loki, face grimaced with agitation. “Now will someone please explain why exactly I’m here?” “Your grandson has given up the chase,” Dust replied. “It seems he’s lonely.” Sköll snarled at the hind, kept at bay by the butterflies’ coos. “Grandson?” Loki asked, eyeing the wolf. “You’re sure this one’s mine?” Sköll glowered at him, said only, “I am the son of Fenrir.” “Ahhhh, so you are,” said Loki, sauntering around his kin, taking him in. He was distracted by a nibble at his ankles and looked down to see Burl standing beneath him. “Loki, I- I- I- don’t suppose you could return me to Midgaard? Ah- AhAs a human?” Loki shooed the rabbit with his foot and returned his attention to Sköll. He could read in the wolf’s demeanor that the hind was right — Sköll’s aura seemed to lack a light that only companionship can bring to a wolf. Still, he found himself lacking any desire to help. “I see …” Loki said to Dust. “But I’m afraid I quite enjoy the heat, and I’m sure the sun and moon appreciate no longer being chased through the skies for all eternity.” “Our world dies in this unending sun, Loki,” said Dust. “And?” asked Loki, a grim smile adorning his face. The butterflies whispered something to Loki then, something only a creature of his cunning could perceive, and a spark of realization came across his face. They were right. Fimbulwinter could never come in this blazing heat. The great winter that brings Ragnarök, the storm of unending snow that ends the reign of the Odin, the glorious opportunity for Loki to once and for all enact his revenge upon the gods — none of it will come to be unless Sköll returns to his chase. “So what is it you propose, hind?” Loki asked. Dust sensed Loki’s motivation, felt uneasy in having involved him. But she knew she needed him to find Sköll’s father and pry that sword from his mouth. “Fenrir,” said Dust. “Ahhh, you wish to give Sköll a sibling?” Loki intuited. At this, Sköll’s ears perked up.

“Yes, I wish to give Sköll a companion to return to the skies with,” said Dust. “Fenrir, bound as he is, will not be so eager to help,” said Loki. “Leave that to me, son of Odin,” said Dust. “I need only your help in finding him and prying that sword from his jaws. I know what he will need.” Loki smiled. He always seemed to smile, yet it was a smile others found no joy in. “Fenrir rests on the other side of the dark lake. We had best get moving.” ** The group found themselves at the gaping mouth of a cave, its edges sharp and jagged. A river gurgled out from within its depths and flowed to the dark lake which they’d sailed across. Aerl and Burl exchanged nervous glances, staring into the abyss of the cave’s mouth, waiting for the great wolf of legend to appear. Sköll noticed that the hind appeared uneasy, the first time he’d seen her this way since they met. Loki turned to the hind, “And I suppose you want me to …” The hind nodded. “Right,” Loki said, and made for the cave, the others watching on until the dark of the cave swallowed him whole. “Is he going to find Fenrir?” Burl chittered. “I believe so,” Aerl replied. Neither Dust nor Sköll said a word. Loki returned with a silken band in his hands, glimmering in the sun — a strand of Gleipnir he’d stolen when Fenrir was first bound. He set the strand into Sköll’s mouth and said, “Pull this, would you?” Sköll, who had kept quiet on their journey, was eager for this plan to work. Though he loathed to admit it, all those years chasing the sun and moon alone had left him longing for someone to share life’s journey with. He knew deep down in his wolf’s heart that one day he’d devour the sun whole. But it just didn’t seem to excite him anymore without someone to share the memory with. He ached for a companion, to be a part of a pack, and now he saw this was his opportunity. Sköll bit down on Gleipnir, the silken band fitting against his teeth. He dug his paws into the dirt and began pulling with the wolves’ might, forcing the earth forward as he ripped the band back. “I suppose we’ll see if this works,” said Loki. And it was just then something snapped inside the cave, and from the depths a bolt of metal came flying out threw the sky — a sword of the gods, left behind to keep Fenrir’s mouth pried open. The whole of the cave began to rumble and writhe, the jaws of the cave snapping shut for the first time in eons, cutting off the river’s flow. Aerl and Burl coward behind the hind, realizing now their mistake. Fenrir was not inside the cave. Fenrir’s jaws were the cave, and his body the mountains above. Fenrir’s nostrils flared as he sucked in the wind of the world, Aerl and Burl burrowing into the ground such as not to be sucked in through the wolf’s nose, the world’s scent reawakening the great beast. He rustled, quaking the ground beneath them, but his limbs — thick as the trunk of Yggdrasil — were still bound to the earth by Gleipnir. “Father,” Fenrir growled, his voice tingling the rabbits’ spines. “It is good to see you. I presume you and your merry band of friends here have come to apologize for Odin’s treachery and free me from these binds?” “You know your time will come,” said Loki. “I’ve come for a favor.” No. 98 “A favor?” Fenrir snarled, incredulous. “You would stand idly by as the gods bind your son to the Earth, and then have the gall to ask for a favor?” “This was a terrible idea,” said Burl, cowering in the shadow of the mountainous wolf. “It is not a favor for my self,” said Loki, cooly. “It is a favor for your son, Sköll.” Fenrir rumbled, a low growl in his belly. “If my son wishes for a favor, he can ask for one himself.” Dust and Loki turned their gaze on Sköll, who found himself ready to admit his inner desire: “I wish to be part of a pack,” said Sköll. “Ahhh,” said Fenrir, the weight of his breath billowing through the trees. “I know all too well the sorrows of a lone wolf.” “So you will give Sköll a sibling then?” asked Loki. “I will give you a child, yes. But I ask for one thing in return.” “And what is that?” Loki asked. “Freya’s beauty.” Loki laughed, “I am flattered you think me capable of such a feat, but even if I could steal away Freya’s beauty from her, the gods do not know where she hides.” Fenrir’s laugh bawled across the land, knocking Aerl and Burl to their sides. “And here I thought you were the wise one, father. I do not wish you to steal Freya’s beauty. I wish for her to give it on her own accord. Her scent is unmistakable.” Loki’s puzzlement could be felt across the realms, bringing joy to Thor in Midgard. But through the puzzlement Loki sensed an air of magic in his midst. He turned to the hind known as Dust, but the hind was no more. Where the hind had been stood — the goddess Freya. She was old and withered, her locks once red with fire now drained to nothing but a pale film of white. Her hair framed the hollow cheeks of one who stands in line at the gates of Hel, desperate to be let in. Her skin, riddled with warts, sagged over brittle bones, barely holding up her hands which glowed with the fire of her beauty, offered freely to the wind. “Freya?” Loki said, chiding himself for having missed such a simple illusion. “You can’t do this, Freya,” he continued, barely able look upon the wretched hag she’d become. “Odin always said I was more beautiful than the sun and the moon. Perhaps in drinking from Mímir’s Well he always knew this day was to come.” She whispered something to the wind, and the butterflies fluttered to her hands, carrying the glow of her beauty into Fenrir’s chasmic mouth. Loki looked on in anguish as his son, Fenrir, swallowed Freya’s beauty whole, no creature living or dead ever able to gaze again upon something so magnificent. But Fenrir kept true to his word, and from somewhere beneath his mountainous form a wolf known already to the world as Hati emerged, dashing with a devilish smile past Sköll, scratching that part of Sköll’s mind that cannot resist the chase. Sköll turned to run after her, but before he did he looked to the goddess Freya and bowed deeply to her, knowing he was forever in her debt. Freya nodded to him, “Go.” Sköll took off after Hati, the two of them leaping over one another into the sky above, beginning again their chase of the sun and moon, returning night to the nine realms.



Log 155 BY GODRIC PHOTO BY TOMMY COYOTE Penciled in stars A yellow pie in the sky Three clouds and a half Promise sticked the windows. Windows big as the world Footnotes thicker than curls Lessons in lines Fertile, steep, canine. Coloring my chest Back, around then up again. Mercy! The extended version Leaking miracles Warm as love Charming it coos Alarming it tucks. So His banks are mine! Studded we stand, Heart written Chokeless Refined. Simon says glue No tone that lies Long as time’s middle name Insists, shine. Though our tears fill lakes, We should never find Tape thus to the work Magic as Bernstein’s rhymes And faint will the noise, Lo’ trickster of air, mind. Tune not its fume But instead, some..place called Mine. FOLLOW GODRIC: INSTAGRAM, PINTEREST, TUMBLR, FACEBOOK, TWITTER: @GODRINATI SOUNDCLOUD.COM/GODRINATI/TRACKS FOLLOW TOMMY COYOTE: INSTAGRAM: @TOMMYCOYOTE TWITTER: @TOMMYCOYOTE_

CRYING IN H MART BY MICHELLE ZAUNER (2021) A story that started as an essay evolves into a heart-shattering memoir in Michelle BY HANA ZITTEL Zauner’s Crying in H Mart. Zauner brings us deep inside the complex, painful and love-filled relationship with her mother leading to the devastating experience of a terminal cancer diagnosis. This relationship is mirrored through their experience and celebration of food, the Korean dishes her mother cooked, the memories they carry, and finally Zauner’s attempt to recreate these dishes when her mother can no longer cook. Michelle Zauner was born in Seoul and raised in Eugene, Oregon by her Korean mother and white father. She and her mother spent summers taking trips back to Korea where she meets relatives and uncovers different sides of her mother. Often these experiences are centered on food, an indulgence Zauner’s mother holds vitally important. During her teen years, friction develops in their relationship when she often rejects her mother’s views on what she wants her daughter’s life to be. She works in the service industry and starts bands, carving out a life for herself independent of her family. When she gets a call about her mother’s cancer diagnosis, Zauner makes the decision to move back home with the idea that this is the moment when she will make amends for her teen years and heal the fissures in their relationship. She will cook the dishes her mom loves, take care of her and show her mother the self-sacrificing love her mother gave to her. Zauner is well-known for her musical projects, including the band Little Big League, and her solo project Japanese Breakfast, where she expresses this grief through lyrics. In Crying in H Mart, her writing is incredibly immersive, where tiny scenes feel so alive in her hands. In one described memory, Zauner recalls her mother sending her a care package including a new pair of boots. Once she puts them on she finds surprising comfort, realizing her mother has spent weeks wearing them around the house, breaking them in, so that Zauner does not have to experience any of the pain of that process. The deep attachment and storytelling that Zauner exhibits is so fluid that even though you know how this story ends, you feel throughout the book that there are glimmers of hope, that there is some mistake and her mother might make it after all. Crying in H Mart is a memoir that will have you sobbing on the pages, but the impact is unforgettable. EMPIRE OF PAIN: THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE SACKLER DYNASTY BY PATRICK RADDEN KEEFE (2021) Patrick Radden Keefe’s followup to 2018’s Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland continues his streak of diligently researched and endlessly fascinating nonfiction. Stories on the Sacklers are often centered on the disgustingly predatory practices of Big Pharma and the terror that has been wrecked on the lives of families, but Radden Keefe is able to draw out a much more complex and layered account of how these practices evolved within this company and family. Beginning with Arthur Sackler, born in 1913, Radden Keefe documents a man who built and monopolized the predatory pharmaceutical marketing we know today through drugs like Vicodin, but also a man who was obsessed with collecting, philanthropy and having his name mark great buildings throughout the world. Ultimately, it is Arthur’s nephew who is at the helm of Purdue when OxyContin explodes on the market and creates the perfect storm of corruption, lies and greed that evolve into the opioid epidemic. Empire of Pain takes a different approach to this story than other media depictions, focusing on the complex family relationships, dissociation and willful ignorance exhibited by this ultrarich family, closely resembling the dramatic, dysfunctional, satirical family of the Roys on Succession. Radden Keefe's excellent storytelling wraps readers into his investigation, uncovering secrets that the Sackler’s would have preferred to stay covered. No. 98


Water always tastes great … Pho and pâté Soufflé all day Fried bald Eagle gizzards And Komodo dragon Heart tartar Smash an uni kolachi Inside Kabayashi’s hibachi Butt naked chewing Hamachi belly I PHONE HOME Put the mise en place IN THE PLACE Incandescent fixture of flavor Baklava so nutty call The ambulance Enigmatic arepas Of Devine and Devious components Coptic eye of Horus Rotund gravlax Caper CRÈME unlocks A porter house for two And fatty fins Sliced thin so blue … Side of pomme frites With a saucer full of Durian roux ... The amuse bouche Smacked of tenderness And obtuse tannins Let loose yet obtuse THE ONLY GRAVY THAT EVER SAVED ME WAS MY BABY … BRIANNA CORN, ZEPPELIN STATION AT BIG TROUBLE - BEST OF BIRDY ISSUE 060

GRAVY by Zac Dunn On top Like ramen Injera butter crème on the clams in the pan Crustini and Salumi gore With Steve Albini I make a flan With daikon Sprinkle white truffle So subtle Stuff a burrito In the duffel Ruffle taro chips AND POI OLD BOY Suck the bone marrow Straight out the FUGU SPINE Wined and dined out at Chez HERVÉ Sitting on a throne Of blood sausage Wishing I was home alone Spicy general mustard With the hammer Wearing open toed shoes On holiday from Hill street blues The deuce deuce And the double O Kung POW Wack Sao DEE DEE MOW Chika plow

When Irons and Okafor pulled up, Jeremiah Alderman was standing behind his Accord with the trunk open. Irons slowed the Explorer on the gravel drive until it came to a stop, eyes narrowed. “What are you doing?” asked Okafor. “What’s he doing, is the question,” rejoined Irons. His thick shoulders were hunched over the wheel. Alderman was tall and bald with heavyframed glasses, wearing a cardigan and button-up shirt. “He could have a gun in there.” “We have no reason to think he’s dangerous.” “He sabotaged a federal facility and kidnapped at least one girl. Seems like reason enough to me.” Well, that was one way to look at it. “Come on,” she said, and opened the door so she could stand just outside it, waving a greeting. “Hi there! Are you Jeremiah Alderman?” This was a rhetorical question, to which Alderman responded by shutting the trunk. He raised a hand – and ran. “Get in!” Irons urged, which she did, and they roared down the drive and onto the wide yard that surrounded the house trailer. It wasn’t clear where Alderman was running to, other than the woods writ large, but it was a moot point because he didn’t make it. When they were close enough, Irons leapt out of the SUV and tackled him like the linebacker he had once been and in short order had him in handcuffs. “Where’s the girl?” Okafor asked with this accomplished. “What girl?” “We have video of you leaving the Harrod Center with her, in this same car. We know she’s here. Is she in the house?” “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” “I’ll look inside,” Okafor said to her partner. The trailer wasn’t large. On a desk in the ten-by-ten second bedroom she found some drawings in colored marker, surprisingly intricate mandala forms. She assumed they were by the girl, but if so the kid had talent. That was as far as she got before Irons yelled her name. Alderman was kneeling on the grass with Irons next to him. Okafor followed their gazes northeast to the lawn’s edge, where a four-yearold girl was standing in a dark blue dress, looking with equal intensity at the three adults. “Are you Nina?” Okafor called, doing her best to project warmth and confidence. “I’m Tess. Could you come here so we could talk?” “Run, Nina!” Alderman yelled suddenly. “Get out of here!” “Shh,” said Irons, giving his charge a small kick. “We’re worried about you,” Okafor went on. The girl just stood there, arms dangling at her sides, eyes burning. The morning had been foggy, as it so often was in Oregon, the cumulus streaming thick above the wooded landscape. Now the sun was burning a hole through the mist, the dew-laden grass shining emerald, the girl’s hair gold as flax. “Watch this creep for me and I’ll go get her,” Irons growled. “Wait,” she said quietly, and raising her voice again, “Nina, can we talk?” The little girl just closed her eyes, and Okafor shivered, the hair on her arms standing on end. A palpable energy seemed to emanate from her small body. “Look at the grass,” Irons whispered, and Okafor saw what he meant: the green blades were subtly bowing in a perfect meter-wide circle around her feet, as though a tiny helicopter was hovering there. “Let us go,” Alderman pleaded. “She’s just a kid. She’s not dangerous.” “Fuck this,” Irons said, and took a few steps in a jog across the lawn. He came to a sudden halt at the sound of snapping branches behind Nina: branches snapped by a very, very large animal, the largest bear Okafor had ever seen, in person or otherwise, emerging from the pines with a flurry of falling needles. Its head alone was as large as Irons’s chest, and Irons was a substantial man. It must have stood six or seven feet at the shoulder, a great grizzly that had wandered down from far to the north. “Nina,” Okafor whispered. “Fuck me,” Irons said, backing away and drawing his gun. “Don’t shoot,” Alderman warned. “You’ll just piss it off.” “It’s going to fucking eat her!” Irons replied, still backpedaling. “You’re wrong.” The bear lumbered up to the four-year-old, sniffed the air, looking suspiciously at the adults, and then gave the kid the gentlest bop with its nose. She raised a hand and stroked the fur of the beast’s cheek. It licked her face with a tongue the length of Okafor’s forearm and Nina giggled. “She talks to them,” Alderman said. “All the animals. I don’t know how she does it. They love her.” “What do we do?” Irons asked his partner. “Just let her be,” Okafor replied, with sudden decision. It was less of a choice than it appeared: they could not approach without shooting the bear; if they did not kill it immediately, they would have a furious predator weighing more than a ton on their hands; and of course they risked missing and hitting the child, who so far as they knew was unique. So like guests at a church service, or the three kings at the manger, Alderman kneeling in devotion, they watched as the bear too prostrated and bowed its head to the ground. Like a queen claiming her throne, Nina grasped its fur and straddled its massive neck. Effortlessly her steed rose, turned, and bore her into the wild.



like Inside/Out DiscoBall at RedLine Contemporary Art Center in Denver, and finally to massive, permanent installations like “Sparkle Cave” in Convergence Station. Growing up in Denver, Colorado, Shayna has always been an artist. She remembers her earlier years as a child, always being motivated by her parents to create, but it wasn’t until her college and post-grad studies where she began to bring her ideas to life. “The simple fact of working on something for two to three years and having the support to execute on a big, permanent project really In order to navigate Numina, the 6th dimensional Swamp of Meow Wolf Denver’s Convergence Station, there’s a unique path often overlooked. It’s a cavernous stairway embellished with party jewels, bright geodes and a plethora of glimmering surprises that will take you from the second level of Numina to its peak. This is Shayna Cohn’s “Sparkle Cave.” “Sparkle Cave” is like a historical landmark frozen in time, a time when mother nature and her rocks decided to wear drag and throw a massive party. Upon first entry, you notice a pinkish gold hue adorning its meringue-like rock walls, but when you zoom in to look at the details, you’ll discover even more delights through gemstones and marbles, all created by Shayna, a 5th-generation Denver artist. Although “Sparkle Cave” is the largest and most permanent piece Shayna has ever made in her career as an artist, some of her smaller works would fit right in with Meow Wolf’s earlier pop-ups, like 2010’s “GEODEcadent.” “Sparkle Cave” is not only an explorable mythical wonderland, but also an ode to Meow Wolf’s love for the beauty of immersive DIY spaces. “I wanted to make ‘Sparkle Cave’ really playful, and I wanted to evoke the natural world, but with a tinge of humor and a tinge of light playfulness,” Shayna explains. “So, it's never going to be just a vista or a cave, truly. It’s meant to be a caricature of one.” Shayna’s work has transcended smaller sculptures like “Rock Lamp” and “Kitsch Emporium” to short term pop-up installations GET TICKETS TO MEOW WOLF DENVER’S CONVERGENCE STATION TO SEE “SPARKLE CAVE” AND MORE: TICKETS.MEOWWOLF.COM/DENVER. CHECK OUT MORE OF SHAYNA’S WORK ON HER SITE: SHAYNA.STUDIO AND ON INSTAGRAM: @SHAYNA_COHN_STUDIO. does wonders for one's work,” Shayna says. “It gave me a lot of opportunities to explore new materials. My other projects were just installed very briefly. A month is a long time for an installation, but sometimes my past pieces would come up and down in a matter of a few days”. In terms of projects that really catalyzed her practice, Shayna says that her grad school thesis called ‘“womp womp” was one of her favorites. It was an installation featuring a huge rotating disco ball platform, party lights, soft sculptures and a seemingly contradictory soundtrack featuring disco music, a Mariah Carey song and monks chanting (the abrasive sound of the motor of the moving platform would also shine through in between songs). It was a hilarious commentary on how we perceive failure in the form of a sparkly mound of banal party objects. Shayna elaborates, “This was really a moment where I was like, ‘I'm interested in immersive environments, but also kind of simultaneously showcasing their failure and the humor in that. And the juxtaposition, or the contrast, between our desire for a transcendent experience, but also our dayto-day reality of banality. That tension has fueled much of my work going forward.” “Sparkle Cave” has been in the works for over three years, and now that it’s complete it has allowed Shayna to think about her work on a larger scale. So what’s next in the glittery world of Shayna Cohn? “My mind is open to a lot of possibilities. think after executing something of this I scale, I'm definitely intrigued by public work, and I'm definitely intrigued by large-scale installations. I'm excited to see what the next opportunity is.” KITSCH EMPORIUM (2019), PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST WOMP WOMP (2014), PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST INSIDE/OUT DISCOBALL (2019), REDLINE CONTEMPORARY ART CENTER, PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST



CAMI GALOFRE place, where “There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted air is softer, colors are brighter, the and the morning more fragrant than ever again.” - Elizabeth Lawrence Young Hearts is an immersive installation that reflects the innocence, wonder and joy of being young. As a collective expression of wild imaginations, this exhibition is a playful display of creativity and identity. Created in collaboration by Artist in Residence Cami Galofre and Failure Lab Teens, Young Hearts invites you to reconnect with your inner child and escape into a world of magic. Check out some of the photos and fun from the exhibition opening at the beginning of January. Failure Lab is a museum-led leadership program for Denverarea high school students. Students work with artists, museum staff, and their peers to organize exhibitions, plan events and develop programming. Rather than focusing on achievement, Failure Lab is dedicated to developing creativity and building community, becoming a place where the risk of failure is always a possibility. Students in Failure Lab earn up to $300/semester for their participation. YOUNG HEARTS IS CURRENTLY ON VIEW THROUGH MARCH 1, 2022. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE EXHIBITION AND HOW TO APPLY FOR THE SPRING SEMESTER, VISIT MCADENVER.ORG/TEENS/FAILURE-LAB. LAZY REALTORS 27


They love me … They love me not … They love me … They’re … wearing a recently flayed goat and chasing me down the street. Must be Lupercalia Day. Oft misattributed as the Roman precursor to Valentine’s Day, the festival of Lupercalia rides the midriff of February with all the main features of the common celebration. Scores of plebian children exchanging pun-laden cards inscribed with the Latin phrase for I Choo Choo Choose You; candy hearts bearing witness to perfunctory heteronormativity; a sacrificed dog ripped to shreds and the knife wiped clean across the forehead of two adolescents to increase their virility. Practically identical. Ostensibly the party originally known as Februa was about going to a sexually charged midwinter get-down at the point of origin for the city where brothers Romulus and Remus suckled the teats of a giant lupine beast. As these things go, it of course eventually became an insane annual reverie of city-wide participatory drunken violence. Imagine a Mardi Gras orgy in Meow Wolf with way more whips. The whole thing kicked off with the leaders of the cult of Lupercal making a sacrifice of a dog and a goat before field stripping them into wearables for young dudes to don and race through town, striking passerby as they went. Having been blessed through the bleeding of these animals in close propinquity to a statue of the breastfeeding goddess Rumina, these attacks carried with them the promise of fertility. They also definitely sucked. Famously — and this will come as no surprise to anyone who had to take Western Civ — Mark Antony was huge on doing a nude run around the hills. In 44 BCE, he, in a very probably staged event and frenzied on the old aged grape, split a crowd to approach Julius Caesar in order to present him with a makeshift crown. Caesar refused it. The crowd went nuts. Antony persisted and, again, Caesar refused. The crowd turned full MAGA. They loved it. They were ready to march to the forum and take back their country under the august auspices of a guy who picked his own nickname and turned it into an institution. “Surely this thing couldn’t have gone on that long,” I’ve decided you asked. Turns out it was a pretty regular feature for several centuries. Lupercalia was still going strong by at least 494 CE when it was criticized by Pope Gelasius I, nailing his high point in the history of the papacy, by calling it out as, “… an instrument of depravity, which your mind, bearing testimony against itself, blushes to fulfill.” Way to bust the vibe, Gello. Despite the Catholic rebut, given a millennium plus Lupercalia still managed to command the month of February among people ranging from members of the Satanic Temple to members of any different city’s Satanic Temple. Animal mutilation is on the very low end but there’s still another Valentine’s Day to be had if you happen to find yourself lonely and wondering about what life would be like if only you’d been raised by a cave wolf. HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PARANORMAL? SEND THEM TO: WEREWOLFRADARPOD@GMAIL.COM OR TWITTER: @WEREWOLFRADAR IT’S A BIG, WEIRD WORLD. DON’T BE SCARED. BE PREPARED. 29 JASON WHITE

FLYVEE | PRODIGIUM ASMR Imagine a podcast format soundtrack to taking random peeks into six different Twitch gaming channels and you have some idea of what was created for this release — like an episodic, strange, science fiction movie cast as music rendered in miniature, or a futuristic TikTok horror anthology set in a user created MMO. The track “mouth sounds” is certainly where the asmr part of the album's title comes in. Its insectoid vibe and vocal slices in with breakbeats is something Richard D. James is probably listening to right now for some inspiration toward his own inventively weird productions forthcoming. Each track pushes beyond expectations taken from the title like “techno logic?” deconstructing techno and reassembling it as a progressive hip-hop beat/robotic disco. This whole set of songs is simultaneously playful, irreverent and an extension beyond possible roots in IDM, witchhouse, breakcore and the aforementioned techno, and steeped in cinematic aesthetics in its pacing, dynamics, editing, production and arrangements. But more importantly, it feels like something new in electronic music. NEVER KENEZZARD | THE LONG AND GRINDING ROAD If you listen closely, it sounds like Never Kenezzard studied at the feet of musical weirdos like Frank Zappa and John Zorn. That spirit of experimental musical precision that often sounds unhinged heresounds very calculated, though guided by the feeling of the moment over some arcane point of music theory. On opening song “Gravity” alone, the band ranges from crushing dynamics and caustic and serpentine bents in melody to the ethereal and meditative like something you'd expect on an OM record. “Genie” showcases even more dramatically the band's instincts for both harrowingly intense energy and atmospheric elements more suited to an ambient or noise song. And each track on the album is a journey to a different headspace and set of musical parameters, but united by a willingness to take the song to places exposing and embracing raw, pure emotional expression that sounds ready to go off the rails or implode or both. The album would be fine just for doing that alone, but Never Kenezzard regularly transports us to strange realms of feeling and creative conceptualization that goes well beyond the usual framework of heavy music as on the almost musique concrètre “Slowburn” and “11:59:59.” It is psychedelic art rock fused with blistering heavy metal the likes of which we rarely see. BY TOM MURPHY SPYDERLAND | THERE'S MONSTERS OUTSIDE This duo of Marie Litton and Drew McClellan has fused downtempo, hip-hop, R&B, punk and synth pop for this album in a way that hits as surprisingly original from the beginning. “Bop It” contrasts fuzzy guitar drones with simple synth melodies and Litton's and McClellan's vocal interplay that is both complimentary and an unconventional call and response dynamic. What emerges across the arc of these songs is an examination of the ways in which we prepare our minds to protect ourselves from the negative forces and experiences of life, but with the aim of not hardening and remaining sensitive and vulnerable through being willing to get hurt and process that inevitable pitfall of going out and doing something worthwhile instead of living a circumscribed life of perceived safety and comfort. At times, as in “Darkest Bloom,” Spyderland channels a bit of that moodily emotional darkness of Depeche Mode but always threaded through with organic sonic textures and more than a touch of rock and roll fire. TRIPP NASTY AND SENSE FROM NONSENSE | THE THRILLING, CHILLING SOUNDS OF THE HAUNTED HOUSE Tripp Nasty has been a practitioner of many fine strains of experimental music over the years. But teaming up with Tom Nelsen aka Sense From Nonsense (and member of industrial post-punk duo Echo Beds), something truly unusual was bound to happen. And thus this album, an interpretation of Disney's 1964 Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House made up of sound effects and snippets of narrative, is a tribute of a different color with engrossing synth soundscapes worthy of John Carpenter and Sinoia Caves, rather than a mere array of special effects, while capturing the undeniably surreal and spooky quality of the original. FOR MORE, VISIT QUEENCITYSOUNDSANDART.WORDPRESS.COM 31


Dissociation By Maggie D. Fedorov The totality of the absence of sound would shame the dead; whom in their inability to stifle their very existence despite having stared long into the eyes and heart of death, yet have failed to accomplish that for which an empty vessel has but one purpose: nothingness. And so the shame of the dead at their own failure to cease existing consumed them, though at no detriment to the volatile cessation of being which looked out at the unassuming world peering expectantly, albeit blindly, in on it. The very palpability of such a void continued unfalteringly on its merry way about the usual task of maintaining the sanctity of such a desolation; leaving in its wake a very definite absence of any and all being. Succubi By Mark J. Mitchell He never got his witch — the potent night that cracked open under her icy touch. Or silence, wrapping him soft as a cut reed shroud. All his short time was spent in light too ordinary. He’d constructed small shrines against her coming. Didn’t lock doors just because she might appear. But patient dust covered it all. Years dripped by like old sleet melting midwinter slow. He stayed contrite, humble, a book of spells on his oak desk. Each morning brought coffee, clients to meet, traffic. The cold goddess he dreamed escaped his life. Now death tugged his broken breath, next to candles — out. Bells — dumb. His witch came late. 33 S. PUTNIK



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