With a beer in one tentacle and a book in another, Paper Darts is taking back the lit scene, one lame pen and quill metaphor at a time.

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Thursday
Dec052013

Paper Darts' Founders Usher In New Era of Storytelling

 


Four years ago, Paper Darts was founded with the intention to transform how story and art collide. We have explored, experimented, and pushed boundaries through Paper Darts with design, words, and community building to promote transformative storytelling. For the past two and half years, Paper Darts brought that same creativity to
Pollen through an extensive publishing partnership.  

Today, we're excited to announce that Paper Darts co-founders, Jamie Millard and Meghan Murphy, will take Pollen to the next level through a merge with the organization OTA and a substantial grant from the Bush Foundation to make this full-time, hire staff, and also substantially invest in the freelance writing and art communities. 

"Together, we are cultivating a petri dish of creativity, pragmatism, and idealism from across the region and globe. Where there is inspiration, there will be resources for action. We want to make the Midwest a prosperous space for dreaming and for doing. We will seek out the most talented writers, illustrators, photographers and makers to competitively compensate them as they capture the inspiring stories of leaders throughout our region," said Jamie and Meghan (together in perfect unison). 

As co-founders of Paper Darts and part of the executive leadership team for the new OTA-Pollen, we swear on every tentacle that we will continue to support, reinforce, and grow the creative class freelance market to usher in a new era of storytelling. We will continue to work with the other amazing volunteers, especially Holly Harrison and Courtney Algeo, at Paper Darts who make this little monster possible. We hope the Paper Darts community will join us on this new OTA-Pollen journey.

Sincerely,

Jamie and Meghan 

 

Learn more at www.ota-pollen.com

Monday
Dec022013

Infographic: What Does the Fox Say (In Books)?

Morgan Halaska + Holly Harrison

In case you didn't hear, viral video sensation "The Fox" by Ylvis has been given the picture book treatment by Simon & Schuster, just in time for Christmas. We took this opportunity to do some hard-hitting investigative journalism on what, if anything, the fox says in literature.

Monday
Nov252013

More Fun, Less Deadly Books That Should Be Theme Parks Instead of The Hunger Games

Alyssa Bluhm

Earlier this month when rumors spread that The Hunger Games trilogy would be getting its own theme park à la Harry Potter, my first thought was, Why? A theme park modeled after books about political unrest and children killing each other? Sure, that’d be great for parents who secretly plan on bringing their kids home from family vacation in a casket — but for everyone else, why bum your kids out on vacation when you could just give them the actual Hunger Games books to read?

The theorizations of what the theme park would look like aren’t much better. TIME’s ideas sound a lot like the synthetic alternative to hunting in the woods the old-fashioned way, and Melville House thinks the park should include a roller coaster that gives riders a “harsh glimpse at what it’s like to work in the coal mines.” Maybe I only hate these ideas because I grew up in a place where you can do all of this for free, or maybe I hate them because a sugarcoated playground rip off of The Hunger Games misses the entire point of the books.

At least when Harry Potter was adapted into a theme park it made sense — even though that series is peppered with political uprising and death, it still centers on the fun and magical elements of a world we can’t possibly experience outside our doors or in a book. And here’s hoping that The Lord of the Rings theme park rumors come true long before The Hunger Games do — but in the meantime, here are some books that would make not only family-friendly theme parks, but also incredibly entertaining ones.

Magic Tree House

In case it’s been too long since you were a kid, let me refresh your memory: two kids have a tree house that takes them to different countries and eras in which they have to solve a mysterious riddle in order to go home. In the end, all of the riddles are used to save literature as we know it, and the kids become Master Librarians. Cool.

Not only were these books awesome because I really wanted a tree house as a kid, they also gave digestible insight to the history and culture of other parts of the world. A Magic Tree House theme park would be a lot like Disney’s Epcot, except actually fun for kids. With settings like ancient Egypt, the Middle Ages, and the Cretaceous period, there is an endless array of rides and attractions to choose from. And for good measure, the hotel that goes along with the theme park would be a bunch of tree houses, because tree houses will never not be awesome. But enough about that — who’s up for a ride on the Great Wall of China roller coaster?

The hotel that goes along with the theme park would be a bunch of tree houses, because tree houses will never not be awesome.

Wicked

While I’d love there to be one giant theme park for all of my favorite book musicals, few of them are based off a novel elaborate enough to make the theme park work (even with all of its 1,500 or so pages, more people die in Les Miserables than in The Hunger Games). Wicked, however, is perfect.

Wicked makes for a better theme park than the original The Wonderful Wizard of Oz because, first of all, the Wicked Witch in the original turns out to be not very wicked at all. One of the major overlooked themes of the world of L. Frank Baum/Gregory Maguire is learning to reject stereotypes and accept people for who they are — a sickeningly wholesome 1950s-esque message kids wouldn’t get while trying to kill each other in a post-apocalyptic arena. Second, the political messages of Wicked are at least served up alongside magic and talking animals. If at any moment things get too sticky, characters could break out into “Defying Gravity” or “Dancing Through Life” to cheer things up.

House of Leaves

As I see it, House of Leaves deserves to be turned into a theme park (or at least a seasonal attraction) more than any other book. Here’s the setup: a house is bigger on the inside than on the outside, and starts expanding internally as time goes on, calling to mind this house. For all its confusing details and unreliable narrators, the house leaves much to the readers’ interpretation, allowing for the possibility of a choose your own adventure-style experience. It also has versatility — what could be just a weird house any other time of the year could become the ultimate haunted house in the fall. If House of Leaves were actually built, it would be the ultimate cross between storytelling and architecture — especially because the narrative includes enough footnotes to make David Foster Wallace dizzy. I’d love to see a house with footnotes.

If House of Leaves were actually built, it would be the ultimate cross between storytelling and architecture — especially because the narrative includes enough footnotes to make David Foster Wallace dizzy.

Every Book by Roald Dahl Ever

Okay, maybe not every book — but definitely Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, and Matilda (for similar reasons as Wicked), to name a few. Although someone is already trying to take on the challenge of making an edible chocolate factory, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be expanded into an entire theme park, right?

Aside from a chocolate river and candy flowers, the park would mix together all of the best parts of Dahl’s works: a giant peach roller coaster, anthropomorphic animals, BFG’s giving people lifts to opposite ends of the park instead of sky gliders, glass elevators for the adults to ride in, and so on. But there’s one condition: this theme park just has to be called the Dahl House.

Friday
Nov222013

How to shop the MCAD Art Sale with total confidence

Meghan Murphy + Holly Harrison

Good news, allies. We scouted the MCAD Art Sale for you—top to bottom, round and round, like eight times—and gathered your must-sees and should-buys below. There were over 6,000 pieces to take in and only four eyes between us (eight if you count our glasses), and even though opening night is a little less manic than Friday and Saturday are, the whole thing is a sensory onslaught that's difficult to capture or quantify—which is precisely why you should go live it. That, and to buy some sick and really affordable art.

 

Ryan Hughes

 

Ashley Peifer

 

Colin Marx

 

Rosemary Valero-O'Connell

 

Jarad Jensen

Jarad used to intern with us at Paper Darts. We were admiring these great, geometrical pieces from afar and once we shouldered our way to them we were surprised and thrilled to know the artist printed on the tag.

 

Vadim Gershman

 

Jonathan Williams

 

Mel Nguyen

 

Kayleigh Fichten

We kept coming back to her paintings and staring lovingly at them. Holly left with a bitty $35 piece and has been making out with it ever since.

 

Adam Hamilton

Most of his art walked off the walls the second Jay Coogan stopped talking. Heartbreaking.

 

 John Foster

 

Tessa Binder

 

Edward Perrote

 

Matt Reimers

 

Nina Keim

Andi Jordt

 

Jared Tuttle

 

Photos from
Thursday Night

Tuesday
Nov192013

Can't even wait for the MCAD Art Sale

Meghan Murphy + Holly Harrison

Throughout Paper Darts' few years, we've partnered with loads of Minneapolis College of Art and Design students and alumni. They've volunteered on our staff, they've illustrated content for us online and in print, they've exhibited art with us in the Paper Darts Pop-Up space. You'd assume that's because of proximity. We're in Minneapolis; MCAD is in Minneapolis — yeah cool whatever. But that's only part of it.

The truth is, MCAD is a force. Their superb programs and faculty churn out so much talent that it's not uncommon for us to stumble upon artists online, decide to find a way to meet and marry them, and then realize they studied at MCAD.

TL;DR: The annual MCAD Art Sale is this week, and holy crap we're excited. The chance to buy one-of-a-kind pieces created by students and recent grads at affordable prices? Again, holy crap.

 

A few MCAD favorites from over the years:

 

Jas Stefanski

 

 Samantha French

 

Bill Rebholz

 

Michael Gaughan

 

Gregory Euclide

 

Allegra Lockstadt

 

 

Teagan White

 

 Bill Ferenc

 

Robert Algeo

 

AMTK

 

Caitlin Skaalrud

 

Andres Guzman

 

 

Tuesday Bassen

 

Megan Frauenhoffer

 

Lea Devon Sorrentino

2013 | Artist | Lea Sorrentino from Elsewhere on Vimeo.

Monday
Nov182013

A Letter to New Moon

Lizzy Shramko

Dear New Moon,

Before there was Rookie, the site that has become eponymous with the teenage girl experience, there was you, the Duluth-based, girl-centric, multicultural, all around badass magazine, New Moon: The Magazine for Girls and Their Dreams. Your Minnesotan publication was created by and for girls, complete with a Girls Editorial Board and young contributors. You had the “Ask a Girl” column where young women wrote in for guidance from other readers. It contained no judgmental Abigail Van Buren and no shaming narratives framed around relationship advice. Young women like Jessie from Rotterdam, New York or Alice from Lexington, Massachusetts would keep it real and give some honest feedback about navigating the treacherous terrain of life as a young woman.

 

Each month you had a theme like “Fantasies and Fairytales” or “Space and Time Travel” — themes that tapped into the imaginative and expansive world views of the young women, like me, who read, wrote for and dreamt about New Moon.

You also covered the diversity of people’s experiences. Your magazine is the first place I read about queer relationships and the first place I found an examination of gender that was coupled with an analyses of race, class and ablebodiedism. You had some banging creative writing (in multiple languages) and visual artwork, all created by young women like me. You were like a one-stop shop for smart, eclectic and nerdy young people like me — people that were not represented in the pages of magazines like Seventeen or even the beloved Sassy.

But you were equally awesome for what you didn’t cover as much as what you did. You didn’t waste time dwelling on preoccupations about boys, body size and fashion. Fuck. That. You didn’t make me feel self conscious about the color of my leggings or give me bizarre DIY remedies for acne that would (literally) blow up in my face.

Instead you asked hard-hitting questions like “Which fairy tales show girls as strong, positive characters?” or “If you could be any kind of animal what would you be and why?”

As much as I loved combing through Delia*s catalogs and taking those weird Cosmo-esque relationship quizzes as an 11-year-old, you were a publication that made me think about things that were important to me like which constellation was my favorite or what kind of science I liked the best. And if I really craved a fashion fix you held it down with some dope merch like sweatshirts, tote bags and friendship-mending dreampillow kits.

While you still exist today, to me you will always be the New Moon of my childhood. What follows is a personal scrapbook of my favorite moments with you, stolen from my sister’s collection, which spans the years of 1994-1998.

Kudos to your dope swag. Back in the day you had the merch game on lock. From styling tees to feminist reading material to dolphin necklaces, you held it down in the style department

 You showed me what third wave feminism before I even knew about the waves of feminism. This story on Julie Dash prepared me to talk about Daughters of the Dust a decade before I started college.

 


Fuck boys. You taught me to take my relationships with other girls seriously, evidenced by your how-to guide on building friendship memory boxes and seashell frames to hold photos of me and my bestie. Your "Draw Luna" section gave readers like me the opportunity to sketch representations of what Luna, the mythical woman behind New Moon, might look like, complete with some pretty phenomenal creative writing. 

Spin and Rolling Stone had nothing on your in-depth music journalism, including coverage of Lilith Fair staples like Sarah McLachlan, Jewel and (a personal favorite) Meredith Brooks (this is your cue to search "Bitch" on YouTube while no one's looking.) Even though you shied away superficial coverage of trends you still provided burgeoning feminist fashionistas with some garment inspiration complete with nuanced points from girls like Larkin who shared that she didn't particularly care about clothes most of the time, but she "likes bonnets". (Also, peep Megan's statement-making outfit of choice).

Finally, to demonstrate how much of an impact you had on my life and the people I care about, I am including an undated letter written to you by my sister, Maura Shramko, found recently in my childhood closet. The text reads: "Dear New Moon, I like to read comic books even though they're sexsist [sic]. I believe in womens [sic] rights, but I like comic books."

So there you have it New Moon, you have left your indelible mark on a grown up feminist. Considering how batshit crazy the world has become, this letter was an attempt to recreate the impact that you — a little magazine that could from the North Shore of Minnesota — had on my life. You planted seeds of hope and inspiration into the hearts of young girls like me, seeds that would come to be suppressed as my civil liberties, reproductive freedoms, and general human worth were called into question over the years by shitty bosses, elected officials and the very society that you taught me to value. But in my heart, even though I am a jaded adult, the New Moon of yesteryear will always be a place where this girl's dreams thrive.

Love,
A Grown Up Feminist

Thursday
Nov142013

Curio Cabinet: Part I

Meghan Murphy

I don't know why, but suddenly, I can see ceramics. Invisible to me for far too long, I now see the medium as a fascinating way to bring character to life—the lumpier and sloppier the better. I now can appreciate the artists that are challenging the fragility, femininity, and domesticity long associated with the form. Artists like Alexander Tallén, Kate MacDowell, and Miju Lee—they get it. And now, I do too.  

Katharine Morling

Megan Bogonovich

Sophie Woodrows

Alexander Tallen

Miju Lee

Laura Carlin

Yukinori Dehara

Carolein Smit

Bente Skjøttgaard 

Eleonor Bostrom

Kate MacDowell

Juz Kitson