From Libraries to Punk Panels to Ripley’s, Recounting Recent Work

Recent writing continues to hit the presses, and it includes my debut for American Libraries magazine—but that’s not all I’ve been up to.

Flying Snakes and Weird Beers for Ripley’s

Believe it or not, writing for Ripley’s is becoming a habit. My latest for the 100-year-old chronicler of the bizarre took flight this morning, a feature about flying snakes.

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If you’re paying attention, you might have already seen my other features for Ripley’s:  Weird Remedies for a Pearly White Smile; The Hottest, Weirdest and Most Dangerous Craft Beers; and Living in the Futuro. Coming up: pinball wizards, heavy metal thunder and mysterious burial grounds. You heard it here first.

Contemporary Soul, from Loveland to the World

I also did a piece for Loveland Lifestyle magazine about Plaid Room Records, which operates record label Colemine Records just upstairs; they’re cranking out modern-day Soul records by the thousands, in demand the world over.

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A look inside Plaid Room; photograph by Whitney Pelfrey of Native Iris Photography

With more than 25,000 records in stock, downtown Loveland’s Plaid Room Records queues up a head-spinning inventory of great music by both classic and contemporary artists.

Many don’t realize, however, that a lot of that music is also being produced directly upstairs by Colemine Records—an independent record label celebrating the sound of classic Soul and Funk artists.

If you’re not passing through Loveland, it might be tough to find a copy; thankfully, you can read it online at their site.

About that American Libraries Debut

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North Miami (Fla.) Public Library’s (NMPL) rooftop features an impressive, 47-foot steeple that attracts onlookers year-round. One day a year, it attracts pranksters. Every Halloween since 1969, a group calling itself Coxie’s Army has impaled a pumpkin atop the spire. The occurrence is anticipated and even celebrated by the community.

Read the full article here.

“What started as an adventurous prank when the members of the group were in their teens has become a true feat now that the [original] members must be well into their 60s,” says NMPL director Lucia M. Gonzalez.

And what great feedback to receive from the editors:

“Just wanted to pass along word that I heard from the library director and PR person at North Miami library this morning, and they LOVE your story. Our web person said the story got an insane amount of hits since we published it yesterday too. Great job!”

That’s not all:

NMPL Director Lucia M. Gonzalez wrote to American Libraries on November 1: “It filled my heart with such joy when I drove to work this morning, looked up and saw the pumpkin on the steeple, bright and mischievous. I ran inside the library eager to read their note, only to find the staff solemnly waiting for me to break the news … ‘Lucia, they’ve revealed their identity.’

Let’s Talk Punk

I also helped coordinate a panel discussion at the historic Herzog space of Cincinnati’s late ’70s / early ’80s Punk and No Wave music scenes—organized by my friend and yours, Peter Aaron. Following the event, I collected images and video (along with a recording of the panel discussion) for a recap on Herzog Music’s website.

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Photo by Betsy Young

“Last weekend, Murphy’s Pub celebrated its 50th anniversary—and Herzog Music was part of its “Dirty Thirty” weekend. Friday and Saturday a handful of artists and bands performed at Murphy’s and, on Sunday (October 20), we closed that weekend at the historic Herzog space with a panel discussion and preview of the We Were Living in Cincinnati compilation, which was assembled by author and musician Peter Aaron.”

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