Monday, August 30, 2010

Photos from the Nebraska State Fair

My first experience with the Nebraska State Fair was two years ago. I was simultaneously fascinated and horrified by the "Beef Sundae" stand. Ew. However, I did like the pigs and the funnel cakes! And those geese that wear clothes!

The Journal Star's got a decent photo gallery of State Fair pictures.

Americana doesn't get any more American-y than this. Did you go to the State Fair, friends of PSR? Did you take pictures? Most importantly, are they good pictures, and will you submit them to PSR?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Trains on the Plains

The Railroad Museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa, is my friend Blair's favorite museum. And who can blame him? This article in the Journal Star makes the Railroad Museum look like a lot of fun!

Curved walls flash archival photos from eight video projectors while audio tracks pipe the sounds of train bells, steam hissing from locomotives and random calls of "All aboard!"

Visitors can sit in period train seats installed in a simulated coach car. They can check out the UP-branded glassware used by railroad bartenders in lounge cars. And they can see real menus listing four-star meals prepared by the original iron chefs.

I wish trains were still like in the old days, like in Strangers on a Train, or in those murder mysteries you always see on AMC. Amtrak is somewhat less romantic.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Art matters at the Bemis Center in Omaha

There's a good article up on the Star City Blog about the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha. It sounds like they're doing a great job of supporting the arts up there!

An excerpt:

Bemis curator Hesse McGraw, who’s worked at galleries in New York City and Kansas City, Mo., said, “What distinguishes the Bemis Center from other arts institutions is that what drives it is the activity of artists and the work they're doing right now. We really try to think of it as a laboratory for artists. The residency program is focused on supporting an open process.”

McGraw, who curates shows in the center’s three main galleries, said, “The exhibition program tries to carry that sensibility through to the presentation of the work.” He said the Bemis encourages artists to do what they couldn't do in a different context or setting. “We really try to find ways of supporting them, whether curatorially, logistically, financially, to build-out projects significant in their career and in their practice.”

Check out the full article here. (P.S., the Star City Blog is one to watch if you want to keep an eye on the arts/literature scene in the Lincoln/Omaha area.)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Willa Cather's home at risk?

According to Slate magazine, many historical sites across the United States are at risk because of the small amount of government support they receive. This means the childhood homes of literary greats like Edith Wharton and Willa Cather could be shut down if they don't pull in enough. Slate tells you how to help here.

Do you ever go visit historical sites? Reading this article makes me want to take a trip to Red Cloud! (Plus, our 2010 interviewee Timothy Schaffert is working on a book about a writer-obsessed town like Red Cloud!)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Are you obsessed with the weather?

I have this theory that everyone in the Midwest is obsessed with the weather. After having lived in Nebraska for a few years, I have joined their number. It's just that weather here is so dramatic! It's either boiling hot or frigidly cold for a lot of the year. For Midwesterners, talking about the weather isn't a form of bland small talk; it's a life or death situation!

I check weather websites several times a day to keep track of the forecast. But lately I've been inspired to take my weather obsession to greater heights, by learning to forecast it myself! Okay, so I don't have the fancy schooling and stuff that real meteorologists have, but I do have this handy infograph that tells you how to predict the weather without gadgets!

So tell me, am I the only one who loves talking about the weather on the Great Plains?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Better Book Titles

Here's a chuckle for you this Friday afternoon: a new blog that makes up better titles for classic books. Here's the "improved" version of Infinite Jest:

Hee hee. What book titles do you think need improving? What would your "better book title" be for Plains Song Review? What about Great Plains favorites like O Pioneers?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Looking for inspiration? Try looking up!

You've been sitting at your desk all day, trying to come up with an idea for a great poem you can submit to the next Plains Song Review, but your mind is drawing a blank! You can't seem to find any inspiration!

Does this sound like you? If so, I would like to direct your attention to the Perseid Meteor Showers, going on now! They're going to be at their peak from tonight to the 13th. The best time to view them is just before dawn. Pack some bug spray, a thermos, and your notebook, and use the night sky as your muse!

Oddly, PSR doesn't get many poems or stories that deal with the night sky. People tend to focus more on grasses and flowers than anything else. Why do you suppose that is?

Friday, August 6, 2010

PSR Blog is Back!

Hello friends of Plains Song Review! It's been a while! I know I said I would post pictures of the reading way back in June, but clearly I lied. What a terrible blogger I am. Anyway, the PSR blog is officially back from it's summer vacation, and to celebrate our glorious return, I'm going to put up some pictures of our April reading! You can check the full album out here.

I'll be back next week with more exciting blog posts!