Sic Semper Serpent

Revivers of Pulp, Mythmakers of now, Studlishers

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Burlesque: Bombshell La Belle - Nerdlesque

The humble metropolis of Minneapolis/St. Paul is filled with straight-laced Minnesotans who avoid sin and worship Garrison Keillor.

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Wrong! Don’t mistake “Minnesota Nice” for “Minnesota Lame”. Truth is, Burlesque as an art form has a huge following in the twin cities. We’ve even got our own Burlesque celebrities. Enter: Bombshell La Belle.

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Our Lady of Risque Thrills, La Belle is best known for performing her burlesque alongside hip-hop, combining the eye-popping with pop-and-lock. The rap community has embraced their bespectacled beauty, and she’s graced the stage at hip-hop shows from Cause to Triple Rock Social Club. And she’s not afraid to show her nerdy side.

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Bombshell La Belle recently told Sic Semper Serpent about her decision to marry hip-hop and burlesque, “I wanted to connect my two new passions. I love doing hip-hop shows because it’s often an audience that has never seen my art form before and likely would never have attended a burlesque show otherwise. They’ve been very receptive…I love this art form because it not only entertains my audience but makes them feel confident in their own bodies having seen mine.

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Bomshell La Belle’s list of accomplishments is staggering, so we summarized the big ones:

-Quite possibly the first person to ever perform burlesque on stilts

-Starred in an episode of Youtube series “Lights and a Backdrop” (#LAAB), directed by Adam J. Dunn (video NSFW)

-Regularly performs with rapper Philip Morris, the two have developed a routine for his song “Get Your Nerd On”

-New documentary “Cooch” debuting to film festivals in the fall of 2014 features Bombshell La Belle and her friends at Carnivale Revolver, based in St. Cloud, MN.

The sexy never stops when you like Bombshell La Belle on Facebook.

Filed under burlesque bombshell la belle minneapolis minnesota

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You’re looking at the first page of “The Fatal Marksman”, a classic tale adapted into comic form by Minneapolis-based cartoonist, illustrator and self-publisher Jaime Willems. Her comics and illustration work are stylized and often dark, primarily in black and white. Her narrative style often focuses on pushing the bonds of family and loved ones, using fiction to give the story a surreal twist.
Here’s the author’s summary of “The Fatal Marksman”:
"Wilhelm wishes to marry the love of his life, but Kate’s family traditions require the meek and quiet writer to step up as a strong huntsman. To win his love’s hand, Wilhelm turns to deception and supernatural means to succeed. This is the first act of the German fable adapted from the 1823 translation by Thomas de Quincey."
Go read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of Act I Jaime’s adaptation of “The Fatal Marksman” over on her Tumblr page.

You’re looking at the first page of “The Fatal Marksman”, a classic tale adapted into comic form by Minneapolis-based cartoonist, illustrator and self-publisher Jaime Willems. Her comics and illustration work are stylized and often dark, primarily in black and white. Her narrative style often focuses on pushing the bonds of family and loved ones, using fiction to give the story a surreal twist.

Here’s the author’s summary of “The Fatal Marksman”:

"Wilhelm wishes to marry the love of his life, but Kate’s family traditions require the meek and quiet writer to step up as a strong huntsman. To win his love’s hand, Wilhelm turns to deception and supernatural means to succeed. This is the first act of the German fable adapted from the 1823 translation by Thomas de Quincey."

Go read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of Act I Jaime’s adaptation of “The Fatal Marksman” over on her Tumblr page.

Filed under comics Illustration jamie willems minneapolis minnesota

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Today’s book of the day is "S" by J. J. Abrams and Doug Dorst:

Two young academics leave massages for each other inside a school library book. They write in the margins and leave napkins, postcards and xeroxes regarding the book’s mysterious author, V.M. Straka.

It’s all part of the impressive piece of meta-fiction that is “S” by J. J. Abrams and Doug Dorst.

Filed under S book of the day j. j. abrams doug dorst

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Photography - Shanna Allyn: Strange Beautiful

Portrait artist Shanna Allyn has spent years working on her photograph series Strange Beautiful. Fitting name, don’t you think?

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After accruing professional experience publishing out in New York, she now resides in Northeast Minneapolis. Other photo series composed by Shanna include Pins & Needles and Modern Mona.

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Locally, her work has been shown at Caffetto, Cause, Spyhouse, Gamut Gallery and the Minneapolis Photo Center. Organizations like Girlosophy, RAW and even us, Sic Semper Serpent, have featured her Strange Beautiful portraits.

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Shanna shared this news with Sic Semper Serpent: “I’m putting this collection to rest, but I suppose I will continue to work with portraits in a different way…Since I begin from intuition, the emotion has to present before I start something new…I’m interested in taking photos of men, since a vast amount of my work is of women…I’d like to get away from the deadpan demeanor a bit. My creative mission is to continue to create. It’s the best medicine for me.”

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The sight of the unnatural masking and contrasting the natural in the above photo is intentional. Subtle explorations of the question, “what is natural?” is part of what makes Shanna’s photography so strange, and so beautiful.

Catch her work in-person at both Spyhouse and Ambiente Gallery during May and June of 2014. The titles of the portraits featured in this post, from top to bottom, are as follows:

Espresso
Lady in Red
Green Giant
Penny Face

Filed under strange beautiful shanna allyn photography minneapolis minnesota pins & needles Modern Mona

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Cover of the book of the day: “The Empire Striketh Back” by Ian Doescher on Quirk books.
Quoth the Wampa:
"Pray know that I a wampa simple am
And take no pleasure in my angry mood
Though with great force this young one’s face I slam
I prithee know I strike but for my food”

Cover of the book of the day: “The Empire Striketh Back” by Ian Doescher on Quirk books.

Quoth the Wampa:

"Pray know that I a wampa simple am

And take no pleasure in my angry mood

Though with great force this young one’s face I slam

I prithee know I strike but for my food”

Filed under books book of the day

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Music - L’assassins: B’ad-assins

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All-female band L’Assassins wield a kick-ass combination of garage rock, surf music and rockabilly styles. They recently returned from their second tour of Spain, where their brand of lipstick-and-leather Americana is perpetually en vogue. And if you mess with them, they might cut you.

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Just kidding! These ladies are sweethearts, and they can shred. In fact tonight (3/7/14, 9:00pm), at the infamous Lee’s Liquor Lounge in Minneapolis, MN, they’ll be playing a tribute to The Cramps. If you miss the tribute show this weekend, never fret, L’Assassins are always busy gigging around Mpls/St. Paul and the Midwest region (when they’re not in Spain, that is).

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To date, they’ve released two albums, the 7” EP "7pm Go!!!" and the album "Lovin’ on the Run". For a classic sample of their gritty sound, check out the track “Stop Lovin’ Me”. Then we dare you to stop lovin’ L’Assassins.

(Photos credit Edouard E, Sasha Landskov and Vanesa Madrid, respectively)

(L’Assassins are: Tea Ann Simpson on Vocals, Monet Wong on Guitar/Vocals, Ariel Dornbush on Bass/Vocals and Angela Clark on Drums/Vocals. Yeah, that’s right. They all sing.)

Filed under Minneapolis Minneasota L'Assassins surf rock music rockabilly

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Art - Lea Devon Sorrentino: Let’s Finnish This!

Installation/mixed media sculpture artist, Lea Devon Sorrentino was named an “Artist to Watch for 2013" by The Walker Art Center. This native Philadelphian, now Minnesotan has shown her work nationally and internationally, and has recently been featured in an episode of MN Original. And that’s just the beginning.

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 “Ice Ice Maybe"  was a collaboration Lea did with designer Kayla Campbell for the Art Shanty Projects hosted on White Bear Lake, MN. The shanty functioned as a high-end retail boutique placed a top a frozen lake. All of the random objects featured in the “store” were incased ice (see above photo) to match the spirit of the winter event.

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Cold? Sure. But they managed to make it cozy.

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In addition, Sorrentino has started a new collaboration with Chris Cloud called Negative Jam. Their first project, launching in late March,  called the Identity Protection Task Force (IPTF). The concept driving the piece deals with personal identity in a digital age and how online social interactions allow users to “curate” a desired persona. IPTF has some interesting implications. How have we changed now that we can present our ideal selves to the internet? What critical ideas are going on behind that process?

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And, to top it all off, Lea Devon Sorrentino is scheduled for an Arteles creative residency in Hämeenkyrö, Finland. But she needs our help getting there. Her IndieGoGo page for funding the residency has less than a week left. For the price of your morning coffee, you can help make a Minnesota artist’s dream come true. What do you say? Let’s Finnish this!

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Filed under Minnesota Lea Devon Sorrentino art sculpture MN Original Walker Art Center Art Shanty chris cloud kayla campbell

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Music - Pleasure Horse: Git them songs, little doggies

Not to be confused with a certain “horse classifieds” website (not making that up), Pleasure Horse is an alternative country band from Minneapolis, MN.

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Their EP “No One in Mind" has been out for a little over a year now, and the band is planning a full-length LP release for the summer of 2014. Keep your eyes on local listings for Pleasure Horse shows this spring. Their current lineup includes Timothy Evenson on vocals/guitar, Ben Mahowald on lead guitar, Darin Dahlmeier (of Hot Freaks) on bass and Jared Isabella (of Night Moves) on drums. Sample their sound with this saucy track, fittingly titled “Country/Blues”

Filed under Minnesota minneapolis music alternative country pleasure horse Hot Freaks night moves

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Photography/Design - SIX PEAKS: Art Speaks

SIX PEAKS is the working name of artist Molly Margaret May. Emphasis on the working. It seems like this sharp young lady is always making something.

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She also harbors a love for Reba McEntyre that we’re willing to overlook. Her initials, MMM, make up the SIX PEAKS in the project’s name and logo. Her simple, minimalistic style is a targeted approach. She achieves the maximum amount of emotional response through clean lines and color experimentation.

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In the image above, she’s distilled the Disney movie Pinocchio down to its colors and its title. It’s a pleasant homage, and a new twist, to an old classic. But SIX PEAKS doesn’t stop at simplistic design. It’s about photography, too.

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In Molly’s own words, “Photo Manipulation and Photo Editing are like crack to me. Once I start, I can’t stop - sleep or no sleep.”

It shows, Molly. It shows. The color saturation! The composition! The care you put into your photographs is similar to a master chef preparing a delicious meal with extra affection.

But wait, there’s more. Molly also works with local artist Lea Devon Sorrentino on a collaborative project called LUNCHTIME.

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LUNCHTIME will debut in March of 2014, so consider this a preview. We’ll update you on this project again after its launch. Until then, do some exploring of your own over at 6peaks.com

Filed under Molly May SIX PEAKS Minnesota Design Photography

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You must reclaim your mind and get it out of the hands of the cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash being manufactured from the bones of a dying world.
-Terrence McKenna

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Illustration - Jason Belden: Caricatures with Character

Fictional or factual, Jason Belden can (and will) render a pop caricature of nearly anything. And nearly anyone.

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The Lincoln, NE native recently received his BFA in Illustration from MCAD in Minneapolis, MN. His artistic impulses emerged at an early age, when young Jason had a subscription to “Wizard” magazine and begged his parents to buy him “She-ra: Pricess of Power” action figures from eBay. In a way, his work still reflects an eccentric childhood imagination.

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But that doesn’t mean he isn’t afraid to take some risks.

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Those last two illustrations depicted the Sanderson Sisters from the film “Hocus Pocus” and drag queen celebrity Sharon Needles, respectively. For now, Jason is working on a series of caricatures for Halloween 2014 in his studio apartment with his cat Blue. And recently, he rendered our own celebrity in inky/digital glory!

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That’s right, Jason was the artist who gave Israel St. James a face. What a hunk! 

Filed under Jason Belden minneapolis minnesota Israel St. James caricatures mcad illustration

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Music - Black Diet: Good (for the) Soul

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Newest Minneapolis/St. Paul soul outfit Black Diet has been taking the Minnesota metro by storm. Less than a year old, this group includes members of J.T. and the Sloppy Seconds. Radio K recently named them one of “The Best New Bands of 2013" and invited them to play as part of a showcase in First Avenue’s Mainroom on January 30th, 2014. In an already vibrant music scene, Black Diet stands out as a high-class garage/soul fusion act. From the possibly-too-many members to the heartfelt crooning of front man Jonathan Tolliver (left in the above photo), this is a band that sounds and looks like it stepped out of 1970’s Studio 54.

They’re preparing a full-length album to release sometime during Spring 2014, so check back here for updates. But until then, allow this groovy track to take you back.

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UPDATE: In addition to winning a trip to SXSW 2014, Black Diet have released a video from their upcoming album. Check out the video for "Unbroke", from the newest album “Find Your Own Tambourine”, out April 19th, 2014!

Filed under music funk soul Black Diet minneapolis minnesota the current 89.3 first ave

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Art - Johnne Law McMahan: Poetry in Pottery

Johnne Law is the kind of dedicated artist that makes you think the “good old days” of hard work and ingenuity are far from over.

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Think of him as the James Dean of pottery, a classic all-american tough guy with a soft side. And what old One-Speed Dean did for cinema, so Mr. McMahan does for pottery. Exaggeration?

You decide.

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Johnne is currently assisting legendary potter JD Jorgenson in St. Joseph, MN, while participating in The International Wood Firing Exchange. He puts in anywhere from 30-100 hours a week at the studio, and it shows.

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The Central Minnesota Arts Board recently awarded Johnne a full grant to build a kiln at the studio, and he’s anxious to begin construction during the spring of 2014. In the meantime, he’s developing a portfolio of hand-built, slab pots for an upcoming showcase at The Satellite Gallery in St. Joseph beginning on August 15th, 2014.

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Johnne Law recently told Sic Semper Serpent that he thinks, “the ‘truths’ of people, certainly the most interesting parts of them, lie in their performance under great stress. I make functional pots to reflect tensions in daily life…By allowing tool marks, fingerprints, and evidence of stresses, I celebrate the history of a pot’s making, which enriches its individuality.”

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We would like to add that Johnne’s pottery seems to speak in beautiful visual verse, poetry rendered in clay. Amazing photos from Steve Diamond Elements don’t hurt, either.

Filed under pottery art clay culture kiln minnesota st. joseph jd jorgenson the satellite gallery steve diamond elements