Something (rather than nothing) show

Something (rather than nothing)

Summary: A podcast by Ken Volante. Why is there something rather than nothing? This podcast is a philosophical and psychological exploration into the act of creation (poets, musicians, writers, painters, thinkers, all of us)

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  • Artist: Ken Volante
  • Copyright: Copyright 2019 All rights reserved.


 Episode 58 - Hardlineray | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 30:01

HARDLINERAY makes smart, high energy art of a noticeably singular and unique hand. Ray is of noteworthy talent. I loved doing this episode. To learn about Ray check out these words from his Folks Press (Portland) feature:"When all is said and done, however, what keeps Ray sane is comics. Comics, comics, comics. In part, the sanity comes from being skilled. A fellow illustrator had this to say about Ray from Chi City. 'Even though I've seen a lot people do comics—that was like my first love—you can tell when somebody has a unique angle. Even in a very common job—some people do backgrounds, some do ink, some do coloring—you can tell when someone is just trying to do their own thing. That's what caught my attention about Ray.'" 

 Episode 57 - DIRTY PRINCESS | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 57:35

DIRTY PRINCESS is a mischievous alchemy of Francesca, Mikayla , and JewlzThese women appear as a dark obscurity that rose into the spotlight in early 2018.Dirty Princess have encapsulated crowds with fuzz guitars, banshee-like vocals, and stand up drums. Their music is a field of energy you can feel starting at your toes and ending in the tips of your hairs.Wild and Alive rock n' roll will NEVER die!!!

 Episode 56 - Claire Peaceful Deer Lady Zwicker | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 38:45

Claire Peaceful Deer Lady Zwicker is an Anishinaabe woman from Lake Simcoe Territory / Williams Treaty Territory in Ontario, Canada. "I am currently writing my thesis for my Masters of Education around Indigenous Survival, Revitalization & Self-Determination. I am a big advocate for Indigenous Youth and believe they are the future. I am also a beginning educator and have worked in Vietnam, my home community, and will be working at a First Nations school in the city. Beadwork and art have been my medicine and I love sharing it with the world and our youth as it was something I did not learn until I was an adult."

 Episode 55 - Cathy Camper | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 51:35

Cathy Camper is the author of Lowriders in Space, Lowriders to the Center of the Earth and Lowriders Blast from the Past, with a fourth volume in the works, Lowriders to the Rescue, all from Chronicle Books. She has a forthcoming picture book, Ten Ways to Hear Snow (Dial/Penguin), release October 13, 2020, and also wrote Bugs Before Time: Prehistoric Insects and Their Relatives (Simon & Schuster). Her zines include Sugar Needle and The Lou Reeder, and she’s a founding member of the Portland Women of Color zine collective. A graduate of VONA/Voices writing workshops for people of color in Berkeley, California, Cathy works as a librarian in Portland, Oregon, where she does outreach to schools and kids in grades K-12

 Episode 54 - Joëlle Jones | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 26:46

Joëlle Jones is an Eisner nominated artist currently living and working in Portland, Oregon. Since attending PNCA in Portland, OR, she has contributed to a wide range of projects and has most recently has worked on Batman for DC comics. She also wrote and drew the series, Lady Killer, published by Dark Horse comics. Jones has also provided the art for fashion designer Prada, and various projects for Marvel, Boom, Vertigo, Oni Press and The New York Times.  Joëlle currently has projects with DC comics as well as continuing her Series Lady Killer.

 Episode 53 - Özlem Sorlu Thompson | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 29:44

Originally from Istanbul, Özlem Sorlu Thompson now paints in the flat where Piet Mondrian made his art studio in Belsize Park. Her influences include the great expressionist artist Kandinsky and the abstract surrealist Joan Miró.   Özlem’s works have already made their way into the homes of renowned celebrities such as actress Anita Dobson and her husband Brian May, musical theatre star Maria Friedman, actor Andy Nyman, and several private collectors.  With degrees in biology and botany, and an in-depth knowledge of exotic plants and a keen interest in physics, Özlem strives in her work to create synaesthesia in the experience, the process and the result, with a visionary energy that generates an extemporaneous flow of strong colours and shapes.  Painting without preparation or planning, she merges intellectual concepts with visual ideas, mixing real and imagined organic structures with one another, while dream-like worlds and creatures all converge to create a vivid explosion of the real and fantastic.  As a result, positivity and joy invariably manifest strongly in the viewer. 

 Episode 52 - Kait Matthews | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 32:02

Kait Matthews' formal art training began several years ago, and include The Art Center in Pasadena and The Laguna College of Art and Design, in Laguna Beach, California, where she graduated summa cum laude in 2009 with a degree in Fine Art. "In my art I enjoy exploring the universal emotions and feelings that are innate in all of us. We are connected when we can look into the eyes of others and see a little bit of ourselves reflecting back. I am inspired by the philosophy of Pablo Picasso who once said, 'The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place; from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.' When someone asks, how long did it take you to create that painting? 'The sum of a life’s worth of experiences' is really the true answer. Malcolm T. Liepke, a contemporary artist, believes 'painting is useless without humanity.'It is only through emotion that we connect. My goal is to be able to convey, to share, and to connect through art and through feeling. It is the kaleidoscope of emotions that tie us together, that make us whole. As I learn more about my own indigenous culture and as an artist of aboriginal native descent growing up in a white world, I wish to further explore emotion on canvas from this unique point of view."

 Episode 51 - Blackwater Holylight | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 39:48

Blackwater Holylight, as the name suggests, is all about contrasts. It’s a fluid convergence of sound that’s heavy, psychedelic, melodic, terrifying and beautiful all at once. As a heavy band, their songs aren’t anchored to riffs, but rather riffs come and go in waves that surface throughout the band’s meditative, entrancing songs. It’s a hypnotic sound, with orchestral structures that often build tension and intrigue before turning the song on its head — not by simply getting louder or heavier, nor by just layering elements. They expertly subvert the implied heaviness of a part, dissecting it and splaying the songs guts out to seep across the sonic spectrum. Now, having toured together extensively following the band’s wildly-successful breakout self- titled debut in 2018, Blackwater Holylight has honed their sound and identity to a powerfully captivating beast. Their live set is all about the slow build, seeming to combine the melodic tension of early Sonic Youth crossed with the laconic fever-dream blues of the first Black Sabbath album, and wiry experimentation of post-punk and krautrock. The lineup on the most recent album is Allison (Sunny) Faris (bass/vocals), Laura Hopkins (guitar/vocals) and Sarah McKenna (synths), with new guitarist Mikayla Mayhew and drummer Eliese Dorsay fleshing out their sound in exciting ways. “The process of this album was vastly different from our first record,” says Faris. “One, because we recorded it over the course of a few weeks, whereas the first record was over the course of about a year. And two, this album was a true collaboration between the five of us. Each of us had extremely equal parts in writing and producing, we all bounced ideas off each together, and we all had a say in what was going on during every part of the process.” “One of our favorite things about this album is that because it was so collaborative, we didn't compartmentalize ourselves into one vibe.” She continues. “It’s heavy, psychedelic, pop, shoegaze, doom, grunge, melodic and more. The whole process was extremely organic and natural for us, we were just being ourselves.” Veils of Winter opens with fuzzed-drenched, drop-tuned bass and baritone guitar leading a dirge riff on “Seeping Secrets.” Faris’ lilting and funereal vocals drop in, adding to the mournful atmosphere until a short turnaround progression hints at changes to come, as Faris and Hopkins harmonize eerily and the tune suddenly turns into a krautrock charge. “Motorcycle” kicks off deceptively with a heavy grunge riff building up for about 40-seconds before the song abruptly shifts gears into a synth-led post-punk harmony, sounding something like Lush meets Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd. “Death Realms” is perhaps the poppiest track, based around soaring shoegaze guitars and interwoven light vocal harmonies. Soft piano notes, occasional woozy whammy bar dives and a driving tom-tom beat solidify its hooks. “Spiders” is a creepy- crawly guitar riff and counterpoint keys, while “Moonlit” explores prog-structures with a shredding guitar solo crescendo. The penultimate track, “Lullaby” is exactly that, a lulling, expansive tune exemplifying Blackwater Holylight’s genre smashing sound as it subtly moves across a vast sonic landscape atop a hypnotic 6/8 beat and repetitive 3-note motif. Throughout the album, their songs shirk traditional verse-chorus-verse structure in favor of fluid, serpentine compositions that move with commanding grace.

 Episode 50 -The Return of Vanessa Stockard | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 27:35

Episode 50 is distinguished by the world-adored Australian painter and happiness-peddlar (as well as our first ever return guest . . . ) Vanessa Stockard! Vanessa was featured in Episode 20 wherein she self-effacingly clarified her stance on particular theoretical issues. For this episode, we chat about painting metallic balloons, the use of color, her feature in Hi-Fructose magazine, and Kevin the Cat’s prancing animation.  We also had a strange conversation about licorice before veering towards Vanessa's important support for 'The Torch Project' which, in part, supports art-healing to reduce recidivism rates for the Indigenous prison population in Australia.Welcome back Vanessa!

 Episode 49 - Loren Rhoads | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 50:14

"My life changed when I read Dracula at age 10 and then again when I saw Star Wars at 13. Telling true stories came much later, but to me, it’s all interconnected.  My latest book, Tales for the Camp Fire: A Charity Anthology Benefiting Wildfire Relief, came out in May 2019. Northern California’s horror writers came together to raise money for survivors of last year’s devastating wildfire. Contributors include Nancy Etchemendy, Dana Fredsti, Ross Lockwood, Erika Mailman, Gene O’Neill, and more. It was my honor to serve as editor for the project. 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die guidebook to cemeteries around the world, came out in a gloriously illustrated full-color hardcover from Black Dog & Leventhal Books in October 2017. The UK edition was published in paperback by Sphere Books. Part cemetery history, part travel memoir Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel collects my essays from Gothic.Net, Morbid Outlook, Eleven Eleven, and Morbid Curiosity magazine, alongside pieces written specifically for the book. The revised second edition was published by Automatism Press in July 2017.  My space opera trilogy In The Wake of the Templars — The Dangerous Type, Kill By Numbers, and No More Heroes — were published by Night Shade Books in 2015. Publishers Weekly said the trilogy brought grimdark to space opera.  Lost Angels, the first book in the As Above, So Below series, is the story of the succubus Lorelei, who pursues the angel Azaziel, only to find herself possessed by a mortal girl’s ghost. That first novel, co-written with Brian Thomas, was originally published by Black Bed Sheet Books under the title As Above, So Below. A revised second edition came out in April 2016 as Lost Angels, published by Automatism Press. A sequel called Angelus Rose is in the works.  Between 1996 and 2006, I edited the cult nonfiction magazine Morbid Curiosity. I still believe curiosity is a radical, transformative trait. Morbid Curiosity Cures the Blues: True Stories of the Unsavory, Unwise, Unorthodox, and Unusual a collection of some of my favorite essays drawn from the magazine was published by Scribner in 2009.  My travel essays have appeared on Mental Floss, The Daily Beast,, as well as darkening the pages of Search magazine, two Traveler’s Tales books, and the anthology Pills, Thrills, Chills, and Heartache: Adventures in the First Person (edited by Clint Catalyst and Michelle Tea). I explore graveyards as travel destinations regularly at CemeteryTravel dot com.  My short fiction has been anthologized in Best New Horror #27, Strange California, The Haunted Mansion Project: Year One, Sins of the Sirens: 14 Tales of Dark Desire, and nEvermore!: Tales of Murder, Mystery, and the Macabre.  My stories have appeared most recently in the magazines Occult Detective Quarterly, Space & Time, and Weirdbook.

 Episode 48 - HAWKINS | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:01:34

HAWKINS balances energetic Rock and Roll mixed with infectious hooky Pop sophistication. The band embraces an ever-more genre-bending Pop Rock aesthetic as they continue to captivate their audience with musical virtuosity in a manner that is reminiscent of their Rock and Roll predecessors. They have performed on countless major stages across the East Coast. Notable performances include Mohegan Sun Casino, The Bitter End, Foxwoods Casino, and The Pleasantville New York Music Festival. In Pleasantville, they shared the stage with illustrious acts such as  Blues Traveler, Suzanne Vega, and Living Colour. Within only their first year of establishing themselves, they have gained an astonishing number of followers. Their talent has been praised by music legends like Eddie Money, Noel E. Monk (former manager of The Sex Pistols and Van Halen), and Michael Caplan (former VP of Sony Music).  Their debut single "Lights Off" has been written and produced by the band themselves and mastered by the two-time Grammy award winner industry giant, Nathan Dantzler. The single is available now.

 Episode 47 - Olivia MacDonald | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 26:50

“I'm Olivia, a 22-year-old artist from outside Boston, Massachusetts. Ink By Olivia is a collection of drawings inspired by my everyday life and my love of adventure, nature, antiques, and things around us that hold so much detail and beauty, but are often overlooked. I started my Instagram page in the winter of 2018 to document my progress designing and inking a Medusa skateboard deck, but it turned into much more when I started creating one drawing per day to challenge and practice my skills. My page has grown so quickly and it brings me so much joy to hear from my followers all around the world about how my drawings give them something to look forward to and the motivation to take just one step every day to attain their goals.I am currently a creative writing and illustration student. I always had an early love for art as a little girl when painting, crafting paper, writing short stories, or tap dancing. In my first semester of college, I came across Micron pens and became fascinated by artworks of other ink artists. I gave the pens a try and love the convenience of them, allowing me to draw anywhere when inspiration hits, as well as the amount of detail they bring with the different pen sizes. Besides drawing, you can find me writing short stories and poems, hiking, cruising around in my VW Bus, skateboarding, and experimenting with new recipes.”  

 Episode 46 - Jordan Marie Brings Three White Horses Daniel | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 50:06

”My name is Jordan Marie Brings Three White Horses Daniel. I am Kul Wicasa Lakota and a citizen of Kul Wicasa Oyate/Lower Brule Reservation in South Dakota. I am also Diné (Navajo). I am passionate about many things. However, I want to connect two of those passions that really make life worthwhile: running and activism. I was born to run, but I rejected it for quite some time. My Lala (grandfather) Nyal Brings was a long-distance runner for the University of South Dakota and was inducted into the USD Hall of Fame for his running accomplishments. Friendly rivals, Lala Billy Mills and Lala Nyal competed in the mile a few times, with Lala Nyal taking a victory over Billy. In the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Lala Billy would go on to win a gold medal in the 10K. My Lala Nyal took me on my first run and it ended with a half-mile uphill that ultimately led me to not like running. I didn't find it fun at all. My Ina (mother) was a sprinter and my Lala was her coach, with a sure plan to get her to the 1988 Olympic Trials. However, her path led her to become an incredible pediatric, dialysis and oncology nurse. My Até (dad) really helped me develop a mental toughness for running — something I'll never forget. I grew from tolerating running to really falling in love with the sport. I started with the 5K and 10K my freshman and sophomore years of college, then moved down to shorter distances. However, after college, I moved back to longer distances, then half marathons and eventually marathons. After college, Lala Billy's organization, Running Strong for American Indian Youth, had asked me to join their team for the 2016 Boston Marathon. At the time, I was working with tribes to implement programs, some specifically for Native youth in Washington D.C., and I was glad to help Running Strong raise funds. I suffered an injury while preparing for that marathon but somehow got myself to the starting line in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. My coach got me into the first wave and corral, so to experience that while fan-girling over my idols gave me the adrenaline to run through the pain. When the gun went off, all I could think about was my Lala Nyal, my Ina, Lala Billy and my entire tiospaye (extended family) back in Lower Brule and Indian Country. I was running Boston, something I never would've dreamed possible. Alongside me, others were running to get a best time or running for a cause, all while running with other Indigenous relatives. I had a lot to reflect on. I got to the finish, feeling happy and emotional. I was in pain, but the joy I felt upon completing that race wasn't for me, it was for Indian Country. The possibilities for Indigenous Peoples are endless and to share that with everyone was beautiful. That experience led me to use running as a way to change the narrative around how people see or think about Indigenous Peoples. The protests in Standing Rock over the Dakota Access Pipeline really inspired me. While I was working full-time and training, I was also organizing events, rallies and marches to raise awareness about environmental, social and economic issues where running could serve as another platform. The Standing Rock youth who ran 2,200 miles from North Dakota to D.C. to hand deliver a petition opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline to protect water — our first medicine (mni wiconi translates to water is life) — was a great motivator for me, and an example of how I thought I could connect running with activism.  My whole perspective on running and my place in the world has changed. I no longer care as much about wearing only my sponsor's brand on race day or a normal run day. Now, I want to wear gear that highlights some of the fights and accomplishments going on in Indian Country. From wearing and racing in the "Free Leonard Peltier" singlet that Olympian Billy Nelson handed down to me to promoting gear from Native-owned running and outdoor companies, I want to speak for the causes that I hold dear.With the help of my coach, I eventually created a "Team 1ndigenous" racing kit to help promote health and wellness for other Indigenous runners, as well as sending the message that we are one — we are all related and connected. Now, whenever possible, I change my bib number to reflect the #MMIW (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women) epidemic in Indian Country instead of my name or number at races. Most recently, I was able to do this at the San Diego Half Marathon, where it sparked conversations with spectators about what #MMIW means after I crossed the finish line. Running also allows me to connect to the very lands that I advocate for and want to protect and preserve, such as Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, which I visited during the #Truthsgiving weekend. These are sacred lands that Indigenous Peoples have been using since time immemorial. Their protected status is in danger, as more than 83 percent of Bears Ears has been opened to public development, including possible fossil-fuel and energy-extraction projects. Running is life. It connects me to Unci Maka (Grandmother Earth). It humbles me. It challenges me mentally and physically. I plan to keep running and competing for as long as my body will allow. I've recently started trail running and ran my first 7.5-mile trail race in November. I won for women and set the course record, but it taught me a different kind of running style. Trail running brings me closer to nature, which I respect and value. Running connects me with my Lala Nyal, who made his journey back in August 2016. I feel him and remember him with every stride. It connects me with my Ina. Every stride forward, I carry Indian Country with me. Running is a not just a community of athletes, it's a family community. It has opened dialogues and cemented long-term friendships. It has been a stress reliever, a healer and has evolved for me as a platform to raise awareness of the very things in life that I care about most. Continue running if you're able to. Run for fun. Run for meaning. Run for you. Most importantly, get outside and enjoy your surroundings. Appreciate and give thanks. I wish you good health in your running and adventures. Mitakuye oyasin (we are all related)”

 Episode 45 - Kym Gouchie | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 46:23

With ancestral roots in the Lheidli T’enneh, Cree and Secwépemc Nations, KYM GOUCHIE is fostering change through her music and art. Her music brings awareness to First Nations and women’s issues, promoting reconciliation and community building while reminding us that we are all in this together. Her stories are a testament to the human spirit, weaving together threads of her own journey from personal tragedy to triumph.  Kym’s traditional hand drum, clean, crisp acoustic guitar and full-bodied voice make her a powerful solo artist. She also performs as a duo, trio and full band, adding in vocal harmonies, keyboard, electric guitar, mandolin, banjo and cello by talented accompanists. Traditional First Nations, folk, and country tones alongside poignant and inspirational lyrics capture the hearts of young and old — her genuine and heartfelt performances have a profound and sometimes emotional impact on their audience.  A respected elder-in-training of the Lheidli T’enneh Nation, also known as Prince George, BC, Kym is sought after to perform and speak at traditional welcoming ceremonies, cultural gatherings, schools, and conferences.

 Episode 44 - Jessica McDiarmid | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 38:35

Jessica McDiarmid is a Canadian journalist who has worked across North America and Africa, writing for publications such as the Toronto Star, the Associated Press, Maisonneuve, Canadian Business and the Harvard Review. Highway of Tears is her first book. She lives in British Columbia.  For decades, Indigenous women and girls have gone missing or been found murdered along an isolated stretch of highway in northwestern British Columbia. The highway is known as the Highway of Tears, and it has come to symbolize a national crisis.  Journalist Jessica McDiarmid meticulously investigates the devastating effect these tragedies have had on the families of the victims and their communities, and how systemic racism and indifference has created a climate where Indigenous women and girls are over-policed, yet under-protected. Through interviews with those closest to the victims–mothers and fathers, siblings and friends –McDiarmid provides an intimate, first-hand account of their loss and unflagging fight for justice. Examining the historically fraught social and cultural tensions between settlers and Indigenous peoples in the region, McDiarmid links these cases to others across Canada–now estimated to number up to 4,000–contextualizing them within a broader examination of the undervaluing of Indigenous lives in the country.  Highway of Tears is a piercing exploration of our ongoing failure to provide justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and testament to their families and communities’ unwavering determination to find it.


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