Friday, January 25, 2013

Artist's Obsession with Twinkies Spans 4 Decades
RENO, Nev. (AP) — Long before Hostess Brands' plan to shut down made Twinkies the rage, Nancy Peppin found something special about the cream-filled snack cakes. No, she doesn't have a sweet tooth for them. But she has featured Twinkies in hundreds of pieces of quirky, satirical artwork because of an obsession with what she calls the "ultimate American food icon."

The prolific Reno artist says she was first influenced to focus on Twinkies in 1975 by Andy Warhol, who demonstrated that even a Campbell's soup can could be an object of art. "He showed you a new way of looking at a familiar object," said Peppin, who has sold and exhibited her artwork. "That's what I'm doing with Twinkies. I'm having people look at Twinkies in a brand new way and in an entertaining way."

Shortly after Hostess Brands Inc. announced plans to go out of business last year, Peppin was among those who joined the rush to stores to fill shopping carts with boxes of the spongy cakes. But unlike others, she didn't buy 12 boxes with 10 Twinkies each to turn a profit on eBay or Craigslist.

"I needed art supplies," said Peppin, who uses Twinkies and their packaging to create some of her pieces. She also features renderings of the snack cakes in watercolor paintings, mixed media, prints and artwork.Her works include her "Twinkies in history series," which portrays how scientists such as John James Audubon, Charles Darwin and Leonardo da Vinci would have sketched and written about Twinkies in journals or books.

Peppin, an Oakland, Calif., native who earned a bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1966, conducted extensive research to make the series seem as authentic as possible.

Her Audubon series on the "North American Twinkie (twinkopus hostus)" includes illustrations of three "important subspecies — Cream-bellied Twinkie, Strawberry-throated Twinkie, Golden-backed Twinkie" — as well as writings describing the "birds" and explaining their migration patterns.
"Twinkies radiate out from the spring St. Louis breeding area to the summer nesting habitats throughout the world. Populations are heaviest in the North American 7-11 meridian," she wrote. St. Louis and 7-Eleven stores both share a long history with Hostess and its brands.

She updated the Audubon series after Hostess shut down operations in November: "It went from being the most popular snack cake in the world to sudden extinction due to consumption by raptors — capitalist vultures (cathartes wallstreetidae)."

Her painting titled "The Last Snack" is a takeoff of da Vinci's "The Last Supper" featuring Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Ho Hos and other Hostess products at a table with the same arrangement and background as da Vinci's classic. Her parody of a "girly" calendar from an auto body shop features a partially undressed "Miss Twinkie" standing next to her Harley.

The artwork reflects the offbeat sense of humor of a woman who by day creates special effects animation for Reno-based International Game Technology, one of the world's largest slot machine makers. Steven High, executive director of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Fla., said he finds Peppin's artwork — and use of Twinkies as a metaphor to explore various subjects — clever, humorous and imaginative. "In some ways, she takes this kind of silly item and treats it as a cultural artifact and imagines it as a subject of scientific studies," he said. "She's an excellent illustrator and the way she pulls these (works) together is amazing. They're fascinating and draw you in, even though the subject matter is unusual."

Peppin foresees no end to her obsession. With many potential buyers lined up for Hostess brands, she says, Twinkies will survive into the future. Hostess is expected to announce a bidder for Twinkies and its other snack cakes this month. Other interested parties will be able to make competing offers once the top bid is announced.

"It'll become a mutation of the species, but it'll perpetuate the species," Peppin said. "There are all sorts of history applications that I haven't exhausted like Twinkies being found in the ruins at Pompeii."

- Short Story by Martin Griffith, Associated Press

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

City Council Meeting in Waltham, Massachusetts  

City Council members answered questions as to why the water supply had above average amounts of bacteria in it and why it took them almost two months to inform the city residents. This meeting was held on October 9 in Waltham, Massachusetts. The residents wanted to know why a letter was sent to residents that lacked basic information about the issue. They found this bacteria problem after doing testing in August and again in September with no public notice until after the second test.

The Waltham council has asked City Engineer Stephen Casazza, who sent out the letter to the city, to appear before the entire Council during its regularly scheduled meeting time next Monday. They are hoping that he will be able to answer questions regarding the water in Waltham. Until this meeting, the departments in the city have been asked to use social media to spread the word about this.

The next City Council meeting will be held at 8 p.m. on Monday, October 15 and is open to the public, however, it is not open for comments from the public.

Homecoming Week as a Jimmie
By Dan Arens and Tracy Ortman

                The week of October 8-13 was Homecoming week for fellow Jimmie students. The week was full of different activities that kept the students busy. It all started on Monday night with Coronation. The candidates this year were Katelynn Hodem, Kara Wahl, Lisa Harsch, Emily Schuda, Molly Artz, Stephanie Erlandsen, Samuel Brown, Drew Borass, Andrew Hammon, Matthew Nies, Scott Roemmich, and Shane Ringdahl. Samuel Brown said, “It’s sad to think of this as the last homecoming I’ll ever have at Jamestown.” Warren Abrahamson served as the Master of Ceremonies for the night. By the end of coronation they announced Andrew Hammon and Stephanie Erlandson as King and Queen.

                On Tuesday night the Students Activity Committee put on the “Shining Armor Pageant.” This pageant is designed for the males on campus. They had different competitions such as Best Formal Wear and Swim Wear. They also did a “Minute-to-win-it” challenge and asked each of the contestants a question. The Jimmie Jane girls helped escort the guys and were the MC’s for the event.

                On Wednesday we were treated to acoustic guitar player, Scott Wesley. Wesley played in the cafeteria from 11-1 so that people could eat and listen to him. From the sounds of it, he was a raging success and was someone many people would like to have play again. Stephanie Erlandson said, “He was so good and easy on the ears and the eyes.” Tressa Tulibaski, also added, “He sounded great and it wasn’t too loud so you could still talk with your friends and enjoy the music at the same time.”

                Thursday night was a much anticipated day for many. Hypnotist Fredrick Winters came to Jamestown and performed in the Reiland. They building was packed with eager anticipation. Sixteen Jimmie students got hypnotized and the two hour show brought a lot of laughter and funny memories for the people in the audience.

                Friday night brought about the annual band and choir concerts. The band started out the night in the Reiland. They ended their concert with the traditional Jimmie Fight Song and all of the audience was asked to move to their feet and sing along. Once the band was finished everyone made their way over to the Voorhees Chapel for the Chapel and Concert Choir concerts. Mr. McDermid dedicated the concert to Jessie Boyle’s grandma who had passed away a few days before the concert. The concert ended with the alumni coming to the front and joining the choir in singing “Praise to the Lord.” Mr. McDermid said, “The alumni seemed to be very pleased with the opportunity to sing along with the choir.” At 9 they had the Burning of the J on Role Field. This was a chance to get pumped up for the big game on Saturday!

                Saturday was full of fun activities starting with the Street Fair on Allen Field. Different organizations on campus set up different booths to display what they have been working on throughout the year thus far. The football game started at 1p.m. against Dickinson State. The game started out pretty slow with neither team scoring in the first two quarters. The half-time show consisted of the Royalty Court being paraded across the field. The third quarter of the game was very similar to the first half with neither team scoring. Finally in the fourth quarter Jimmie fans were brought to their feet when the first touchdown of the game was scored. The game seemed to be going in favor of Jamestown until the last 30 seconds when Dickinson scored a touchdown. They were going to go for a field goal when Jamestown decided to call for a time out. This allowed Dickinson to decide on going for a 2-point conversion which resulted in them winning the game. The final score of the game was 7-8.

                The dance on Saturday evening ended the Homecoming festivities for the year. Unfortunately midterm week follows, resulting in students having to do some heavy studying. Thankfully fall break is near and will be greatly appreciated by many of the Jamestown students.