Shutters rehearsal 1

Shutters rehearsal 2

Final rehearsal for the Saturday and Sunday multi-media portion of the shutters/dead ends/lens/pens exhibit opening and reception. The exhibit will be open at Inspiration Studios for the month of February, but the multimedia performances will be staged only Saturday evening, Sunday afternoon, and then once more on Fat Tuesday, 2/17.

Pictured here are actors Jessie Barr and Peter Zehren with several of Zuback’s images projected on the stage screen.

shutters/dead ends/lens/pens press release. All the juicy details

—For Immediate Release—
Contact: Erico Ortiz
Phone: 414 587-3474
“shutters/dead ends/lens/pens”
A collaborative exhibit
by William Zuback and David Press
West Allis, Wisconsin, January 23, 2015—Writer David Press and visual artist/photographer William Zuback bring their distinct creative skills together to create art in motion during a unique exhibition entitled “shutters/dead ends/lens/pens” at Inspiration Studios, 1500 S. 73rd Street, West Allis, January 31- February 28. The gallery walls create the backdrop for a fourteen month duel…of sorts. Press was armed with his pen (or rather, his laptop) and Zuback with his camera …and they were ready for a match. The object was to play both offense and defense as the work of one was presented to the other who interpreted it and then served it back to the first during their literary and visual dialog. Here is one such pairing:
David Press beckons with this literary call:
If I explain until I bleed, will you hold your breath until you understand? She shut me in the closet.
I studied the nap of coats. She locked me in the trunk. I heard a piano sonata. She took away my food.
I memorized tasted of citrus. She bound me in the bed. I dreamed of midnight forests.
She took away my shoes. I danced a habanera. She left me. She left me. I bled. I spun my breath.
William Zuback provides this visual response entitled “Under The Influence”:
Under the influence Zuback.jpg
The exhibit begins with David’s letter and beckons William’s photo response. The next begins with William’s photo and ends with David’s narrative. The third begins with David’s post… and so on. Fourteen months they’ve engaged in this sparring of thoughts and images on their aptly titled website: “shutters/dead ends/lens/pens.”
Milwaukee resident, David Press, has taught, run an educational publishing company, sold battery-operated Santa Clauses, and authored six young adult nonfiction books on abolitionists, environmentalists, and such.
West Allis resident, William Zuback, has been creating conceptual/staged photographs for exhibition since the late 90’s, inspired by the classic album covers of the 60’s and 70’s. His work most often explores the theme of “Identity”.
The mastery of word and image produced by this duo becomes fodder and stimulation for the discerning eye and mind. Visitors to this exhibition will see the fourteen pairings of Press’ musings and Zuback’s muses on the gallery walls. A multi-sensory, staged performance of this visual dialog will also be presented by local actors during any of the three scheduled gallery receptions: Saturday, January 31 (5-9pm); Sunday, February 1 (2-5pm), and Mardi Gras Tuesday, February 17 (6-9pm). Admission is free and refreshments will be served.
Inspiration Studios opened its doors to the West Allis community on March 1, 2014, with the intention of providing varied styles of art and theatre to the broader community, focusing particularly on the emergence of new artists and their works.
For additional information, visit the Inspiration Studios website:
or contact Erico Ortiz at or 414 587-3474.
“Inspiration is all around us.”
Erico Ortiz
Inspiration Studios
1500 S. 73rd Street
West Allis, Wisconsin 53214
414 962-7221 h
414 587-3474 c

Preview of the show!

A smart, insightful preview from CricketToes of the shutters/dead ends/lens/pens gallery show. It’s finally here! After two years of collaboration with photographer William Zuback, our blog comes to life as an exhibit, with an opening reception this Saturday, 1/31, from 5 to 9 pm.  Mary Dally Muenzmaier’s critique captures much of what Zuback and I are trying to do, and does it in such a lively way that it makes me want to go, even if I didn’t have to be there.  I recommend you follow all of Mary’s posts on the CricketToes Blog. See next post foe the press release of the exhibit with all the juicy details.

Incredible Shrinking Novel in Burdock XIV

Thanks to Keith Gaustad for selecting my micro-fiction, “The Incredible Shrinking Novel,” for inclusion in Burdock XIV, Burdock/Teppichfresser PressIncred Shrink Nov Burdock 14, alongside wonderful poems and stories by Rick Hokans, Angie Trudell Vasquez, James Chapson, Susan Firer, Margaret Rozga, Wendy Vardaman, Martha Kaplan, JoAnn Chang, Fressia McKee, Amanda Huckins, Keith himself, and others.

Shutters, Dead Ends, Lens, Pens: the Final Chapters. Exhibit to Open Soon.

It has been a two-year collaboration with William Zuback. Zu’s photography, my writing. There are 14 chapters in all, with each chapter consisting of a photograph paired with a prose poem. See the work here: Shutters, Dead Ends, Lens, Pens.

This project comes to an end with my response to Zubacks 14th photograph,”Static.” Like all of Zuback’s photos, this one has a mysterious narrative quality referential to a dreamlike, hallucinatory world, a tense play of depth and foreground, of shadow and light.

This has been a stretch and a period of creative growth for me. The project has taken surprising turns, gone off on dangerous tangents, yet when I look at the whole, I see that the “dead ends” are also openings, cracks in a door, and that there are beginning/ending and many inter-chapter resonances that hum with ambiguity. Thank you, Zu, and thanks, too, to Erico Ortiz for his faith in and enthusiasm for the project.

You can see this series in it’s entirety along with performances during our opening reception of shutters/dead ends/lens/pens at Erico Ortiz’s Inspiration Studios on January 31, 2015. The exhibit will run the entire month of February.

New Zines!

Haven’t posted for awhile, but here’s some news. Petra and I have recently added two ‘zines, “Consequences of the Total Lunar Eclipse” and “Narrow Escapes,” to our six previous ‘zines, making for an 8 ‘zine set. Zines Narrow Escapes_Consequences


Zines Narrow Escapes Set of 8 CoversPetra’s agent, Vamp and Tramp, has picked up this set of 8 ‘zines, “Narrow Escapes,” and is now promoting it as a new arrival on their web site. Each ‘zine features Petra’s artwork and one of my (for lack of a better word) micro fictions. Vamp and Tramp focuses on book art, not art books, but making art out of books, or in the form of books. They do an excellent job of selling to special colllections in libraries and museums.

shutters/dead ends/lens/pens update

My response to Chapter 12 is up! Photographer William Zuback and I continue working on a collaboration of photography and prose poems. It’s called “shutters/dead ends/lens/pens,” and you can see it here on Tumblr, . It works like this. I post a prose poem, then Bill responds with a photograph, and posts a second photo. This time, I respond to his photo with a prose poem, then post another prose poem to which he responds, and so on. Call and response. Very excited to announce that the first 14 or 15 chapters will be a featured exhibit, February 2015, at Inspiration Studios, but you can see the first 12 chapters now. Bill and I would love to hear your comments.

“The Pose”

William Zuback does it again. On our collaborative project, shutters/dead ends/lens/pens, he responds to my poem, “Aperture,” with his photograph, “The Pose.” You have got to see this here: shutters/dead ends/lens/pens. The ballerina of a child’s jewelry box, the focal point of the reflection in the mirror, the mystery of the out of focus voyeur, the cigarette all make for a composition of dreamlike wonder. This is just one of the poem/photograph chapters that will be exhibited at Inspiration Studios in West Allis the entire month of February, 2015.