News & Press



Fantagraphics Books, September 13, 2010
This Sounds Like Your Must-See Boston Event of the Year
by Eric Reynolds

For seven years (and one miscounted eighth anniversary party) Highwater Books was snobby, high-concept, iconoclastic, poorly-business modeled publishing company that ran itself into the ground...Over those seven or so years, Highwater elevated the concept of design in the comics world; It emphasized independent and DIY attitudes in an increasingly corporate society, and it published some of the most important artists in comics. In October, Fourth Wall Project celebrates Highwater and a selection of its artists with a group art exhibition: Right Thing the Wrong Way: The Story of Highwater Books...Along with the artists work, there will be an installation celebrating the strange history of the company. The organizers (TD Sidell, Emily Arkin, Brooke Corey, Jef Czekaj, and Greg Cook) will construct a mini-museum within the gallery, displaying ephemera (both finished and unfinished), half formed concept pieces, and plain old junk that made Highwater special. In lieu of a traditional catalog the organizers, in conjunction with Bodega Distribution, have put together an oral history of the company that will manifest in a short-run publication (natch!) for the show.

The Boston Phoenix, August 11, 2010
"Punk Rock Girls"
At this all-female day camp run by Boston rock royalty, nothing is uncool

"'You have to mean it'
'They have some really weird band names, like Led Zeppelin,' says a bespectacled 10-year-old named Emily. A counselor announces the girls have three minutes left to decide on a name. After rejecting The Sound of Mystery and Poodle Blues, Emily and her bandmates remain nameless while the other bands shout out their decisions: The Cupcakes, Tiger Eyes, and Peanut Butter Panthers... The band without a name is assembled in a room behind the stage to practice. As the adults set up, the girls thrilled in the discovery that they are all 10 years old. 'We're tennies!' shouts Sugie the drummer. They plug in. A strange rasp shoots out of the bass amp. 'It sounds like a flood,' Sugie says. 'Don't be afraid,' says counselor Carolyn Castellano. 'It's just reverb.' They start quietly. 'Play anything you want, but you have to mean it,' another counselor, Emily Arkin, urges. 'I want to tell you to turn it down like I tell my boy students to turn it down,' Castellano says. 'I want your fingers to bleed.' They play louder. Soon they are rocking in earnest. Bianca, the bassist, uses a riff she learned on the cello. Emily starts singing about fearlessness, and Sugie adds self-assured little drum fills wherever she can. An hour and a half into practice, the girls have written the beginnings of a song. By the Saturday's showcase, the band has a name—Gen'R'ation Rock—and a sound, which Arkin describes as 'very Raincoats.' On Saturday, they take the stage after Peanut Butter Panthers. The girls throw the metal sign and launch into song. They are indeed very Raincoats, gorgeous and dissonant all at once. 'Them at school, they say to be quiet and soft/ All we say here is rock, rock, rock!' As the song ends, the girls lead the audience in a chant, and 200 people yell their name."

Praise for the NLHA Website:
Patell and Waterman's History of New York, November 7, 2009
"The book has already received an unusual amount of notice for an academic book of this kind...in part because [HUP] has done a superb job of making it seem hip. Check out some of the reviews: boston.com, the New York Review of Books, the New York Times, salon.com, and the Wall Street Journal. Perhaps most impressive for a university press book, the volume even made Entertainment Weekly's Must List! The best example of the volume's hipness is its website, newliteraryhistory,com, which is inviting, fun, and informative. Both its design and its content make you want to buy the book. The site takes its cue from Greil Marcus's suggestion about one way to read through the book: "Pick a card, any card!" You can, in other words, have a rich experience simply by starting wherever you like and continuing with whatever entries seem most inviting. The website allows you to sample a dozen different entries by, well, picking a card, any card. (Click on the link and you'll see what I mean)." News from Harvard Book Store, August 28, 2009
"Enormously wonderful website."
Boston Globe, August 26, 2009
by Christopher Shea
"A (great big) New Literary History of America"
"To mark the imminent publication of the massive A New Literary History of America, Harvard University Press has unveiled a comparably ambitious (not to mention deftly designed) Web site, complete with sample entries, interviews with the book's editors (the writer Greil Marcus and the Harvard literature professor Werner Sollors), and videotaped remarks by the Harvard press editor behind the project. 'Modestly, what I'm trying to do is to transform the humanities,' says Harvard Press's Lindsay Waters."
The Times (of London), July 30, 2009
"Erica Wagner asks why we insist on pigeonholing literature"
"A New Literary History of America...aims to be 'a massive, chronological register of the speeches, letters, poetry, plays and novels that America has used to figure itself out along the way.' Its taster website has just gone live, and offers an intriguing glimpse of the delights within...For while, yes, you'll find the kinds of things you might expect in such a tome...[but] you'll also find a piece about Linda Lovelace's...film Deep Throat...David Thomson on Charlie Chaplin, and Jonathan Letham on Thomas Alva Edison. The last is a fascinating piece about the year Edison met Eadweard Muybridge, whose slideshow lecture...foreshadowed the birth of the motion picture...[So] what is literature, anyway? The blessing is that there has never been an answer to this question—Harvard's NLHA looks set to keep us guessing."

The Somerville Journal, July 16, 2007
"ArtBeat Becomes 'ArtBeast' this Weekend"
by Ryan Rose Weaver

"...'Everyone liked the idea of changing the name for one year,' said Emily Arkin, who was on the planning committee for the event. 'Now, even though it's the third week in July, we keep trying to talk people into wearing an animal suit.' Along with helping to plan ArtBeast, Arkin will be running back and forth between the Magpie store table and the stage performing with Shepherdess. In her down time, Arkin will be managing a monster pinata-making project. 'Almost every ArtBeat I'm running around...They put the Magpie craft table right near the stage where I'm playing so I can run back and forth,' Arkin said. 'And of course, we'll be breaking pinatas on a regular basis'...this year's lineup is jam-packed with noteworthy indie rock acts that make the $3 'suggested' entrance fee one of the best summer concert deals this summer. The Bon Savants...will play along with B for Brontosaurus,...the ubiquitous Moog-lovers Hallelujah the Hills, and Shepherdess, both rock bands who boast a violinist (2007's must-have indie accessory). Arkin said that while new acts such as Hallelujah the Hills were exciting additions to the bill, she's most looking forward to seeing the Boston Typewriter Orchestra, who filled Jimmy Tingle's Off Broadway Theater to the rafters last year."

The Somerville Journal, April 5, 2007
"Of the People"
by Lisa Maiden

"Arts Council Board Chairman Emily Arkin has a history of creative work. As a visual artist, Arkin designed her own deck of playing cards, a hole for a mini-golf course and other miscellaneous art projects...Arkin is also a musician, showcasing her talent in two indie rock bands, Shepherdess and The Tricunx, in which she plays the electric guitar and violin...Her participation in Handstand Command, a music collective of all Somerville bands, was 'one of her first forays in collaborating with other artists and creating a community...I really liked what happened when a bunch of artists and musicians put their heads together,' Arkin said."

see a YouTube interview clip

Bostonist, Saturday, December 15, 2006
"The Cyclorama and the Bazaar"
by C. Fernsebner

"Every year since 2001, the Bazaar Bizarre has brought together avant-garde knitters, hipster t-shirt printers, vinyl melters, and other makers of objets d'adorable...as well as providers of live entertainment--Clinton J. Conley of local legends Mission of Burma, accomplished thereminist Jonnie Spaceman, Hilken Mancini of Shepherdess (whose bandmate Emily Arkin will be among the vendors), and indierock veteran Mark Robinson, founder of venerable Teenbeat Records, among others."

Craft, October 7, 2006
"The World of Magpies and Craftsters"
by Chrissa Banner

craft zine "The Magpie...scene began with Bazaar Bizarre, an alternative holiday crafts fair started for fun in 2001 by a group of friends. Emily Arkin, one of Magpie's co-owners, had played some rock shows with fellow Bostonian Greg der Ananian, and they gradually discovered they knew a lot of people who liked 'making crazy things.' They already had experience organizing events from booking shows and knew a lot of artists, crafters, and entertainers between them, 'so we had a great mix of people from the start. Our venue [for the first BazBiz fair], the Dilboy VFW, set the mood entirely,' says Arkin, a cool nerd-kind-of-rock-chick with funky glasses and a penchant for fantasy and role-playing games. 'It has all this wood paneling so it's kind of like a party in your grandpa's finished basement, if his basement had a disco ball and $2 beer. And it was crowded! The event was so much more popular than we had thought it would be.' From its humble origins as a punk craft fair in a little VFW space, as of 2005 the Boston Bazaar Bizarre comfortably filled the 20,000 square-foot Cyclorama building in the South End. As the doors opened last December, the line snaked a block down Tremont Street."

The Somerville Open was all over the blogosphere in August! eg:
Boing Boing, Friday, August 25, 2006

Boston Globe, Thursday, July 13, 2006
"She's a spinner"
by Matthew Shaer

'It seemed so ridiculous--why not get the ladies together?' says Tsiakals, who began sending out invitations to the [Compound 440r] listening parties this spring. Of course, the very existence of the 440r parties exposes a problem recognized by some--though not all--local female performers: It can be hard to get a start spinning in a town where so many DJs are men. 'You'll get some guy coming up to you saying, "Let me adjust [the sound] for you, honey, sweetie,"' says Hammers. 'I think it might come more naturally to guys to just go over and jump on a table,*' adds Emily Arkin, a DJ and a member of indie outfit Shepherdess . 'So it's great to be able to be in such a supportive atmosphere, with this cross-pollination of styles going on.'"

[* note: I meant it seems to be easier for guys to jump in when someone else is already djing, not that playing records comes more naturally to guys! Great article though; you can read the whole thing and see a slide show of pictures with music here.]

Boston Phoenix, Friday, September 1, 2006
"Junkyard Aesthetics"
by Sarah Tomlinson

"As if Davis Square weren't hip enough the rest of the year, the Somerville Arts Council had to go and up the ante for this summer's ARTBEAT!...If you dig this year's festival, you can thank a committee that includes WMBR DJ Jon Bernhardt, Emily Arkin, who also plays in Shepherdess with Hilken Mancini, and indie-music booker Stacie Slotnick. 'Whenever possible, we like introducing Somervillians and all festival goers to something new rather than bands who have already played the big music venues around town,' says SAC member Rachel Strutt. Among this year's Somervillians: Somerville High alums Mighty Mystic, Antje Duvekot, a rising folk star who lives in Davis Square, Ramoniacs, and UV Protection. Also on the bill are alt-country rockers Frank Smith, rock singer-songwriter Chris Brokaw, rock/soul revue the Rudds, and art rockers Neptune."

Somerville Journal, Thursday, February 9, 2006
"Hit by Katrina, artists buoyed locally"
by Jamie Hammon

The spirit and sounds of New Orleans were alive in Somerville Friday night as an opening reception at the Nave Gallery kicked off the month-long exhibit and event series "Rise Up!," a benefit for the New Orleans artists devastated by Hurricane Katrina...Organized by ARTSomerville and the Somerville Arts Council, the New Orleans-inspired work of more than a dozen artists is on display and for sale in the Nave Gallery, in the Clarendon Hill Presbyterian Church, and all proceeds will be donated to the New Orleans Arts Council's relief fund...

Boston Phoenix, Thursday, December 29, 2005
"A 440R Holiday to Remember"
by Tia Carioli

"Let's get this straight: Compound 440r is not a commune. It is, however, a loosely organized cabal of DIY rap, synthpop, sci-fi post-punk, and avant-rock bands centered on an out-of-the-way Somerville practice space...Wind Cheetah, the Compound 440r drum-machine circle, made their long-awaited debut on the Thursday before Christmas at the collective's first annual potluck Holiday Party, which also served as their one-year anniversary celebration...In one room littered with amps, crates, suitcases, and pieces of drumkit, quilts hung from the ceiling and three strategically placed robots looked down on us from the window sills while Hilken Mancini (with Emily Arkin on violin) sang "Christmas," a Florence Dore song about a cold and lonely holiday popularized by Mancini's old band Fuzzy. In another room, Bodies of Water Arts and Crafts honcho Dan Shea played a four-song, five-minute set with his trio Eggplant...Afterward, in a third room, UV Protection's Karen Tsiakals performed a solo rap before being joined by Potvin and Big Digits' Mac Swell for the unveiling of a "440r Theme Song" that name-checked every band in the club. Plunge into Death's Area D slipped into his Sleazy Santa garb, singing a ribald tune...440r's landlord stopped by too, but not to complain: an entertainer himself, he brought a live bunny in a black top hat. And they all lived happily ever after. The end."

ARTSomerville "Artist of the Month", Dec. 2005

Harvard University Gazette, October 20, 2005
"The Big Picture"
Photo by Kris Snibbe, Text by Ken Gewertz

...Arkin is a do-it-yourselfer from way back...she is a graphic artist, crafts person, rock musician, and arts entrepreneur...Even with a full-time job and a music career (The Operators have two CDs and play regularly at local venues), Arkin still finds time to make things and offer them for sale. With some of her fellow musicians who share her interest in crafts, she has started a crafts fair, Bazaar Bizarre, now in its fifth year, and a store in Somerville called Magpie.

photo: Kris Snibbe/Harvard University News Office

Boston Phoenix, Thursday, September 22, 2005
"Warehousing Rock: Compound 440R create their own local scene"
By Camille Dodero

...There's a lot of cross-pollination [at the Compound]. Plunge into Death's [Mark E. Moon] intermittently shows up live with the Operators. Squids drummer Sonia Brenner performs guest vocals on a brand-new Big Digits track. Potvin, a home-studio producer and engineer who works under the rubric Fun City, plans to help Crystal Understanding record their first release. Comp 440R bands even cover one another live: Squids have tackled a Big Digits song; Plunge into Death once covered U.V. Protection. And both Swell and Czekaj have spliced together digital DJ mixes of Compound 440R bands and posted them on a collective blog. (You can find Compound 440R on-line at www.compound440r.com.)

"We are all a lot more fluid with our definitions of what a band is," Czekaj says. "Everyone is sort of willing to give to other people."

That's certain to continue. The three Squids, Tsiakals, and Emily Arkin from the Operators have started spinning records as a DJ collective. Earlier this month, their male counterparts made their DJ debut as 440 Soundsystem; it turned out to be a noise amalgam of laptops, guitar-effects pedals, and a dumpster-dived karaoke machine. And Sidell is wrangling together a drum-machine circle that he calls "electronic hippie music."

"Everybody wants a gang," says Sidell. "We tried selling crack--it didn't work out, so we decided to have a musical gang."

(pictured left to right: Emily Arkin-The Operators, TD Sidell-Big Digits, Karen Tsiakals-UV Protection, Aaron Bennett-Crystal Understanding, Sonia Brenner-Squids)


Boston Sunday Globe, Sunday, November 28, 2004
"Noel Noir"
By Jan Gardner

boston globe ...In October, Kramer, Alpen, Sakowski, and two other Bazaar Bizarre devotees opened Magpie on Huron in Cambridge so they could have a place to sell their wares year-round. The shop features crafts infused with a pop sensibility and vintage kitsch from the 1950s and '60s. "Sometimes I think traditional crafts are too perfect and too precious," said Emily Arkin of Somerville, a Magpie co-owner and fair cofounder. "I'd rather see something edgy and fast and loose." Arkin turned a guitar into "the Game of Rock." Players of the board game scramble to avoid setbacks like a blown amplifier or a band member going into rehab... The Bazaar Bizarre began on a whim. As Der Ananian tells the story, one evening in the fall of 2001 as he, Alpen, Arkin, and other friends knitted and cross-stitched, he said, "Wouldn't it be kind of fun if we had a punk rock craft fair?" They picked a date, rented the Dilboy VFW hall in Somerville's Davis Square, and signed up 20 friends to sell crafts. "We knew a lot of people with DIY [Do It Yourself] spirit," Arkin said. To publicize the fair, she and Der Ananian used e-mail lists from their bands--The Operators and Pretty Pony, respectively. A half-hour after the doors opened that first year, the hall was so packed you could barely move, Der Ananian said. The fair has grown each year, broadening its clientele from 20- and 30-somethings in the indie music and comic book scenes to parents with young children and women in their 50s buying Alpen's learn-to-knit kits. Last year, fairgoers lined up around the block. "I was amazed that people were just happily standing in line to get into a craft show," Arkin said. This year the fair is moving to quarters twice as big as the Dilboy. Seventy vendors--twice as many as last year--were selected out of 150 applicants. Looking ahead, Arkin and Sakowski want to take the show on the road. Sakowski imagines a convoy of Airstreams crisscrossing the country, hooking up with local crafters. Both want to make the Bazaar Bizarre happen more often than once a year. "Hopefully, it will go in both directions," Arkin said, envisioning both road trips and more frequent local fairs. read more...

boston globe

Home and Garden Television, October 4, 2004:
see a little video clip! (quicktime, 10mb)

boston phoenix

Boston Metro August 13, 2004:
boston metro

Boston Herald, Friday, August 13, 2004:
Imagination Plays Lead Role at Nave
By Joanne Silver/Visual Arts

As she was developing sketches for a tattoo, Emily Arkin came up with lovely filigree designs for a deck of cards. Sometimes she frames an entire suit, silk-screened onto a single sheet of paper. Sometimes she takes pinking shears to cut the printed designs into individual units. At the Nave Gallery in Somerville, visitors are welcome to sit at the table near the entrance and use one of her hand-made decks for their own card games...Read more

boston phoenix

The Weekly Dig, September 10, 2003:
Somerville Windows Art Project
The Weekly Dig, July 16, 2003:
Somerville ArtBeat
by Chris Braiotta

Some cities sprinkle a few barren traffic islands with plaster cows and invite Keith Haring knockoffs to decorate them, and then they pretend it's public art. Sometimes those cities are called New York City. Bah! How about a six foot tall wooden polyhedron glowering in the middle of a city plaza, whose cockeyed facets seem crafted by Bizarro Buckminster Fuller in the midst of a moderate stroke?...The Windows Art project is leaving its comfy home in the storefronts of Davis Square and heading east to Union Square. I asked Somerville Arts Council board member Emily Arkin about the reasoning behind the move. "People forget that when the project started, Davis was not yet the thriving, cafe-speckled, art-friendly 'Paris of the '90s.' So we want to branch out to other neighborhoods to encourage the same kind of interaction between artists and businesses, and Union is a logical choice. It's Somerville's other biggest square, it's centrally located, it's very culturally diverse, and the people of the area are eager to celebrate their neighborhood, which has sometimes been overlooked by public projects in the past."...Read more...or more about ArtBeat...

boston globe

boston globe

boston globe