How this chicken kept her head

One reporter. Five stories. Three days.

Well okay, the deadline on the fifth (a piece for the Missourian on Central Missouri Honor Flight), was a bit flexible. But you get the gist.

Three days, and not a moment to lose. The to-do list was as follows:

And, when all is said and done..

  • Transcribe every interview ever. Die a little bit inside.
  • Write the two stories on Anderson
  • Write the review
  • Write the blurbs for book recommendations
  • Write about Honor Flight, and make it compelling, dammit.

Right. No sweat. I could already see myself keeling over in public from exhaustion or running in front of a moving vehicle to get to an interview on time or, worst of all, presenting my editor with unfinished stories, wheedling about there only being 24 hours in a day. The nerve.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned during my time at Vox and at the Missourian, it’s how to manage time. This past week, these stories, were there to test my abilities. The eyes of the staff was upon me, and I scheduled, micro-managed and used every available minute.

My planner was color-coded, my laptop by my side at all times. I was Claire Landsbaum, Super Reporter.

In the end I finished everything by the dreaded “Thursday at two” deadline. I even, come to think of it, got five or more hours of sleep every night.

Tl;dr: When faced with an assignment that seems impossible, play at the top of your game. You’re up to the task and your editors know it, even if you might not know it yourself.

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Self portrait, week of April 15, 2013
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How this chicken kept her head

Take a look; I’m in with books

Yes that’s a Reading Rainbow reference, a.k.a. blatant shout-out to my fellow 90’s children.

It’s relevant, I promise. Today during the oh-so-lovely Vox staff meeting, us reporters were assigned homes for the rest of the semester! That is to say, we’ve now been assigned specific sections to write (and, more importantly, pitch) for on a consistent basis.

You’ll never guess where I ended up. That’s right: books.

In case you weren’t aware, I’m actually obsessed with all things bookish. I wrote a literary column for Move Magazine last spring, and spottily maintain a separate blog on all things book-related.

Needless to say I’m stoked to start work in the books department! The focus is all forms of the written word, from e-books to classic lit to fresh authors to trends in the publishing world.

My first assignment is to cover MU’s 2013 Un(COVER) competition, in which local artists design new covers for classics. This year’s candidates are:

  • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • Walden by Henry David Thoreau
  • The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas
  • Treasure Island by Robert Lewis Stevenson
  • Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Side note: I’ve read all but one of these books. Commence geeking out. 

It seems like a cool concept, with gorgeous art and terrific titles to boot. Here’s a look at last year’s Un(COVER) winners, for a rough idea of the results.

I can’t wait to get started! Let’s hear it for the bookworms, y’all.

Take a look; I’m in with books

True/False Festing

Notebook? Check. Pen? Check. Combat boots? Check. Ironic sweater/skirt combination? Check.

Disguised as a hipster, I set out Saturday morning armed and ready to cover the True/False festival. My assignment: the “Speculative Stroll,” which departed from the True/False box office at 11:45 a.m.

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Having done my research, I now knew what to expect. Timothy “Speed” Levitch was to lead the tour. He’s from New York, so he had to be excellent. His touring sidekick, Gabe Williams, was a Columbia native and, as Levitch put it, a landmark with a heartbeat.

I’d never been to the True/False box office and was enchanted the minute I stepped inside. Cotton ball clouds hung from the ceiling, giant bird’s nests adorned with twinkle lights sat in two corners of the room. The art on the walls consisted of True/False posters from past years. I was in love.

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Inside the True/False box office at Hitt and Broadway. Photo by me.

Around 11:30 a cluster of people formed in the front of the office… so many beards. So many coats, hats and scarves. So much plaid, so much quirk. Really, I love the True/False-ians. They are my people.

The tour itself was delightful; for a full account, read my blog post here. I even snapped some iPhone pictures (of dubious quality…) that ended up in the post itself, so that’s pretty neat.

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“Speed” Levitch (furry hat, right) and Gabe Williams (sunglasses, left) entertain the crowd in Alley A during Saturday morning’s “Speculative Stroll.” Photo by me.

Overall, live coverage was a much less stressful experience than I was expecting. The casual, laid back, “anything goes” attitudes of the editors on duty contributed to my (unusual) sense of calm. Cue large sigh of relief.

Today marks the 10th annual True/False Film Festival’s last hurrah. In the Vox office I’m picturing champagne corks popping, backs being patted, cheers and hollering – a fitting end to a long weekend of coverage.

True/False Festing

Crunch time in Columbia: True/False Film Festival

February 28, 2013: It has begun.

The 10th annual True/False Film Festival is upon us… upon Columbia, Missouri, and, more importantly, upon Vox.

A few years back, Vox won exclusive True/False coverage rights. Since then, the magazine has made it its duty to provide the best and most thorough coverage of the festival. T/F issues are long, labor-intensive and excruciatingly detailed.

This year I had a hand in that detail. The 2013 True/False issue, which came out today, includes my story on Dan Lindsay, Academy Award winning director. Basically he brought his film, Undefeated, to True/False last year, along with his little gold statue… not a big deal. It was amazing to talk to him about filmmaking, the Oscars and his current projects.

During the festival itself (a.k.a. during this entire weekend), the entire Vox staff is responsible for covering every. single. aspect. of True/False.

For my humble reporter self, that means live event coverage. On Saturday morning at 11:45 a.m. I will be at the True/False box office downtown, ready to set off on a “Speculative Stroll.” What is a speculative stroll? Who knows. How will I cover it? Remains to be seen. (Needless to say I have some pre-reporting to do.)

Regardless, I can’t wait to participate in such a huge Columbia happening. True/False is something unique to our city that draws thousands of interesting people together for one movie-filled weekend. Let the films begin!

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Crunch time in Columbia: True/False Film Festival

Spring has sprung

Come one, come all and devour Vox Magazine‘s Spring Preview issue!

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Not only does will it give you an excellent idea of what’s coming to CoMo in the next few months, it does so in a way that pleases the eye. I’m talking about Jake Godin‘s illustrations which, incidentally, are excellent.

The Spring Preview issue also marks my first time as a published Vox reporter! Name in print and all that. It’s exciting stuff, though I’ll admit I have yet to grab a physical issue. Thursdays, you know.

In the meantime, here’s a link to the ‘On Stage’ section, which I worked on in collaboration with my friend Hilary, and here’s one to my ‘Highlight;’ one upcoming event that I expanded upon. (Yes, it’s about Romeo and Juliet. Commence geeking out.)

Happy reading!

Spring has sprung