‘Helen: A Literary Magazine’ publishes its music issue packed with amazing art

Craig Colorusso’s Sun Boxes Installation

Angela Kallus's "Smarty," acrylic on canvas over panel

Karaoke guru Danny G is whooping it up at Dino’s in a digital cartoon painting by artist Sam Gorrie that will resonate with anyone who has cheered (or heckled) singers there, or even thrown down a melody themselves. It’s a local’s rite of passage, collective memory-making at the cherished dive bar.

On an entirely different spectrum is a photograph capturing a minimalist orchestra of solar-powered sound boxes (officially Sun Boxes) placed in the desert near Rhyolite by artist Craig Colorusso, who spent time there during a Goldwell Open Air Museum residency where his sound installation powered by nature played to nature.

And so on: a 1993 Danny Breeden-designed Huntridge flier; a black-metal-inspired painting by Sean Slattery; a saxophone-playing pop-art samurai by Martin Kreloff and a Ginger Bruner digital pic of writer Lissa Townsend Rogers giving a hellacious “what for” to a stack of Martin speakers after a Tenacious D show.

Barry Whittaker's video still, "Throwing Things at the Sky to See of They Stick"

All of these works neatly placed into the latest Helen: A Literary Magazine create a collective visual representation of music in all its forms. The “music issue” has writers and artists paying homage to the beat, the melodies, the sound waves and experiences in a 68-page curated magazine plump with art and literature specific to Las Vegas and elsewhere—or, in the case of Sam Davis: further elsewhere. The photographer known for his desolate and otherworldly landscapes captures in a tintype photograph his trademark Astrobot in a lab lined with reel-to-reels.

And then, of course, the literature: Writers (some award-winning and nationally celebrated), including those living in Philadelphia, Memphis, New York, Las Vegas and Vermont, contribute stories, poems and essays. There’s even artist-on-artist action with Danielle Kelly interviewing Yasmina Chavez on her sound project, “The Helen Keller Experience.”

Not bad for a biannual literary and arts magazine that launched last fall to celebrate local and non-local talent reflecting “the spirit of Southern Nevada.”

So why music? “I felt the theme of music would be so emotionally evocative and a great way to tie together art and literature,” says Jocelyn Paige Kelly, publisher and founding editor. “We were also really looking for something fun and energetic, something vibrant. Music felt right.”

Helen: A Literary Magazine Digital version at helenpresents; hard copies available later this month. Launch party, June 12, 5-7 p.m., Writer’s Block, 702-550-6399.

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Kristen Peterson

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