Raw Deal hosts ode to rhetoric

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By Matthew Gundrum   —

Local café Raw Deal is displaying the art of local talent on their walls throughout this month. However, this isn’t artistic expression in a pictorial sense. Just as poignant, it is rhetoric that acts as the theme for this particular art show.

“Most people think of visual art when they hear that, but it’s just a different canvas,” said the event’s student coordinator Rachel Hallgrimson. “Writing is structural, yet very freeing in expressing the human condition.”

On March 27 at 7 p.m., these wall pieces will thematically culminate into an event consisting of individuals expressing their love for prose in a variety of ways.

“We’re going to have sort of a literary open mic so people can read things that they’ve written or if they just want to read passages from books they love,” said Raw Deal Events Coordinator Amber Georgakopoulos. “The other part of it is that we’re going to have a couple writers rounding up some vintage typewriters so we can do a sort of a short-order poetry.”

Attendees of the event can “order” a poem by choosing three core themes to keep within the piece and, for ten dollars, have it written on the spot.

“You can work your mom in, or your favorite sneakers or your love of parrots,” Georgakopoulos said. “That money will then go towards the Bridge to Hope women’s shelter in town.”

Hanging on Words is perhaps one of Raw Deal’s most interesting events, but it has an equally interesting origin story.

“I interviewed Amber last fall for Convergent Media, a journalism class, for my semester project,” said Hallgrimson. “I ended up mentioning how it’s hard for writers at a school that isn’t very liberal arts-focused, because most of the ‘art’ is visual, and you can look at it and instantly be satisfied.”

Georgakopoulos found this idea to be especially intriguing. She decided to collaborate with Hallgrimson on an event in which words were the primary focus while simultaneously embodying the characteristics of an art show. Hanging on Words was born.

“I think it’s a way of rounding out the creative community [in Menomonie] and bringing some more emphasis to the power of word,” said Georgakopoulos.

With Hanging on Words, Georgakopoulos and Hallgrimson hope to not only change what is commonly perceived as “art” but celebrate the beauty of human expression as well.

“In short, this is a place for people to express themselves through words, if that’s how they choose to do it, and do it proudly,” said Hallgrimson.

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