Molly McLain is on top of things. She currently is a working artist, teaches piano, and also works as a grassroots organizer with Planned Parenthood (“A great organization to be involved in,” she says, “although I might be biased.”) She’s a member of the Dakota Resource Council (“I recommend everyone joining,” she says, “if you’re into conservation, it’s definitely the most hip group in ND to be a part of.”) She recently finished a planter outside of Dempsey’s (shown above) as a collaboration with Kimberley Hess of Prairie Petals (“She’s got this amazing new shop tucked in behind Pinch & Pour,” she says). She hopes to take ukelele lessons this year, has a show coming up at the Spirit Room in February, and just registered for the Bacon Art Competition through the North Valley Arts Council in Grand Forks.
Piano, bacon, planters, organizing … got it. So, what keeps Molly McLain on the move?
What book, music, movie, artwork, etc., really gets you going? Why?
Reading anything Kurt Vonnegut gets me right down to the soul. I love any movie that is visually stunning: like Amelie or Everything is Illuminated. Love stories (Pride and Prejudice), dance music, bluegrass, and classical NPR. Anything playful or funny tends to tickle my fancy.
What artist, musician, etc., inspires you the most? Why?
I love the impressionist pianists: Alexander Scriabin, Erik Satie, Claude Debussy’s Girl with the Flaxen Hair. There is something so raw and blending at the same time with their simple piano compositions.
I also will forever love Sufjan Stevens and James Brown for their soulfulness and naturalness. And Maira Kalman! Her books and paintings are amazing and so rich I want to eat them.
What’s something you saw or heard recently that you would recommend to others?
While visiting great friends in Salt Lake City on a roadtrip this summer, we serendipitously stumbled into a St Vincent and David Byrne concert at Red Butte Garden (on the campus … AWESOME outdoor venue).
It was musical performance art with all of these beautiful brass horns marching around and St. Vincent’s sweet, pure voice, along with David Byrne’s super awkward dance moves. Check out their music, check out a concert.
Also, Daft Punk’s Get Lucky and Lorde’ Royals have me dancing lately.
What local artist, musician, writer, etc., do you admire, and why?
Oh man, this is a terrible question: there are so many people doing so many great things here in F-M. Whether it’s practicing in the arts or promoting and networking within the arts community.
I have to plug Sabrina Hornung and all of Bad Weather Burlesque because I think they are brave in bringing burlesque to N.D. (When I was working in Jamestown she came over and performed at a retirement party for a friend of a friend. Numerous men [and their wives] nearly had heart attacks.) It was tastefully done, and really fun to see in a rural setting.
Anytime Tom Peckscamp plays, I love to hear him. He has this awesome strong voice, and can play a mean guitar.
I have this reverence for Diane Miller and her ability to just be “out there” in the music scene. It’s awesome.
I love Mitch Hoffart’s visual art. It’s very prairie-centric, and his color palette is beautiful.
Also, Jessica Christy (though she’s now in Minot) has really amazing prints. So does her mom, Linda Whitney (of Valley City) and also newly graduated artist Penny Lamb (also of Valley City).
And Unglued Market! Providing a marketplace for crafters and local artists is beyond awesome.
I could really go on and on …with Kris Kerzman as a mover and shaker and shaper of all things art in the FM scene, and a poignant writer, but I’ll stop. (Thanks, Molly! P.S., your check’s in the mail. -ed.)
Any guilty pleasures you’d like to share?
Late 80’s to early 90’s pop music. Janet Jackson, Paula Abdul, Mariah Carey. I download them from Amazon, laying in the grass in the summer, listening to songs on repeat.
Images, from top: Molly McLain by her new commissioned piece in front of Dempsey’s in downtown Fargo, photo by the author; Mitch Hoffart, ‘Red Barn.’ Via ecce gallery.