The engine of communities across the USA is creativity. If not for the makers, the communities would be less vibrant, the human experience less enriching, our daily lives less full. Commonstate is a tribute to creative thinkers in every community who believe that a culture of creativity is a better culture for all.

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Escaping the modern world – my interview with The Bottle Rockets

Social media has made it more difficult than ever to temporarily escape from the outside world. Political arguments, clickbait articles, and an ever-changing lineup of memes are just a phone app away at all times. The Missouri-based alternative-country band The Bottle Rockets knows this, and its new album Bit Logic, released on Oct. 12 via Bloodshot Records, explores what happens when you try and mute the world around you.

A story and a vision: My conversation with documentary filmmaker Erik Ljung

“I was literally watching the Olympics at home when Sherman Park happened. My buddy plays for team Nigeria in basketball and I was watching and scrolling through Instagram and I saw an activist that I follow was posting videos of people smashing cop cars. I thought, where is this happening? A little later he posted more stuff and I was like, holy shit. This is in Milwaukee. So I flipped on the news and just grabbed my camera and raced over there.”

Confessions of an escapist: I'm a middle-aged gamer

I worked at JC Penney in 1982. Employee #750. Yes, I still remember. My department was ground zero for the sales of hundreds of Sony Walkmen – the first cassette version – and my cash register was where hundreds of small town Wisconsinites (in Beloit, specifically) went home with the culinary wonders of the revolutionary microwave oven.

IKEA, Where Dreams Are Made

I read an article a few years back about how shopping at IKEA was a sign you weren’t really an adult yet. But, if you shopped at West Elm, that was it. Frankly, I think you’re stupid if you trade one for the other and I am vehemently opposed to the assertion your worth comes from which home decor store you are financially able to shop at. 

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