People are into questions right now (they always have been -- just ask that Plato dude). It's the new black. Watson's recent run on Jeopardy brought them (what is) record ratings, and in case you haven't heard, he won. Watson, of course, is the IBM super-computer built solely to answer questions (in the form of a question), and he captured the momentary imagination of an otherwise uninterested public. And that interest in answers is what Becky Hensley and Spencer Keralis are banking on with their new "blogazine" 12 Questions.
12 Questions is the latest project from Laughing Mouse, a small press founded in 2002 by Keralis to publish and promote writers and artists in Denver, New York, Minneapolis and Austin. It's a interview-based blog with a meme twist -- regardless of the background, field, or popularity of the interviewee, they're asked the same twelve standardized questions. Basic stuff, like "What is your hometown?" and not-so-basic stuff, like "What is more important, truth or kindness?"
"I think we have questions that are begging to be answered," says co-creator Becky Hensley, "and it works because the breadth of the questions allow for a kind of play that intrigues people." Spencer adds, "When everyone is forced to answer the same questions that aren't tailored to their field, it gives readers insights into the respondents' world-view and personality in a way that an interview that's tailored to their comfort zone will not."
As the blog grows and takes shape, the interviewees so far have been heavily skewed toward the blogazine's Denver roots. "I think Denver is in the process of coming into its own as a metropolitan center," says Keralis. "It still doesn't have the rep that, say, Minneapolis has as a regional music and arts center, but it's on the cusp. There are a lot of really interesting people working toward making Denver a creative hub."
"Things just seem to click here," says Hensley. "It's the kind of collaborative community we've both been seeking."
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Eschewing the established for rising stars, 12 Questions focuses on the up-and-comers of their worlds -- interviews have already been posted featuring singer/songwriter Jay Brannan, local phenom Dana Cain, comedian Adam Cayton-Holland and the Denver 'Zine Library's Kelly Shortandqueer -- but that doesn't mean super-recognizable names are entirely out of the question. As Becky Hensley explains, "Up-and-coming means doing new things now. Truly creative people are always exploring, regardless of their 'status.' They're continually up and coming because they can't sit still."
The blogazine launched with a party at the Rackhouse Pub last week, and there are more events coming, so keep your computer tuned to their URL. You never know when you might see answers from your favorite local artist. But apparently Watson's representation hasn't been especially responsive.