New Histories and Old Futures: My Opening at the Cardinal Stritch Art Gallery


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Thank you to everyone who came to the opening on Saturday! It was an enjoyable evening with family and friends, old and new. We had some lively conversations around the coffee table.

For those of you were not able to make it, the show – and the reading room – are on display through November 10. Feel free to stop over, grab a book and make yourself comfortable on the fancy couch.

A Graphic Novel about a Circus, A Tornado and Love

Sue has begun working on a new art project, and it’s ambitious, original, fantastic, and quite possible, her most exciting opportunity to create accessible and publishable work. But first, a little background.


A year ago, when The Vitrolum Republic (then KSA) were starting our newest album, June was a month for a crazy amount of storms. It are those storms that are the bookends for Willow Song. And a few times Sue had to rush the kids into the basement with tornado warning sirens blasting. During one of these events she was wondering if a tornado had ever struck Milwaukee, which led her to several accounts of a tragic F5 tornado that destroyed the town of New Richmond, WI in 1899. The devastation on the towns people was made much worse due to a traveling circus being in town drawing most of the people away from shelter.

This led her to an idea. Well, that an having started readingThe Sandman series by Neil Gaiman. But the idea was to create a historical fiction graphic novel set in New Richmond on the day the tornado struck. For a year she let the idea simmer and a few months ago began attacking it in earnest. She’s written a synopsis of the major plot points and began working on the graphic illustration style.

The story involves a childhood reacquaintance of a girl living in town and a circus performer. He dreams of settling down, growing tired of circus life and she dreams of travel and adventure. There are also a pair of clowns dueling for the attention of an inventor’s daughter who travels with the circus but is strangely over protective of his daughter. And lastly there is a circus daredevil who’s latest and greatest stunt will be to fly to the moon out of a cannon with a rocket pack.

The first of the character sheets are complete, and I present to you the two clowns, Beggins Bottom and Tiggins Top.


She’s never done anything quite like this before and from what I’ve seen so far, I have no doubt she’ll succeed. My band is finishing that album freeing us to possibly write some music inspired by the novel; it’s kind of what we envision The Vitrolum Republic to represent through collaboration with other artists.

We’re all pretty excited to see how this will turn out.