IWWF review

Taxidermy is often a punchline. And you can see why. It’s the process of preserving a dead animal in a way that makes it look alive, and that sits firmly at the intersection of dark and funny — the kind of thing that produces uncomfortable laughter and maybe an eyeroll.

What Stuffed reveals, like any good documentary, is that a lot of taxidermists are in on the joke, and that there’s vastly more to their world than, as Eddie Izzard says, stuffing animals with sand.

Gorgeously shot, the feature-length doc introduces us to a big handful of taxidermists…


Fossilized hark teeth I found on Topsail Island in May 2018. The tooth from under the porch is at the far bottom.

A tiny experience gave me all the confidence and determination a writer could ever need

Every summer since I was a child, my family has rented a beach house off the coast of North Carolina, and we all spend the week swimming, playing, and catching up. One of our favorite activities during vacation is searching for fossilized shark teeth that wash up all along the beach’s tide lines.

Most of the teeth in this area are shining black, as tiny as your pinkie nail, and worn at the corners from spending tens of thousands — and often millions––of years at sea. …


Although Among Mountain Crags was more than likely conceived before the #MeToo Movement had its moment, it seems like a thriller for our times and with a lot to say about feminism, the patriarchy, and sexual abuse/assault. At the same time, it’s a classic suspense tale that leans on the spooky mood and ambiance of Appalachia while clocking in at just over an hour.

The movie is centered on Coralie Whitt, a young woman living ostracized and isolated in a small mining town, trapped by her past as well as by her lack of options. All that changes when a…


Bare Bait Dance opens its eighth season in Missoula with an exercise in reality programming

Every week, more than 3 million people tune into So You Think You Can Dance, a reality television program in which dancers from across the country compete for votes in order to win a season-long, mixed-genre dance competition. It’s long been one of the most popular shows on network television, making it a rare and odd moment for dance and choreography, which aren’t often consumed by mainstream Americans.

Choose One is, in part, a response to that phenomenon. The modern dance show was created by professional dancers Lauren Beale and Brooke McNamara as part of their master’s theses at the…


Photo by Sean Smith

When it comes to touring artists, Montana often benefits simply from being on the way to somewhere else. In that vein, the VFW is welcoming comedian Steve Hofstetter on a Sunday night, where the nationally known stand-up and YouTube star with 100 million clicks will bring his act to a venue that holds a fraction of the people he’s used to — and probably more Keno machines than usual.

Finishing off a monster tour that will encompass over a dozen countries, all 50 states and 150 cities, Hofstetter is busy creating material for his next special and promoting his YA…


Rejection will never stop—and that’s totally okay

Photo: JGI/Jamie Grill/Blend Images/Getty Images

I recently experienced my first viral tweet. It was my contribution to the #ShareYourRejections hashtag on Twitter, where writers and other artists were sharing their stories of hearing “no” professionally.

Many of the most popular stories on the #ShareYourRejections thread were from noted artists sharing their eventual stories of success:

But, honestly, as much as these women are wonderful and talented and inspirational, I didn’t feel like they were telling the full story—or the real story of how rejection functions in the lives of professional artists.

So I shared my favorite example of rejection from my own writing…


Get ready to relax just like others imagine you want to

All mothers like roses, right? Like, better than one single second alone in the bathroom?

This Mother’s Day, we don’t want you to lift a finger. If you do, we’re calling the whole day off. That’s right, mom, don’t move. Keep your eyes right on us.

We also don’t want you to clean a single thing today. Sadly, we’ve determined that this means you cannot shower.

This Mother’s Day, you’re going to stay in bed and rest all day, and we’re going to make absolutely sure of it by providing you with this bedpan.

We know that we can be demanding every other day of the year, so today we will ask nothing of you…


I don’t think that it’s right to make fun of a person’s appearance. It’s a cheap shot, it’s mean, and it doesn’t really accomplish anything. But desperate times call for desperate measures. Just like it’s not okay to punch people (but I’m pretty sure it’s okay to punch nazis), I am lifting my ban on personal attacks to talk about what Stephen Bannon looks like.

  • Steve Bannon looks like I tried to draw a portrait of Robert Redford onto a balloon.
  • Steve Bannon looks like he sold his soul to the devil and was then, in an unrelated incident, stung…


These amazing remedies are absolutely not approved by the FDA

  • Rosemary oil for menstrual cramps.
  • Basil oil to find your other shoe.
  • Lemon oil to clean whatever.
  • Frankincense oil to swallow fewer spiders while you are sleeping.
  • Yarrow oil to solve land disputes.
  • Tea tree oil to throw a magnificent dinner party for six of your closest friends.
  • Clove oil to kill nests of witches.
  • Eucalyptus oil to eliminate background noise during conference calls.
  • Sage oil to make your ex feel a sudden emptiness.
  • Peppermint oil for overdraft fees.
  • Juniper oil to remember.
  • Grapefruit oil to forget.


Before I developed an interest in running, my friend Shelly explained to me that jogging had absolutely transformed her, but I had assumed that she was exaggerating. Only now, as I run shivering through this dark boreal forest, thousands of miles from everything I know and love, do I understand what she was trying to tell me.

Last spring was a tough time for me: I was laid off from my dream job and not long afterward I was diagnosed with a thyroid problem that affected all aspects of my life, including my appearance. On top of it all, I…

Sarah Aswell

I'm a freelance humor writer and stand-up comedian living in Montana. You can read my writing in places like The New Yorker, MAD Magazine, and McSweeneys.

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