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“Don’t mind the man behind the curtain!” said the great and powerful Oz, as he was about to be uncovered as, well, just a man behind the curtain. Of course, we all want to know what’s behind the curtain—especially artists and scientists and writers who make it their business to peel back the layers and expose the truth of what lies beneath. The answers are always interesting. (Consider that beneath your very feet right now are vast shifting continental plates, worlds of tiny microbes, strata that tell the stories of who and what stood there before you.) For our May 19th Categorically Not! we explore what lies beneath the expressions of animals, moments captured in oils, the obscuring screens of our phones, tablets, computers.

Gregg Chadwick's paintings seem to capture light somewhere beneath the surface of the artwork, evoking memory and dreams. Painted with layers of transparent oil colors, his images evolve from beneath, drawing the viewer into mesmerizing worlds. Inspired by sources spanning from Greek myth to the Occupy movement, Gregg’s art explores not just how things look, but how humanity hums beneath the surface. Gregg has exhibited his artworks in galleries and museums both nationally and internationally and he lectures on the arts worldwide—from Amsterdam to Esalen and UCLA. His blog, Speed of Life, was recently honored by Carnegie Hall as one of the Top 16 Art Blogs in the country: http://greggchadwick.blogspot.com/ Gregg paints in an old airplane hangar—the home of Categorically Not!

To Kyle Wiens and his IFixit staff, every high-resolution photograph of naked phone bits splayed across a table is a small act of rebellion against big technology companies like Apple, Google and Samsung. The tear downs are a rallying cry for frustrated owners of smart phones, tablets and computers to grab a screwdriver and take back the right to do it yourself. Since Kyle founded the company out of his Cal Poly college dorm room in 2003, iFixit’s open source repair manuals have helped 15 million people fix electronics, appliances, and even automobiles. Kyle speaks regularly on the environmental impact of electronics, technical writing, and design for disassembly and repair at forums like MacWorld and TeKom; writes for The Altantic, Harvard Business Review, and Wired.

Are animals nothing but animated robots? What--if anything--lies beneath their furred, feathered, and scaled heads? Virginia Morell, intrepid explorer and science writer, journeys into the once-forbidden land of animal minds with scientists courageous enough to tackle these questions. In her new and much-celebrated book, ANIMAL WISE: The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures, she introduces us to ants that teach, parrots that converse, rats that laugh, and cheetahs that die from heartbreak. Virginia is the author of many highly-acclaimed science and natural history books, and a prolific contributor to Science, National Geographic, Smithsonian, and other publications. She lives in Ashland, Oregon, with her husband and fellow-writer, Michael McRae, their American Working Farm Collie, Buckaroo, and sweet, but camera-shy Calico kitty, Nini.
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