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Monthly Contributors & Staff

Director | Designer | Featured Artist Editor

Karen Kopacz
Karen is an art director, designer and artist consultant, living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She was co-curator of Re:Connect, a multi-media event featuring work by visual artists, filmmakers, writers, and musicians, and a panel member for Fostering New Culture on the Internet in SXSW's 2005 Interactive Festival. She has been featured on KFAI's radio program Art Matters, also heard as a podcast on A member of AIGA and MIMA, her Web design has been featured in the design anthology Portfolios Online. Karen is a former columnist and photographer for Pitchfork and a former art director and writer for First Avenue In-House Magazine. Her writing and photography have appeared in a variety of publications.

Karen is the featured artist editor for Exhibitionist.
Photo by Matt Porath

Katie Bratsch
Managing Editor

Katie Bratsch

Katie lives and writes in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She has a backyard with a hammock, which pleases her for now. Come winter, though, she'll be dreaming again of coffee fields, beaches and banana leaves. One day, she plans to have a hammock slung between olive trees in Costa Rica.

Meanwhile, she writes and edits for magazines, collaborates on art projects with friends and is training to teach yoga. She studied literature and writing at the University of Minnesota and has worked in K-12 education, advertising and magazine publishing.

Gene Dillon
Producer | Writer

Gene Dillon Gene Dillon lives in  Boulder, Colorado with his wife and 2 children. A native of Chicago, Gene moved out West for a multitude of reasons he  does not yet understand.

Gene has been an integral part of Mental Contagion since November of 2002. He has contributed as a writer, editor and producer, and was the creator of a conversation feature called The Shovel, in which he interviewed people from all walks of life. He is currently working on publishing of a collection of his stories. Documenting the process of publishing his work, Opening the Can replaces his monthly column until either the book is finished, or he is.

Gene is a co-producer of Mental Contagion and writes the column Tin Can.

Wendy Lewis
Writer | Featured Writer Editor

Wendy Lewis Wendy Lewis relocated her family in 1998 from the urban lively of Minneapolis to the mysterious haven of Cannon Falls, a small farming community on the Cannon River, 50 miles southeast of the twin cities.

She migrates regularly from small-town life to the cities to commune with friends, perform with her band Redstart (Princess Records) and work a day job regularly enough to pay the bills. There is nothing she loves more than a ravaged table, guests flush with food and wine and conversation late into the night. The river runs. The door is open. The dogs are friendly.

Urban-girl-gone-country was the inspiration for Wendy's column Rūs. Wendy is the featured writer editor for Pure Hash.

Dean Pajevic

Dean Pajevic "Everybody tells you kids are going to change your life. 'Yeah, sure. Whatever,' you say. Then they come along. And your life changes."

"I look at her big, three-year-old eyes and I don't want to sit the fence anymore. I want her to grow up in a world where nature and people are not lashed to the mast of that sinking ship called History. So I write. It's like jamming a crowbar into my heart and soul, prying back those stinking rotten planks, and feeling as much joy and life as I can stand. And sharing it."

Dean is presently working on a book about love, death and redemption (with car chases and sex). A creative library of his work is available on his Web site

Dean writes the column Mags .

Sam Edsill

Sam Edsill Sam Edsill is a recent graduate of the University of Iowa, where he studied English literature, creative writing and journalism. Sam was a staff writer for The Daily Iowan and spent a summer writing in Dublin. Currently living in Iowa City, he spends his free time traversing the Midwest and contemplating the vast unknown of the future.

Sam discusses art and the environment in the interview column Cause & Effect.

Geoff Herbach
Podcast Host

Geoff Herbach Geoff is a writer and teacher living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is co-founder of the Lit 6 Project, a group that writes and performs the Electric Arc Radio show around the country, most notably at the Ritz Theater in Northeast Minneapolis. He is a regular guest of the Talking Image Connection reading series and has read stories on Minnesota Public Radio. His short fiction has appeared in American Nerd, Bathtub Gin and in other publications. At one time, Geoff was a notable national expert on land use and urban gardening. Geoff's novel "Saint Rimberg" is to be published by Crown/Three Rivers Press in April of 2008.

Geoff hosts the podcast interview series Hearing Voices.

Stephanie Wilbur Ash
Podcast Host

Steph Ash Stephanie Wilbur Ash grew up sucking on a chili dog outside a Tastee Freeze.
Nothing happened. Then she was a bank teller, a hotel clerk working night desk, a newspaper columnist, a bureaucrat, a mom and a feature writer. A lot of stuff happened that she isn't ready to talk about yet. She is one thesis short of an MFA, and it seems that she may be that way forever. While avoiding working on her thesis, Steph is a principal in the the Lit 6 Project, the only woman performer/writer with the wildly popular Minneapolis-based Electric Arc Radio show and is the books and literature columnist for "Metro Magazine." Her features and profiles have appeared all over kingdom come, and her fiction has appeared in Mississippi Review, River City, the Rake, and

Steph hosts the podcast interview series Hearing Voices.

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