When Chris Kirkpatrick of’N Sync decided he wanted to start a girls’ clothing line, he hired the Canadian tattoo artist who had left a lasting impression on him. Three years ago, Dave Daniels tattooed Kirkpatrick and the other members of the band—who were celebrating their first CD going platinum—in Toronto. Kirkpatrick was so impressed with the artists work that in 1999 he approached Daniels about changing canvases —from skin to cotton. “I love Dave’s visions on things,” says Kirkpatrick, 29. “His concepts are so out of the ordinary.” The then 24-year-old Daniels was happy to retire from tattooing to design the graphics for Kirkpatrick’s label, FuMan Skeeto—which is sold in Canada at Eatons.
Kirkpatrick has had no problem combining his side project with his day job. When the clothing company recently launched a small line of men’s fashions, they were able to convince a certain pop supergroup to wear the FuMan Skeeto garb on tour. For ’N Sync, it is a chance to match their outfits with their tattoos.
Girls just want to have fun
They may seem like your average indie rock band touring endlessly across North America, but the four Edmonton women who make up Painting Daisies are anything but. They study French, play basketball, wrestle and do physics experiments from the top of their van. And there is nothing that Daisy Blue Groff, Rachelle Van Zanten, Carolyn Fortowsky and Kim Gryba—aged 20 to 30—won’t do to keep sane and grounded while spending three-quarters of the year on the road.
Touring steadily since last July to promote their second album, Fortissimo, the band is getting a buzz going in the alternative music scene—thanks to their energetic mix of funk, blues and rock ’n roll. But they are also careful not to neglect the other parts of their lives. Both Van Zanten and Fortowsky are doing university courses on the road and all take their hobbies and sports very seriously. “You have to have a well-rounded life in order to be in a band,” says Van Zanten. “Otherwise, you can get bogged down, jaded and burnt out.”
It is not an easy way to make a living. Two gigs pay a month’s rent back home and another covers food. Friends and fathers fix the van. And each member works when they are back in town. They fillet fish, cut meat, paint houses and pour coffee. But more than anything else, Painting Daisies rock.
House that Oprah built
Before the phone call that changed New England author Andre Dubus Ill’s life, his book was doing extremely well. It took fouryears to write and 22 publishers to consider it, but The House of Sand and Fog was a New York Times best-seller and into an eighth printing of 30,000 copies. Then, Oprah Winfrey’s assistant called to tell Dubus his novel was chosen for her book club. The ninth printing was 850,000—ordered days after the eighth-and the book has sold more than 1.5 million copies. Says Dubus: “There is something
hallucinogenic about the whole experience.”
Set in California, the book follows three tragic figures fighting over the ownership of a house. It is a bleak yet rivetting story, one that even surprised Dubus as he was writing it. “A big part of me didn’t want to write a dark story,” he says. “But I think our psyches have an appetite for darkness. Suffering is a big part of living.” For Dubus, though, things are looking up. A part-time carpenter, the 41-year-old father of three is taking next year off to write full time and build his own home. “Oprah has been a godsend,” says Dubus. “I’ve renamed all my kids Oprah."
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