STALK Staff

Melea Dau – Editor-in-Chief

Melea is ArtSTALK’s founder and editor-in-chief, and intends to tattoo these important sounding titles on her forehead as soon as she can afford to do so on her journalist salary.

After recently earning her undergraduate degrees in communication studies, journalism and music from the University of Iowa, she realized the job market sucked, and immediately returned to the world of academe’s tender embrace. She is currently a Master’s candidate in journalism at her alma mater, where she is learning how to debate the futility of the objective voice and feed her craving for arts and culture writing.

When she’s not watching weekend marathons of “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” in her Iowa City abode, she also works as a marketing assistant for Hancher Auditorium and a communications consultant for Modern American Cinema. Her turn-ons include Asian horror movies, Godiva chocolate, vocal jazz standards, gourmet tea, Tina Fey and each member of ArtSTALK’s fabulous staff.
 
 
 
 
 
Meryn Fluker – Managing Editor

Meryn Fluker is ArtSTALK’s managing editor, which is the most prestigious title she’s held since being a bus safety in fifth grade. Meryn spent four corn sugar-soaked years at the University of Iowa, where she reported for and edited The Daily Iowan newspaper’s arts and culture section and rubbed elbows with many of ArtSTALK’s contributors — including ArtSTALK Editor Melea Dau, who will forever be the living embodiment of Darling Nikki.

In 2009, Meryn graduated from the University of Iowa with degrees in journalism and political science. She then realized she’d rather watch “The West Wing” than work in the West Wing and subsequently started “One Unique Token,” a blog about what it’s like to be your token black friend. Meryn lives in Minnesota — where she grew up — and as a result has a lot of conflicting feelings about bros and hockey players. These emotions manifest themselves in a visceral reaction whenever Meryn sees Levi Johnston.
 
 
 
 
 
Patrick Bigsby – Staff Writer

Patrick Bigsby spent five action-packed years in Iowa City before the University of Iowa finally forced him out with a B.A. in journalism and a B.M in tuba performance, condemning him to a life of perpetual unmarketability. Little did he know those five years were really an extended networking exercise that would pay off in the form of an invitation to reunite with his friends and colleagues at ArtSTALK.

When he’s not plotting his next convoluted ArtSTALK rant, Patrick holds down his dream job of teaching journalism history to undergraduates at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Living in Los Angeles gives him access to extensive pop culture riches, making his thorough lack of coolness that much more mystifying. Instead of hobnobbing with celebrities to sneak out exclusive gossip for ArtSTALK, most of his time is devoted to preparing his petition for adoption by Clint Eastwood.

His favorite pastimes include cross-promoting his own tuba playing, trolling collegiate wrestling forums, and trying to decide which animals his classmates most resemble.
 
 
 
 
 

Brian Dau – Staff Writer

Brian Dau is a graduate student in journalism at the University of Iowa. He hopes to someday get paid to do what he loves. Unfortunately, “Battle Bots” has been off the air for years. Plus, he doesn’t actually know how to build a fighting robot, or even a pacifist robot. He just likes robots. Look, what he’s saying is, if you know how to build a robot, he’s got some ideas. Some of them might even work.
 
 
 
 
 
Rachael Lander – Staff Writer

Rachael Lander is an aspiring journalist. She prefers living in the fictional Seattle Grace than the real world. She aspires to read about arts and culture on the daily, but realizes she’ll probably spend the majority of her years pretending to be Joan Holloway. That’s OK with her.
 
 
 
 
 
Hannah Lawrence – Staff Writer

Hannah Lawrence was born and raised in New York City. She graduated from the University of Iowa in 2009 with degrees in English and Spanish, but the University is currently trying to repossess the Spanish one because she isn’t using it to advocate the greatness of Telemundo like she agreed to.

Hannah is now back in New York caring for cats that aren’t hers, which they thank her for by ripping the shit out of her couch, and it just happens to be her most prized possession. At least they’re smart little assholes.

She is an editor at Hollywood.com.
 
 
 
 
 
Tommy Morgan, Jr. – Staff Writer

Tommy grew up with starry-eyed dreams of becoming a writer. In 2010, when he graduated from the University of Iowa with degrees in Journalism and English, he began to realize these dreams. Now, he has followed them to their logical conclusion: blogging while working in a pizza restaurant. When he’s not slinging dough, Tommy spends his free time working his way through his endless Netflix queue and picking fights with Roger Ebert on Twitter.

Tommy is the rare pop culture double-threat: a writer who can discuss the various arcs and plots of “Dawson’s Creek” and Bill Belichick’s offensive genius with equal knowledge and passion. Fellow ArtSTALK writer Brian Dau once proclaimed Tommy to be the only human being on Earth with an extensive knowledge of both “Glee” and WWF wrestling, even though he has since quit watching both because they are equally convoluted and full of bad acting. He is equal parts and Bill and Ted and “Daria,” mail-order wolf T-shirt catalog and Esquire. He is Liz Lemon and Tracy Jordan.

Tommy is available for weddings and corporate functions, and guarantees he will bring the house down with his awesome renditions of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” and All-4-One’s “I Swear,” even if there is no karaoke machine.
 
 
 
 
 
Gina Pusateri – Staff Writer

Gina graduated with flying colors from the University of Iowa in 2009 with degrees in journalism and cinema. She now makes use of these degrees by putting her brain in a drawer to answer phones and lick envelopes at a lending firm in Chicago. In her spare time she likes to make things up in her fiction and screenplays to try to forget about how boring her real life is. She currently lives in suburbia and is now the proud owner of a 2008 Chevy Cobalt.
 
 
 
 
 
Soheil Rexayazdi – Staff Writer

Soheil likes movies. He also likes to write. Sometimes these Venn diagrams overlap. When they do, the results appear on ArtSTALK or his own blog, Print the Legend.

Born in Tehran, raised in Iowa, and residing in Brooklyn, Soheil has led a derivative immigrant’s tale. He currently works as a communications associate for a nonprofit in Manhattan. Like the other clowns on this website, he went to the University of Iowa, both for his bachelor’s (cinema and journalism) and master’s (just journalism). Also like those clowns, he sharpened his teeth as an arts reporter for The Daily Iowan. He’s made the leap from journalism to communications with surprisingly little guilt.
 
 
 
 
 
Lauren Sieben – Staff Writer

Lauren Sieben is a recent graduate of the University of Iowa where she majored in journalism and Spanish — or “unemployment,” for short. She spent her youth watching “Inside Edition” and “General Hospital” after school with her mother, who she blames for tainting her taste in television programming. Since then, Lauren has written for publications ranging from her college newspaper to corporate newsletters, to a Spanish-language biweekly and an LGBT bimonthly. She’s not embarrassed that she paid good money to see Britney Spears in concert or that any song by Steely Dan makes her weak at the knees. This spring she’s in Washington, DC working as an editorial intern for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
 
 
 
 
 
Erin Tiesman – Staff Writer

Erin is a freelance journalist and advertising writer in the Iowa City and Cedar Rapids area. She received her Master’s degree in professional journalism from the University of Iowa in 2009, and a bachelor’s in journalism from St. Ambrose University in 2007. She adores stand-up comedy and listens to it at work, usually LOL-ing at her desk.

She manages two blogs: “I am Woman, See Me Work” and Cornfed Comedy – Iowa’s Comedy Circuit.
 
 
 
 
 
Anna Wiegenstein – Staff Writer

Anna graduated from the UI in 2009, majoring in journalism and cinema – two fields in which she would clearly be guaranteed instantaneous riches. She decided to forgo her millions for a few years, however, and moved to the strange wilderness of Missouri.

During much of her time at Iowa, she dedicated her life, heart and soul to The Daily Iowan, where she encountered all the other fine contributors to ArtSTALK. Free time these days is largely filled with Netflix Instant, driving 45 minutes to the nearest movie theater when Netflix gets old, reading every Twitter update from Kanye West with hearts in her eyes, enjoying the music of Jason Derulo more than anyone should and mainlining episodes of “Merlin.”

She has long awaited the time where all these passions can combine in a totally cohesive manner – expect a BBC-themed fanvid set to a mashup of “In My Head” and “Jesus Walks” in the future. But until then, ArtSTALK is the home of Anna’s crazy, and she could ask for nothing better.

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