Tag Archives: outlet

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April 13, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

A boozy brunch between girlfriends, a meeting of coworkers over coffee, a couple splitting a glass   of wine—conversations captured around the city, all serve as fodder and inspiration for Brion Poloncic’s work. In the quiet corners of Omaha’s local coffee shops and wine bars, Poloncic puts pen to paper, his ear tuned into the surrounding babble, creating art that he feels represents those around him and the experiences they discuss.

But don’t expect a still life of women gossiping between sips of their Venti mochas. As a visual artist, author, and former musician, Poloncic is a man of many hats but always remains a creator of thought-provoking and idiosyncratic work that paints middle America in a psychedelic wash.

“I’ve always fancied myself an artist,” Poloncic says. “My art is an affirmation of my peculiar skill set, and it just so happens to make me happy. It’s my own blend of therapy.”

It was through chance that Poloncic was first bitten by the creative bug. After he didn’t make the baseball team, he traded mitts for guitars and started writing music. A fan of everyone from Pink Floyd to Johnny Cash, he parlayed his early love for listening to his parent’s records into seven albums, all released under the moniker “A Tomato A Day (helps keep the tornado away).” A prolific songwriter, his discography is filled with character and colorful song titles, including ditties like “You Little Shit” and “Weirdo Park.”

For Poloncic, music wasn’t enough. He needed to sink his teeth into his next artistic outlet. So when a friend needed help setting up an Iowa art studio, he asked Polonic to draw pieces that illustrated his career. With no formal training or experience, unless coloring backpacks with magic markers counts, he dove in.

Two years later, Poloncic sold his first piece at a gallery in Lincoln. He has also shown work in Omaha and Kansas City and has a collection represented at Gallery 72, all those diploma-yielding pros be damned.

“My art isn’t constrained by my knowledge or training, and I think this makes me naturally less critical of my work,” Poloncic says.

Filled with abstract shapes, haunting faces, and stark use of color, his off-kilter yet original drawings mirror the tone of his written work. Through The Journal of Experimental Fiction, he published his first book Xanthous Mermaid Mechanics in 2012, following this up in 2014 with his second printed work On the Shoulders of Madmen. Both explored concepts of the subconscious mind, and the novel he is currently working on will follow suit.

“I’ll be surprised if anyone can read it,” Poloncic says. “It’s got no characters, no story arc, and isn’t about anything in particular.”

And he admits this is his niche, comparing his art to improvisational jazz or free-style rap where “things just happen.” For whatever he’s working on, he says the hardest part is just getting started. Once that happens, everything else just falls into place, and if he can’t get over a block, he always has another craft to turn to.

“If I stumble off the creative wagon with drawing, I get back on with writing and vice versa,” Poloncic says. “As you work on one, the other comes right along with it.”

This article was printed in the March/April 2017 edition of Encounter.

Choosing a Sound System for Your Outdoor Space

February 25, 2013 by

Wanna be able to crank the tunes at your summer backyard bash? Or enjoy some soothing jazz with a glass of wine on your patio after a long day at work? Then investing in a quality outdoor sound system should be on your to-do list.

There are a number of factors to consider before selecting an outdoor speaker package. First, the level of performance or sound quality that you are looking for. Let’s assume that only one pair of outdoor speakers is needed for adequate coverage of your deck or patio area. You can probably find models from $119 for a pair, but if your want good quality sound and years of enjoyment, don’t cut corners here. Plan on spending between $400-600 for a pair and you’ll be a lot happier with your purchase. If your outdoor space is larger, you might want to invest in additional speakers strategically placed throughout.

Outdoor speakers are usually offered in either a black or white finish, with the white finish being paintable to match exterior colors. They typically offer the ability to tilt or slant the speaker to aim the sound closer to or further away from your home. This is handy when neighbor’s homes are nearby and you want to avoid blasting sound into their backyard.

If you’re mounting the speakers under an eave or on an exterior wall, rely on a good quality 14-gauge wire. Make sure it’s CL3 rated to meet fire code, since you’ll most likely be running the wire through the walls of your home. Most CL3 wires are paintable to match your home color. In new home construction, the wires can be run ahead of time, allowing them to be hidden and eliminating the need to paint them later.

Something else to consider is controlling the volume. You could just run the wires directly to the speakers from the stereo receiver, but then you’d have to run back inside to where the equipment is located every time you wish to adjust the volume. Using a local volume control is preferable. While weatherproof outdoor volume controls are available, we generally prefer to locate the volume control just inside the deck/patio door to avoid another opportunity for cold air and moisture to enter the home through the exterior wall’s vapor barrier.

When choosing a stereo receiver, be aware that most outdoor speakers are efficient enough that 40 to 100 watts is more than enough to drive a pair. So wattage is not usually an issue, unless you’re running more than one pair of speakers at a time. Odds are that you will never be driving the speakers at the higher wattage range, unless you’re prepared to invite the entire neighborhood over for beer and iced tea.

On the subject of the so-called wireless speakers…There is a bit of a misnomer here. They will require a transmitter, usually located near your equipment rack, that sends the signal to the wireless speakers. All speakers require power to drive them. Regular outdoor speakers get their power from the wires connected to the receiver’s speaker terminals. Even wireless speakers will require power of some sort, probably a 12-volt adapter that will need to be plugged into an outlet nearby. This approach is not very conducive to Nebraska and Iowa’s inclement weather and is therefore not recommended.

The only wireless speakers that we do recommend are ones that work with Apple’s Airplay™. The technology allows you to send music from a Mac or PC running iTunes, or an iOS device, directly to the speakers and control it from those devices. There are also third-party applications that can add AirPlay functionality to Android devices for a price. Some of these types of speakers will work standalone, but many require them to be connected to a Wi-Fi network in the home. Some may also have rechargeable batteries in them, so they can be more portable for use at parties and such, or to bring sound to other parts of the home. The best performance usually comes from the speakers that require a connection to AC power. They will always have power and you don’t have to worry about the battery running down at an inopportune moment.

For more information on outdoor sound systems for your patio/outdoor space, visit customelectronics.tv or call 402-397-4434.