A Caffeinated Conversation with Seattle Artist Duo KeseyPollock

Inside two of Seattle’s most creative minds.

SEATTLE—Seattle’s coffee shops are legend. From the grungy haunts depicted in the 90s slacker classic Singles to the world domination of Starbucks, roasted beans have long dominated the scene in the Emerald City. Steph Kese and Erin Pollock of Seattle-based artist duo KeseyPollock noticed that coffee shop culture had accelerated in recent years, owing partly to the fact that the tech industry had priced many younger artists out of real estate normally used for studios and creative offices.

In fact, KeseyPollock—who earned renown for sculpting lifelike wax-and-Crisco people that they would scorch in their studio to create fantastical videos and photographs of dripping, melting humans—recently had to give up their own workshop in the rapidly developing International District. “That building is becoming high-end condos, so we don’t have a studio right now,” Kese says, “which is crazy because we’ve been working on these gigantic sculptural pieces for many years now. To find ourselves in this position was heartbreaking for half a second, and then it was completely liberating. We started meeting in coffee shops, and reevaluating our work, and what are the things in our work that aren’t necessarily medium-based.”

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Thank You For Caffeinating

America’s $75 billion love affair with soft drinks has less to do with flavor than a specific, notorious ingredient.

Even with proposed soda taxes and campaigns to rid Americans of our soft drink addiction, in the United States, soft drinks far outpace any other beverages in our diet. The average four-person household drinks nearly 2,000 cans of soda annually.

That’s a lot of sugar consumption, but what most people don’t realize is that caffeine is actually the alluring ingredient that hooks us to this single largest source of calories in the American diet.

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Watch Your Mouth: Four Loko and the Search for a Safe Caffeinated Booze Four Loko and the Search for a Safe Caffeinated Booze

What coca-infused wine and a hyper-charged drinking culture can tell us about today's booze-with-a buzz craze.

Last fall, emergency personnel found a New York teenager lying on the subway tracks. Other kids had been discovered passed out at school, asleep in a building lobby, and splayed out in a dark public park. Each of them turned up in Bellevue Hospital Center’s pediatric emergency room with one thing in common: They had reportedly downed Four Loko, a 23.5-ounce concoction that originally contained as much caffeine as a cup of coffee and about as much alcohol as four regular beers.

Caffeine and alcohol are two of the world's most popular legal drugs, and in theory, their effects pair nicely. Following last year's youth health scare, Food and Drug Administration commissioner Margaret Hamburg declared caffeine an illegal additive in alcoholic drinks, stating that the active ingredients in Four Loko produced "a state of wide-awake drunk."

Precisely. That effect was so popular that fans rushed to stock up on the stuff before it was cleared from the shelves. So how do we get a wide-awake drunk feeling without winding up zombie-eyed on a subway platform?

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@GOOD Asks: What Are Your Favorite Tips for Getting Through the Day Without Caffeine? The Community Answers

On Twitter, @whpatters suggests you "smell the rind of an orange, eat an apple, or bike to work." How about all three? Join the conversation.

Yesterday on GOOD, Twitter, and Facebook, we asked our friends: What are your favorite tips for getting through the day without caffeine? We ask a question to our Twitter and Facebook faithful once a day, so if you’re not yet following @GOOD or a fan, make sure to sign up and participate in the conversation.

Check out what our Twitter followers had in mind:

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Yesterday our food contributor Peter Smith covered Starbucks's new Trenta size cup option. This mega cup holds 31 ounces and contains the caffeine equivalent of four cups of coffee. I can't think of a better time to share our tips on how to get through the day without caffeine. Here is mine: Eat a healthy breakfast for a morning pick-me-up.

We ask a question to our Twitter and Facebook faithful once a day, so if you’re not yet following @GOOD or a fan, make sure to sign up and participate in the conversation.

On Wednesday we will post a roundup of our favorite responses, so stay tuned.

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