Wolftree Magazine founder Noah Kupcho is the son of a lumber-jacking coal miner.

After spending his early years in his hometown of rural Hazen, North Dakota, Noah made his way east for college, where he found a creative outlet in making photo books and zines.

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When he graduated with a degree in photography from Minnesota State University Moorhead in 2012, he encountered a challenge faced by many graduates with liberal arts degrees: how to turn creative passion into something ongoing and sustainable.

Like many bold men from stories past, Noah was inspired to take a risk on his creativity by the instigation of a beautiful woman; his wife Brooke.

“I probably would’ve just backed away had I known that I would have to spend $37k in the first short while,” he recalled, “but ignorance was on our side.”

And compelled by more than just ignorance, Noah and Brooke were surrounded by friends and collaborators who believed in their dream and voiced their support. One such advocate was Ecce Art Gallery’s owner, Mark Weiler, who encouraged their aspirations, lending them a great deal of confidence in their vision.

Then, a serendipitous collision of events transpired during Misfit’s first annual conference in May 2013 — the very same time Wolftree would be launching their magazine’s first volume.

Mark introduced AJ and Melissa to Noah and Brooke, which planted the seeds that would soon blossom into a beautiful partnership. At this year’s second annual Misfit Con, the inclusion of Wolftree Magazine in Misfit’s craft publishing arm, Misfit Press, was officially announced.

“They call us the Wolftree kids because they want to help us out,” Noah shared with a laugh.

In his humble and soft-spoken way, he continued to explain that Misfit isn’t like a typical publishing house that only seeks to make a quick profit off of their creative work.

In fact, AJ told Noah that he knew Misfit probably wouldn’t make a dime on this investment. But, Misfit absolutely shares Noah’s passion for the arts — that was the reason for starting the Misfit Journal and that was the reason for wanting to partner with Wolftree.

“It’s really shocking to see someone help you out when it’s not helping them out,” Noah added.

In the partnership, Wolftree retains all creative freedom to make the magazine that they’ve dreamed of making.

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“It’s their magazine, we just help them publish it,” said Misfit Press’ Director Jessie White.

What’s a Wolftree?

The word Wolftree literally means, “a very large forest tree that has a wide-spreading crown and inhibits or prevents the growth of smaller trees around it.

The name was decided upon during a Christmas gathering with friends in Noah and Brooke’s apartment in Fargo. In thinking up names, a friend shouted out “Wolftree!” and everyone agreed that the name sounded intriguing.

Upon looking up its definition they realized that it was the complete opposite of what they hoped for the magazine to accomplish. So, rather than scrap the word, they simply decided to lend it a new definition by associating it with things that represent their vision.  

“By doing so, we aim to redefine the way people view what comes out of Fargo,” Noah said.

Instead of growing so big that nothing can grow up around it, Wolftree exists to allow others an opportunity to thrive.

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“When we started, it was for me to show my work because I was stuck and no one thought I was important. I felt diminished,” Noah explained.

“Everyone wants to feel important, so to be able to do that for someone is our mission; to raise someone up is why we started.”

In selecting submissions, he said they look for someone excited about what they do. Celebrity, widespread social networks, and a thriving web presence aren’t required. Instead, Noah picks the pieces that resonate with him and his editorial team. He selects the submissions that give him chills or bring tears to his eyes.

Starting a business was not without its challenges, but Noah recalls the words of his coal-mining/lumberjack father when he showed him Wolftree Vol. 1:  “I am proud of you and what you’re doing.” For a man mostly disconnected from the world of art and creative communication mediums to so readily validate the importance of Wolftree was all the encouragement Noah needed to continue on with Vol. 2.

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In addition to paternal support, Noah credited the community of Fargo, the Misfits, and Wolftree readers for the ongoing success of the magazine.

“Support and relationships have been the most beneficial things. Being in a community like Fargo has been everything for us.”  

The magazine has only been in existence for a little over a year, but they are well on their way to publishing Volume IV. When asked what this year has taught him, Noah said that it may sound cliché, but that he’s learning to go after the things he really wants in life.

He posed a musing challenge as we concluded our interview:

“People live foolishly,” he said, adding that we should do something that we actually want, rather than stuff that bogs us down.

He now aims to use Wolftree as a megaphone for a voice that’s been lost in the world of magazine.  

“We’re trying to reclaim a voice of humility and honor,” he said.

Whether submitted pieces are published on Wolftree.co or printed in beautifully crafted volumes, every single drop of creative energy is poured into each and every aspect of their work. From the design, editing and layout, to the stunning photography that accompanies written pieces (often taken by Noah himself), to choosing the paper, ink saturations and packaging. Everything about Wolftree is intentional.

“We’re not here to make money, we do it because we love it.”

Check out the magazine for yourself at Wolftree.co and keep up with their ridiculously beautiful photo updates on Instagram.

~ Dane Johnson, Wordsmith-in-Residence posted up in Misfit’s Raven’s Nest in Fargo. 

This morning’s One Million Cups Fargo featured two presenters from drastically different fields, but with equally inspiring vision. 

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First up was Jeremy Neuharth of SYCORR.

He unashamedly shared his passion for banks and credit unions. 

His company has implemented guerrilla tactics to break into industries that are aversive to change…like the financial industry.

Seeing that more education is needed for the protection of consumers’ personal information, and their money which can be accessed with said information, he created SYCORR to index and benchmark all the information-gathering processes of credit unions throughout the US.

Second up was Mama Jean.

She wanted to create a easy-to-obtain meal option that was more delicious than take-out and much healthier than fast food. 

To accomplish this goal, she founded Z!NG, Dinner in a Dash

After working with app-making magicians over at Myriad Mobile, she launched an app-based ordering feature for people to scan through her 39-item menu and pick up their home-cooked comfort foods while on the move. 

"I want to offer a healthier version of the comfort foods we grew up with," she said. 

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As is customary at One Million Cups Fargo, Greg Tehven interviewed and facilitated questions from the 224 people in attendance. 

Once again, the Fargo community displayed their willingness to help companies like Z!NG and SYCORR through their insightful questions and collaborative spirit. 

How can we help Z!NG? 

Download their app.

Try their food!

And, give honest feedback about your customer experience process. 

How can we help SYCORR? 

Spread the word about the alarming number of incidences of “click-jacking fraud”. Awareness-raising gives rise to change.  

SYCORR has provided an easy-to-share resource at their website.

All in all, it was another inspiring morning at The Stage in Island Park. 

~ Dane Johnson, Wordsmith-in-Residence at the Raven’s Nest in Fargo. 

Attention filmmakers!

We have decided to extend the submission deadline for Filming Shakespeare to August 1st.

Filming Shakespeare is an annual film festival that Misfit produces in partnership with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. The King of Shakespeare himself, Sir Kenneth Branagh, is the patron of this film festival which is now in its second year.

Quite a few filmmakers asked us for an extension on the original July 1st deadline to give them more time to get their films completely polished and so we decided to extend the deadline for all. Hurrah! So, if you’re a filmmaker and you are making, or have made, a short film that in some way relates to William Shakespeare and his works or his life, please submit through the form over at Filming Shakespeare before August 1st. 

The ten finalists will have their short films screened at the second Shakespeare Film Festival in Stratford upon Avon in the first week of October. The final winner will be chosen by some kick-ass judges and will receive a cash prize of $1,000 and a Filming Shakespeare laurel. 

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Miguel Danielson is a co-founder of the Fargo-based entrepreneurial support squad Emerging Prairie, a company committed to creating an environment where entrepreneurs and startups can thrive. As a partner in their mission, Misfit sat down with Miguel to ask him about the vision behind their newest venture, the Fargo Startup House.

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The following conversation pieces were recorded on the front porch of 721 9th St. N. in Fargo, ND, the site of this homey entrepreneurial haven.

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Community: First, they began building up the house’s community by reaching out to mentors and building a network of relational support.

Secondly, they paid special attention to the design details within the home itself, as they’re working to make it optimally conducive for the creative minds it will soon accommodate. 

Crafting these customizations was left in the creative hands of furniture-making artisan Brandon Laplante. All of the wood, brick, and furniture pieces in these photos reflect his craftsmanship, as well as the house’s devotion to details. 

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LocationMiguel shared why they chose this particular home and neighborhood for their startup house. (Apologies for the noisy wind…nature’s effects still elude our control :) 

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Misfit’s Contributions: In his words, listen to Miguel’s explanation of how Misfit is investing in the startup house project.

Stay up to speed with all that’s happening at the Fargo Startup House by signing up for updates at their website

~ Dane Johnson, Wordsmith-in-Residence at Misfit’s “Raven’s Nest” in Fargo.

This is no ordinary house, it’s the Fargo Startup House; a homey entrepreneurial incubator that we’re thrilled to call partner. More info to come, so stay tuned! 

At Misfit, we love theater. The discipline and timing required in live performance has proven foundational in guiding many of our creative exploits.

So, when we caught wind of a Fargo-based theater crew that wanted to “give people a new idea of what theater could be,” we were intrigued…and slightly suspicious. What form would this “new idea” take? We had to meet the minds behind this audacious proposal.

ENTER: Jordan Krsnak and Ryan Domres. 

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Ryan attended college in Fargo, but left to develop his artistic chops as a director and choreographer in places like NYC and elsewhere. He returned home to form a professional creative collective called experience blur, or, blur, because he wanted to see a professional performance company in Fargo.

Jordan is an actor and assistant director for blur’s latest reimagining of the theatrical experience in their interpretation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.

Both think that some of the best ideas are the ones that sound the most ridiculous.

For example, they created a performance stage within a geodesic dome that can hold about 200 audience members.

Why this unordinary approach?

Their answers:

  • We are trying to breed art everywhere we go and the dome acts as an art installation of sorts.

  • It serves as a pop-up performance space.

  • It blurs the lines between audience and performers; between different artistic forms and expressions.

  • The dome is mirrored and with every change of light there’s a kaleidoscope of color.

  • It pushes the boundaries.

“People are so used to traditional theater, but that bores me,” Ryan said.

In efforts to introduce people to a new kind of theater experience, blur implements elements of cabaret and Vegas-style shows, referencing the movement and dance of Cirque du Soleil.

Even in promoting their upcoming performance of The Great Gatsby, blur decided upon an unorthodox approach of sending their cast, decked out in Roaring Twenties era costumes, into Downtown Fargo’s bars and restaurants to personally invite people to their event.

Now, if you haven’t the pleasure of encountering a flapper girl or a dapper guy with an invite from Jay Gatsby, then allow us to point you in the right direction of procuring one for you and your party:

Visit: http://www.experienceblur.com/tickets.html

UPDATE: Due to unforeseen weather complications, blur’s Gatsby performance will not be held within their geodesic dome. However, it’s still found a wonderful home at the historic Fargo Theatre

This ambitious creative collective will be performing there twice a day from July 17th - 21st at 7pm & 9pm

Again, for more info about the performance itself, visit: http://www.experienceblur.com/

Dane JohnsonWordsmith-in-Residence stationed at Misfit’s Fargo outpost.

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A few years ago, over drinks in an English pub, we engaged in a lively and poetic discourse with two men both named Paul.

These Pauls were particularly excited to chat with us about William Shakespeare — having both been engaged with his work as academics, writers, and performers. They marveled at the popularity of Shakespeare-related festivals in the US and wondered from what source this steady stream of Shakespearean fandemonium has persisted throughout the comparatively short history of our yankee nation.  

And so an epiphanic question was posed: What if we road-tripped across North America – visiting a handful of the over 200 Shakespeare festivals – to better understand why Shakespeare continues to thrive in America?

Then, the following plan was hatched:

Misfit, in partnership with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the University of Warwick (aka: the Pauls), shall embark on a journey of approximately 10,000 miles, lasting 60 days, to visit 14 festivals and to connect with hundreds of Shakespeare fanatics to document how, even after four centuries and an ocean between us, Americans celebrate the work of this renowned linguistic artist.

This endeavor has been aptly named Shakespeare on the Road. We’ll use Shakespeare on the Road’s website to map and update our adventures. We will also document the journey on Instagram through #BardintheUSA.

However, we’d be sorely remiss to not extend an invitation to you, Shakespeare aficionados, to contribute a verse of your own to our transcontinental documentation.

So, we’re asking that you share a story of how and why you continue to celebrate Shakespeare. Does his work have specific interplay with the formative history of your region? What layers might be peeled back to help us understand the living connection between you, your community, and his work?

If you have a story to share, we’d love to consider including it on our ever-populating page of stories at Shakespeare on the Road’s website (site will be fully launched on July 2nd).  

You might be wondering, what exactly are we asking for?

That’s a good question.

A: We’d like to have a short (2-3 min) audio recording of your Shakespeare story. This can be simply recorded on your computer or smartphone and emailed or linked to us.

First, however, submit your idea to this form and from there we’ll be available to answer any other questions that might arise along the way.

We’ll see you on the road!

~ Dane Johnson, Wordsmith-in-Residence stationed at Misfit’s Fargo outpost. 

We nomadic Misfits empathize deeply with a traveller’s longing for a home-cooked meal enjoyed in a warm and welcoming environment.

That’s why we partner with such hospitable ventures like DinnerTies in Fargo as they’ve literally begun inviting the world over for dinner.

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This week we attended a dinner, or “supper” if you’re of the Midwestern persuasion, at our Wolftree friend’s (Noah and Brooke) intimately small apartment. Across the table from us were friends from the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. They were getting a taste of DinnerTies’ offerings so they could informatively promote the experience to the many visitors seeking guidance from their information sanctuary.

In efforts to more intentionally extend Fargo’s warmth and hospitality to visitors, DinnerTies links generous local hosts with hungry travelers. Travelers pay nothing, but are asked to bring an item from their place of origin as a gift, while hosts have the pleasure of a traveler’s company, their stories, and an outsider’s perspective for an evening. Win-win.

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“It’s often said that the people are a huge part of what makes this area so special,” Danella Myers, Marketing Manger at CVB, said. “What better way to showcase that to visitors than to have them spend a little time in someone’s home?”

While Noah grilled up chicken and salmon, Brooke set out a growler of Fargo Brewing Company’s Belgian white beer and then presented initial courses of salad and bread.

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Now married for two years, our hosts admitted that they haven’t let their tiny abode stop them from entertaining and welcoming others in. They mentioned times when the living room floor was completely covered in air mattresses to accommodate friends sleeping over.

In addition to food, they provided a steady stream of conversation about family, photography, marriage, and the beauty of Fargo’s welcoming community.

One of the five guests was Brooklyn Williams, an intern at CVB. In a word, she described the experience as benevolent.

“From the moment I walked in the door, I felt welcome in their home,” she said.

With much gratitude to our hosts, Brooke and Noah, and a toast to our fellow guests from the CVB, cheers to a venture that makes being nomadic even more amazing!

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If you’re Fargo-based, then consider becoming a host. If you’re a traveller with Fargo on your itinerary, then why would you not want to be someone’s honored guest? And, if Fargo’s not on your upcoming travel itinerary, um, why not?

~ Dane Johnson, Wordsmith-in-Residence stationed at Misfit’s Fargo Outpost.

PS: If the hyperlinks in the post weren’t clue enough for you, then please go visit the DinnerTies website by clicking right HERE. Or you could also click HERE

Today’s One Million Cups event in Fargo broke a nationwide attendance record by packing the Stage at Island Park with approximately 351 caffeinated and collaborative creative types from around the region.

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The first of two presenters was Shane Waslaski, CEO of Intelligent InSites.

Shane shared the personal story of his daughter’s health complications after her premature birth. The trying experience provided him with an added dose of ambition to transform the operational flow in the healthcare system, so that it can better serve patient’s needs.

His team of 110 employees are working to connect patients with what they need when they need it by streamlining antiquated processes across the healthcare industry. 

He also put out a call for professionals from all backgrounds to consider how they might contribute to Intelligent InSite’s work. Check out their website, if you feel you could contribute in some way. 

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Then, Kyle Coolbroth, CoCo Minneapolis Co-Founder, explained his philosophy behind co-working and shared the story of how his spaces have attracted attention and investment from Google.

In fact, Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, has called CoCo one of the top collaborative spaces in the world. 

Kyle foresees a rapid movement toward a world with contingent workers that will need a space of their own. But more than just a space, we all need a place to belong, he said. 

"Collaboration begins with trust," Coolbroth said.

And it’s in co-working communities that we form bonds that enable us to share ideas and support one another’s innovations, he added. 

And in case the crowd wasn’t convinced already, Coolbroth reiterated the belief that there’s a power in gathering people together to do the work of their dreams. This power is evident week after week at the One Million Cup events. 

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Equally exciting as the great attendance record was Coolbroth’s announcement of a future CoCo space in Fargo (more information available at http://cocomsp.com/locations/fargo/).

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Innovation can happen anywhere, but, to facilitate innovation and collaboration, space matters.

Right now, Fargo is making itself the place (and space) to be.

Dane JohnsonWordsmith-in-Residence based in Misfit’s Fargo Outpost.