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JP Rennquist Posts

“Communities of Color” leaders take issue with UMD’s lack of diversity

I have been working as a radio producer lately, and I increasingly find myself in situations where I need to try and be even-handed and to try to represent different perspectives on nuanced issues. Racial diversity is one of those things that keeps popping up for me.

The issues surrounding racism and inclusion are loaded with bad history, a lot of grey area, and many answers that seem to pull good people in opposing directions. Potentially worst of all, people just stay with the status quo, trapped by indecision.

So on Friday I was out trying to cover this hastily announced press conference at UMD. (I got the announcement in my Facebook inbox sometime around lunch, and the gathering was at 4 p.m.) From the start I could see that this was a good topic for PDD. I intended to edit this up and add some captions and titles on Friday and post it here to see what folks had to say.

Then I left my laptop power cord at work and with gas at $4-something a gallon I decided to just let it go and try to just relax and spend some time with family this weekend. That was the right call because I did enjoy myself and had a great time with my wife and kids. Also, I did not have a response from the university until today.

The response from UMD Chancellor Lendley Black is posted below the video.

Where in Duluth: Buzzfeed edition

I was reading through this list of things Minnesotans are [allegedly] too nice to brag about and I saw this picture, figured it was from Duluth, and it is.

From Buzzfeed, the ultimate warming house in Duluth, MN

Minnesotans do brag about all of this stuff all the time, but it’s fun to see it on Buzzfeed. Click the pic to see the entire post, several items have a Duluth connection.

Where in Duluth?

Where in Duluth?

Duluth is where the heart is. Where in Duluth, MN?

Bonus points if you can figure the swatch of land that the heart covers. I’m stumped on the scale there, but at a minimum I’m thinking Proctor and maybe Esko and a township or three.

Doug Moen, R.I.P.

Doug Moen passed away yesterday following a tragic fall.

UPDATES: * The Facebook Event Page for Doug’s Memorial is here. It takes place at Clyde Iron Works on Saturday, March 9th, 2013. Attendees are encouraged to wear something vintage if they are so inclined. Everyone is welcome.

* Another gathering took place March 2 at Tycoons and there is a nice write-up about it in the Duluth News Tribune: Friends Remember Vintage Clothing Collector’s Generosity.

Doug Moen, RIP.  Photo courtesy of Kip Praslowicz

Doug Moen Portrait by Kip Praslowicz

Doug was well known around Duluth and actually far and wide for his vintage costumes, furniture and decorations. His most recent business incarnation, the Retro Mall on First Street, was profiled on PDD last year: here.

Doug was also very well known as a friend to many, including many cheapskate artists and performer-types. There used to be a sign in his costume shop that read “Friends of Doug Pay Double” or something like that. But his friends didn’t pay double. My memories of Doug are of him always being ready to help out a friend, usually on short notice, and always on a budget. I was involved in a few businesses in the 2000s and Doug made immeasurable contributions to those endeavors, especially at the NorShor and Speedy Wienie. Immeasurable contributions, always for free or cheap, and always with amazing grace and kindness.

Another miraculous gift of Doug’s was his ability to come up with great ideas for a look, a style, or a project. And then he could help you find the supplies to make it happen.

Doug would occasionally work with film crews who were working in Duluth. He helped out with costuming on the Academy Award nominated 2005 film North Country. Doug often related how he was told by the Hollywood pros who toured his extensive costume collection that he should insure his collection for at least a million dollars. Like Doug himself, it turns out, his collection was actually priceless.

According to someone close to Doug, the word is that he was helping a young guy who needed a couch when he fell down an elevator shaft and later died of his injuries. I am not surprised that he was helping someone, but I was shocked to see that he died.

One of my prized curio possessions that I got from Doug is a giant, white tarp. “That I’m going to have to charge you for, JP.”

“Sure, Doug, how much?”

“How about ten bucks.”

We called it “the Love Tarp” and I used to set it out at Movies in the Park because it was easy to find, and big enough for a big group of people. Everyone was welcome. And that, in a way, is a bit of a tribute to Doug all by itself.

Karen Diver discusses another recent court decision against Duluth

At risk of setting off an avalanche of flaming comments here on PDD I am going to post this interview that I worked on today.

The City of Duluth’s request for an appeal of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals full panel has been denied. Karen Diver came in to the WGZS studios today to discuss her take on that decision and the way forward. In addition to all of the legal wrangling and tribal sovereignty issues that she takes up in this interview, I also thought it was interesting when (toward the end) she addressed a desire to cooperate with Duluth businesses and establishments including the NorShor which is much beloved by many a PDDer. I have divided interests in this matter personally and even if I did have a fully formed opinion about what would be “right” I am not really in a position to express it here. And anyway, I don’t have a fully formed opinion. And that’s where you come in PDD:

What do you think the FDL Band should do going forward? What do you think Duluth should do?

(Please note that the video may provide some context, but really this is a radio interview, not television, the lines are blurred on social media).

Idle No More Jingle Dress Dance Event in Duluth, Radio Documentary

Here is something that I have been working on. A one-hour radio documentary collection of sounds and voices from the Jan. 11 Idle No More Jingle Dress Dance demonstration through the streets of Duluth. It airs at 11 a.m. today on 89.1 FM WGZS in Cloquet. In case you are like the other 100 million people who will be instead listening to and viewing the inauguration of President Obama at that time on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday I have posted it online for people to listen to anytime in the form of a YouTube video.

I am still unhappy with some of the mix, the narration and my writing, but I am happy with being able to share these voices talking about this remarkable, historic event.

Duluthophilia

This popped up in my facebook feed.

I mean, Master Card’s little contest might pale in comparison to the intense fervor, Duluthophilia, I call it, that some of us have for this town. Heck, this blog is basically all about how great we think we are (except for the bitching posts, which are still pretty much about how great we think we are.)

I’d love to hear some of your little things that you love about Duluth, whether you use the Master Charge incorporated #LoveThisCity hashtag on social media or not, share them here, will you?

My contributions to Duluthophilia are modest, this hasn’t been updated much lately but I do have a little Pinterest board by that name and I have some images and things there that scream “I love Duluth.” Duluth-o-philia

Also, again I have not done much of this lately, but I am an avid watcher of the #dlh hashtag on twitter, which all the cool social media Duluth-o-philes use.

So, who’s up for a Duluth love fest?

Christmas City of the North Parade Stream

Hi folks. Especially the folks who are far away Duluthians, this could be good news for you.

I just got word in this nice little video from Kevin Jacobsen and LeAnn Wallace that the Christmas City of the North Parade will be streaming live at the Northland’s Newscenter website.

The twitter hashtag is #christmascityparade

Tiny Bird Living in a Big Box

This bird is living in the Home Dept Store in Duluth. Or it was a few days ago anyway.

At first I just caught it out of the corner of my eye, thinking it was a figment of my imagination, then I discovered it was real. Then, and this is the best part, a lovely clerk in a bright orange smock caught me and my daughter looking for the bird and she started to tell us its remarkable story.

Posted: No Wolf Hunting

Wolf Hunting Prohibited on Fond du Lac Reservation

Passing along this photo from Ivy Vainio (click the image to see it in context).

Fond du Lac Band passed this ordinance banning the wolf hunt a few days ago (ordinance pdf).

Dan Kraker provided some fairly decent balanced coverage that explains some of the legal and cultural implications of the wolf hunt in this MPR News story.

Boy with Red Balloon in Downtown Duluth

Here’s a short video (plus a few snapshots) that I took last spring following one of the Saturday Morning Film showings outside of Zinema 2 in Old Downtown Duluth. Hopefully they continue the series again this coming winter and spring. It was cheap, family friendly, and pretty dang engaging for the parents, grandparents and hipsters in the crowd, too. You don’t often get that combination from the megacineplex fare.

Do I get some kind of prize if I am the first person to use the “sappy stuff” tag? Bragging rights and/or swag would be acceptable.

Virgin Mobile claws back #TBT hashtag

Twitter nerds will understand this. Hashtag humor. It’s a niche category.

Click the image to go to the referenced instagram pic of Trampled by Turtles playing at a Virgin Mobile event. Our boys are growing up. *sigh*

UMD Grad Dr. Brian Kobilka Wins Nobel Prize for Chemistry

Brian Kobilka, a 1977 UMD Chemistry graduate, has won a share in the 2012 Nobel Prize for chemistry.

Dr. Kobilka can be heard in an interview with a representative from the Nobel Organization here.

Dr. Kobilka is pictured below in this 2005 photo after being inducted into the UMD Academy of Science and Engineering (and possibly after having been goosed by former Chancellor Kathryn Martin, a speculation that I am basing purely on the look on his face and his proximity to the chancellor in the picture.)

All kidding aside, it sounds like his research has saved lives and aided in the production of many medical treatments. This is a wonderful feather-in-the-cap for both Duluth and UMD. I expect a mayoral proclamation, a TED talk-like lecture of some sort, and (I hope) 1970s-era Duluth photos of a bearded, pooka-shell-necklace-wearing Kobilka to emerge soon.

Fond du Lac young people march for kids

I was on my way into work this morning and I saw some young people from the Take Back Our Rez Facebook group walking along Big Lake Road on Fond du Lac Reservation. That’s like the equivalent of rush hour as it is the main artery to and from Highway 33 and I-35, lots of cars headed up and down the road on the way to work or school.

I snapped a few photos. They carried signs saying “Love Your Self, Love Your Community” and “For Our Children.”

One of the marchers, “Chubbs” Jarvis Paro, showed me this bloody syringe that they found on their march.

Ogichidaa is one way of saying “Warrior” in Anishinaabemowin. I might not be qualified to speak, but I would say this is a good example of ogichidaa, standing up for children and the future.

Is that the lift bridge?

Is that the lift bridge at 2:56? I also thought the fireworks scene looked vaguely Duluthy at first but on second and third glance I don’t see how it could be, the bridge is in the wrong position related to the fireworks unless they are coming from Superior. Anyone else care to take a stab at it?

This is a crowd-sourced video for Something Beautiful from Needtobreathe. Related, I saw them live for the first time when they were warming up for some other act in Duluth and they kind of blew my mind, I love it when that happens. Also related, if you wanted to summarize my spirituality up in 4 minutes I don’t think you could do any better than this song.

Also, in the video for Walking Down Your Street, the Bangles start their road trip out in Duluth. Duluth, where so many great things begin. Alert Terry Mattson for licensing possibilities. Check it out at around 0:53