David Beard Posts

Duluthian paints France


Duluth artist Kenneth Marunowski is in France, painting, and sends his regards to friends left behind, like me.

Two Harbors Chalk.a.Lot


Amongst these magnificent works of sidewalk art from the Two Harbors Chalk.a.Lot this weekend is a tribute to Cloud Cult. Visit Sunday if you can. The art will still be awesome.

Pokemon Go Duluth Update

Does anyone have any crazy Pokemon Go Duluth stories? I see tons of evidence that the Rose Garden is overrun with Pokemon. And I saw eight kids staring into their phones at Pizza Lucé, which is a Gym across the street from a PokeStop or whatever it is.

Mix 108 has a list of sites. So does Reddit. And so does Duluth.com.

Remember, injured and orphaned wildlife should be brought to Wildwoods. Even Pokemon.

Sidewalk Days: Parklets, Pies, Pops; Meatless Meatballs and Mermaids


View of Sidewalk Days after dinner time, looking toward Lake Avenue from Superior Street.

So my friends and I wandered down to Sidewalk Days, a project of the Greater Downtown Council. For most of the day, Superior Street is closed from Lake Avenue to Fifth Avenue West. At night, like last night, the closure can extend all the way to Fond-du-Luth Casino and Greysolon Plaza.

We stopped at the parklet in front of Lake Superior BakehouseParklets take a few parking spots on the main drag and turn them into plywood green spaces. We (a group of nerds including Duluth’s own Nifty Nerd) were hunting for refreshment, and the Bakehouse had beverages and a blueberry cinnamon roll that was amazing. The woman staffing the table was kind enough to mention reading and liking an earlier essay I wrote. I blush to think that people read my work, but it was the tastiness of the treats that won our hearts.

Music Shopping in Duluth

I am drained; I just want to appreciate things today. It’s almost Sidewalk Days in Duluth. Makes me appreciate all I can walk to downtown. Today, I am gushing about music.

I was walking downtown enjoying the summer and stopped in to Electric Fetus. There, I picked up the new Jean Michel Jarre CD (a double-disc, actually), Electronica 1&2. On the set, Jarre collaborates with hip, exciting new artists I have never heard of, as well as Cyndi Lauper, Laurie Anderson, Edward Snowden, Edgar Froese, John Carpenter … an eclectic batch of voices. I look at the disc and see the Orb as a collaborator and realize the Orb is already “old school” to today’s music what my parents’ music was to me. The entire package is a reminder that I am (approaching) middle age. I said “approaching.”

But it also reminds me how lucky I am that the Electric Fetus is around. And it got me thinking hard about record stores in the Twin Ports.

Reflections on Race and Community-oriented Policing

DavidBeard_SEThis is going to begin in Milwaukee, pass through St. Paul, and end in Duluth.

When I was a kid, the Milwaukee Police Department gave away baseball cards. The cards were printed for the police with the Milwaukee Brewers as the celebrities. Each officer carried two, and you had to talk to more than one officer over the summer to collect a full set. It was a great strategy for bringing families and police together. My favorite Brewer was Rollie Fingers, because he had a handlebar moustache. I didn’t know anything, any damn thing at all, about baseball.

Rollie Fingers Baseball Card

The baseball cards were part of a “community-oriented policing” initiative. I was a kid; I barely understood what that meant, but I understood the problem it was meant to address.

In 1981, when I was nine, Ernest Lacy was arrested on suspicion of rape in Milwaukee. According to an account in The New York Times, Lacy was taken into a police van, where “two of the officers then held his legs down by placing their feet on his legs, and a third officer placed his knee between Mr. Lacy’s shoulder blades, forcing him to lie face down with his left cheek pinned to the ground. … Then, one of the policemen pulled Mr. Lacy’s arms up beyond his shoulder blades and over his ears [with] one violent, convulsive seizure and then the black man was absolutely still. … [T]he extension of Mr. Lacy’s arms toward his head interfered with the flow of oxygen to his lungs. … [T]his was fatal.” Lacy was taken alive into a police van and was removed dead, a victim of police brutality.

(Another man was convicted of the rape, if that matters to anyone reading this. It shouldn’t for Ernest Lacy any more than it did for Clayton, Jackson and McGhie.)

Boat – People

I found this poem on my desk — you step away for a week, and everything you see when you come back is bright and new. These are just the last stanzas, because I want to honor copyright and because they move me:

Amy Lynn Clark Boat - People

The Last Singles Night (for now)

I attended the final Singles Night … for June. I promised I would not write about it (because when I am thinking about writing I am no longer “present”) and there was disappointment among some folks. So a final post about the final Singles Night (for June). It will go on, in August, if there is desire and support.

Shopping Alternative Ways of Thinking

Duluth Alternative Shopping

I went shopping in the most unusual shops in Downtown Duluth.

Fathers, Sons and the Use of Force

DavidBeard_SEI have no memories of my father or the life my mother, sister, father and I lived until age four. Our home was in the middle of the city, but it was so old, it used to be the center of a farm. The garage had lived a former life as a barn, with hay lofts refitted for storing unused garden tools.

I don’t remember my parents’ divorce. In kindergarten, I understood that my mother filed, and that my grandparents moved in with us, because my mother was afraid that he would hurt her. By middle school, I understood the kind of hurt she feared.

My father is my paradigm case of what it means for a man to use force.

I’ve been thinking about the use of force. And every June, I think hard about fatherhood. The thinking is coming together this year.

Christian thinker and philosopher Simone Weil describes force as something that “turns anybody who is subjected to it into a thing.” She is writing about Homer’s Iliad, a poem about war, the force that turns men into corpses.  But she goes beyond war to talk about the threat of force as well.

A week of art, music and singles mingling

How do I catch you up on the past week, PDD?

Last Thursday, I went to the reopening of the Tweed. Mayor Larson was there, exciting. Ken Bloom directs one of the most significant cultural resources in the region. Bill Payne‘s tenure as Dean of the School of Fine Arts at UMD made great things possible for the Tweed, too.

Quiet (Singles) Night at the Depot

Duluth Singles Night at the Depot

I spent Wednesday night at the Depot.

It was singles night, a weekly event in June. The event included $1 Castle Danger beers and entertainment from DJ Trivia. The event included free tickets to local events from KQDS and some locally owned restaurants and some tickets to Tribute Fest (I won three — anyone want to go? I feel no desire to pay tribute to any of the bands being covered.). The highlight of the event: a package to Las Vegas.

Art and Indigenous Community Health

I spent last Friday at the AICHO Complex, in Trepanier Hall for an event about art, health and indigenous communities.

Parking Crunch in Canal Park

The season for enforcing paid parking in Canal Park has begun (see the DNT article here). Parking in Canal Park will get tight and expensive.

Lake Superior Magazine image

Lake Superior Magazine image

The photo at left is of pre-redevelopment Canal Park, not parking this weekend. But you get the idea.

If you are reading this and remember life in Duluth when this was the beach, I’d love to hear stories.

Meanwhile, parking…

I used to meet friends at Endion Station, which was the (I think) last cheap place to park in Canal Park until the meters were upgraded.

And for a while, I joined the Great Lakes Aquarium because the free parking given members of the Aquarium was cheaper than parking in Canal Park. Plus the Aquarium is awesome.

What is the last secret of the local for getting into Canal Park this summer with a car?

Archetypes in Wrestling: Reflections on Recent Matches at Wessman Arena

DavidBeard_SEI spent last Saturday night thinking and rethinking about cultural archetypes through the most popular form of American theater, the wrestling show.

Heavy on Wrestling, a Duluth-based promotion, has organized numerous cards over the past decade at casinos and entertainment centers throughout the region. Last week’s event at Wessman Arena was intergenerational. Baron von Raschke, who started wrestling in 1966, served as the “commissioner.” For those a bit younger, who remember wrestling on network TV, “The Million Dollar Man,” Ted DiBiase and Eugene were present; DiBiase signed autographs and Eugene wrestled Minnesota wrestling mainstay Mitch Paradise.

If you thought wrestling was something that only happened on cable TV, you are missing out. There are more than a half-dozen wrestling promotions in Minnesota running shows throughout the state. To learn more, follow the work of Razzling Rick.