David Beard Posts

Curling and Possibility (A Reflection from Duluth Curling Club)

I went to the “learn to curl” night at Duluth Curling Club. The club has a storied history:

The Duluth Curling Club was organized in 1891… [The facility] can be expanded to provide up to 13 curling sheets for major events, and is the largest facility in the United States. With this facility, we have grown to the second largest club in the US; only the St Paul (MN) Curling Club, has more members.

We have hosted two World Championships, the US Olympic Trials, and numerous National events. Two DCC members have been inducted into the Curling Hall of Fame, for service to the sport. Numerous members have participated in and won State and National Championships over the years, and even a few World and Olympic Championships.

There are at least three curling clubs in the region, including one in Two Harbors and one in Superior, and I am thinking I will curl in Superior, if my friends out there will have me as I develop my skills.

Learning to curl taught me a lot.

Where in Duluth?

Good Espresso Quack

Busy Week

Manitoulin Island

I returned from a trip to Manitoulin Island to a busy week in Duluth. I visited the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation, where I learned about traditional and contemporary first nations art.

Movies in the Park and a Hint of Rubber Duck

13902705_10108013292719090_5584844089630251312_nI passed through Movies in the Park on Friday while walking home from Suicide Squad at the Duluth Movie Theater at the DECC. On the way home, I conservatively passed seventy people playing Pokemon Go. I know this because I was playing, too.

Volleyball Leagues in Duluth

Skyline Lanes Volleyball DuluthI’ve lived here for a decade. I don’t know why this surprises me so much, but I went to Skyline Lanes and saw more than 100 people playing volleyball on a Wednesday night. Are there other places for this kind of fun?

The Duluth Quantum Computing Project

20160804_150728So I attended the first meeting of the Duluth Quantum Computing Project designed and taught by Kathy McTavish, local cellist and multimedia artist. The series of workshops and mentored projects continues into the month of August. There, Kathy will bring what she described as a hybrid of fine arts, of high technology, and the ingenuity of the spirit of the MakerSpace in Duluth. As Kathy put it in last night’s class, “simple materials such as HTML5, CSS3 and Javascript, a text editor and a web browser will be our tools in creating new work.”

According to McTavish, “artists have been leveraging this space to explore new forms.” But the workshop is not only of value for creativity — McTavish believes using these tools will grow economic opportunity. “These technologies are of high value in the today’s market. In other regions of the country, coding classes provide artists with creative tools and career opportunities.”

Who in Duluth is doing the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen?

I have a few friends doing G.I.S.H.W.H.E.S., hosted by Misha Collins of I think the TV show “Supernatural.” From gishwhes.com:

We’re proud to have broken several Guinness World Records including: the most global hugs, 108,121; most pledges to commit charitable Acts of Kindness, 93,376, which we did in partnership with our friends at the non-profit Random Acts  (www.therandomact.org); and of course, let’s not forget the prestigious Longest Safety Pin Chain – over a mile long! We’ve also: delivered thousands of items to the homeless; raised the money to completely furnish every room of a home for a wounded veteran and his family (we’ll be posting videos for this soon!); had a Mars rock named after us by NASA; made Christmas trees fly; and have been reported on by news organizations around the world, including Al Jazeera.

Who in Duluth is in?  There is still time to join, I think.

Changes in Bookstores in the Duluth Region and Nationally

Village BookstoreLocal and national media are reflecting on the fate of the bookstore in Grand Rapids, Minn., about 70 miles from Duluth.

It’s small, smaller even than the Bookstore at Fitger’s, although it was crammed to the gills with books.

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