The seventh annual Duluth Superior Film Festival delivers film, music and art to the Twin Ports region June 1-5. In its short history, the festival has presented a distinctively imaginative and diverse lineup of international, American independent and regional films.
To help maintain the merriment, volunteers are needed.
Like many people, I didn’t start to drink coffee until college. Back then, as a newbie, I offset its bitter flavor with too much cream and sugar. I was also an “Equal” person for a while. But, having grown to love the taste of coffee, my cup today holds strongly brewed coffee with only a teaspoon of sugar and a splash of cream, half-and-half, soymilk, that powder stuff, whatever’s on hand. I’m not fussy. In the absence of any of that, I’ll drink a cup black now and then.
This is partly to say that I am not really a coffee snob, although I do engage in some haute coffee culture. For instance, I make my coffee each morning in a press. I enjoy a cup of Ethiopian cold-pressed coffee from specialty shops like Duluth Coffee Co. On the other hand, I sighed with delight over several cups of Folgers made in a drip machine on last year’s cabin-camping trip with my daughters’ Girl Scout troop.
On the other, other hand — and this only makes sense if you’re in the know about haute coffee culture — I have yet to try a cup of coffee with butter in it. Hipsters swear by it. I might go there; we’ll see.
Ann Klefstad is an artist who is definitely connected to this area, through her work across many mediums and by the writing, promotion and encouragement she’s given to the arts in our area.
AK: I work in sculpture, mostly, with some drawing, including ink and tar drawing on wood. My real “medium”, though, would be my subject matter. Over the years I’ve drawn closer and closer to doing only work that comes out of the ecosystem I’m in. I’m kind of a literalist, I guess. I love the forms of things, and so I use those forms, I try to learn them and come to know them by imitating them, like a kid learns.
Charlie Parr strolled into the neighborhood yesterday—barefoot, even though it was cold and damp. We had a nice conversation on my podcast about the hardships and joys of life on the road, dropping out of school, and how he slowly got into making music as a vocation. He’s doing what he loves, and that’s what I’m trying to do: as an author, and an urban farmer. My new urban farm, Tiny Farm Duluth, is slowly coming together. The soil of formerly wasted space within the city of Duluth has been tilled, and seeds will soon be sown.
The short film Meat, directed by Michael Forstein and shot in Duluth, premiered online this week on the Short of the Week website.
Meat tells the story of an idealistic college student forced to take a job as a door-to-door meat salesman. Highlighting the culture clash between small-town, working-class America and its urban counterpart, Short of the Week describes Meat as “warm to the realities of poor, white, male culture, but clear-eyed to the self destructiveness and fundamental insecurity that underpins its habits. It is a remarkable work that heralds powerful new voices in Forstein and Thomsen.”
The script was written by Duluth native Colin Keith Thomsen and the cast includes Caleb Carlson (Hermantown native), John Cromwell (son of actor James Cromwell), Sari Lennick (A Serious Man; Woody Allen’s Cafe Society), and Pearce Bunting (HBO’s Boardwalk Empire). Before premiering online, Meat screened at over 30 festivals across the United States, Europe and Australia, including the Denver Film Festival, Dallas International Film Festival, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival, Rooftop Films, Indie Memphis and the Duluth Superior Film Festival.
The videos from the 2016 Homegrown Music Video Festival have been popping up online, and PDD is archiving them on a page. We’ll continue to add to the collection as we find them or as they are sent to us.
Here’s a sample by Tomas Soderberg – “Machinery” by the Social Disaster
PDD doesn’t typically post promotional videos, but this one from the University of Minnesota Duluth’s School of Fine Art offers an interesting glimpse into some of the artwork in Duluth Mayor Emily Larson’s office, particularly focusing on Stephanie Boyum’s piece that melds an archival photograph of Fifth Avenue West over a modern-day scene.
With Selective Focus, we plan to highlight a variety of visual artists, giving some exposure to people working in disciplines that don’t immediately come to mind. This week, we have one of those people. Sasha Howell tells us about her corner of the design world.
SH: I am a costume designer! I work with local theatre and film groups in designing and implementing a costume design – usually my own. I also dabble in my own fashion design and anything to do with clothing and textile – shoes, accessories, hair, etc. I originally started student life at UMD with a Studio Art major and quickly realized it wasn’t exactly what I was looking to do – creatively. So I switched to a Studio Art MINOR and gravitated towards the Theatre department because, to me, that was a much more practical and exciting use of my talents and interests. I became quick friends with all the right people and worked closely with the costume shop there. I instantly fell in love with costumes because with EVERY new show there was opportunity to learn new techniques, new history, and to try something new! I quickly became known in town for costumes and demand started to increase. On average, I’m working on at LEAST 2 overlapping shows, but always tossing around ideas on several shows at once. On the side, I also paint abstract series and enjoy making jewelry.
For one long moment after I unintentionally swooned over a young man’s testicles, all 70 students in the UMD class I was teaching stayed mostly silent.
The incident happened in 2003, during an otherwise average session of Introduction to Cultural Studies. UMD’s course guide says the class, “Examines how cultural practices relate to everyday life by introducing students to each of the four core areas of the Cultural Studies minor: Identity Politics, Media Cultures, Cultures of Space & Place, and Cultures of Science, Technology, & Medicine.” My teaching contract was in Writing Studies, but the Sociology/Anthropology department faculty member in charge of Cultural Studies heard I might be into teaching something different, and my department head was cool with the idea. It’s been one of my favorite experiences in 20 years of trying to help people learn things.
I seek opportunities to participate in conversations with students and anyone else about how belief, intent, socialization, and other forces intersect to influence our actions. I approached Intro to Cultural Studies as an extended problem-posing conversation. I’d start most days by naming an example of something most of us in the room take for granted or don’t notice, then I’d ask a bunch of questions like, “Why do we do it that way? What happens if we try to do or see it differently. What if we did it for reasons different from the generally accepted ones? Who gets to decide?”
Local artist John Hoban organized a Sketch Bomb at UMD.
John Hoban, creator of Captain Artichoke, Apocalypse City, and Night of the Smurfing Dead, lead a Sketch Bomb at UMD on Monday. The event was planned by Pat Maus of the Archives and Special Collections area of UMD’s Martin Library.