Stage Diving Mayors

I forgot to mark my calendar, but yesterday was Trampled by Turtles Day in both Duluth and Minneapolis. Here’s Don and RT Rybak crowd surfing at First Ave last night after making the proclamation.

Wild Bill’s Run premiering at MSPIFF

Thursday, April 19th at 7pm at the St. Anthony Main Theatre in Minneapolis. Tickets are available here.

Wild Bill’s Run is a documentary about Willow River’s own Bill Cooper. He led a polar expedition in the 70s that was supposed to go to Moscow. But his life took some unexpected turns before landing him on the U.S. Marshals’ 10 Most Wanted List. In other words, I really grew to love this guy.

MSPIFF is the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival. It’s a pretty nice festival, even if it doesn’t take place in a barn.

I’m hoping to announce the local premiere soon. Not, like, tomorrow. But soon…

Duluth Does Freud


Urinal Towers

Why is Duluth so anti progressive?

I look in the paper and see nothing about sustainability. No solar, no wind, no geo. But great music. That’s the way it is, Dem. or Rep. Why is Duluth so anti progressive?

Murzik — “Poison Tears”


This is a Minneapolis band, but the video is directed by Nicholas Sunsdahl, and the lovely Chelsy Whittington appears in it — both of whom are locals.

Unwelcome Duluth?

MPR has this story about the difficulty of settling into Duluth both professionally and otherwise for a new college grad.

I know in order to finally make this place home myself I had to leave after my tenure at UMD and gain experience and then be willing to make a little less salary but then be able to live here and enjoy it’s uniqueness permanently. I know of others who have done the same and feel the same a I do.

What’s your experience?

Duluth not welcoming, young transplants looking for work say

Twin Ports Arts Align

Last night I spent a few hours in the boardroom of the Duluth Art Institute, where artists, representatives of arts organizations, and hangers on like myself met to talk about ways to better align local arts. The result, Twin Ports Arts Align, is a group that is 85 percent energy so far — a webpage, a Gmail account, a Facebook page, all set up by Crystal Pelkey of Zeitgeist and an engine behind Nerd Nite — with Kristin Duckart of the DAI.

What would you want to see in a group whose primary mission would be the support and facilitation of local art? So much of the work is just getting the key players to the table; Arts Align should just be applauded for getting us this far. What is next? I’m thinking they need someone to get their hands dirty — about 1-2 PR interns. What steps would you like to see next?

Racism in East Hillside

I am working on an investigative piece right now on racism in the East Hillside and  I want to hear peoples opinions on it. Do you think racism is an issue in Duluth’s East Hillside? Have you seen it firsthand or experienced it yourself? I recently talked to someone who had seen an act of racism on the DTA. Has anyone else witnessed racism on the DTA?

“Alone” Trampled by Turtles video has world premiere on CMT

CMT World Premiere Trampled by Turtles "Alone"

This was really a pleasure to see, both as a Duluthophile and a music lover. Our boys just keep getting bigger (and better). “World Premiere” music videos surely don’t have the same appointment television mystique that they did back in the early 80s on MTV, but still. This is cool.

Dave Simonett’s MN tattoo and various Duluth scenes and landscapes all have uncredited cameos. Feel free to do the “Where in Duluth?” game on them. I could only figure out a couple on my own.

Duluth SoundCloud Sampler

What locally relevant new songs on SoundCloud are you liking? Here are my finds.

Bull Feathers — “Shake” (Cougar Conley and the Virgin Marcus!)

Emily Haavik — “Fall” (Hey, she’s a PDD intern!)

Modern Gentlemen and DZK — “Mean Streak” (Insert parental warning label here)

Film festival seeking volunteers

Do you like film, music and art? How about free tickets to movies, bands and art exhibits?

The Duluth Superior Film Festival (formerly Sound Unseen International Duluth) is looking for volunteers. The festival runs May 30 through June 3, 2012 and consists of film, music, and art events.

Positions available include ticket takers, ushers, and traffic directors. Volunteers will be provided with a festival pass for their service, which is good for all festival events. This is a great opportunity for those who want to be involved in film, music and visual arts!

Date: 5/30 to 6/3/2012
Locations: Zinema 2, Tycoons Alehouse, Prøve Gallery, others TBD
Contact: Letisha Rice
Phone: 715-292-2856
Email: letisha @ dusuff.com

Where in Duluth?

This week: pylons, quirky history, silent films and beer

You know what they say about there being two seasons in Minnesota. And if winter is over, it must be road construction season. The I-35 Mega Project returns and the city is doing work on Kenwood Avenue and 46th Avenue West. Start remembering all of your alternate routes.

Sarah Vowell (writer, radio personality, and voice of Violet from The Incredibles) is speaking at Mitchell Auditorium.

Also at St. Scholastica is a free silent movie film fest showing Nosferatu, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Metropolis.

The noir play, A Steady Rain, opens at the Teatro Zuccone featuring the very talented Zachary Stofer and Scott Mallace.

And, oh yeah, beer. The Gitchee Gumee Brewfest is back at Wessman Arena.

So what are you doing this week? Can we tag along? Any upcoming events that you want to promote? Let us know!

Duluth and Isle Royale, c. 1928

A film of Duluth and a trip to Isle Royale by my Grandpa Henry.


It’s interesting, but is it art?

Art history has taken us into some very interesting and sometimes strange terrains and spaces these past 150 years. What’s amazing is how much pop culture has been influenced by fringe and almost unknown artists in terms of the wider public, just as our clothing fashions are influenced by events that took place last year on a runway in Paris.

Thanks to the Duluth Art Institute we had an opportunity to re-visit the 1980 Robert Hughes eight-part documentary called “Shock of the New” which is a helpful overview of what occurred in the arts from the late 1900s to Pop art and Happenings. In a surprise follow-up DAI curator Annie Dugan gave us a 2005 sequel/addendum in which Hughes looks back and makes some additional observations.

Portrait of Joyce (Blue View)

There are reasons the wider public struggles to grasp what the fringe players are up to, but Hughes and art critic Greg Volk (who spoke at UMD a few weeks back) help bring insight and perspective to many basic issues regarding modern and post-modern art. My personal observations are assembled here for consideration and discussion.