Duluth Folk School

Duluth Folk School LogoThe Duluth Folk School has been a long time in the making, but it is open for business.

What: Duluth Folk School’s mission is to teach skills, arts and crafts that enrich personal lives and the community, while having a load of fun!

Who: Bryan French and Tim Bates have been planning the Duluth Folk School for the past few years.

Where: The Duluth Folk School is operating with the Nomad Model. There isn’t a single home – yet. For now, classes will be offered at Hartley Nature Center, First Presbyterian Church of Duluth and the Lester Amity Chalet. As the capital fund is developed, a permanent home will eventually be bought or built.

When: The first class is on May 3. Over time, classes will be offered every week, in multiple locations.

Why: People want to be able to create with their hands, to connect with others, and have fun.

Classes currently available on the calendar include Springtime Bike Maintenance and Beginner Beekeeping, and several more will be added soon.

People interested in becoming an instructor can visit the Become an Instructor page.

Duluth Folk School – Create with your hands, build community and have fun!

Nick Robin – “Little Red Squirrel”


Music written and produced by Sean Elmquist and Nick Robin. Video by Nick Sunsdahl.

Duluth Band Profile: Glen’s Neighbor

Glen ThumbGlen’s Neighbor mixes country rock with plenty of bluegrass hooks. Band members explain how teamwork and criticism produced Behind the Door. Click on the image above to hear the interview.

Upcoming gig:
May 7 at Tycoons Alehouse

Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank – “Take This Town”


The new video by local band Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank is illustrated, edited and directed by Truvio Del Sol.

This Week: awards, antiques, astronomy and more

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Here’s a bit of what you’ll find in this week’s new, improved, revamped, more better PDD Calendar:

Carmody Irish Pub celebrates a decade in business with a weeklong celebration, it’s rose-raising season at Leif Erikson Park, the Big Time Jazz Orchestra storms the Rex Bar, the ongoing live radio theater show Take it With You swings back into action, Legacy Glassworks holds its annual 4/20 Spring Blowout with lots of bands and glassblowing demonstrations, the 24th annual Joel Labovitz Entrepreneurial Success Awards are held at the DECC and it’s time once again to get your antiques appraised.

UWS holds its annual Evening of Wine and Jazz, the sixth Design DLH event is centered around the concept of “Minnesota Nice,” St. Scholastica Theatre presents the stalking-themed play Boy Gets Girl, the Lake Superior Zoo hosts a Party for the Planet, it’s Astronomy Day at the Marshall Alworth Planetarium and the classic musical 42nd Street is at the Duluth Playhouse.

New PDD Calendar is up and running today

PDD Calendar 2016 Sample EventsThe new design of the PDD Calendar launched today. There are still a few elements to it that we will be cleaning up over the next few weeks, but it’s time to just let it rip and put it into service.

Why did we switch? When we launched the previous version of the PDD Calendar in 2011 there weren’t any good WordPress plugins for the type of event calendar we wanted. So we built our own. As the years went on, WordPress plugins surpassed our ability to innovate — or at least find the time to innovate — and our calendar was also in need of a design change to match the responsive design of our blog, adjusting to various screensizes for optimal viewing on iPhones and tablets. We decided to make this change over a year ago; finally got around to it now.

Feel free to begin complaining or complimenting the new calendar in the comments, or call/email. Mention problems if you see them, and we’ll either fix them or explain why what you think is broken is really just the best we can do.

We anticipate you will think the new calendar can’t do things the old calendar did, but once you get used to the new navigation you will see that it does. Pretty much every feature the old calendar had the new calendar has, except for the one thing we are working on and the one thing we haven’t thought of. Please tell us about that thing we haven’t thought of.

Commerce on the River: Nelson’s Guide and Charter Service

Charlie Nelson Fishing Duluth

OneRiverMN-Logo-FC-BadgeCharlie Nelson’s love of fishing started early. He spent much of his childhood catching fish near Cloquet, where his parents owned Big Lake Resort. After his parents sold the resort and bought a cabin on Island Lake north of Duluth, Nelson ramped up his quest for walleyes and spent countless hours in a fishing boat.

Through his 26 years of experience as a lieutenant colonel and an F-16 instructor pilot with the Minnesota Air National Guard, he developed a passion for teaching. Now retired, he has turned his knack for teaching and fishing into Charlie Nelson Guide and Charter Services. His website refers to him as “The Captain” whose passion for fishing is only surpassed by his love of flying.

The Day I Jumped Out a Window

Anna Tennis Saturday EssayWhen I was 11, my best friend was Eddie Griffenbacher.* He lived with his grandma, for reasons he never detailed. (*No, it wasn’t. But even I don’t want to talk shit about someone. It’s not because I have class. Eddie would kick my ass.)

He was very, very, impressively naughty.

He came by this honestly: his grandmother was like a David Lynch character. She was short, round, and, I think, chronically intoxicated. She curmdugeoned around her house in a beige sweater-vest over a plaid shirt, khakis and fluffy white sneakers that resembled King’s Hawaiian rolls. Her hair was old-lady-did into fully-formed curl banks, but the back left corner of her head was all matted down and disarranged, like gray-hair crop circles amidst the otherwise puffy rows. She smoked endless Benson and Hedges cigarettes; they dangled eternally from her yellow fingers, the nails of which she kept painted the same bronzey-brown color for as long as I knew her. She was always drinking some ice-cubey alcohol cocktail from an amber-glass tumbler: between the yellow of her fingers, her nail polish, and the yellow tint of her glass, it seemed like everything around her was saturated completely with tar. Somehow, her entire microcosm had become the color of an old fly strip.

Charlie Parr – “I Ain’t Dead Yet”


Charlie Parr - I Ain't Dead Yet EPIn this video from March 20, Duluth’s Charlie Parr shares a powdered toothpaste anecdote and performs “Ain’t Dead Yet” at the Ore Dock Brewing Company in Marquette.

The song is on Parr’s new limited edition EP, a 10-inch record (pressed on green vinyl) set for release on Saturday as part of Record Store Day.

Skateboarding at Rail Park near Gateway Plaza


Video by Shane Brown, featuring “Grady, Stephan, Pete and Shane.” Music by Seym0ur.

Selective Focus: One River, Many Prints


Starting this week, Selective Focus is changing direction. Instead of variations on a weekly theme as before, we will be posting brief profiles of visual artists and happenings around the area. We start it off with a collaborative project between UMD students and elementary students.

Superior Siren – “Rattlesnake”


From the April 14 edition of WDSE-TV’s The PlayList, Superior Siren performs “Rattlesnake.”

Seasonal restaurants reopening in and around Duluth for 2016

IMG_8288Nothing signifies the emergence of spring quite like the reappearance of malts on the Duluth Lakewalk and the wafting scent of fried fare from seasonal burger joints. For those ready to indulge, here’s a rundown on seasonal restaurant re-openings.

Gordy’s Hi-Hat in Cloquet reopened on March 20, the first day of spring. The classic hamburger stand is a favorite among locals and a popular stop for Twin Cities travelers headed to cabins up north. The restaurant, now in it’s 56th season, is known for its hand-pattied burgers and onion rings, and was featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. A&Dubs

A & Dubs, another nostalgic burger joint in Duluth’s West End, will reopen on Mother’s Day, May 8. The seasonal, family-run business at 3131 W. Third St. was founded in 1948 as Duluth’s first drive-in restaurant. A & Dubs holds a special place in the hearts of residents of western Duluth. It’s a remarkable relic; nowhere else in Duluth has ice-cold root beer and burger baskets delivered by carhops for in-vehicle consumption.

Ice cream aficionados will be pleased to know the Denfeld Dairy Queen and the PortLand Malt Shoppe are already serving up decadent desserts.

One River, Two Islands

Clough Island photo by Richard Hamilton Smith

OneRiverMN-Logo-FC-BadgeAs part of the One River, Many Stories project, Lake Superior Magazine’s April/May issue features Molly Hoeg’s profile of Clough and Spirit islands, titled “One River, Two Islands: A History & Culture Tour on the St. Louis River.”

From centuries-old bloody battles between Ojibwe and Dakota, to fist-fight riots at a resort in the late 1800s, through to modern-day habitat restoration, the history of the two islands is colorful and deep.

“Modern-day paddlers clearly feel this aura around Spirit Island just as they feel drawn to explore and enjoy Clough Island,” the story concludes. “Knowledge of both islands’ histories enriches any journey along the river. Cleaving its water with kayak or canoe, they paddle between two cultures, between the past and the future and between the heart of the forest at the river’s beginning and the vast expanse of the inland sea at its end.”

Duluth Band Profile: Rick McLean

Rick ThumbRick McLean honed his songwriting skills on Coupla Focal. From a Pogues-ish “St. James” to a somber “Son of Luddwig,” he isn’t afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve while making people laugh.

Upcoming gigs:
April 20 at Legacy Glassworks
May 4 at Kom-on-Inn