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Selective Focus: Samantha Nielsen

This week, we hear from watercolor artist and urban sketcher Samantha Nielsen. Also, this week we have a first, a Selective Focus artist teaching on Skillshare. Read on to hear her story and get the preview for her Skillshare class.

SN: I work in watercolor and ink with a style that many describe as ‘whimsical’. My artistic journey started after my third year of college, when I switched my major from music education to art education. I went into some of my first art classes feeling as though I didn’t have my own artistic voice, and I had very little experience, so all of the mediums were new to me. The first year was spent experimenting and learning the basics, but the following year a project for my illustration class is really what made me feel at home with watercolor and ink. We were instructed to completely fill a sketchbook throughout the semester, but we could only use permanent materials (so no pencils or erasers). This is where my love for watercolor and ink began, and this project really challenged me to step out of my comfort zone.

“One uses arm drags while the other uses artifacts, but the two perform the same function: They’re both vehicles for storytelling.”

The artifacts…

Terrance Griep is a Minnesota writer and wrestler who makes frequent trips to Duluth (see stories on PDD here and here). He’s subject of an art exhibit at the MSP airport; visit when you catch a connecting flight.

PDD Calendar Index: Free Music Showcase

Friday: Homegrown Winter Fiasco
Friday: UMD Bulldogs Men’s Hockey vs. North Dakota
Saturday: The Jungle Book
Saturday: Dave Simonett
Sunday: Frosted Fatty
Sunday: Vikings vs. Eagles
Tuesday: UMD Monster Piano Concert
Thursday: Behind the Scenes at the DECC

The PDD Calendar Index now includes an expanded look at upcoming events. Click the “read more” button for a synopsis of highlighted events from throughout 2018.

For a complete look at what’s happening today, tomorrow and on into infinity, visit perfectduluthday.com/calendar.

Pants-on-Pants Kickstarter

Two weeks ago the Duluth News Tribune told the story of Jeffrey Xu, an engineer designing a new airplane for Cirrus Aircraft … and also designing a “jacket for the legs.” Now there’s a week left in Xu’s Kickstarter campaign, and he’s got $15,000 to go to fund his “Pants-on-Pants” enterprise.

Postcard from Duluth’s Skyline Parkway

This postcard image of Duluth from Gallagher’s Studio of Photography appears to be circa 1970. The card is not dated and was never mailed.

Sarah Seidelmann on Focus TV

Duluth author Sarah Seidelmann chats with life coach Michelle Gillette in this Focus TV segment. Focus is a magazine in West Los Angeles.

In the interview, Dr. Seidelmann talks about her latest book, Swimming With Elephants, and her previous book, Born to Freak.

Fitger’s Brewhouse hires new head brewer

Alex "Coke" Chocholousek - Photo by Lissa Maki

Alex “Coke” Chocholousek – Photo by Lissa Maki

The new year ushered in some changes at Fitger’s Brewhouse. Alex “Coke” Chocholousek stepped into the role of head brewer on Jan. 1. Chocholousek is the fifth brewer to head up operations at the Brewhouse and says he looks forward to continuing the brewpub’s legacy of quality and innovation.

Video Archive: Plugging the hole of the thousand-foot shitter

It was ten years ago that KBJR-TV news reporter Julie Pierce made her famous slip-of-the-tongue while referring to the 1,000-foot motor vessel Walter J. McCarthy Jr. The video clip above, viewed more than 200,000 times in the past decade, also shows KBJR misspelling “McCarthy” on its graphic; so it goes.

Irving Fairmount Brownfields Revitalization Plan

The Duluth City Council adopted the Irving Fairmount Brownfields Revitalization Plan on Dec. 11. Irving and Fairmount are sub-neighborhoods of West Duluth.

The video above shows clips from a gathering on Oct. 18 at Loll Designs headquarters marking the completion of the plan.

The planning effort focused on redevelopment of post-industrial sites, infrastructure improvements, creating better connections to the Spirit Valley commercial area and increasing walkability.

Duluth Trivia Deck, January Fifteenth Edition

From the Duluth trivia deck scored at Savers. Thanks to those who have corrected the previous entries and discussed them with vigor. I learned a lot.

a. Who was Duluth’s first mayor?

b. What was the name of the first ship to pass through the Duluth Ship Canal?

c. In what year was the Duluth Bethel Society founded?

d. In what year did the Duluth Board of Trade organize? (The link is about the building, not the organization.)

e. Who developed the Lake Vermilion Iron Fields?

f. When the Duluth Street Railway opened in 1881, how much did it cost to ride in one of its mule-drawn cars?

g. What part of Duluth was known as a “Hay Fever Haven“?

h. What did the City of Duluth do when it was found that its Lake Superior water had asbestiform particles which are linked to cancer?

i. What was Soroptimist International?

j. This one feels like it might be suspect: What was the first church in the Village of West Duluth?

k. True or False: Duluth once had a Duluth Toboggan and Snowshoe Association?

Sonofmel & the Slideman – “Kissing Eve”

Sometimes it takes traveling far from home to find out where you come from. Sonofmel & the Slideman have farmed decades of life into a harvest of sounds, growing rows of song and spoken word around dreamscapes rich enough to farm. They’ve just begun an album together at Sacred Heart Studio and will debut one or two during a Jan. 17 performance at Bent Paddle Brewing.

Video recorded at Driftless Books & Music in Viroqua, Wis.

PDD Quiz: History of the NorShor Theatre

In anticipation of the NorShor Theatre re-opening in February, this month’s PDD Quiz looks back at the colorful history of this Duluth landmark.

The next PDD Quiz, on January headlines and happenings, will be published on Jan. 28. Please send question ideas to Alison Moffat at [email protected] by Jan. 24.

Poo, of the Non-Winnie Variety

I’ve really grown a lot, since turning 40. Particularly in relationship to my willingness to talk about poop.

Let me back up. (Have you noticed how, when you lead with poo, everything that follows becomes a double-entendre?) Anyway. Up until my late 30s, it was a well-known and oft-ridiculed fact that all things concerning defecation made me wildly, morbidly uncomfortable. I knew it was a natural, essential, healthy bodily function. I also realized that everyone (including me, heaven forgive me) did it. But it was so disgusting, so private and feral and ghastly, that I could not acknowledge it in anyone else’s company.

I did a lot of very silly things to avoid mutual recognition of poop situations.

I famously repaired a toilet while pregnant to avoid calling anyone else into the vestibule, lest they deduce what might have caused the trouble in the first place. For five full years, I used a restroom in a gas station next door to the building in which I worked because the bathroom at my job was right next to the lunchroom, and that was monstrous. I have had entire business trips in which my body mysteriously began apparently absorbing my waste, rather than eliminating it, until I returned home, lest I be forced to do any pooping on an airplane, or, for the love of all that remains holy, in a stall next to a client. I have left a lover’s house and driven home and back again, under the ruse of requiring medicine I did not need, take or have in my possession to avoid any implication of my defecatory habits.

Lake Superior Aquaman’s Duluth

Explore this interactive map for the bounty of our Northlandic Atlantis. Containing hundreds of photos, video and links, this is a virtual tour of the area with a focus on water, wildlife, history and recreation.

Selective Focus: Alison Aune

Alison Aune is an award-winning painter and educator who paints large-scale works that combine intricate Nordic-style patterns, portraits and mixed-media techniques. This week Alison goes in-depth about her style, her inspirations and even her favorite paint brush.

AA: I studied painting as an undergrad and graduate student. In 1984 I received a BFA in painting and a teaching license in art education from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst where I am from, my dad was a professor of philosophy at UMASS and is currently emeritus, and I received a masters degree in painting from UMD (1987) and a PhD in Comparative Arts from Ohio University in Athens (2000). In graduate school I changed from oil paint to acrylics because I needed the paint to dry quickly!