Charlie Parr on Lakeland PBS Backroads

Duluth’s Charlie Parr performed songs from his 2021 album Last of the Better Days Ahead at the Rail River Folk School in Bemidji for an episode of the Lakeland PBS program Backroads.

Video Archive: “Gonzo USA Theme”

For your flag-waving Independence Day viewing pleasure Perfect Duluth Day presents the “Gonzo USA Theme” from Jim Richardson’s public access television show circa 2001. The music is by Craig Minowa of Cloud Cult fame; Richardson, of course, is now alternatively known as Lake Superior Aquaman.

Clare Hintz finds simple pleasures at Elsewhere Farm

In Herbster, Wis., near the southern shore of Lake Superior, sits a 40-acre farm that uses sustainable methods to help build a stronger local economy. The farm is home to American guinea hogs, Icelandic chickens and a lush variety of produce including (but not limited to) apples, strawberries, cherries, lettuce, tomatoes, elderberries, raspberries, gooseberries, garlic, potatoes, saskatoons, pears and even a greenhouse with a lime tree.

Elsewhere Farm is tended by Chicago-native Clare Hintz, who came north for college and fell in love. Hintz was interviewed for this article on a particularly snowy winter day, but even then she lit up when describing the Arrowhead region.

Duluth: Bird City

Raptors: The sight of a bald eagle stirs a person. I used to live in more southerly climes where they were less common, so it has been a treat to see one every now and then up here. I saw them a lot after my divorce, when I had to drive halfway through Minnesota every two weeks to exchange my daughter like a prisoner. I pointed out bald eagles to my child on these drives, barely able to contain my excitement, while she did that kid act of being bored with everything. Later I visited her at her mom’s house in a rural Winona valley. There was a field of tilled earth on the dirt road to their home, and it was positively overrun with bald eagles. As I drove past, I saw fifty of them together walking around in the mud with their dirty talons. I said to my daughter, “Now I understand why you’re never excited to see a bald eagle — you see so many of them every day, they’re like rats here.” She said, “Yup.”

Hawk Ridge overruns with bird nerds. Hawks soar over the city alone or in twos and threes, or by the dozen during migration. Cold air off the lake hits the warm hillside, a clash of airmasses creating lift — they love that. Unimaginably high with laser vision watching for unwary pigeons or rabbits, eating them on the roofs on people’s houses. I saw feathers raining past my window one day. By the time I figured out a hawk was eating a pigeon on my roof, it was gone.

Iron Opera

The annual Northern Lights Music Festival on Minnesota’s Iron Range is a three-week event that includes an opera production. Documentary directors Mike Scholtz and Marius Anderson captured the process and stories leading up to the 2021 festival for the WDSE-TV feature embedded above. Iron Opera is the story of concert pianist Veda Zuponcic and a cast of talent plucked around the world and around da Range.

Video Archive: Benzene Spill of 1992

Thirty years ago today nearly 30,000 residents of Superior and neighboring areas were evacuated after a Burlington Northern train derailed on a bridge over the Nemadji River, causing a benzene leak from a derailed car.

The video clip above is from KBJR-TV’s News 6 Nightside with anchor Michelle Lee and reports from KBJR’s Heather Filkins and Laura Bergan and KARE-11 reporter Rick Kupchella on the catastrophe that came to be known as “Toxic Tuesday.”

Happy 19th birthday to us!

Perfect Duluth Day has been Duluth’s Duluthiest website for 19 years. Yes, it was June 29, 2003 when PDD’s first blog post was published … back when people didn’t know what a blog was.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Circa 1870

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church was built at 209 N. Lake Ave. in 1869. The location is roughly where Harbor Pointe Credit Union’s main branch is today, across the avenue from Old Central High School.

The modern St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at 1710 E. Superior St. was completed in 1914 and the original in the photo above was demolished in 1925. More on the history of St. Paul’s can be found at stpaulsfaithformation.org.

CSA Profile: Stone’s Throw Farm

Stone's Throw Farm - Land

Stone’s Throw Farm is among primary proponents of the region’s community-supported agriculture — a sustainable food method with the goal to improve economy, ecology and citizen health.

“The CSA model really keeps the money in the local community,” Stone’s Throw Farm Facilities Director Elden Lindamood said.

PDD Quiz: June 2022

Another month has come and gone; how much of it do you remember? Test your knowledge with this week’s current events quiz.

The next PDD Quiz will explore the history of Portorama; it will sail your way on July 17. Submit question suggestions to Alison Moffat at [email protected] by July 12.

Ripped at Burn’s Bar in 2002

[Editor’s note: For this week’s essay we’ve once again pulled out a relic from the archive of Slim Goodbuzz, who served as Duluth’s “booze connoisseur” from 1999 to 2009. The Sultan of Sot drove out to Rice Lake Township for this article, which appeared in the June 26, 2002 issue of the Ripsaw newspaper. Burn’s Bar, by the way, closed in 2013.]

Throughout my long history of drunken escapades, I’ve seen quite a bit. I’ve seen prostitutes working their trade right out in the open. I’ve seen barroom floors covered with blood. I’ve had white-trash women sic their mongoloid husbands on me. I’ve never seen a gunfight, but I have sipped suds right next to fresh bullet holes. One time, a guy seriously tried to sell me on the idea of pimping out young girls. “You don’t have any ambition,” he told me. “Where are you going to be in five years?”

But at no point during any of this have I seen anything like what I see when I pull into the parking lot at Burn’s Bar. Burn’s Bar is awesome.

If you need simple evidence, then judge the place by its patrons’ appreciation of great poetry, which is scribbled on the men’s room wall.

Perfect Duluth Day Outdoor Summer Concert Primer 2022

Charlie Parr performing outside Wussow’s Concert Cafe in the spring of 2021.

The noticeable change in recent years to the outdoor concert scene in the Duluth area is the extension of the season. It used to be a mid-June to mid-September thing. In the pandemic era the patios and canopies of the region host music from April to November. But things still kick into high gear in July and August.

What’s hot on stages this summer? Here’s a summary.

YouTube reviewer does not like Duluth Trading Co. boots

Boots sold by Duluth Trading Co. are the latest to be featured on the YouTube channel Rose Anvil. One trademark of the channel is that the reviewer (whose name I did not find online) cuts boots in half to show his 544,000 subscribers how they’re constructed. The nearly 22-minute review, featuring three styles of boots and titled “Embarrassing truth about Duluth,” is not a positive one. “We buy $500 worth of boots to see if Duluth makes stupid boots,” the reviewer says, “and they do.”

Duluth Trading Co. is not based in Duluth anymore but still bears the city’s name and operates a retail store at 300 E. Superior St. The company shares some of its history at duluthtrading.com.

Corktown Deli and Brews moving to 27th Avenue West

Fox 21 reports that Corktown Deli and Brews will change its location in early 2023. The business opened in 2018 at 1906 W. Superior St. Co-owner Jeff Petcoff told Fox 21 more space is needed, so Corktown will move about three quarters of a mile southwest to 102 S. 27th Ave. W.

Parent company Arrowstar Hospitality Partners purchased the former Duluth Stove and Fireplace building in May. It is adjacent to the Duluth Grill, another restaurant under Arrowstar’s umbrella.

So long, Country Lanes North

WDIO-TV reports that Country Lanes North, the bowling alley with outdoor volleyball courts at 2327 Mountain Shadow Drive near Miller Hill Mall, is closing and will be torn down. It was built in 1976.

Planet Fitness plans to open an exercise center there in 2023.

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