December 2020 Posts

Avant-Garde Women: Michele Bernstein, Queen of the Situationists

The video below is from a 1960 French TV interview about Michele Bernstein’s subversive novel “All the King’s Horses”. Yes this is in French, which I cannot follow. The auto-translation isn’t much better. It’s sort of a friendly verbal chess match. At around 2:30 the interviewer asks her something about having respect for her literary forebears. She replies: “We each import our own small stone to the cathedral.” Asked what novel she can compare hers to, she replies, “I don’t know; if it is simply a novel we can compare it to all that exist.”

2020: The Year in Duluth Gig Posters

Obviously this past year has been about the lousiest live-music year ever, but nonetheless we continue our tradition at Perfect Duluth Day of looking back at a sampling of gig posters. Some shows really happened, with crowds of people, before the pandemic. Others were cancelled. Others were held outside in spaces that allowed physical distancing. And some were streamed online.

Boats Docked at Duluth Harbor Circa 1875

Photographers William Caswell and William Henry Davy ran a studio in Duluth circa 1870-75 and were responsible for many of the stereographs circulated during the era. The image above shows boats docked somewhere in the Duluth Harbor.

Despite pandemic challenges, Duluth area sees new crop of restaurants and bars in 2020

Kai Soderberg stands outside the Jade Fountain in March, prior to remodeling the former Chinese restaurant and opening it as a tiki bar in August. (Photo by Mark Nicklawske)

A surprising number of intrepid entrepreneurs opened new restaurants and bars in the Duluth area in 2020, despite the global pandemic. One notable trend is the number of new Black-owned businesses.

A look at Duluth-area food and drink spots we lost in 2020

Left: Maggie’s restaurant in Bayfield marked 40 years in business in August and announced its closure in October. Right: The Crooked Spoon Cafe in Grand Marais was destroyed by fire in April. (Photos via Facebook)

The scourge of COVID-19 has challenged restaurant and bar owners at every level. The temporary closures during the pandemic are too long to list, and the industry outlook for 2021 is filled with uncertainty, but surprisingly few businesses announced they were calling it quits in 2020.

Two of the region’s most notable restaurant losses occurred in small towns away from Duluth, and COVID-19 was perhaps only loosely to blame.

Mystery Photo #128: Duluth Residence in 1910

Based on the postmark and the last line of the scrawled message on the back, we might presume this image is of a Duluth house in 1910. What is the address? Is it still standing? Let the mystery solving begin.

Duluth You & Me: Northwest Passage

Use the link below for a printable PDF for your coloring and drawing pleasure.
Duluth You & Me: Northwest Passage

Follow the Duluth You & Me subject tag to see additional pages. For background on the book see the original post on the topic.

PDD Quiz: 2020 in Review

We bid a fond farewell good riddance to 2020 in this year-in-review quiz!

The PDD quiz will return on Jan. 17 with a winter-related quiz. Send question suggestions to Alison Moffat at [email protected] by Jan. 14.

Saturday Essay: Select Gems from 2020

Saturday Essay logo genericLast week we highlighted the five most-read pieces from the fifth year of Perfect Duluth Day’s “Saturday Essay” series. This week we ignore the numbers and look back at a few select essays of similar quality that might have been missed by non-compulsive followers.

In the past five years PDD has published 224 essays showcasing the work of 38 different writers, and we’re always looking to expand that roster. Anyone who has an original piece of literary excellence that seems to fit (or appropriately defy) the established format should email paul @ perfectduluthday.com to get involved.

And now, links to a few select gems from season five …

Enjoying the Glorious Climb-it of Duluth

Oh, those wacky puns. This postcards was mailed from Duluth 115 years ago today — Dec. 26, 1905. It arrived in Newark, N.J. three days later, and eventually at the home of Mr. L. Volland.

Selective Focus: A Very COVID Christmas

Select photos from Instagram of people from the Duluth area doing their best to keep spirits high and the COVID-19 infection rate low.

Merry Christmas from the archives …

On a cold Duluth evening back in 2013, a small crew gathered for a video shoot. Mark Lindquist wanted to give his children a Christmas video. Time got away. The footage wasn’t awesome. I set it aside.

It’s always bugged me that I never made that video for Mark and his children. Last night, I went searching through virtual piles and piles of material until I found what I was looking for.

Consider the Stars

Celestial photography by Duluth’s Dennis O’Hara, with a song performed by Deb O’Hara.

Denfeld Jazz Band – “Up on the Housetop”

This video of the Denfeld Jazz Band’s arrangement of “Up on the Housetop” was created for the televised version of the Christmas City of the North Virtual Parade.

A Secret Garden: Demo tracks from northern Minnesota

Students and staff from Central Lakes College in Brainerd have put together a compilation album of regional musicians that features a bevvy of Duluth favorites, including Jerree Small, Low and Greg Cougar Conley.

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