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David Beard Posts

Fragments of chalk and glass in an oil painting

woman-bathing-in-a-stream-rembrandt-1654I’ll be talking about art on Saturday at Zinema 2 in an event sponsored by the Duluth Art Institute, for the showing of American Splendor. Here is other writing of mine on art; if you like it, I hope to be this elegant Saturday.

A Woman Bathing in a Stream by Rembrandt

When I was 22, I took the bus to New York and visited the Rembrandt/Not-Rembrandt exhibit.

I learned that conservators struggle with Rembrandt’s work, because he added ground chalk and bits of glass to the paint to add texture and to speed drying. These practices make the paintings hard to preserve hundreds of years later.

… fragments of chalk and glass in an oil painting, causing the paint to crack over time.

Those fragments have become integral to identifying a Rembrandt — a painting without them starts from the presumption of forgery. The bits of glass have become a sign of authenticity.

It is impossible to admire a Rembrandt without admiring the cracks and breaks caused by the ground and broken things.

… so it is with falling in love.

Three Events: SuperMonster市City, Gao Hong and Sarah Deer

Three Events

This past week, I went to see Gao Hong, Sarah Deer and Ed Downs give public talks, each a kind of rethinking for me.

Masculinity and History in Logan, in International Women’s Day, and in Munchkin

Three events this week made me rethink the past, present, and future of gender roles. The movie Logan draws deep in the past of gender roles, echoing them and updating them (just a bit) for the 21st century. Debates about the wage gap on International Women’s Day make me struggle with the present of gender. Playing Munchkin with some adorable children makes me feel optimistic about the future — of gender and of a better world generally.

Squelching local efforts toward earned sick and safe time

I’m watching the action at the Minnesota State Legislature with an eye toward what is happening in Duluth, too.

I look at these two initiatives. I wish I had some principle here, like “local control is always best” or something like that, but I don’t. I just prefer the results of the Duluth ordinance over the results of the state law. If I liked the results of the state law better, I would prefer that.

What do you think, comparing:

The work of Duluth’s “Earned Sick and Safe Time Task Force,” which “gathers information, collects public input, proposes the best options for implementing ESST policies and brings forward policy recommendations.”

vs.

SF 580 as introduced – 90th Legislature (2017 – 2018)

A bill for an act relating to employment; providing uniformity for employment mandates on private employers;proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 181.

Local bookshop, national attention

Zenith Bookstore DuluthIn addition to stories on Perfect Duluth Day in September and the Duluth News Tribune this morning, Zenith Bookstore was mentioned today in the book industry newsletter Shelf-Awareness.

Nifty: Constitutional amendment providing gender equality under the law

I’m having fun looking at what Minnesota legislators are up to. This seems like the kind of thing people could be talking about, no?

Senate SF0224 3 01/26/2017 Proposed by Cohen
Senate SF0101 2 01/12/2017 Proposed by Dibble
House HF0189 3 02/02/2017 Proposed by Omar
House HF0313 1 01/17/2017 Proposed by Hornstein

A bill for an act proposing an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution, article I, by adding a section; providing for gender equality under the law.

Two Harbors photographer in Iceland

Gregor in Iceland

John Gregor is in Iceland. So beautiful.

TED at Teatro

kudakLast night, I went to the TED at the Teatro. This regular event (on the third Wednesday of every month) has both a Facebook Page and a Youtube Channel. It’s the second time I attended, and it’s an event I’d like to return to, even if it had some complexities.

The event is structured with a chatty welcome, last night including an uncomfortable handshake (getting us to meet the people around us, like the handshake in a church). There is a Raymond Carver essay in which Carver reflects on something Tobias Wolff told him when Carver invited Wolff to an event, to meet some people. “I don’t want any new friends. I can’t do right by the ones I have now,” or something more or less like that. If, unlike me, you are into meeting strangers, sure, this was fun.

There was music from Medical Underground. Others, more into local pop/rock music, might chime in on their quality. I found them pleasant. One of the refrains of one of their songs appeared to be something like “We will be okay,” which maybe is reassuring.

Bowling

Ever since I tried curling a few months ago, I’ve hungered for bowling. It’s been ten years since I bowled, almost exactly, on the weekend my friends married (at the Incline Station). I’ve been to parties and for volleyball at Skyline Lanes. But I haven’t bowled in a while.

HF 41: Student Physical Privacy Act

Posted without comment:

1.1 A bill for an act
1.2 relating to education; establishing the Student Physical Privacy Act; proposing
1.3 coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 121A.
1.4 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:
1.5 Section 1. [121A.35] STUDENT PHYSICAL PRIVACY ACT.

R.I.P. Francine York

francine-yorkAurora, the Iron Range city about an hour north of Duluth, was home to Francine York. “From the 60s and into the 70s, she was a guest-star on dozens of series, with some of her most remembered roles from Batman, Lost In Space, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, and The Streets of San Francisco.”

Bleeding Cool has the obituary for this Northland celebrity.

(It’s all about that) Duluth Bass Player Adam Booker

adam-booker-contrabass

Woot for the local artist, internationally recognized. In the Contrabass Conversations podcast from Prague, Duluth bassist Adam Booker is interviewed about …

  • traditional jazz bass lines and what notes were really being played
  • confessions from a former string neurotic
  • what surprised Adam the most about academia
  • Stefon Harris and his description of scales as a collection of emotions
  • hanging up on Milt Hinton … and then watching Jeopardy! with him
  • not just creating great bassists, but creating great people

 

The Lifespan of the Herring on My Sandwich

I had guests in from Ontario, from the part of Canada that is south by a long drive from Duluth. We talk often about that oddity, about how strange it feels to drive north to the United States from Waterloo.

They wanted to know what eateries had opened in Duluth since their last visit. I took them to Northern Waters Restaurant in the Mount Royal Shopping Center, where we enjoyed a two-hour lunch.

There are two joys about eating at Northern Waters. One is the unique pricing. Tax and tip are rolled in, so I never worry about whether my companions tip well enough, or whether I tip well enough. That is a greater relief than I expected.

The more substantive dimension is the food, of course. I had the sandwich with the catch of the day. It was a herring sandwich, and I ordered it with a sense of adventure. My whole life, my only experience of herring was pickled, typically stabbed with a toothpick and put on a cracker. I giggled nervously as I ordered it. It was so very tasty.

Thrift Store Finds: Last Ride on the Incline

lspc-1 lspc-2

I’m teaching a class that emphasizes writing about place next semester. So I’ve been scrounging thrift stores for examples. Here’s one to share. Is there a copyright-awesome way to secure these old magazines online?

Historical Trauma and Standing Rock

DavidBeard_SEWhen I was young and more exciting than I am now, I started teaching Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel Maus. One of the reasons Maus made its way into classrooms was that it was an immensely accessible introduction to the Holocaust.

But about halfway through the second time I taught the book, I realized that its special genius is not the way it tells the story of Vladek, a Holocaust survivor, but the way it tells the story of Artie, the son of a Holocaust survivor.

Perhaps this is clearest in the scene where Artie and his wife, Francoise, take Vladek to the grocery store so that Vladek can return a half-eaten box of cereal.