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Giving Thanks for a Perfect Duluth Future

As we move into the holidays it seems appropriate to share our gratitude for the hundreds of Duluthians who have added their name in support of the Bag it Duluth Campaign. In so doing they are showing they care deeply about our community by working to shift a cultural mindset away from a disposal planet and disposable people toward a livable economy that works for all and future generations. And, in this time of unconscionable inequality and climate change we acknowledge that many others feel frozen, unable to act, as what feels sacred seems lost. To those, we extend our hearts.

Holiday Traditions next to Red Kettles

The Red Kettles are out, and the adorable man next to the adorable eagle is my friend.

The teddy bear on the left is Tim Broman; “Earnie” the eagle on the right is Cara Ellis. As you might guess from the fairly cheesy pun in “Earnie,” Cara is a mortgage specialist at Northern Communities Credit Union, where Tim is a customer service representative.

They are standing outside Cub Foods, where I bought some tasty sushi yesterday, inspired by the PDD post about Wasabi.

I didn’t realize that local businesses partnered with the Salvation Army in this way. I appreciate the generosity of NCCU, I shame my friend Tim for making the lady wear the costume (a gentleman would have worn the scratchy sweaty suit) and I wonder whether any other businesses and organizations partner in this way in the holidays. Post below if you will be ringing this season, please?

Goose Chase: An Interview with Duluth’s Goosinator

In 2016 the city of Duluth purchased a remote-controlled glider designed to humanely chase away geese. “The Goosinator” was acquired from an eponymous company in Denver, Colo. at a cost of about $3,000 plus shipping and handling. The city made this purchase with the express goal of ridding Bayfront Festival Park of an increasing abundance of goose feces, a consequence of the recovering Canada goose population. In large amounts, goose feces diminish the park’s appeal and utility, and can cause illness in people and pollute the lake.

Two years on, the Goosinator agreed to meet with me for an exclusive, first-ever interview.

No one in the newly-opened Dovetail Cafe & Marketplace recognizes the Duluth park maintenance worker hustling in from the cold for an interview, but he draws notice all the same. The Goosinator stands about 20 inches tall and, at almost four feet long, has to sit sideways as I help him into a chair at a table made of reclaimed birdseye maple. He wears an outsize, toothy permagrin. He’s bright orange. And he seems perfectly at ease with the sideways glances, thanking me with a wry smirk as I pass him the Cascara Tea I took the liberty of ordering him. After all, he’s used to being the focus of attention, as it’s a prerequisite for his unusual line of work.

Boys

I’m done. In a little more than a month I’m going to stop hanging out with men who mistreat women. Kind of.

Let me try to speak more precisely: after the next few weeks are up I will still be spending a lot of online and IRL time — pretty much every day — among boys and men who, most often without realizing it, expect girls’ and women’s deference, use whatever level of force is necessary to ensure it, and punish girls and women who defy those normative expectations. When I say “normative expectations” I mean that the dominant social and cultural expectation for girls and women to please boys and men is so normal that it seldom gets questioned because it rarely really even gets noticed. It just is. It’s always there, whether we’re conscious of it or not, like oxygen. It permeates. It’s definitive. It defines our culture to such an inherent degree that folks who dare to name it look crazy to everyone but each other. Folks who publicly question or defy it on the regular court repercussions along a continuum more broad and real than you might realize.

None of that stuff is going to change in a few weeks.

PDD Quiz: October 2018 in Review

Test your knowledge of local headlines with our month-in-review quiz!

The next PDD quiz, on area bakeries, will be published on Nov. 11. Please email question suggestions to Alison Moffat at [email protected] by Nov. 8.

Womaning

At first it’s impossible to understand — this thing happening to you. Imagine yourself at 12, or maybe 13 — or God help you, 19 — whenever puberty finally gored you with its long-awaited tusk. Maybe you’re the girl waiting for her breasts, standing with her shoulders back behind Tammy, the girl who got her boobs in fourth grade, praying it’s somehow contagious, and your proximity will tit you up before your Cup Noodles even fully soften. Maybe you’re the girl who thinks she’s pissed herself on the playground, only to look down and see her crotch a deep, angry red: you’ll have to be done with four-square now, because you’ll need to change into your gym clothes, or call your mom to come get you. Maybe you’re the girl who imagines the lips of other girls, who stands as close to Laurel as possible in lunch line, to smell her delicious hair, and you’re waiting to develop what all the movies and all the people say is inevitable: an exclusive taste for boys.

Maybe you held hands with Ben one time on the way home from swimming, and you were too young, and it made you feel dirty to do it, like you stole the money out of the collection bin at church, or got caught touching your privates in the unlocked bathroom by your father. You are on one side of this thing, but also on the other. You are neither and both.

It feels bad.

Halloween Banners

ZombieBanner-Call

Time to go back one year and look through your pictures on your phone. We want to see your creepy, comical, kooky Halloween photos, we’ll add them to the banner rotation – those long skinny photos at the top of the page. Keep in mind, the proportions are extremely horizontal, so not every photo works when cropped. Click here for complete submission guidelines, but the basics are: 1135 pixels wide by 197 pixels high, e-mail them to [email protected]
If you’re not able to crop and size them, send the full image and we’ll do our best to crop it into a banner. Happy Halloween, we’ll start rotating the Halloween Banners this weekend.

Selective Focus: Last glimpse of Fall

The leaves are almost all gone, here are a few final peeks for the year.

Ripped at Midget Wrestling in 2008

[Editor’s note: The NorShor Theatre operated as a strip club from 2006 to 2010, and all manner of amoral activity took place there. 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. Ten years ago he paid a visit to the NorShor to take in the rasslin’ matches.]

Lovers of the fine arts, like me, know it doesn’t get any better than strippers and midget wrestling. If you can see them both in the same building, and there’s a guy with a backpack who is graciously offering to share his hallucinogenic mushrooms with you, it’s time to chant U-S-A! U-S-A!

Yes, tonight the stars of the Micro Wrestling Federation are bringing their “MidgetPalooza 2009 World Tour” to the NorShor Experience strip club. Of course, it’s still 2008 on my calendar, but it’s probably not a mistake that the year 2009 appears on my ticket in three places. I like to think the MWF is like an auto manufacturer and releases the next year’s line of midgets early, so fans feel like they’re on the cutting edge of wrestling innovation.

Duluth featured on Supernatural again

Last night’s episode of Supernatural took place Duluth, as seen in this featured clip. The episode “Gods And Monsters” aired on the CW network.

This isn’t the first time Duluth has been featured in the long running show. The second season’s “Born Under a Bad Sign” episode had a character who was working at a Duluth bar. Several episodes have featured other Minnesota towns, such as Hibbing and Stillwater.

Selective Focus: Laura Goodman and Karen Owsley Nease

On Oct. 19 and 20, Laura Goodman’s sensuous and powerful new ballet, “Curl, Uncurl and…” will be performed as part of the Minnesota Ballet’s fall performance, The Rite of Spring and Other Dances. Basing her choreography on the wave paintings of Karen Owsley Nease, Laura explores the elemental and generative forces depicted in Karen’s artwork. Karen’s paintings will be projected as the back drop during the performance.

On Friday, Oct. 26, 6 p.m., at Joseph Nease Gallery, Laura and Karen will present an artist’s talk discussing their work during a mini-exhibition of the paintings that were included in the performance. “Elemental Forces and Other Work” is the mini-exhibition of Karen’s paintings and will be on display from Oct. 19-27.

What was the origin of your collaboration?

Karen: Over dinner last year, Laura and I were discussing our respective work as artists, particularly her experience as a professional dancer and choreographer, which led me to suggest how cool it would be to have her “interpret” my wave paintings into motion.

Laura: Growing up in Duluth, Lake Superior has been a place for reflection and awe. It has been a backdrop that I have missed when living elsewhere. I first saw Karen’s wave paintings at her show “As Above, So Below” at the University of Wisconsin, Superior in 2017. The idea of choreographing a piece based on her paintings was exciting to me, and so I worked to find a way to do that. After a few conversations and studio visits with Karen, I approached Robert Gardner at the Minnesota Ballet. With his support of the project I applied and was awarded an Arrowhead Regional Arts Council (ARAC) Career Development grant.

Haley – “Double Dutchess”

Former Duluthian Haley releases her new instrumental album Pleasureland on Oct. 12. A slew of videos for tracks from the album have been recently released. “Double Dutchess” was shot and directed by Duluth artist Allen Killian-Moore in rural Iowa, Minneapolis, Duluth, Chicago, Rochester and the North Shore of Lake Superior.

Tribes

You will know the tribes by their bumper stickers. Those watch-your-back talismans affixed to our minivans. We’re social animals, desperate for extended families, but tribalism which served us well in ancient times now splinters a humanity hungry to be whole. The myth of the staunch individualist ignores accomplishments of our collective will, yet individualism is precious, and herd mentality both dangerous and dull. Think of that frightful tribe, motivated by unconditional loyalty, its mindless chants filling stadiums in crude rituals of domination. I’m speaking, of course, about Green Bay Packers fans.

Thankfully, Vikings fans are a pale imitation of their namesakes from Scandinavia, those longboat marauders, as vicious and cruel, it is alleged, as many a hedge fund manager. But the Vikings got over it. They traded their battle axes for Volvos and social democracy. Instead of kidnapping they’re exporting cheap furniture, because Us against Them will get you only so far.

A handful of close friends is a blessing beyond measure. How do we hold onto that without circling the proverbial wagons? How can tribes expand and blend like living Venn diagrams without falling into in-group ethics? How do we “coexist” as one tribe’s bumper sticker suggests? “Don’t Tread On Me,” says another’s, twisting the sentiment of revolution for reactionary effect. A rattlesnake, poised to strike, illustrates the theme. Along with this less-than-veiled threat, drivers approaching our blindside must be warned we are insured by Smith and Wesson, and deputized for vigilante justice. Tailgate at your own risk, and don’t step on my snake.

Teague Alexy debuts new backing band Oct. 5

Teague Alexy will debut a new backing band, Common Thread, during shows this weekend in Duluth and Minneapolis.

“Duluth guys off and on and in different combinations for a few years,” says Teague. “They are getting so good, we had to give them a name.”

Teague Alexy & Common Thread will play Pizza Luce in Duluth on Friday, Oct. 5 and Aster Cafe in Minneapolis on Saturday, Oct. 6.

Alexy is probably best known for his Americana songwriting in the nationally-touring brothers duo Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank. Or, maybe you remember 2004 when Teague Alexy with Medication was filling dance floors around Minnesota, or you’ve heard that Teague is an award-winning author, or that he grew up in a South Jersey rap band.

In the Company of Men

I recently heard the name of a man I hadn’t thought about for a quite a while. He’s someone of little consequence to me, but he said something on the day I met him that I will never forget.

I can’t help but view what that man said to me through the lens of our current news cycle. We are hearing a lot about men who behave badly toward women. Very badly in some cases. The current political climate is also reminding me that the men who do bad things are often protected by other men who hide or minimize that bad behavior. I am hopeful our political, economic and social structures that have allowed men to get away with bad behavior for many millennia are changing. But the fact remains that we live in a world where some men see women as inferior, and that kind of thinking can lead to some pretty terrible things.

Hearing that man’s name triggered a traumatic memory. I’ve managed to not interact with that man since the day we met, but chances are good that my luck will run out and I will see him again someday. I hope I’m lucky.

This man did not hit me, or hit on me, or sexually assault me. But his behavior did cause me harm. It happened a little over three years ago. I met him through a mutual friend. We were walking together with our friend and having a conversation about the similar work that we do. In the midst of our conversation, the man, who I had met just hours before, called me a bitch.