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Making America Great Again

It wearies me to see hordes of people so downcast from something as small as a presidential election. Your time and energy can be put to better use where you may be of real influence: your neighbors and community.

I’m taking a two-pronged whack at getting some of you folks out of your funk. I wrote this column in the Duluth Budgeteer for you, because What this country needs most is you.

imgresFinally, I made a nice circuit through the surrounding countryside yesterday, and believe that many of our country’s problems can be fixed if we’ll simply focus on feeding and entertaining ourselves as a community. Our city and surrounding rural area need one another to thrive. Read more about Making America Great Again at Ed’s Big Adventure.

November showed up today.

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Selective Focus: Aryn Bergsven

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Aryn Bergsven is an artist and an art teacher at Harbor City International School. She talks about sharing her time and energy between her own work and the work of her students.

A.B.: I work in acrylics primarily but also dabble in watercolors and ink, mostly for sketching and traveling. I love to work with portraiture. This has always been an area of interest for me, even when I was in middle and high school. I think it’s even more compelling to me now though as a mother and an art teacher. So much of my life focuses on people and relationships I have with them that the act of really studying faces and reading between the lines has become second nature in some ways.

Duluth native Nides in New Yorker

tom-nidesThe Nov. 14 issue of The New Yorker magazine features an article (clearly written before Election Day) on “the Democrats’ fight over finance.” The focus of the piece is on Thomas R. Nides, “who is seen as a contender for a prominent position in a Clinton Administration.”

Nides is a Duluth native and 1979 graduate of East High School. From 2011 to 2013, he served under Hillary Clinton as deputy U.S. secretary of state for management and resources.

Bellisio Foods sold for a billion

bellisioThe Wall Street Journal reports the Minneapolis-based and Duluth-founded Bellisio Foods company is being sold “for nearly $1.1 billion.” The business started by Duluth’s wealthiest man will soon be owned by Thailand’s wealthiest man.

Jeno Paulucci founded the company in 1985 as Luigino’s, producing frozen food brands such as Michelina’s. The corporate name changed to Bellisio Foods in 2007. Paulucci died in 2011. He sold Bellisio Foods to Centre Partners the day before he died. Charoen Pokphand Foods in Bangkok, owned by Dhanin Chearavanont, expects to close on its purchase of the company within 180 days.

Poll: Best Bakery in the Duluth Area

get-bakedWith your help, we’ve compiled a list of swoon-worthy bakeries in the Duluth area.

It’s a highly subjective exercise. It may be that a fruit tart warms your heart or a cake donut pleases your gut. Whatever the case, it’s time to make a show of support for your favorite purveyor of sweet and glutenous treats.

The nominations are in. Now it’s time to vote and have a say. What’s the Perfect Duluth-area bakery?

This is a runoff poll, which means options will be whittled down over time. We started with 14 nominees; it’s now down to the Final Four: Duluth’s Best Bread, Johnson’s Bakery, Lake Superior Bakehouse and Zenith Bread Project.

This poll is now closed. The results were:

Duluth’s Best Bread – 38 percent
Zenith Bread Project – 27 percent
Johnson’s Bakery – 20 percent
Lake Superior Bakehouse – 15 percent

DTA Passenger Entrance Music

dta12While riding a Duluth Transit Authority bus last night and listening to my head phones, I came up with a very simple way of amusing myself. Whenever the bus stopped to pick up a new passenger, I clicked my mp3 player forward to the next random track and imagined it was the chosen entrance music or “theme song” for that person. Try it out sometime. It’s my gift to you.

“That belt done snapped.”

Russell Prather’s “Rope” takes Arrowhead Regional Biennial prize

Russell Prather's "Rope." Photo by Tim White.

Russell Prather’s “Rope.” Photo by Tim White.

Russell Prather’s “Rope,” a hanging piece made with acrylic on layers of polyester film, took the $1,000 first-place prize at the Duluth Art Institute’s 61st Arrowhead Regional Biennial last week. Prather is a professor at Northern Michigan University who teaches British literary and visual culture of the 18th through 20th centuries.

Positive Post-its at Denfeld

Last week racist graffiti referencing U.S. President-elect Donald Trump was found in a female restroom stall at Denfeld High School. The student body responded this week, posting inspiring messages throughout the school. The movement was led by Denfeld’s student executive board and the video was posted on Twitter by Johanna Unden, the exec board’s student school board representative.

What is the best Duluth-area bakery?

baked-goodsThe decline of the corner bakery in modern America could be considered one of the greatest food-related tragedies of our time. An 85 percent decrease in standalone retail bakeries occurred in the United States over the past 40 years, according to Retail Bakers of America.

With this in mind, it seems important to show our local bakeries some love. That’s why our latest poll will decide the perfect Duluth bakery.

Nominate your favorite by commenting on this post. It will be a purely subjective poll, of course. Comparing an old-school institution stocked with traditional sweets like Long Johns and Bismarcks and a newfangled shop specializing in artisan breads and delicate pastries is a bit like comparing apples to oranges, but the idea is to choose an overall favorite.

Feel free to nominate bakeries that double as coffee shops and serve food or the supermarket variety, if you’re so inclined.

After much geographical consideration, we’ve determined any bakery within 16 miles of the Aerial Lift Bridge is eligible for nomination. That means establishments in Superior, Hermantown, Proctor and the many bordering townships qualify for nomination, but more distant places like Two Harbors and Cloquet do not.

Once we have a good pool of nominees, the poll will commence.

PDD Holiday Socks

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We’re going to try something, offering some PDD Holiday swag for you to sport at your holiday gatherings. You can pre-order some Warhol-ish funky socks with the PDD smokin’ reindeer on them.

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If 20 or more people order them, the order goes through, and everyone receives socks in about 4 weeks. If less than 20 people order, they don’t get made. So spread the news, we’ve only got 7 days.

Click here to order:
bakdrop.com/products/perfectduluthday

Duluth Film Directory launched today

If you’re a filmmaker/actor/screenwriter — or working in any capacity in film in the Duluth area — this post should be of interest to you.

Today I launched the Duluth Film Directory: a database of all the people working in film in Duluth. I constantly receive emails from people asking me who is working in the area, and this will be a convenient way to consolidate everyone into one location. Now, when someone is looking for a freelancer, they’ll know exactly where to turn.

If you’re interested in signing up for the directory, please email me your information at duluthfilmcollective @ gmail.com.

Please include:

  • Your work title
  • Areas of expertise
  • What you’re currently working on
  • Email, website, IMDB page
  • A nice picture of yourself (not grainy or small)

Leonard Cohen R.I.P.

Climbing Palisade Head

GoPro video by Lucas Huibregtse.