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Small Problems

Jamie White FarnhamRemember when the Sex and the City ladies accompanied Carrie on her non-honeymoon? In one scene, Charlotte (the cute one) swallows water while showering and suffers some not-so-cute Montezuma’s Revenge in her loungewear. Later, while consoling Carrie, Charlotte admits to feeling guilty about her relatively carefree life. She has no real problems, while Carrie was left at the altar and their other friend faced cancer. Even Charlotte’s divorce was not so painful since she fell in love with her divorce lawyer.

Carrie forgives her friend the guilt. She offers some perspective when she reminds Charlotte of a problem she did face: “Sweetie, you shit your pants.”

This point stuck with me because I am a Charlotte. Not in the cute sense, but in the small problem sense. I have a lot of small problems. While I am not here to compare them with illness or death or divorce or anything significant, I do want to tell you about them. Consider a year in the life of a Charlotte:

It’s Winter Break, and the kids are playing in the snow. When I bring a forgotten mitten outside, I pull the front door hard behind me by habit. We’re locked out. The extra keys are inside. We can’t get in through the garage, the side door, or the basement. It takes an hour or so for a network of friends to get a key to us. The kids make a snowman while I huddle on the porch in my T-shirt and PJ pants.

Selective Focus: Jon Hinkel

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Jon Hinkel operates the Tight Squeek Press, an artistic step back in time on the second floor of a studio building on First Street. The space is filled with old presses, stacks of paper and the odds and ends that help Jon and the machines crank out his artwork.

J. H.: I’m called an artist-printmaker, creating relief prints on paper using letterpress equipment. For me anyway, my initial artist-end is pretty inseparable from my printmaking. I draw, but I can’t remember ever finishing a drawing. When a sketch I’m working on has gained a fair measure of strength and coherence, that stage of things is done weather it likes it or not. If it’s a worthy image, I’ll carve it into linoleum or engrave it into hard maple. Then to the pressroom!

Trails, trails, trails.

Let me open with: I’m an overweight man who wonders whether he’s being dishonest when he clicks “stocky” on dating websites. I’m not a hiker. I’m an occasional walker-off-pavement.

A story about paving the Minnesota River Bottoms trail in the Twin Cities makes me think about trails in Duluth and about trails in general. Apparently, paving a trail is very expensive, and for that reason, people don’t want to do it.

Artificial – feature film shot in Duluth now free to watch

In honor of the holiday we’ve released our second feature film for free.

Synopsis: A neurotic visionary recruits a young photographer to create a program with the ability to recognize beauty. Artificial is a psychedelic character study that blurs the line between experimental and narrative filmmaking.

Thanks to the community and everyone involved for being part of this undertaking! Enjoy!

Glen’s Neighbor: Unraveling the Mystery

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This is one heckuva story about an amazing band you might never have heard of, but are sure to love. I plumbed the depths on this one by inviting myself to philosopher/frontman Blake Shippee’s home, joined him on his daily six-mile roundtrip walk to work, became an audience at a full rehearsal, and more. Along the way, I lost my mind a bit. The perils of immersive writing… Check out this inspiring story for yourself at Ed’s Big Adventure, and become richer for it.

Happy 4/20

Duluth Family Sauna Carrot Cake 420

Help yourself to some carrot cake on the steps outside Duluth Family Sauna.

Duluth Band Profile: Tender Ness

Tender Ness PDDPeter Witrak’s Tender Ness blends lounge, soul, and vocal jazz. When he talks about the process of making Blues and Oranges, he explains how music transcends a sense of self and creates moments of beauty.

Upcoming gigs:

April 29 at Beaner’s Central for Tender Ness 007 Party

May 6 at Teatro Zuccone during Homegrown Music Festival

Developer plans tech village, jazz club in historic jewelry store

Bagley and Company, 315 W. Superior St., was operated by the same Duluth family for 131 years before closing last summer.

Bagley and Company, 315 W. Superior St., was operated by the same Duluth family for 131 years before closing last summer.

A long-time downtown jewelry store has been purchased by a Texas-based developer with Hermantown roots who plans to turn the building into office space for Internet professionals and create a food and music venue where diamond display cases once stood.

The Bagley & Company Jewelers building, 315 W. Superior Street, was purchased earlier this month by Titan Premier Investments of Houston, Texas. The property includes three historic retail buildings, approximately 19,000-square-feet of space, several skyway storefronts and a turn-of-the-century tea room hidden in the middle of it all.

Duluth’s first vegan blog launches on Earth Day

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Ellen Vaagen, photo by Wolfskull Creative

Ellen Vaagen, the sassy, dreadlocked woman known affectionately around town as “Crafty Ellen,” is launching Vaagen’s Vegan Sauce, the Twin Ports’ first vegan blog on April 22.

The launch party will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Red Herring Lounge and feature sample platters of Vaagen’s vegan snacks, along with free recipe cards.

Duluth Band Profile: Chase Down Blue

Chase Down Blue PDDChase Down Blue creates its own mythos with Red V. The group’s blend of spacey, post-punk links earnest emotions with the feelings of Lake Superior. Click on the image above to hear the podcast.

Upcoming gig: 
May 3 at Kom-on-Inn during the Duluth Homegrown Music Festival 

Mystery Photo #50: Children racing at Bayfront Park

Bayfront

The fundamentals of what’s happening in this old photo are fairly simple. It’s obviously shot at Bayfront Festival Park in the days of the old yellow canvas tarp-covered stage, prior to the 2001 construction of the 76-foot-tall steel-canopy pavilion that stands today. And clearly the image shows kids running a race.

So the mysteries are: What race is this? Can we zero in on a date or are we limited to the vague guess that it’s the mid 1990s?

First Tick of the Year — 2017 Edition

Wood Tick 2017Happy Resurrection Day! I wish I were referring to the savior Jesus Christ and the Easter holiday, but today was the day I found my first tick of 2017. So April 16 marks the beginning of the 2017 tick resurrection. It’s something I’ve posted about almost annually on Perfect Duluth Day since 2005. Sometimes it happens as early as March, sometimes not until June, but the ticks always come back.

I picked up this year’s first tick by walking to the eastern terminus of the Millennium Trail in Superior and continuing past the parking lot there on a grassy trail to an overlook of Kelly Bay. I found two ticks while hiking; by the time three body searches were completed at home, the total count rose to six wood ticks and one deer tick.

Video Archive: Polka Bus Interviews

In this video from the early or mid-1980s, Ray Lemke interviews the passengers on a bus from Chet & Emil’s in Birnamwood, Wis., heading to a polka event at the Riverside Ballroom in Green Bay.

The video is from the collection of the late Emil Praslowicz, digitized by his grandson, Kip Praslowicz.

Scooters in Duluth

ScootersI’m considering a 49cc scooter for getting around town, primarily from Lakeside up to work at UMD, during the non-snow months. I’m wondering if one that small can haul me, or my husband, up the hill. I’ve Googled to not a ton of help. Has anyone over, say, 200 lbs. used one? I won’t require you to divulge your actual weight.

PDD Quiz: Homegrown Band or Fairy Tale?

An illustration of a rooster .In honor of Homegrown Music Festival, which begins on April 30, this month’s quiz features a mix of Homegrown band names and fairy tales from around the world. Can you tell which is which? Take the quiz and see how well you know your field guide!

The next PDD Quiz will cover this month’s notable (and not-so-notable) news and will be published on April 30. E-mail question suggestions to Alison Klawiter at [email protected] by April 27.