I am disgusted by the Confederate flag, and by those white people who defend its display as “honoring their heritage.” I say this as a white native of the South, with deep Southern roots. I was born in Texas (slave state) to a mother from North Carolina (slave state) and a father from Georgia (slave state). I was raised below the Mason-Dixon line in Maryland (slave state).
The year I was born (1969), my father taught at an all-white private high school in Houston. The Civil Rights era raged. When the headmaster refused to desegregate the school, my father was part of a faculty exodus. My folks found a Maryland school that did not discriminate, and went to teach there. They raised me to believe in equality. But looking back through the history of the country, the full story of my family and race is a terrible thing: the Richardsons owned slaves for generations, and I can document it.
My dad was a Civil War buff. When I was a child, he told me many things about it, including: 1) there were Richardsons on both sides of the war, and 2) the Southern, slave-owning Richardsons were angry when their slaves were freed.
Twelve photos representing seven dogs and one Great Lake. The past few years, whenever someone’s dog is in the water, I ask if I can take underwater pictures of it. Sometimes they work out, sometimes they don’t. Here’s the best ones, including three dogs of winter.
Lem was born in 1921 in Lwow, Poland which is now Lviv, Ukraine. He died in 2006 in Krakow, Poland.
He was a Jew who survived the Holocaust, which in Poland was bracketed by two Soviet invasions. He went on to become one of the greatest science fiction writers in the world. His best-known work (in America) is the novella “Solaris,” which became a 2002 film directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring George Clooney. Lem sold more than 40 million books worldwide.
My friend Erin Tope and I collaborated on these pictures in the French River a few years ago. From the first they suggested characters and supernatural narratives, which I initially put to a series of four wordless video shorts set to music. That sparked years of subsequent imagining about who these ghosts are. Words have now been joined to pictures to form the final iteration of the project. In the absence of an actual physical publisher, I have posted them at their own site where I consider it a free 16-page e-book. I post them here as well for your enjoyment — although you may want to leave the light on.
“Bar Fight” is a Duluth-centric science fiction vignette in the style of William S. Burroughs. It reads like a hard-boiled noir tale of a private eye tailing a crooked cop to the bad part of town, ending in a scene of shocking violence — except the private eye is an interdimensional traveler in a space suit, the crooked cop is the god Osiris (now a beat cop for Jehovah), and the bad part of town is a bar in Limbo (modeled after the Pizza Luce bar). I performed this through a megaphone while speaking very quietly because it gives the feel of a distant transmission. I recorded this a couple years ago late at night, but abandoned it because I thought it was silly and I was a mess. Now I’ve viewed it again and it is making me laugh, so I’m posting it. There is a gap of a few seconds in the middle as I scroll my page down. This is the first video release on our podcast, which you can see if you click through but it’s just me reading at a table. The video has a surreal shuttering effect which was unintended but I like it. This story originally ran in the Transistor.
#1.) Official video for the Low song “Gentle.” 2015. My one paying video gig and crowning achievement. Low saw Lake Superior Aquaman footage I posted here and requested I fit it to this song. The imagery is of the collapsed column of Uncle Harvey’s Mausoleum/The Icehouse in Duluth’s outer harbor off the Lakewalk.