R.I.P. Posts

Sunshine Café leads the list of 2023 restaurant casualties

The Sunshine Café in West Duluth closed at the outset of the pandemic in March 2020. Owners announced this year it will not reopen. (Photo by Mark Nicklawske)

One of Duluth’s most significant restaurant closures of 2023 technically happened in 2020. The Sunshine Café closed more than three years ago as COVID-19 swept the country. What was considered a temporary closure at the time was finally announced as permanent in September 2023.

The Twin Ports restaurant scene has stabilized and grown as the pandemic has wound down, but the closure of the beloved diner at 5719 Grand Ave. in West Duluth can be seen as evidence the coronavirus fallout lingers. The Sunshine Café had been a neighborhood gathering place for more than three decades.

The Black Labels – “Please Give Me Something”

A track from the 2001 Shaky Ray Records compilation album Let’s Get Sloppy.

R.I.P. Black Labels’ drummer Ryan “Chunk” Lund — April 25, 1983 to Sept. 17, 2023.

In Memoriam: Duluth Artist Max Moen

Anyone within the sound of my voice, the artworks of Max Moen must be found and saved. I interrupted his dying days begging him to grant me a custodial role regarding his body of work. I think mostly of his collages which I greatly admire, surrealist masterpieces. I told him I’d arrange a show and self-publish a collection at my own expense, because the world must know. At the time he told me they were boxed in a car in another state, and I feared I was taxing him as he fought the cancer. I think he got that car back but I let it go; he was too busy dying and I didn’t want to be that guy. At least I impressed upon him that I considered him an artist with a capital “A.”

Sadly I have none of his work to share with you today. He had some examples on his old Facebook page but he took it all down. I remember searching his photos to copy them but he’d already deleted the lot. He did that sometimes.

Blush nightclub to close at the end of May

Hip-hop artist Tarli performing May 7 at Blush during the Homegrown Music Festival. (Photo by Paul Lundgren)

Owners of Blush, a community-based art gallery, music venue and drinking establishment, have announced it will close at the end of May.

Duluth’s Lark o’ the Lake Café won’t reopen

2016 photo by Lissa Maki

Representatives of Lark o’ the Lake Café announced on Facebook yesterday that their eatery in the Greysolon Plaza will not reopen. It has been closed since mid-March, when Minnesota restaurants were ordered to cease dine-in service as part of the Stay-at-home Order related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

R.I.P. Old Town Bar and Restaurant

The Old Town Bar and Restaurant at 2215 E. Second St. in Superior was demolished today. It had been closed since 2013.

R.I.P. Duluth~Superior Magazine

Sad to see the Duluth~Superior Magazine cease publication, announced today in a Duluth News Tribune story. DSM made Duluth feel classy. Jim Heffernan comments on his blog (Jim Heffernan’s Blog) on his six year stint writing for this print magazine headed by former Duluth News Tribune publisher, Marti Buscaglia.

R.I.P. Philip Seymour Hoffman

He was, by far, our best actor working. I am so saddened by the loss.

Philip Seymour Hoffman found dead in NYC Apartment

R.I.P. Sleazy

Peter Christopherson

Peter Christopherson passed away peacefully in his sleep on the 24th November 2010 at his home in Bankok.

Farewell, Susan.

Susan Askelin, passed away Jan. 1, 2010 of esophageal cancer.

Susan was born Nov. 13, 1949 in Duluth, to Harold and Jessie Askelin.

She grew up in Bagley and Savage and graduated from Burnsville high school in 1967. She was married to Richard Schmoller, and later to Michael Paymar. She moved to Duluth where she attended the College of St. Scholastica and graduated Suma Cum Laude with a Masters in business management. While in Duluth she played a critical role in the creation of several co-operatives including Whole Foods Warehouse, and Co-op and Builders & Laborers Commonwealth. She was the director of the weatherization program at Community Action Program, and later became the Director of the Program to Aid to Victims of Sexual Assault. She later moved to St. Paul and worked at Project Fast Forward in Dakota County. Later, she moved to Texas to bask in the sun and worked in several non-profit housing development organizations.

Susan will be remembered for her giving spirit, compassion, and integrity. She was smart, beautiful and strong willed. Her contributions to the world were profound. She loved traveling to Mexico and the Boundary Waters and especially loved the family cabin at Prairie Lake. In her last days her strength and compassion for others were inspirational, she passed away in Montana with sister Sharel beside her.

Susan was preceded in death by her sister, Lindy; brother, Shaun; paternal grandparents, Florence and Einar Askelin, and maternal grandparents, Winifred and Charles Jones.

She is survived by her son, Jason (Laura); grandson, Morgan and daughter, Nicole Harris (Dan); her parents, Jessie and Harold (Helen); aunts, Nancy Jones, Joyce Utter (Arnie); uncle, Ed Askelin(Joan); sisters, Michelle LeBeau (Kent) and Sharel Uphus (Mike); brother, Kurt Askelin (Ruenee); sister, Jodi Christianson (Don); sister-in-law, Beth Askelin; and many nieces and nephews.

SERVICE: is planned for late spring according to Susan’s wishes. A memorial fund is set up in Susan’s name at Wells Fargo Bank.