Weird Posts

Is Duluth, Minnesota really paradise?

Creating Duluth-Themed Art with AI

A Van Gogh style painting of a 1920s cargo train traveling on a winter night though an evergreen forest next to a huge blue lake with the aurora borealis in the night sky.

DALL-E is an online tool that uses machine learning to generate digital images from plain English text descriptions. You type a description of something real or imaginary and the program does its best to create a unique image based on that description. After some time on a waitlist, I recently received an invite that allows me to create and download a limited number of artificial intelligence generated images per month. This came at a good time, as I recently found a watercolor print of the Duluth hillside in a Lincoln Park shop that I liked quite a bit but could not afford. I decided to use some of my AI image credits to see if I could get the automated system to produce Duluth art of at least somewhat comparable quality. In the examples that follow, I describe this process, showing what worked and what did not. The captions of each picture show the text query that generated the image.

Canal Park souvenir invites tourists to envision a lift bridge over the Mississippi

Some years ago, I had a Duluth nameplate hanging from the back of my bicycle, which I suppose is why I impulsively bought another when I saw it recently in a Canal Park souvenir shop. I vaguely remember the one I had purchased in my younger years having a generic cityscape and not actually showing Duluth.

This one seemed no different, and might even be the same design, but this time I noticed that the building on the far left had a rather specific architecture. Checking with a group of skyscraper-obsessed friends led me to a conclusion that I should have reached myself: this Duluth souvenir depicts the skyline of St. Paul.

Successful transplanting of phallus impudicus


 

I successfully transplanted these phallus impudicus (“impudent phallus,” aka the common stinkhorn) from one end of town to another in my diabolical plan to expand the range of this deLIGHTful species.

SubSuperior: Day 1


 

Beta-test/proof of concept/first annual; video to come. Making music underwater and projecting it on land with hydrophones.

Artificially Perfect Duluth Day: The Microsoft Flight Simulator

Microsoft’s Flight Simulator came out on the Xbox last week and allows players to fly anywhere in the world, including Duluth. It combines information from Bing maps with an algorithm that builds 3D representations of the landscape, creating shapes and textures when data is missing or incomplete.

The video below shows a simulated flight over Park Point.

Avant-Garde Women: Michele Bernstein, Queen of the Situationists

The video below is from a 1960 French TV interview about Michele Bernstein’s subversive novel “All the King’s Horses”. Yes this is in French, which I cannot follow. The auto-translation isn’t much better. It’s sort of a friendly verbal chess match. At around 2:30 the interviewer asks her something about having respect for her literary forebears. She replies: “We each import our own small stone to the cathedral.” Asked what novel she can compare hers to, she replies, “I don’t know; if it is simply a novel we can compare it to all that exist.”

Avant-Garde Women: Eliane Brau, the Invisible Icon

Born Eliane Papai around 1935 in Spain, Eliane married her way into a couple other last names; she is mostly referred to as Eliane Brau, using the last name of her second husband. I think of her simply as Eliane, in deference to her singularity. Below I argue that her role in the “Letterist” movement of early 1950s Paris has been diminished; conversely, the achievements of the Letterist men have been overblown. It has been too easy to write her off as a passive “muse” for these men who indeed loved her fiercely. She deserves parity. Sadly, unlike her lovers, there is a distinct lack of information about her on the internet. I cannot even determine if she is still alive. Eliane is an invisible icon.

Nate J. Mattson – “Moon Racer”

This experimental music video by Duluth’s Nate J. Mattson features Shereé doing her “Original Tiger Dance.”

Short story about PDD blog comments’ infinite recursion of self-referentiality

With regards to a recent sarcastic comment by Vicarious about me posting on PDD about an interview I did about a PDD post, I was reminded of this Richardson brothers story. It was inspired by a war in the PDD comments section back in the old days, but the gist is infinite recursion in blog comments.

Ghosts of the French River: the book

 

My friend Erin Tope (now Sola) 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 short videos 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.

New Richardson Brothers Podcast Episode: “Bar Fight”

“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.

Richardson Bros. Ghost Story “The Haunted Groom”

“The Haunted Groom” is a supernatural adventure story set largely in the Duluth bar scene. It explores PTSD, addiction, abusive relationships, and the coronavirus lockdown. Full story below.

Part 1: I Married a Ghost. Part 2: Trapdoor to Hell. Part 3: The Demonizer.

The 2005 Duluth Art Institute Riot

Academic and Critical Excerpts, collated and footnoted by the Richardson brothers (Jim and Allen Richardson)

The Richardson brothers in the book “Haunted Minnesota”

This post could also be called “Bigfoot and Us.”

Starting in 1998, my brother Allen and I wrote a “weird science” column called “Gonzo Science” for the alternative Duluth newsweekly Ripsaw.

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