Monthly Archives: February 2011

Free Film Series Explores Women’s Human Rights Issues

Filmmaker Jean Kilbourne is a household world in the homes of many young women, their mothers and grandmothers, whose antennae have been tuned to sexist advertising by Kilbourne’s powerful films. A dear friend would describe this awareness of the image of women in the media as “perceptive paranoia”

As part of their Women’s Human Rights Film Series, Advocates for Human Rights will join with The Friends of the St. Paul Public Library to present Kilbourne’s recent film, Killing Us Softly 4: Advertising’s Image of Women, a film for which Kilbourne enthusiasts have waited ten long years.

The program is Tuesday, February 22, 7:00 p.m. at the Merriam Park Branch Library, Marshall and Fairview in St. Paul.   Following the film there will be a discussion of the film and the issues led by Kathy Seipp and Anna Donnelly, Women’s Program Associates at The Advocates.

Promotional materials for Killing Us Softly 4 describe the film in this way:

Jean Kilbourne takes a fresh look at how advertising traffics in distorted and destructive ideals of femininity. The film marshals a range of new print and television advertisements to lay bare a stunning pattern of damaging gender stereotypes — images and messages that too often reinforce unrealistic, and unhealthy, perceptions of beauty, perfection, and sexuality. By bringing Kilbourne’s groundbreaking analysis up to date, Killing Us Softly 4 stands to challenge a new generation of students to take advertising seriously, and to think critically about popular culture and its relationship to sexism, eating disorders, and gender violence.

“Africa Rising”, third in the Women’s Rights Film Series, explores the conditions that shape the lives  of African girls who are subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) at an early age.  The film travels through remote villages of Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mali, Somalia and Tanzania. Along with poignant stories of girls affected by FGM the film shows how courageous and creative African women and men are putting an end to this human rights violation.

The film will be followed by a discussion led by Beatriz Menanteau, Staff Attorney in the Women’s Human Rights Program at The Advocates for Human Rights.

The third and last film in the Women’s Human Rights Film Series will be shown March 31, 2011, 7:00 p.m. at Metropolitan State University Library, Ecolab Room, 645 East Seventh Street, on St. Paul’s East Side.

Music, Herbs and a Touch of Spring at the St. Anthony Winter Market

Winter marketing is about the only thing “hot” in Minnesota this year – and the Village Farmer’s Market winter venue turns up the heat this Sunday, February 20, with an afternoon of good listening to spice up the culinary treats.

The big draw is the food, of course.  There are fresh potted herbs (chives, basil, sage, rosemary, oregano, marjoram, mint) and possibly some container-size heirloom tomatoes and peppers.

Once again Lily’s will be serving their famous French crepes.

The first musical set, 11:00-1:00,  features the old time songs and tunes of Bob and Lynn Dixon.  From 1:00 – 3:00 it’s Greenwood Tree with Bill Cagley on guitar, mandolin and Irish drum, and Stu Janis on the hammered dulcimer and bowed psaltery

The Winter Market is at the St. Anthony Community Center, 3301 Silver Lake Road in St. Anthony.  The Market will be open on the third Sunday of March, April and May, 11:00 AM-3:00 PM.

Women and Girls Gather at the Capitol for President’s Day

Though we have yet to elect a woman President or Governor the day will come.  And the women and girls gathered in the Capitol Complex next Monday, February 21,  can claim their fair of credit.  The visits of two energetic delegations are sponsored by the Minnesota Women’s Consortium (MWC.)

For over a decade President’s Day marks the day on which the presidents of women’s organizations gather at the State Capitol to identify and support issues of concern to Minnesota women.  Attendees will deliver a joint statement to the Legislature;  they will then meet with Congressional delegates and the press at 12:30 p.m. in Capitol Room 318.

As Abigail Adams might have admonished her husband John, don’t forget the young ladies.  They’ll be there in numbers.  On the same day Minnesota girls age 13-18 will participate in the 9th annual Girls Rock! The Capitol event is co-sponsored by the MWC and Girls International Forum.  There’s an introduction to political leadership and activism in the Great Hall at the Capitol followed by a tour, mock voting, a mock committee meeting and a reception with women legislators.

A first this year will be the participation of 20 college women from Bahrain, Yemen, and the United Arab Emirates.  The college students will teach the girls about women’s leadership in their home countries – and undoubtedly face some tough questions posed by girls who have learned a great deal about the older students’ homelands in the past few weeks.

Bonnie Watkins, Director of the MWC, eagerly awaits the visitors, the political action and the photo ops with the teen politicos whom she observes “are incredibly bright and confident, and …will be running our state in no time at all.”  The day will come – and with the training and contacts offered by the MWC it will come soon.

For President’s Day info contact Bonnie Watkins ( or 651 398 3686

For more information re  Girls Rock! Call Erin 651 228 0338.

Supporters Turn Out for WPBP Fundraiser

250 famished supporters ready to share a hearty breakfast with a community of friends, one and new.  Walker, bikers and drivers dodged the Cities’ famed potholes to gather for a gustatory treat served by a squadron of volunteers on hand to support the work of the Women’s Prison Book Project.

The community room at Walker church was a beehive of activity and good will.   Fundraiser attendees breakfasting on stacks of light and flaky pancakes, pitchers of syrup, and grits, complete with hot sauce and grated cheese.  Kids industriously worked on original Valentines to be shared with political prisons.  Meanwhile, bibliophiles pored over mountains of pre-read books, good reads all but hardcover books not allowed in correctional facilities (don’t ask…)

Donations for the fundraiser came not only from breakfasters but from area organizations and business including CO-OP Partners, Peace Coffee, Anodyne Café, Trader Joe’s, and Equal Exchange.  Walker Church has donated the space since the beginning of the annual fundraiser.

WPBP planners report that Saturday’s fundraiser brought in about $2300, enough money to support approximately 1 ½ months of MPBP mailings – funds pay for postage and packaging.

The labor involved in organizing contributed books, matching books and incarcerated readers, then packaging and mailing a constant flow of requested titles,  falls to a cadre of committed volunteers who meet, wrap and mail every Sunday.

One of the outcomes of Saturday’s fundraiser is a treasured list of some 30 attendees who offered to lend a hand.  Good thing, too, because since Saturday a local church has contributed what a “huge donation of books” which volunteer Beth Derenne celebrates as “overwhelming but exciting!”

The Women’s Prison Book Project is located at Boneshaker Books, 2002 23rd Avenue South, just off Franklin in the Seward neighborhood.

Ladies’ Night in St. Anthony Village

Folks in Northeast Minneapolis and its neighbor suburbs seldom refer to St. Anthony Village.  It’s “The Village.”   After all, the venerable shopping hub was the first of its kind when it opened in the early 1950’s.  Today the smaller-than-average shopping center is home to a unique mix of friendly purveyors of goods and services.

Local merchants opening their doors and sweetening the shopping pot by inviting “The Ladies” join them for Ladies Night Out@St.Anthony Shopping Center.  The next Night Out is set for Friday, February 18, with future Friday specials on March 18, April 15 and May 20, 2011.

The evening (7:00-9:00 broadly interpreted) promises bargains and more including

A roster of speakers at Hidden Treasures, a high quality thrift shop local gathering spot for bargain hunters.  This week’s talk is about re-upholstering future, of which Hidden Treasures has loads of treasures awaiting rehab.

Each month at Annona Gourmet proprietress Jean Rarick will feature a different vendor or artist, starting at 6:00 p.m. so she won’t conflict with her next door neighbors at Hidden Treasures. This week Jean will feature Discovered Design, hand crafted and beaded kitchen utensils, wine glasses and more.  Linda from Leeski Farms and the Unreliable Bakery will introduce shoppers to rubs, dipping spices and other culinary treats.  Most important, Jean will be on hand to introduce and answer every imaginable question about her extensive inventory of oils, vinegars, pasta and much more.

Shopping can take its toll on a hapless “lady” – There are coupons and bargains on Village eateries including fast food stops such as DQ and Subway, a sparkling new Broadway Pizza outlet, half-price appetizers at the Village Pub, an exhaustive inventory of teas at The Tea Source and many more.

The temps are up, the ice is melting, the days are getting longer. Ladies, it’s time for a Night Out in The Village!


Arts Administrator Alejandra Pelinka to Head NEMAA

Arts Administrator Alejandra Pelinka to Head Art-A-Whirl

The Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association (NEMAA) has announced that Alejandra Pelinka has accepted the position of Executive Director of Art-A-Whirl, the signature event of NEMAA’s thriving agenda of arts programming.  In making the appointment Susan Wagner Ginter, Board President of NEMAA, commented that “hiring an Executive Director now is happening at the right time for us in our organization’s growth path.  We have all levels of member sectors from local business partners to nationally recognized artists and we want to make sure NEMAA continues to be a vital organization for all of them.

Pelinka has served most recently as Art Gallery Director of the Burnsville Performing Arts Center, a theater and multi-purpose venue which includes an art gallery.  She is President of the Burnsville Arts Society and has worked at Intermedia Arts, the community arts center in South Minneapolis.  In accepting her appointment Pelinka commended the organization and its members who, she observes, “are well-known for the high level of creativity and quality of their work.”

John Berryman Remembered at Book House Celebration

The Book House in Dinkytown offers an evening of poetry, reminiscence and shared experience for those who knew, who remember and who read and relish the poetry of John Berryman the Minnesota bard who taught hundreds of University of Minnesota students the lasting love of good poetry.  Berryman, recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for his book of poetry, 77 Dream Songs, taught at the U of M from 1955 until his death in 1972.


John Berryman: Poet and Teacher, A Celebration is Thursday, February 17, 7:00 p.m. in the Red Room at the Loring Pasta Bar, 327 14th Avenue SE, in Beautiful Downtown Dinkytown.  The evening includes readings by actor and writer Ben Kreilkamp who will read from a selection of Berrryman’s writings and a rare opportunity to hear a recording of Berryman audiotapes.


A circle of Berryman’s friends, students and colleagues will reminiscence about his life and his work.  The circle includes Judy Koll Healey, Michael Dennis Browne, Michael Mann, Patricia Kirkpatrick, Kate Donahue, and Richard Kelly who cataloged the papers of Berryman for the University of Minnesota Libraries.


The Book House will also feature a display of photocopied manuscript materials from the U of M Andersen archives; the manuscripts highlight the ways in which Dream Songs evolved from scraps of paper to typescripts ready for submission to the publisher.


The Celebration is free and open. Contact the Book House in Dinkytown at 612 331 1043 or