Monthly Archives: July 2017

Fringe Festival 2017-A celebration for every Minnesotan

Fringe Festival 2017 is just one calendar flip away.  Set for August 3-13, 2017,  Fringe is just one of Minnesota’s honored traditions that needs no introduction. Just in case, take a digital tour of the highlights here: (http://www.fringefestival.org)   Or check out the official Wikipedia site which is both thorough and up-to-date. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minnesota_Fringe_Festival

While the creative spirit and energy for Fringe comes from individual Minnesotans the fiscal support is provided by all of the state’s residents whose taxes support the Legacy Fund (http://www.legacy.leg.mn/funds/arts-cultural-heritage-fund) The intent of this post is to assure that all Minnesotans will enjoy access to the events, the camaraderie and the spirit of this legendary celebration of the state’s creative expression.

Happily, Fringe has been mindful of accessibility as a priority and VSA Minnesota has provided a generous grant to support accessibility services.

Dawn Bentley, the almost new director of Fringe, has been very helpful in pointing out the accommodations.

General:  Reservation fees are waived for patrons using ASL and AD services.

Beginning at the gate – All Fringe venues are accessible to visitors with mobility challenges.  The specifics of access (e.g. entrance doors, elevators, parking) are noted on individual venue pages.

There are 42 scheduled and three wildcard spots for performances to be Audio Described or ASL Interpreted. The full list of shows with access services can be found here:  http://www.fringefestival.org/2017/shows/access/

As an extra service, during tech week crew members take note if performances use flashing or lights or if they  include loud noises that will be harmful or irritating to patrons.  If they see a problem House managers will post signs outside the doors of performances.

Reservations: Any patron wishing to use the services can make a free reservation online using the code “accessfringe” at checkout to have the reservation fee waived. 

Questions about Fringe accessibility:  Call 612 872 1212.

Minnesota groups rally for science/health research

How in heaven’s name can a nation with a $1 trillion surplus threaten so much scientific research so vital to its future? David Gergen

David Gergen echoes the words and thoughts of millions of Americans concerned about the many onslaughts to research across every discipline. The Minnesota Rally for Research will focus on scientific research, the government’s reductions in funding – and respect – for scientific innovation, particularly in medical and technological development.

The Rally is set for Saturday, August 5, 2017, 1:00-2:30 PM at the Minnesota State Capitol.

The Rally is a nonpartisan occasion for Minnesotans come together, as health care providers, researchers and as individuals and families who are dependent on the high quality medical care.  The common goal is to speak in unison for NIH research funding.

The Minnesota Rally for Research is organized by a host of partners including A Breath of Hope, ALS Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, Colon Cancer Coalition, Get Up Stand Up to Cure Paralysis, March for Science Minnesota, Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, Minnesota AIDS Project, Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance, Minnesota Nurses Association, Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance, NAMI Minnesota, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Susan G Komen, and tin Whiskers Brewing Company.

Follow Minnesota Rally plans on Twitter at  #MNRALLY4RESEARCH

MAP: https://www.google.com/maps/dir/44.9855488,-93.2478976/44.9543075,-93.102222/@45.0313607,-93.2278681,11.24z/data=!4m4!4m3!1m1!4e1!1m0

Related information: 

http://rallyformedicalresearch.org/Pages/default.aspx

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/07/21/trump-furthers-war-science-illegal-nomination-climate-denier-top-usda-scientist

 

In Minnesota “Made Here” really means made here

Take empty windows and storefronts in downtown Minneapolis and fill them with the work of local artists to create a walkable urban art experience. That’s what Hennepin Theatre Trust has been doing since 2013 with the Made Here project. ~~ M.A.Rosko

Sponsors were series about the “made here” guidelines when they launched this season’s Future: Made Here campaign (http://madeheremn.org/about/main) last April.  The results, representing the work of more than 40 Minnesota artists and 120 students, are to be found throughout the summer months throughout the downtown’s streets and open spaces.  Made Here is sponsored in large part by Andersen Corporation, Le Meridien Chambers Minneapolis, supplemented by a grant from the McKnight Foundation. (More about sponsors here http://madeheremn.org/partners)

Twice a year Made Here gives life to windows and other underused spaces throughout the West Downtown Minneapolis Cultural District (aka the WeDo District).  According to planners, the project has grown over the years to now feature visual displays in windows, live performances, artist markets, pop-up galleries in more.”  Planners note that “the intent is to infuse underused public spaces with art and art-inspired experiences – and transform them with the spirit of what is possible.” To learn more about the spirit and history of Made Here, click here: http://madeheremn.org)

The displays, selected in an open competition judged by a community panel people from a range of disciplines.”  The displays reflect months of creative work by area artists of every medium.  To follow the energy, ideas and fun of the Made Here exhibit, click here: http://madeheremn.ojecorg/blog

Or take an armchair tour of what you’ll find at each Made Here window, pop-up display performance, by clicking here http://madeheremn.org/showcases.  Then follow the lively Made Here blog here: http://madeheremn.org/blog

The virtual tour and blog posts will inspire you to get up out of that armchair and head downtown for an up close and personal look at each of the wonderfully unique Made Here exhibits.  Equip yourself with this map showing exhibits and performance areas (http://madeheremn.org/map)

Clearly, Made Here thrives as a living, growing success.  Since its launch the project has produced over 300 window displays as well as scores of performances and pop-ups.

  • Learn more about the Hennepin Theatre Trust here:  hennepintheatretrust.org
  • Learn more about the West Downtown Minneapolis Cultural District here:  wedompls.org

Made Here will infuse life into the streets and storefronts of downtown Minneapolis throughout the month of August.

 

Mid-summer Meanderings on the Mississippi

The face of the water, in time, became a wonderful book – a book that was a dead language to the uneducated passenger, but which told its mind to me without reserve, delivering its most cherished secret as clearly as if it uttered them with a voice. And it was not a book to be read once and thrown aside, for it had a new story to tell every day. ~~ Mark Twain.

Though summer days and evenings are long and lush, there just are not enough of them – so many opportunities to relax and learn, so little time! The powerful flow and the majestic beauty of the Mississippi flow inspire writers, painters, photographers, musicians, creative spirits and nature lovers to its banks. As the Mississippi flows through these parts it welcomes all of those who live and work along its path to know the influence of the river on its neighbors.

Following are just a few of the  summer activities inspired by the Mighty Mississippi.

One major happening is the FLOW Northside Arts Crawl, set for July 27-29. Over the past decade the FLOW has grown in reputation and attendance; the arts crawl has morphed into a huge three-day community celebration that stretches for over a mile and a half from the Mississippi to Penn Avenue North. The celebration features the range from fine art by over 300 local artists and makers to graffiti created by expressive amateurs – plus  music, music, music!  One feature familiar to FLOW-goers is the “clusters” at Freedom Square and The Capri Theater, Juxtaposition Arts and the KMOJ Stage. FLOW is a program of the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition. (http://westbroadway.org)  All the details here: (http://www.northmpls.org/flow2015)

Through Labor Day the National Park Service, in collaboration with Mississippi Arts Connection and Friends of the Lock and Dam, will be sponsoring public tours, guided or unguided seven days a week.  Writing in MinnPost Peter Callaghan gives an excellent overview of the locks, their history and current operations, along with details about the tours. https://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2017/06/possible-sign-things-come-national-park-service-again-offers-tours-st-anthon

Now that you’re in the mood, grab a camera (any camera) and take a stroll along the banks of the Mississippi Riverfront (http://www.minneapolisriverfront.org/) has issued a call for entries to the Mississippi Minute Film Festival.  They’re looking for films that “inform, energize, and inspire people to action – all in 60 seconds!”  Entries are due September 15.  Learn more here:  http://www.minneapolisriverfront.org/riverfront-initiatives/mississippi-minute-film-festival/

The dust has hardly settled on the magnificent Northeast Parade and yet the community is priming for Open Streets Northeast.  (It’s Sunday, August 6, 11:00-5:00.  This is a City of Minneapolis event hosted by the Our Streets Minneapolis, formerly the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition (http://www.ourstreetsmpls.org)

And you will be right on the river when you visit the Twin Cities Polish Festival August 11-13.   Planners say their mission is to “immerse Minnesotans and visitors in ‘all things Polish” by presenting a kaleidoscope of unique cultural and educational displays, food and top-notch entertainment.” Mere words cannot convey the “feel” of the event – music, dancing, history and culture – all on Old Main Street on  the banks of the Mississippi.  Learn more here: http://www.tcpolishfestival.org.  Free and open!

There’s much more to see and do, but stop now to  take time to relax, find a cool spot – preferably near water – to read these reflections on Ol’ Mn River written by John Anfinson: http://www.minneapolisriverfront.org/john-anfinson-vision-river/  It will inspire you to keep  on exploring the wonders – to walk, photograph, paint, write , read or simply be grateful for the Mississippi River in our midst and in our lives.

The Mississippi, the Ganges, and the Nile,…the Rocky Mountains, the Himmaleh, and Mountains of the Moon, have a kind of personal importance in the annals of the world ~~   Henry David Thoreau

 

Meridel LeSueur’s words ring true at ESFL

A good civilization gives the greatest possible scope to the common passions and makes them intelligible among the great number of people ~ Meridel LeSueur

Meridel LeSueur would embrace the vision and endorse the vision of the East Side Freedom Library (ESFL).  She would no doubt have some helpful suggestions for programs and outreach strategies, but she would embrace the idea!

The feeling is mutual. The vision and words of Meridel resonate in the essence of ESFL In fact, the mission of ESFL is to “give the great possible scope to the common passions and make them intelligible among the great number of people.

Though Meridel died in 1996 her spirit lives, captured in her own words, in the memories of colleagues and in film/video – not to mention in the lives of those who felt her influence. Her spirit is needed at this hour.

To underscore that point, ESFL is sponsoring a Labor Movie Night, starring the spirit of Meridel.  My People Are My Home is a 45-minute creative documentary produced in 1976 by a Twin Cities women’s film collective.  The documentary follows the text of several of Meridel’s writings “woven with images of Midwestern people, especially working class women.  It fulfills Meridel’s vision of making “common passions…intelligible among the greatest number of people.”

Following the film there will be a discussion of the film and of the life and work of Meridel LeSeuer.  The discussion will be led by Neala Schleuning who has written about Lesueur, including for this MNOpedia entry (http://www.mnopedia.org/person/le-sueur-meridel-1900-1996)   Members of the women’s collective that created the film will be on hand to participate in the exchange of ideas.

The film showing and discussion are Tuesday, August 1, 7:00 p.m. at ESFL 1105 Greenbrier Street, St Paul 55106.   Free and open.

Disability Rights March and Rally July 26

Live not for Battles Won/ Live not for The-End-of-the-Song/
Live in the along. ~  
Gwendolyn Brooks


A generation ago, on July 26, 1990, President George H. W.Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Next Wednesday, July 26, Minnesotans who continue to struggle for the cause will gather at the State Capitol for the Disability Rights March and Rally. Advocates will celebrate the positive impact of federal legislation even as they let it be known that the struggle continues. (http://www.disability.state.mn.us/2017/06/02/disability-rights-march-rally/)  They will be coming together in a political and digital reality very different from that day of triumph in 27 years ago.

Clearly, this month’s March and Rally have great accomplishments to herald; signs of progress in implementation of the ADA are so commonplace as to be taken for granted.  As a refresher, take time to view this blog post created by a few creative souls determined to give voice to women with disabilities in the January 2017 Women’s March.  https://disabilitymarch.com

Today we live and breathe, study, work and play in a digital world.  As the possibilities for people with disabilities expand exponentially institutions of every sort, from mighty  bureaucracies to the faith community – struggle to seize the moment.  What’s happening on the institutional front – including plans still waiting on the digital launch pad – pushes the boundaries that were but a gleam in the eye of ADA advocates a generation ago.

For those who are immersed in meeting the challenge this is chance to capitalize on progress, to prove the power of collaboration, to share the word of what’s possible.  Organizations and institutions – small businesses, nonprofits, legislators themselves – may be unaware of the wealth of resources. The Rally offers an opening to share stories of digital possibilities.  This is chance to demonstrate the amazing tools of digital access, starting with the mega toolkit created by the Minnesota State Council on Disabilities. (http://www.disability.state.mn.us/digital-accessibility/). The challenge is to share a vision of dynamic intellectual participation that was a rare possibility “back in the day”

Equally important, as the nation is led to question the fundamental right to vote, the rights of people with disabilities are a concern to legislators as well as every voter.  This post might resonate with elected officials motivated to act in light of the March. https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2016/08/12/sharing-the-right-to-vote-the-right-the-reason-some-resources/

Emcee of the July 26 March and Rally is Kristen Jorenby, Director of the Center for Accessibility Resources (CAR) at Metropolitan State University. (http://www.metrostate.edu/student/student-services-support/student-services/center-for-accessibility-resources

In a pre-Rally interview Jorenby underscored the urgency of the July 26 Disability Rights March and Rally:

Given the current political climate, the community is really concerned about cuts to healthcare, their ability to remain independent and cuts to transportation funding. We have problems within the system that continue to exist. The ADA is a huge civil rights act. And this [event] is really a chance for people to celebrate that and reassert that they have this civil right, and they are not going to let them be taken away.”

If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress ~ Barack Obama

 

 

 

Puppeteers gather in St Paul to learn and share their art

The puppeteer pulls the puppet’s strings. The puppet pulls the audience’s strings. The audience pulls the puppeteer’s strings

John Alejandro King a.k.a. the Covert Comic

And yet the 400-plus puppeteers will  have more on their minds then string pulling  when they gather next week, July 18-22,  at Concordia University in St Paul.  They’ll will be much too engaged in lively discussion of ideas, performance and reflection on the proud history they share.  The 80th Annual National Puppetry Festival is a week packed with learning options for neophytes and masters who gather to demonstrate, learn and renew friendships.

Many of the world’s leading puppet artists will offer more than 600 performances showcasing  skills and techniques labeled as Traditional, Global, Alternative, Outrageous, Political and Unusual Art.  Many of these performances will be open to the public. (see website for details)

Other highlights of the Festival are the National Puppet Slam, the Reel Puppetry Film Festival, not to mention a grand celebration of Puppeteers of America’s 80th Birthday!!!

To learn more about this unique and wonderful gathering don’t miss the conference website – it’s first class: https://www.puppeteers.org/national-puppetry-festival-2017/ — Follow the Festival on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PuppeteersofAmerica/

Whether you plan to take part in the Festival, or if you and your young friends are simply eager to learn more about the art, do not miss this  fascinating history of puppetry. https://www.puppeteers.org/discover-puppetry/history-of-american-puppetry/)  No over-analysis here, just a great story of an art that transcends time and geography!

Many thanks to the Puppeteers of America for sharing their proud heritage and their amazing talents!