Monthly Archives: August 2017

Don’t miss the Water Bar pop-up at the Fair!

Water water at the Fair – And a friendly place to think!

New this year at the Great Minnesota Get-Together is the Water Bar, a unique watering hole where Fair-goers gather to meet, exchange ideas, and ponder the possibilities. Don’t miss this  refreshing welcome to the Eco-Experience Building. (http://www.mnstatefair.org/entertainment/eco_experience.html).

This popup drinking establishment elevates water, our ubiquitous and renewable resource, to an elegant libation.  And the bar itself, reminiscent of Cheers, fosters a friendly gathering spot for Fair-goers to share views on life, the State Fair, and why we need a Water Bar to generate substantive conversation and collaboration.

Yes, it’s a bar, with stools and volunteer bartenders who actually decant flights, not in goblets maybe but in Fair-appropriate plastic cups.  To parched Fair-goers it’s a coveted thirst-quencher – and much more.  All  leave informed and inspired.

Explore the website (water-bar.org)  to learn more about the ways in which Water Bar is facing the challenge to “serve water to build relationships that activate communities.”  In pursuit of that goal Water Bar sponsors a mix of projects, including public art projects, the “Dear River” writing initiative and the Northeast Incubator project.

During the Fair and for the next few weeks Water Bar will be temporarily closed, making way for a grand relocation of a remodeled site just next door to the original site.   By mid-September they will be open again to welcome all to enjoy a refreshing flask of water – and hearty conversation about forging a community of neighbors and friends who think, collaborate and take action to create a better, more thoughtful world.  Plans include more art exhibitions, public programs, an art and book shop, and other prompts to stimulate meaningful conversations and collaborations.

In recent times I’ve observed and written about Water Bar several times – there’s always something new, sometimes in Northeast, often on the road.   Clearly, I am an unabashed fan of their creative approach to generating meaningful conversations that truly build a strong, integrated, collaborative community.  The State Fair pop-up offers a chance for many potential fans to check out the idea, the approach, and to share a few sips of cold, clear water with a friendly Minnesota Fair-goer you would not have met under any other circumstances!

Water is the foundation for our economies, communities, ecosystems, and quality of life ~~Kate Brown

 

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A back-to-school tribute to teachers!

The dream begins, most of the time, with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you on to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth.~~Dan Rather

The start of the new school year (which should begin after Labor Day) inspires thoughts of the teachers who are returning to the classroom, lesson plans in hand, and welcoming smiles at the ready to welcome eager, and especially not-so-eager, learners to new curricula, new ideas, and new expectations.

A recent Writers Almanac (9/27/17) was well timed to reinforce the role of the thousands of classroom teachers who influence, often change, the lives of young – and not-so-young – learners.  Featured in the piece was the life and work of author Theodore Dreiser.  The article, and further research, give much of the credit of Dreiser’s literary success to one teacher, Mildred Fielding, who saw promise in a troubled kid.  It’s a great story of the influence of a good teacher on a “lost kid.”

It’s the birthday of novelist Theodore Dreiser …born in Terre Haute, Indiana (1871). He grew up poor, one of 10 children, in a family that was regularly involved in scandals — his siblings seemed to be in constant trouble with adultery, unwanted pregnancies, jail time, or alcoholism. Dreiser was quiet and studious. In high school, he had a teacher named Mildred Fielding. She was 35 years old and unmarried, tall and thin with big teeth. She had also grown up poor in a dysfunctional family, and she sympathized with Dreiser at the same time that she recognized his potential. She encouraged his studies and told him to ignore the gossip of his schoolmates; but when he was 16, he was so frustrated by his family’s poverty and scandals that he dropped out of school, determined to make it on his own. He set off for Chicago with a change of underwear and socks, and a few dollars.

Two years later, he was working a menial job at a warehouse when his old teacher, Mildred Fielding, found him once again. She was now the principal of a Chicago school, and she insisted on paying for his tuition at Indiana State College in Bloomington. He only stayed for one year, but he said: “If ever […] a year proved an oasis in a life, this one did.” He returned to Chicago, where he found work as a reporter and became a prolific writer.

To this I would add my experience working on the Voices of Northeast series of interviews with individuals – writers and other respecters of the written word.  ((https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2015/10/05/voices-of-northeast-minneapolis-captured-and-shared-on-video/)) Though I lacked the forethought to keep track, my observation is that more than 50% of the individuals we have interviewed indicate that they found their professional/avocational voice because a teacher, often mentioned by name, had spotted their talent or inclination to write.  Many other guests are themselves teachers, formal and informal, who often tell of their efforts to nourish the creative spirit in others.

Classroom learning is too often measured by standardized tests.  The habit of lifelong learning,  on the other hand, is measured in the learner’s persistent  quest to learn, a habit of critical thinking, and a desire to share information and ideas with others so that the end result is a learning community. Our challenge, as individuals, parents and grandparents, and taxpayers, is to be intentional about understanding how, where, why we learn – and to fully support the teachers who inspire a love of learning and share the tools that keep the learning flame alive.

The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see.  Alexandra K. Trenfor

Things to do during this “odd uneven time”

August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.   Sylvia Plath

 Sylvia Plath didn’t know about the Minnesota State Fair – had she known she would have realized that the best of summer is definitely not gone….Nor did she know about the amazing array of options that lure us during this “odd uneven time.”  Just a few of the possibilities, including some that escape the headlines….

Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist Steve Sack is guest speaker at Talk of the Stacks at Minneapolis Central Library on Thursday, August 17.  Doors open at 6:15, program at 7:00 PM.  Free and Open to the public.  Sponsored by Friends of the Library.  https://www.supporthclib.org/steve-sack

To Really See, is a unique art exhibit on display through September 27 at the Minneapolis Central Library.  Subtitled “art exploring the medication-taking experience” the exhibit is presented by Spectrum ArtWorks, a program of RESOURCE.  Learn more about RESOURCE and Spectrum ArtWorks here:  https://www.resource-mn.org/about-resource/

Though the days are indeed getting shorter, the East Side Freedom Library is determined to fill them with a robust series of late summer programs.  All are free and open to the public.

~~~~~

Looking ahead – Details to follow about these forthcoming activities

Festival Director shares stories of Twin Cities Arab Film Festival 2017

No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.” ― Ingmar Bergman

Powerful words spoken by a brilliant filmmaker whose genius lives in the films that will for all time shape our images and ideas.  As Bergman knew, film “goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.”  It is for this reason that Mizna’s  2017 Arab Film Festival is needed at this hour.

In fact, Mizna has sponsored the Twin Cities Arab Film Festival for several years.  Over the years audiences have grown in number and interests as film lovers have experienced the curated program of screen reflections of the Arab experience.  Audiences have learned about the heterogeneity of Arab people and, through film, have explored the complexities of the culture which leads to true cultural understanding.

Mizna is at the epicenter of this region’s Arab American literature, film, and art; the organization, its programs and publication, are nationally recognized as the source of ideas and words related to the Arab American experience.   Minnesotans have learned to depend on the publication Mizna: Prose, Poetry, and Art Exploring Arab America as a unique resource.  Mizna is well-known as the sponsor of  literary events,  an ever-expanding  program of readings, community dialogues, even Arab drumming classes.  Moving Image, the recent film/discussion series hosted in collaboration with the Walker Art Center, is a good example of major Mizna initiatives.  https://walkerart.org/about/moving-image/

Over the years the Twin Cities Arab Film Festival has been held in various sites at different times of the year.  As of Fall 2016 the Film Festival has become an annual “institution.”  Will Wright of KFAI radio celebrated with a timely introduction to the idea and the relevance of the Festival. https://soundcloud.com/minneculture/with-more-arab-films-a-festival-goes-annual

This year, Voices of Northeast reached out to learn more.  (Though Mizna is now a St. Paul institution its roots are in Northeast Minneapolis — and NE roots run deep….)  We invited Festival DirectorMichelle Baroody to share the story of Mizna and the Film Festival during a free-flowing video interview.  The result is an absolutely delightful – and informative – discussion of the mission of Mizna, the goal and growth of the Film Festival, and the timeliness of the 2017 Twin Cities Arab Film Festival set for September 28-October 1 at various sites.

You will learn and be enthralled as Michelle shares her unique story and the back stories of the Twin Cities Arab Film Festival.  Michelle  expresses with clarity and deep commitment the spirit that informs the Festival. https://youtu.be/jq2dd-VuY1Q

Then click on the Film Festival website for emerging details including the schedule of film showings, background information about the films and filmmakers, locations, ticketing information, more about the sponsor and excellent coverage of past festivals.

https://www.minnpost.com/artscape/2017/09/arab-film-festival-begin-jacqueline-woodson-talking-volumes?utm_source=MinnPost+e-mail+newsletters&utm_campaign=2586d25582-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_09_26&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3631302e9c-2586d25582-123365126

 

Expanding the Feast at Eat My Words!

Long ago there was a vague concept, an idea that the vibrant arts community of Northeast Minneapolis somehow needed a stronger voice for the creative folk who live, write, perform or otherwise work with words, books, literary forms of every sort.  Over time the concept morphed.  It would take the words written or spoken by community members to speak for the role of the written word in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Area.  And thus began Voices of Northeast, video interviews with those good people whose words and work with words expand the very definition of the arts community.

What video conversations need more than easels and potting wheels is “recording space” — not so much “30 Rock” stages and cameras but quiet space that conveys a bookish feel, space that welcomes the viewer/reader to connect with the speaker, and for the guest speaker to feel not on stage but in a comfortable setting.

Eat My Words! Bookstore, the unique bookstore in the heart of the arts community, offered an ideal setting, a cozy space (complete with piano and an ever-changing art exhibit) that I’ve come to call “the parlor.” Most important, EMW extended knowing welcome to two volunteers with a hand-held camera and lights, a mission to share the views of those who give life to words, and a mission to incorporate the “literary arts” into the Northeast arts community. Thus, for the past couple of years, scores of episodes of Voices of Northeast have emanated from the back room at EMW.  One of the interviews is with Scott VanKaughnett, friend and proprietor of EMW  http://umedia.lib.umn.edu/node/1347781

All of which is background, a roundabout way of sharing my unbounded excitement about the new home of Eat My Words Bookstore.  Just last weekend EMW moved from the original site at the corner of 2nd Street and 13th Avenue Northeast just up the block to 214 13th Avenue NE, former home of Two12 Pottery.   Past posts have covered the basics of the move, the collaboration with the previous owner, potter Bob Sorg, and hopes for the expanded bookstore. (https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2017/06/04/eat-my-words-a-moveable-feast/)

Beyond our highest expectations, we can now share with readers just how wonderful this move is – all of the good things that will be happening in the NEW Eat My Words!   The space offers bibliographic elbow room for the shop’s 20,000 volumes (no more iffy basement…)   It’s bathed in gentle sunlight room and nooks just right for cozying up with a great read, tantalizing displays of Bob Sorg’s pottery, unique greeting cards, and, still room enough for Voices of Northeast to continue weekly interviews with people whose art form is the written or spoken word!

There is also great space for the incredible public programming series that EMW is now able to expand! This month’s programs are but a sample of the mix:

  • Thursday, August 10, 7PM – – Poetry Reading: Freddy La Force, Georgia Linden, Stephanie Mann. P
  • Friday, August 11, 7PM — Nate Graznow & Steven Hildreth
  • Friday, August 18, 7PM — Film Meets Poetry: Kathryn Oakley & Damian Kussian.
  • Friday, August 19, 3PM – Michelle Leon—I Live Inside: Memoirs of a Babe in Toyland

Each of these programs is announced and generously annotated in the beautifully wrought EMW online events calendar.  In fact, there is so much going on at EMW that the only way to stay in touch is to make haste to get on the list:  http://www.eatmywordsbooks.com/events/?view=calendar&month=August-2017

It is an honor to congratulate and thank Scott VanKaughnett and the staff of this unique community treasure.  Congratulations on your new digs – and sincere admiration for your vision, your commitment and your voice for the writers, readers and word lovers who weave their ideas and energy into the very fabric of the Northeast Minneapolis Arts area.

 

Thanking those who were the soul of this Carnegie Library

A collection of good books, with a soul to it in the shape of a librarian, becomes a vitalized power among the impulses by which the world goes on to improvement. Justin Winsor

Putting a soul in any building is a worthy challenge.   In the words of founders of the East Side Freedom Library it is “librarians who brought life and commitment to our historic building.”

And it is those librarians who will be celebrated on Tuesday, August 8, 7:00 p.m. at the ESFL as appreciative community members gather remember and “to honor the women and men who have worked in this building.”

The celebration is part of the ESFL celebration of the centennial of the historic Carnegie Library building, once the home of the Arlington Hills Library.  Read more about the history and evolution of the Carnegie Library here:  https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2015/07/28/east-side-freedom-library-gives-new-life-to-carnegie-library-st-paul-neighborhood/

There will be a short program, refreshments and a reunion of library supporters, neighbors, bibliophiles, library lovers and history buffs.  The evening is free and open to all.

The East Side Freedom Library is at 1105 Greenbrier Street, St Paul.  Info@eastsidefreedomlibirary.org   651 230 3294.

 

 

Eat My Words! Moves on up to its new home!

 His hands were weak and shaking from carrying far too many books from the bookshop. It was the best feeling. ― Joseph Gordon-Levitt

The quote no doubt expresses the post-move reflections of some, if not all, of the volunteers of every gender, age, and reading preference who showed up last weekend to heft thousands of tomes up the hill from the original Eat My Words! Bookstore to its new home at 214 13th Avenue Northeast.  As noted in a previous blog post, EMW has relocated to its new site at the former home of 212 Pottery.  See previous pre-move post here: https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2017/06/04/eat-my-words-a-moveable-feast/

And what comes next?

A TWO-DAY CELEBRATION —  Saturday and Sunday, August 5-6

It’s a busy weekend, beginning with a day of Bookstore Bingo beginning at 11:00 AM – with a busy agenda throughout the day:

3:00 PM – Pottery demonstration by local artist Bob Sorg (of 212  Pottery fame)

5:00 PM – Poetry reading featuring Terrance Folz, Morgan Grayce Willow, Tony the Scribe and Tony Plocido.

7:00 PM – Wayne Nelson will screen several of his animated films based on the poems, stories and songs of other people.

And there will be Music! Music! Music!

The music starts Saturday evening at 7:30-8:30pm when Branden Cravallho will share his unique classical guitar talent and repertoire.

And music continues on Sunday when the day’s program is sponsored  in tandem with Open Streets Northeast.  Music will fill the streets for seven hours Noon – 7:00 PM as Eat My Words will host seven bands:  Each band is on stage for an hour, beginning at Noon with Mama Caught Fire, an all-female trio.  The afternoon schedule continues with DMC at 1:00, Nathan Elliot (2:00, Cat and Fox (3:00), Mumblin’ Drew (4:00), Peter Breen at 5:00 and Gabe Barnett wrapping up the afternoon at 6:00.

For much more information about the two-day celebration, including background on the readers, the filmmaker and the musical performers, check the EMW website at http://ww3.eatmywordsbooks.com/emw-is-growing/

IMPORTANT UPDATE:

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/15db08c68b316ff4