Category Archives: NE Mpls

Art-A-Whirl: Northeast Mpls artists open studios, create community

Art – along with a certain amount of dust – is in the air as the creative makers of the Northeast Minneapolis arts community ready themselves and their workspaces for Art-A-Whirl 2017!   A-A-W is the crowning jewel in the star-studded diadem of the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Agency.  (https://nemaa.org/about/ne-minneapolis-arts-district)

Much of the dust is coming from the studios of the artists – a sure sign that this is no ordinary “art fair.”  A-A-W is, first and foremost, the nation’s largest open studio tour of the working spaces of artists and crafters who work, and often live, in Northeast.  Paintings, pottery, mobiles, furniture, photos, tapestries, sketches, rugs, art books, and a host of unique renderings of the artists’ imaginations and talents are poised for last minute touch-ups and final presentation to the public.

Music also fills the air, much flowing from the studios of A-A-W host artists and crafters. Neighborhood boutiques, coffee shops and the renowned eateries and pubs of Northeast are primed for visitors!

A totally family-friendly weekend  A-A-W offers the rare opportunity to tour not only galleries but artists’ working spaces.  Visitors of all ages will have a chance to observe the makers of art at work – sculpting, glass blowing, painting, weaving, printmaking, creating photo images, collages, and mixed media works that marry sound and visual images.   Future makers will be able to touch, feel, smell, even try their hand at creating art.

A-A-W’s virtual welcome mat will be out beginning Friday, May 19, 5:00-10:00 p.m., Saturday, May 20- Noon-8:00 p.m. and Sunday, May 21, Noon- 5:00 p.m.

Visitors are welcome to wander randomly through the studio buildings, home studios, galleries and storefronts in the neighborhood.  Personal experience suggests that a bit of advance planning about walking the hood, identifying studio locations and exploring public transit options is worth the effort.

Fortunately, print and digital guides to A-A-W abound.  If you live, work or frequent the hot spots of Northeast, you can pick up a copy of the Artist Directory and Guide at any one of the arts buildings in the community.   Or click here (https://nemaa.org/art-a-whirl.)  for links to the essentials – the artist directory, map, dining guide, parking information and updates on A-A-W and NEMAA. Take special note of the “How to Whirl” section!

To appreciate the roots of the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Area, take a few minutes to read about the unique history here: (https://nemaa.org/about/history)  It’s an evolving story of community development focused on an understanding of the role of the arts in the local economy and in the life of a neighborhood that thrives on creative expression!

Josh Cragun’s “Redemption” premieres at Nimbus Theatre

Preparing to write this post about the next production at Nimbus Theatre I realize that it’s five years since my first post about what was then a fledgling newbie on the Northeast Minneapolis theater scene.  Today Nimbus is practically venerable! (https://www.facebook.com/nimbustheatre/)

And yet the theater is as fresh and innovative as ever.  Opening this weekend at Nimbus is a new production entitled  Redemption, written by Josh Cragun who is also co-Artistic Director of Nimbus.  The production is directed by Mitchell Frazier.

Redemption shares the stories of individuals “confronting the difficulties of re-entering society after incarceration.”  The play addresses the perplexing question “When is a person redeemed?” It is a dilemma  both poignant and timely.

Redemption opens Saturday, April 29, and runs through May 14.  Performances are at The Crane Theater, 2303 Kennedy Street, NE. (https://www.cranetheater.com/node/13) The theater is a block off Stinson, between Hennepin and Broadway Avenues.  Parking and the theater entrance are at the back of the building.

The redemption plot is one of the oldest story shapes.

 Peter Baynham 

UPDATE – REVIEW 5/4  — http://www.citypages.com/arts/two-parolees-take-the-dark-road-to-redemption-in-nimbus-latest/421055454

 

 

 

 

Bee there for the Love Honey!

Are you pro-pollinator, concerned about healthy bees and the environmental and political challenges that threaten the bee population?  Do you plan your spring planting options with an eye to seeds that promise to attract bees? Do you visit the Ag Building at the State Fair just to see the latest from the state’s award-winning beekeepers?

Have you ever sampled – or even cooked up a batch of — “Love Honey?”

If you’ve read this far you are probably a pollinator advocate and have already sent in your reservation for the fourth annual Dandelion Honey Pastry Chef Challenge.  Sponsored by Beez Kneez, (https://thebeezkneezdelivery.com/) and catered by Chow Girls, the challenge is set for Wednesday, April 26, 6:00-9:00 PM at the Solar Arts, 711 NE 15th Avenue, in Northeast Minneapolis.

Speaker for the evening is well-known entomologist Dr. Marla Spivak of the U of M Bee Lab.  (https://www.beelab.umn.edu)  Dessa will emcee the evening, which will also include live entertainment from Dreamland Faces, Appetite for Change’s Urban Youth “Grow Food” and appearance by the Minnesota Rollergirls.   And, yes, you will have an opportunity taste test sweets from competing professional pastry chefs and “savories” from local restaurants.

The Dandelion Honey Pastry Chief Challenge is sponsored by Healthy Bees, Healthy Lives, a Bees Kneez campaign that has been successful in passing pollinator legislation and in raising public awareness of the environmental challenges to pollinators.

Love Honey is the honey made from dandelions, the first flowers of spring where bees can find food.  As planners note, “the public, for the most part, does not show dandelions love.”  Instead we spray lawns and kill the pollinators so essential to our food and flowers.  A loss to gourmets and honey lovers because,  Beez Kneez event planners insist, “the honey is delicious.”

Much more about Beez Kneez, including photos of their bicycle delivery system and the Beez  Kneez Honey House, plus their community-based popular learning opportunities here:  https://thebeezkneezdelivery.com

Cost of the Dandelion Honey Pastry Chef Challenge is $35.

 

Earth Day 2017 – A global/national/local movement!

Earth Day, Sunday, April 22, 2017 is a celebration of our magnificent planet and a call to those who share this earth to both appreciate and protect this earthly heritage.  In wise and wonderful ways earthlings are embracing the challenge.  A mere sampling of Earth Day happenings!

These articles from Common Dreams describe the global context in which concerned scientists and citizens are taking initiative at the national, state and local levels.

Earth Day, Sunday, April 22, 2017 is a celebration of this magnificent planet and a call to those who share this earth to both appreciate and protect our earthly heritage.  In wise and wonderful ways earthlings are embracing the challenge.  A mere sampling of Earth Day happenings:

These articles from Common Dreams describe the global context in which concerned scientists and citizens are taking initiative at the national, state and local levels.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/04/20/peoples-climate-changing-directions-its-too-late

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/04/20/fight-our-future-march-science-rallies-planned-worldwide

In this country, the Earth Day March for Science set for Washington, DC has been well covered by the media.  More important, the March for Science has morphed into a network of state and local marches.  An earlier post about the Minnesota March for Science suggests some relevant links:   (https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/tag/march-for-science/)

Earth Day has also inspired countless local initiatives.  The buzz in my Northeast Minneapolis community is the Earth Day 5K Bee Run/Walk and Earth Day River Cleanup. Yes, there is a run/walk – on-site registration at 7:30 with the 5K beginning at 9:00 AM.  Sponsored by the Great River Coalition, the run/walk is just one of several events that will be happening along the Mississippi on Earth Day.

Another goal of the day is to create a pollinator pathway along the Mississippi River.  The local effort is part of a national movement to save the bee population by creating a healthy habitat for the bees.  In the words of U of M entomologist, Dr. Marla Spivak, “our bees (all of them, honey and wild bees), need good clean food (flowers)! Lots of flowers that grow over the growing season will help bees have good nutrition, immunity, and health.”

Minnesota Native Landscapes will also be on hand with pollinator-friendly plants, seeds, local origin perennial plants, native wildflowers and grasses.  There will be prizes galore and, best of all, native plant experts to answer questions!

Details:

  • Registration opens at 7:30 AM  ($40 on race day, kids 6 and under free)
  • Fun Run/Walk starts at 9:00 AM
  • River cleanup starts at 9:30 AM – bags and gloves will be provided
  • The Run/Walk/River Cleanup will wrap up @12:30

Follow the day on Facebook @ greatrivercoalition.com/events

 

Looking ahead to Indie Bookstore Day – April 29, 2017

Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?

 Henry Ward Beecher 

Chilly temperatures notwithstanding, it must be Spring!  And that means that it’s time to mark the last Saturday in April to join in Independent Bookstore Day – specifically to tour as many as possible of the unique and spectacular indie bookstores that call this community home   There will be author visits and readings, music, children’s events, and a chance to meet and greet the friendly bibliophiles who staff the region’s scores of independent bookstores.

As the promo material for the day points out, “Independent bookstores are not just stores, they’re community centers and local anchors run by passionate readers.  They are entire universes of ideas that contain the possibility of real serendipity.  They are lively performance spaces and quiet places where aimless perusal is a day well spent.”  The point, as I see it, is that not just the bookstores but their supporters are unique and independent!

There will be much more publicity, including on this blog, as the date approaches.

Meanwhile, I’d like to share a small story that reflects the relationship that readers share with their favorite indie:

Bethany Clarke was a long-time regular at Eat My Words! Bookstore, a very special used bookstore in Northeast Minneapolis.  I never met Bethany but I share with her a devotion to this book lover’s dream destination.  It’s also the site of our weekly Voices of Northeast interviews with reps of the Northeast Minneapolis book/reading community.   (https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2015/10/05/voices-of-northeast-minneapolis-captured-and-shared-on-video/)

One of the charming features of EMW is the busy all-purpose check-out desk where phones rings, customers request specific titles, Jimmy the USPS delivery man delivers and picks up tons of mail orders, neighbors drop in – and some of us show up for a weekly “shoot.”

If you hang out at that busy desk you soon spot a little box of miscellany.  As it turns out, EMW staffers collect the stuff found in used books, returned books, etc.  Everything from book marks to family photos to newspaper clippings, cartoons, personal notes and more.  Like many customers, including me, Bethany perused the contents of that little box.  Then Bethany took the next step – she assembled the collection in a booklet, appropriately entitled “Eat My Scraps: Things found in the pages of books at Eat My Words Bookstore” –self-published in Minneapolis, MN, November 2016.  It’s a limited edition, and a grateful patron’s way of thanking EMW for the many hours of reading pleasure the shop has provided.

I love the story – it made me think that other faithful customers might want to do something personal to express their Thank You to a special indie on April 29.

My personal thank you to EMW is to encourage every independent reader to visit the shop and to subscribe to the bookstore’s “way above average” newsletter! More about EMW, their public programs and a chance to subscribe to the newsletter here: http://www.eatmywordsbooks.com

 

IMPORTANT UPDATE;  http://www.midwestbooksellers.org/twin-cities-ibd-passport.html — The basics re. this year’s bookstore passports!  

UPDATE:  Reflections on the new Amazon bookstore in Chicago – need we know more… Chicago’s Amazon Books: ‘No Quirks, No Warmth, No Store Cat’

“Amazon Books on Southport Avenue, the fifth physical store from the Seattle online giant and its first in the Midwest, is a deeply, unsettlingly normal place, a soulless, antiseptic 6,000 square feet, a stone’s throw from a J. Crew and a SoulCycle. It has the personality of an airport bookstore and conveys all the charm of its stone floor. Shopping there is as frictionless as a one-click purchase. There are no quirks, no attempts at warmth. There is no store cat. There are no handwritten notes about what the staff loves. The only difference between the children’s section and the rest of the store is that the children’s section has a rug. It is, in businessspeak, a bricks-and-mortar presence, so unimaginative its facade is brick.

“Body snatchers come to mind.”

–Christopher Borrelli in a column in the Chicago Tribune about the new Amazon Books store in Chicago.

UPDATE: Tribute published in ShelfAwareness 4/25/17

UPDATE:  My Bookstore: ‘A Love Letter to Indies’- PUBLISHED IN SELF AWARENESS 4/25/17

In 2012, Black Dog & Leventhal (one of our favorite names for a book publisher) published My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop, a tribute to independent bookstores by 84 well-known writers. Edited by industry veteran Ronald Rice, illustrated by Leif Parsons and with a foreword by author Richard Russo, the book included essays by, among others, Fannie Flagg, John Grisham, Isabel Allende, Dave Eggers, Wendell Berry, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Lisa See and Erin Hildebrand. Sometimes funny, often entertaining and always heartfelt, their contributions emphasized something readers may not be aware of: the many ways that indie bookstores are crucial to writers, particularly as they begin their careers and need help introducing their work and themselves to readers. In addition, indies keep established writers connected with their readers and with the wider book world. Bookstores also help writers in the same way they do other customers: introduce them to books and authors they wouldn’t know about otherwise, and offer them all the activities, services and charm that indies provide.

Earlier this month, My Bookstore was released in paperback; this updated edition features contributions from nine more writers and an afterword by Emily St. John Mandel. This version is timed to appear in connection with the third annual Independent Bookstore Day, which takes place this coming Saturday, April 29. My Bookstore offers book lovers a great opportunity to read more by their favorite writers, and about their favorite bookstores.

Editor Ronald Rice commented: “The new edition comes at a time when I see a bumper crop of new independent bookstores opening. I’m very encouraged. I hope the book is a legacy of the spirit and vital importance of independent bookselling.” He also called My Bookstore “a love letter to the indies,” a description and sentiment we embrace–in a variety of ways.

 

Library Salon Series explores role of art, crafts

The lessons I first learned from knitting keep showing me this truth: that a kind of radical acceptance of errors and an appreciation for our human capacity for resiliency – that’s what’s truly precious. – Bernadette Murphy

These thoughts of a needle worker, quoted in the most recent BookWomen, reflect the theme of the first in the forthcoming series of Library Salons sponsored the American Craft Council Library.

The Library Salon series begins on Wednesday, March 8, when the speaker will be Dr. Amy Elkins, assistant professor of English at Macalester College. (https://www.macalester.edu/academics/english/facultystaff/emyelkins/) Elkins presentation, “The Craft of Survival,” will “trace the history of needlepoint from King Tut’s tomb and Florentine tapestries to Victorian drawing rooms and contemporary creativism.”

Future Library Salons will feature these guests.

  • April 12 – “Situated Somewhere In-Between: Paper Works by Mary Hark.” (http://www.maryhark.com) Papermaker and educator Mary Hark makes high quality paper from urban bio-waste.   Her materials include local plants found on a restored prairie in rural Madison, WI. She also works with Ghanaian colleagues to establish a small paper mill for art, design and small industry. In both settings her goal is to build a creative life grounded in making and community-building.
  • May 10 – Objects and Installations: The Work and Residencies of Artist Emily Nachison. (http://www.bullseyeglass.com/art/emily-nachison.html) Through sculptural objects and installations the artist investigates the use of story, symbols and materiality to mythologize natural phenomena, escapism, and the desire for secret knowledge.

Library Salons meet at 7:00 PM at the American Craft Council Library, located in the historic Grain Belt Building, 1224 Marshall Street, in Northeast Minneapolis. The Salons are free and open to the public; all are wheelchair accessible. Sponsors of the Library Salon Series include Northeast Bank, the Minnesota State Arts Board, and T-Rex Cookie Company.

 

 

 

 

 

Wintertide offers warm welcome to art lovers in NE Minneapolis

The world – well, Minnesotans and neighbors for sure – know Northeast Minneapolis as home of Art-a-Whirl, the springtime extravaganza showcasing the work of hundreds of artists who create works of art – and often live – in Northeast Minneapolis. Less well known is Wintertide, the biennial juried art exhibition that celebrates the work of the ever-growing community of the arts represented through the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association. (NEMAA)(https://nemaa.org)

The 2017 Exhibition is currently happening in Northeast Minneapolis– ongoing through February 11. Exhibition site is the Public Functionary ((http://publicfunctionary..org/wintertide-biennial-jured-art-exhibit/), Public functionary is located at 1400 12th Avenue NE – this is on Buchanan Street NE, just North of Broadway)   Visitors to the exhibit will have an opportunity to vote for their favorite “Audience Choice” award to be announced at the closing reception.

Exhibit hours are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, Noon–6:00 p.m. with special open hours Friday, February 10, 7:00–11:00 p.m.  The exhibition is sponsored by Cedarwoods Foundation.