Category Archives: Things to do in Minnesota

“RestaurantsRising” to face immigration challenges

The Ides of March is one of the standout dates on the calendar.  So it should be easy to member that March 15, 2017, is a significant date to mark on your calendar.

In Minnesota diners will celebrate this year’s Ideas of March with a great meal at a local restaurant!  A host of Minnesota restaurants and retail establishments are collaborating to make the Ides of Marsh a day to support – publicly and financially –  the work of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota. (

The ILCM is one of the most visible of the Minnesota organizations – and individuals – stretched beyond their resources to meet the challenge to help people who are caught up in unprecedented immigration battles.

A host of eateries are joining forces to speak out.  The initiative bears the powerful name “RestaurantsRising.”  A large number participated in the successful Day Without Immigrants resistance.   That led to the Ides of March campaign to pledge a portion each restaurant’s daily profits to support the legal representation provided by IMLC and other legal services.

There’s a great website where you can find the names and logos of each restaurant as well as a clever indication of the percentage of sales the establishment will share with legal aid providers.    It’s a very impressive and growing collaboration.

Check the RestaurantsRising website ( and follow RestaurantsRising on FB.

Northeast artists roll out holiday welcome mat!

Neither snow nor cold nor political upheaval will stay these local artists from their appointed rounds

The hundreds of artists of every stripe who live and work in Northeast Minneapolis face every challenge – economic, social, artistic or political – with abundant creativity and boundless hope. In the weeks to come the artists of this vibrant community will share their words, works, vision and hopes through a host of venues scattered throughout the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Area.

Following are just some of the highlights of what’s to come – all are free and open unless noted.

November 17 – Janaya Martin hosts the popular “Writers Read + Open Mic” readings and discussion at Coffeehouse Northeast at 29th and Johnson NE. Learn more about the popular local series in a recent issue of the Northeaster

November 18-20 — Visit Artblok Open Studio and Sale in the former General Mills labs, 2010 East Hennepin near Stinson. Meet and learn about the work of a host of local visual and literary artists – painting, paper arts, drawing, printmaking, jewelry metalwork, ceramics, woodworking, sculpture and more.

November 19– Opening event at The Public Functionary, 1400 20th Avenue North. ( The Feminist highlights the interdisciplinary work of Charles Phillipe Jean Pierre.   ( Following the opening reception, Public Functionary will host Disrobing Masculinity: An Artist Talk and Discussion on Saturday, November 19, 2016 at 1:00 PM.

November 25 – Release Party for writer Penny Johnson’s The Forget-Me-Nots at Eat My Words bookstore, 13th and 2nd Streets NE. ( Billed as a “counterpoint to the madness of Black Friday” the event features homemade cheesecake and cookies and seed packets of forget-me-not flowers.

November 26 – the fun goes on– topped with discounts — at Eat My Words. It’s the Annual Corporate Excess Sale, a highlight of Shop Small Saturday. At 3:00 historian and former Army musician Bruce P. Gleason will share a reading and discussion of his book Sound the Trumpet, Beat the Drum: Horse-Mounted Bands of the U.S. Army, 1820-1940, an exploration of the distinctive role that mounted bands played in American military history.

December 1 – First Thursday – A Northeast Minneapolis Arts Area tradition – Open Studios 5:00-9:00 PM on (virtually) every street corner – Some highlights:

  • Artspace Jackson Flats, 901 18½ Avenue Northeast
  • Casket Arts Building, 681 17th Avenue NE
  • Casket Arts Carriage House, 1720 17th Avenue NE
  • Grain Belt Studios, 77&79 13th Avenue South
  • Northrup King Building, 1500 Jackson Street NE (http:
  • Q.arma Building, 1224 Quincy Street NE (http:
  • Solar Arts Building, 711 15th Avenue NE
  • Thorp Building, 1618 Central Avenue NE

December 3, 11:00 AM-5:00 PM –The American Craft Council, located in the iconic Grainbelt Brewery on Broadway and Marshall, hosts a Craft Sale+Open House in the Library. Featured artists will be on hand to describe their unique crafts. Archival materials on display, a used book sale, topped by complimentary hot cider! Shopping starts at 10:00.

December 3, 10:00-4:00 – Betty’s Holiday Bizarre Bazaar at Betty Danger’s Country Club, 2501 Marshall. Artists, crafters and artisans are invited to display and sell their “quirkiest and garish” handcrafted holiday gifts and decoration. Emphasis at Betty’s Bazaar is clearly on the bizarre-ness of the item.

December 10-12 — 2nd Annual A-Mill Maker’s Market, 10:00AM Saturday to 5:00 PM Sunday. Hosted by BridgeArts. A-Mill Artist Lofts, 315 Main Street SE. Sculpture, photography, fiber arts, millinery goods and more. Refreshments and pastry items, hourly raffle, entertainment by resident musicians, fashion show on Saturday.

And there is so much more to explore, enjoy, learn and even purchase in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Area — check it out online or, better yet, on foot!









What the world needs now – Peace, love and Art Attack

Though the words echo from another musical era, the thought has never been more timely —

Now you’re in the mood — for this year’s Art Attack! The 19th annual Art Attack at the Northrup King Building is this weekend – Friday, November 4 through Sunday, November 6. And the theme is love and peace – precisely what the world needs now.

During the Art Attack visitors will have a chance to browse and buy from the private studios of over 250 artists at the Northrup King Building, 1500 Jackson Street, in the heart of the Northeast Minneapolis Art District. (

The mood setting will continue with the “smooth jazzy sounds” of Ben Carlson playing on his 1914 Vega Alto saxophone. You will have a chance to take part in the “One Billion Acts of Peace” campaign ( – Bring your own creativity and learn if your design will be part of the Peace Paper a wrapping with a peace theme. Proceeds of the sale of the Peace Paper will be donated to Peace Jam, an organization promoting the “One Billion Acts of Peace campaign. (

On Saturday visitors will have a chance to paint a portion of the Peace and Love mural designed by Jane Elias of Simply Jane/Artable. The mural will be a permanent installation at the Northrup King Building. There will also be peace and love themed canvases available for the artistically inclined to paint and take home. Those who paint with words will have a chance to write their thoughts about peace and love – their thoughts will be assembled and on display in one of the building’s galleries. Or view works of art inspired by Beatles music while listening to Beatles songs on headphones.

Throughout your visit you’ll have a chance to explore and enjoy a feast of art demos including glass blowing, weaving, oil paintings, globe ice lanterns and more.

Hours are Friday 5:00-10:00 p.m., Saturday, Noon–8:00 PM and Sunday, Noon-5:00 PM.

This beautiful day of peace and love, music and visual art is shared without charge to all who seek refuge from a turbulent world.


Rain Taxi hosts 16th annual Twin Cities Book Festival

Books, the children of the brain ~~ Jonathan Swift

Been there, done that! Not if you’re talking about the Twin Cities Book Festival set for Saturday, October 15, with an Open Night Party warm-up on Friday, October 14.  Though it may be an annual autumn ritual, know in advance that you have not seen or done everything that’s on tap for the 2016 Twin Cities Book Festival. (

The bibliophile bonanza blasts off at 5:00 Friday evening with an Opening Night Party. The evening begins with dinner ($20 – reservations required) to be followed by a free and open talk by British writer Kathryn Aalto who will celebrate the 90th birthday of the classic with a presentation on The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh. ( Friday evening events are in the Fine Arts Center on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

The free and open Book Festival blasts off Saturday morning at 10:00. Be prepared — the robust schedule can be overwhelming and the exhibits are irresistible.

One of the best features of the TC’s Book Festival is the digital accessibility of it all — Before you head for the Fairgrounds, check the possibilities that range from the day-long Book Fair ( to scores of events – ranging from “From Hell to Bacchus and Back” to “PayHomage” to numerous pavilions featuring books, events and activities for children and young adults. Pay special note of the fact that many of the events are ASL accessible.

Consider a close-to-home Cruise – To Beautiful Bemidji

Thinking of taking a cruise this autumn?   You might want to check Minnesota’s intra-state cruise, the Studio Cruise of Bemidji and environs.

The Bemidji – First City of Arts Studio Cruise is “a self-guided tour of the studios of artists working within a 40 mile radius of Bemidji.” For three days, October 21-23, 2016, the free and open Cruise guides art lovers to a host of land-locked ports of call, the creative workspaces of participating artists who live in or around beautiful Bemidji.

Promotional materials from Cruise planners boast that Bemidji has more visual, performance and literary artists “than one can imagine!” With just a bit of local pride Cruise promotional materials describe the magnetic attraction of Bemidji. “Whether it’s the pristine natural surroundings, the relaxed pace or the educational atmosphere, many artists create their life’s work, quietly tucked away in their individual studios.”

Studio cruisers are invited to take a self-guided tour of some of the area’s best-known artists and artisans in their studios where visitors will find demos and show sale specials.

*For the latest news on sites, participating hours, and cruising conditions, keep a look-out on the Cruise website:

* For descriptions of artists’ work and descriptions of Cruise ports of call –

* For a calendar of Bemidji area activities – maps, info on area sites and lodging – or 877-250-5939

Autumn Leaves Lots to Learn!

There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, which through the summer is not heard or seen, as if it could not be, as if it had not been!  

Percy Bysshe Shelley

The harmony and luster of autumn somehow inspire us to learn, to engage, to think deep thoughts about “life, the universe and everything.” The good news is that creative colleagues offer food for thought in the form of theater, literature, film, stories and more. Once again, the in-basket is so full of intriguing programs and activities that I plucked just a few that might ignite some plans. To be sure, the list is random, incomplete, intended as a prompt not a calendar of possibilities!

* Theatre Latte Da opens the new season with production of Ragtime, the award- winning tale of life in turn-of-the-century New York, the melting pot of Jewish immigrants, a woman of privilege, and a Harlem musician. The musical, based on the book by E.L. Doctorow, opens September 21 and runs through October 23. (

* A reminder that the Twin Cities Zine Fest is set for Saturday September 24 – details in earlier post (

* Stories, Down by the Riverside are featured when storytellers Larry Johnson and Elaine Wyne share their experiences – and those of past residents, their friends and neighbors. It’s Sunday, September 25, 2:00 p.m. at the Hennepin History Museum, ( They’ll spin tales of “The Great Richter Drug Store Robbery,” “The Day the Old Radio Dramas Vanished” and one about thousands of Minneapolis school children who, in 1896, pulled the John and Helen Stevens house from Cedar-Riverside to Minnehaha Park. Guests will be invited to share their own stories of the Cedar-Riverside community.

* The well-received Women’s Human Rights Film Series sponsored by The Advocates for Human Rights launches September 21; the series is a collaboration with the Saint Paul Public Library where the films will be shown at area public libraries during the weeks to come. “Profiled”, set for September 21, at the Hamline Midway Library, relates the stories of mothers of Black and Latin youth murdered by the NYPD, depicting how the women channel their anger into a struggle for justice. “Red Light Green Light,” set for Thursday, October 13, at the St. Anthony Park Library, explores several nations’ efforts to prevent and cope with the travesty of sex trafficking. “Don’t Tell Anyone”, showing Wednesday, November 3, depicts the life of a young woman who is undocumented, one of the generation of DREAMers “eager to end their silence and push for social change.” All films will be shown at 6:30 p.m. (

* Writer and teacher Wendy Brown Baez ( is all about Pop Up Readings, aka Classroom in a Backpack. The first Pop Up workshop is set for Wednesday, September 21, 6:30 p.m. at Eat My Words Books (

* Nimbus Theatre will inaugurate their new home with an original production of The Kalevala set to run October 8-30. The show is written and adapted by Liz Neerland and directed by Josh Cragun. Based on the 19th century epic of the same name, the original nimbus production overflows with fantasy, giants, gods, maidens and others of their ilk set in the “fierce lands of the north” (

* A quick reminder that the Twin Cities Book Festival is set for Saturday, Octobber 115 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. More about this free event in a separate post.

I’m so glad I live in a world where there is autumn.

L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables


Zinesters share ideas and zines at TC’s Zine Fest 2016!

Zines are not a new idea. They have been around under different names (ChapBooks, Pamphlets, Flyers). People with independent ideas have been getting their word out since there were printing presses. ~~ Mark Todd

We have all thumbed through, or picked up, or sat down to peruse a zine – whether or not we know that that unprepossessing “pamphlet” we picked up at the bookstore was a “zine.”

The tome might have been hand lettered, hot off the laser printer, stapled or hand sewn. What makes it a zine is that it’s the original work of a zine creator who had ideas or images to share. Most important, as Mark Todd notes, zines – by whatever name – have flourished alongside mainstream press for centuries. Consider the impact of Thomas Paine’s pamphleteering…..

The roots of zines are often traced to the sci fi community that flourished in the 1920’s and later. The format was later adopted by the punk generation. Clearly, the options exploded as technology reshaped the options for production and distribution! 

For over a decade the Twin Cities Zine Fest has flourished as a celebration and showcase of the local zine scene.   Final preparations are in high gear for the 2016 Twin Cities Zine Fest set for Saturday, September 24. The day-long (11 AM-5 PM) event will gather fans and producers who will meet, greet and explore a unique exhibit of zines on display at the Walker Community United Methodist Church, 3104 16th Avenue South in Minneapolis. (

Zines are now so mainstream that there is actually a ZineWiki where fans will find – or may submit – articles on what’s happening in the Zine World. Check this entry for a good intro to the land of zines.   (’N’_Roll)

For another good backgrounder go to the article on “Fan Zines” written by Susan Leem, then an intern at the Utne Reader. Leem’s excellent essay was published in Do It Green! Minnesota ( Don’t miss it!

Follow ZineFest 2016 on social media – and check online for the great promotional materials you’ll want to post in your local bookstore, library, and coffee shop!