Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hocku and Other First Frost Thoughts

by Scott Hall

Hocku (Hah koo), n. short, pithy, whimsical poems about hockey.

The cool Summer had some of us thinking about the possibility of hockey all year round, but September dashed those dreams. However, this last day of September brought enough frost across the northland to break out another season of Hocku. Fore example, here's a new one:

if you text
expect a check.

This fight began when one player took a hard check
while he was texting his girlfriend in the stands.

Here's one beleived to be written by Moose Goheen for the kids in Evelelth around 1917:

if you don't have shin pads
small phone books will do

And the deeply personal and philosophical:

frost on the edge of my nostrils.
if it weren't for friction
we'd all be skaters

Send us your Hocku. Give it a try. It doesn't have to rise to the literary standards of the above classics,

It's New Year's Eve!

By Jennifer Poenix

Today is the last day of fiscal year 2009 at KAXE Tomorrow we begin fiscal year 2010 with a brand new budget.

KAXE's budget is split into different categories for money coming in and going out of the station. The amount of money in the 2009 budget for membership money received is $183,000. So far, we have collected $180,915.43, which means we still need to collect $2,084.57 (as of 9:24 this morning). Pledges are great. Payments are even better.

This money can come from new or renewing pledges. It can even come from previous pledges that are still unpaid. The most important thing is that pledges are fulfilled. The best way to do that today is by credit card, which you can use online, here, or by calling the station at 218-326-1234. If you're in the Grand Rapids area, feel free to stop by our studios to make a payment.

KAXE members are vital to our success. We would not be here without them.

Thank you, and happy new year!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Modern Roots Masterpiece from The Pines

by Doug MacRostie

When you listen to The Pines new album "Tremolo," the guitars dance slowly and methodically as voices whisper in your ear and sounds and images drift around like a living, breathing creature surrounding you with reflections of the modern world on an aged mirror - combining emotion and storytelling into a beautiful and simple presentation that can sooth you one moment and take your breath away the next. It's an excellent album and I'll be joined by songwriting duo David Huckfelt and Benson Ramsey to talk about it this Thursday at 6 on Centerstage MN, and they'll have their guitars with to perform some of the music live in-studio!!! I am very excited to talk with these very creative songwriters.

With a unique style that blends indie-rock, folk and blues along with intelligent lyrics and hauntingly personal vocals, "Tremolo" is an outstanding album that showcases the exquisite and immersive songwriting of David Huckfelt and Benson Ramsey. In a way, the album sounds dark and sinister like Alice in Chains, but at the same time the music sounds hopeful. They ride close to the edge of traditional acoustic/roots music but with a great modern twist - giving the songs a very fresh feel while echoing styles of the past. It is going to be VERY cool having David and Benson in-studio to play and talk about their music - don't miss this!!!

If you somehow missed my conversation with Mason Jennings last week about his new album "Blood of Man" you can hear it by clicking here - and all interviews are archived on the Centerstage MN page at Coming up next week it'll be a special extended edition of Centerstage MN as I broadcast the "Closing the Tent Event" concert with Enchanted Ape - they rocked out for nearly two hours with outstanding guitar work and an excellent vibe (which should be the perfect setup for The Dead Set with Steve Ross that night :D).

Centerstage MN is Thursday evenings at 6, streaming live online at; or 91.7 Grand Rapids, 89.9 Brainerd and 105.3 Bemidji. All interviews are archived at and the show is rebroadcast Sunday mornings at 6.

Monday, September 28, 2009

It's Like a Documentary...But Less Boring

Recently the KAXE Staff took a retreat to work on details for a new and improved website. Tears were cried, feelings were hurt and decisions were made. In our YouTube Video below, "KAXE Web Retreat Mockumentary" you can see the creative process (and conflict) and behind-the-scenes-confessions*.

Critics are saying, "Cool video...sweat pants are cool," "Love it! Love it! Love it!," "Fun," "Michael Moore, watch out," " I can't wait to see what's coming next!" and "This is really funny, so entertaining!!!" (or at least, that's what peeps are saying on our Facebook Page :p)

*The definition of Documentary is something like, "based on or re-creating an actual event, era, life story, etc., that purports to be factually accurate and contains no fictional elements." A Mockumentary is only slightly different, "sort of based on or re-creating an actual event, era, life story, etc., that sort of purports to be factually accurate and contains no fictional elements."

Guido's Guide to Fashion during hunting season

by Heidi Holtan

Steve Downing (Guido) is what you might call a renaissance man. Writer, patron and slave to the arts, hunter, hair model, connoisseur of fine wine, beer and food, recycler and fashion guru. Guru? Yes my friends, Guido is a fashion guru. He leads the way not just for coffeehouse and red carpet events - but the wide open world of nature fashion. You can hear his essay here about his hunting pursuits.

If you've never hunted or lived with a hunter, you are missing out. Most think that hunting is about the thrill of the pursuit, the innate desire to bring home meat to the missus.

Here's a secret: it's really about the "look". Hunting is all about the clothing and the look. Which kind of cammo? What type of layers? What scent will be appropriate?

For Guido, it's all about the shoes and tie.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Return of the Backyard Chicken

by Scott Hall

"When times are tough, people want chickens." - Bud Wood, President of McMurray Hatchery, an Iowa company that is the largest rare-breed poultry hatchery in the world.

On the local food beat, Maggie Montgomery and I have been covering stories about raising chickens here in northern Minnesota. It's more accurate to say we've been following the movement to bring back raising chickens within the city limits of Bemidji and Grand Rapids. People in rural areas like ours have always raised chickens, lots of them. Indeed over the last four years "Dan the Egg Man" from Deer River and Jane at WillowSedge Farm near Palisade have kept us in fresh eggs here at KAXE. I just learned (am I the last?) that raising chickens is becoming a national past time, even a fad to some conspicuous consumers.

The title of this posting is the the subtitle of Susan Orlean's article in the September 28 edition of the New Yorker. She covers a little history of raising chickens in American history. That alone is worth the read. She also reviews the rising tide of chicken rearing in the U.S., and her experience keeping chickens.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

All Dolled Up

By Jennifer Poenix

This Saturday on “Between You and Me,” the topic is dolls. Did you have a favorite? What did you do with your dolls? Dress them, rock them, or invent lives for them?

I wasn’t too into dolls as a girl, even though I managed to amass a large collection of Barbie Dolls. I was also in the thick of it when the Cabbage Patch Kids craze hit in 1984. My aunt managed to buy one for me, a “preemie” doll that I named Carol Sue and my mother called “Rock-head,” due to the nature of her hard head.

For my first Christmas, I received a doll that I have always known as Pinky. Pinky was a pretty simple doll. She was a soft baby shaped form covered in fuzzy pink material (a snowsuit?) leaving just her rubber face and some yellow yarn hair exposed. She also had a wind-up thing in her back that allowed you to play “Rock-A-Bye Baby” if you so wished. I don’t recall spending a lot of time with Pinky, but apparently, I did. Ever since I can remember, the paint of her eyes was chipped, and her hair was just three strands that hung straight down in her face. Oh yes, she was loved.

Pinky still lives in the closet of my old bedroom at my parents’ house, and the funny thing is whenever we visit, my 3-year-old son finds Pinky whenever it’s time for a nap or bed. He doesn’t sleep with anything at home, but at Grandma’s house, he snuggles with Pinky whenever he sleeps. When he wakes up, he immediately returns her to the closet, like he can’t risk being seen with her. He has no siblings or cousins to taunt him about it, but still, he has an aversion to being seen with a doll. Why is this?

Join the conversation about DOLLS this Saturday from 10-noon on “Between You and Me.”

Monday, September 21, 2009

Blood of Mason - Inside the Mind of a Songwriter

by Doug MacRostie

What do you get when you mix one uber-creative individual and some quality time alone? Mason Jennings' new album "Blood of Man," that's what. With Mason playing all the instruments and doing the recording/production work, the album is a wonderfully raw and emotional ride through some very edgy and heartfelt material, and I'll be talking with Mason about it this Thursday at 6 on Centerstage MN.

What caught my attention first about "Blood of Man" was the electric guitar - it's a loud, distorted departure from "In the Ever," and while it's not the first time Mason has rocked hard - I think it's the most. The next thing that caught my attention was the violence and imagery; from coming home to find his family killed to putting a gun in the murderer's mouth in the song "Black Wind Blowing" - it's definitely a departure into a dark world. But it's still Mason, and the meanings and messages run deep. At he says, "I wrote about how hard it is to be 34 and be a parent and sane and married and true and positive and yourself and a man and funny and a decent person and a not decent person and human and in love. I turned the music up so loud so often that my ears rang every night. I wrote about death, of course. I wrote about life. I wrote about pain and addiction. And I let it flow and left it raw. I worked fast and I let my heart lead."

The song that touched me the most was "The Field;" it brought tears to my eyes as he sang about a father losing his son in Iraq, "Since you were a child, we've built our lives around you, Now how am I suppose to live, in this world without you," with the breaking line "I don't want no victory, I just want you back."

There is a lot to be said about an album like this; Mason has opened himself up and let it all out - and the final product is a phenomenal and engaging collection of songs that cover everything from God and love to death and sorrow. Be sure to tune in Thursday night at 6 to hear Mason and I talk about "Blood of Man."

Also this week I've got new music from Dalia and The Pines, and some re-released material from Greg Brown and The Jayhawks. If you missed the in-studio session last week with The Brothers Burn Mountain you can listen to the audio or check out pictures.

Centerstage MN is Thursday evenings at 6, streaming live online at; or 91.7 Grand Rapids, 89.9 Brainerd and 105.3 Bemidji. All interviews are archived at and the show is rebroadcast Sunday mornings at 6.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Like a Wildfire - The Brothers Burn Mountain

by Doug MacRostie

Have you ever felt inspired looking over a beautiful natural landscape, maybe with the sun going down and shining in your eyes as it casts shadows all around you? Brothers Ryan and Jesse Dermody feel moments like that constantly and it's what helps them to create the unique and amazing music that is The Brothers Burn Mountain and I am very pleased to have them back for a live in-studio session tonight at 6 on Centerstage MN. Their CD's have layers and textures creating living sound-scape-like music (with a spine) mixed with intimate poems and presentation. Their live performance is Jesse on a scaled-down trap set and Ryan singing and playing acoustic guitar. They let the music flow through them and each song is new and different every time they play it. You can read more about Brothers Burn Mountian in this excellent interview from American Songwriter (by me and Brian Skinness from Terrapin Station in Nevis :D).

I recorded the session with Ryan and Jesse yesterday, and I HAD been thinking about bringing along one of my hand drums and asking if I might be able to play along with them...but I decided I didn't want to impose and left my drum at home. Then, when they arrived, they offered one of their own drums to me and asked if I would play with them during the studio session!!! I didn't want to botch-up the entire performance, but I did pick up a Djembe and play along for the last song of the performance. Then, I was asked to join them for a drum jam, which I'll play to end the show tonight. I'm still walking on cloud 9 after getting to connect with them on a musicial level - the energy from these two is like nothing I've experienced before.

I've also got new music from Mason Jennings, The Pines and Steve Kaul (all upcoming guests on Centerstage MN) and I'll be starting the show with The Limns and Friends of Yoder featuring Timmy Haus.

Here's a video I took during the first set of the Brothers Burn Mountain session - be sure to tune in tonight and enjoy!!!!

Centerstage MN is Thursday evenings at 6, streaming live online at; or 91.7 Grand Rapids, 89.9 Brainerd and 105.3 Bemidji. All interviews are archived at and the show is rebroadcast Sunday mornings at 6.

Guido's Guide To The Arts for September and October

by Steve Downing

Bemidji: Bemidji Community Art Center: now through 10/31 “Unique Vision” by John Heller, landscape photography of Utah, Wyoming & Minnesota. Dunn Bros. Coffee: photography by John Eggers. Neilson Place: Terry Honstead’s exhibit “Another Take”.

Brainerd area: tomorrow (9/18) @ 7:30 @ Chalberg Theatre @ Central Lakes College The Cavern Beat Beatles Tribute Band. Saturday 9/19 9-4 in Pequot Lakes: 15th Annual Arts & Crafts Fair & Taste of Pequot in Trailside Park. Same day/same time in Nisswa: Nisswa Fall Festival @ Nisswa Chamber Building on Main Street. Friday 9/25 @ 7:30 pm @ Tornstrom Auditorium Magnus Martensson, music & comedy. Saturday 9/26 @ Hallet Community Center in Crosby: 8th Annual Women’s Expo & Fall Arts/Crafts Show 9-3.

Ripple River Gallery near Deerwood: “Great River: Nature in Art”, a group show by 15 artists from the Great River Chapter of the American Society of Botanical Artists, opens Saturday 9/19 with an artists’ reception, 3-5 pm.

Jaques Art Center/Aitkin: “What’s So Funny? A Celebration of Cartooning”, now through 10/3. Today (9/17) Brown Bag Lunch @ noon, “A Century of Minnesota Cartooning” w/curator Duane Barnhart. Saturday 9/19 @ Festival of Adventures in Aitkin City Park Duane Barnhart presents Quill & Ink Sketching (cartoons in the 1800s)

Edge Center in Bigfork: Saturday 9/19 @ 7: Classical Piano Concert, Dr. John McKay. Sunday 9/27 @ 2 a concert by area piano students of local teachers.

Lyric Center for the Arts in Virginia: First Stage Gallery presents Raw Mosaic, a work in progress by Nancy Miller, now through 10/17. Opening reception tonight (9/17) @ 7 w/music by Max Dakota. First Mondays on the First Stage: spoken-word-art @ 6:30.

MN Discovery Center in Chisholm: opening 9/19 and running through 11/29, the exhibit “Iron Dogs: Snowmobiling in Minnesota”---plus other winter-weather-related demonstrations/presentations, including tonight (9/17), two acclaimed films of The Trailblazers (Arctic Cat & Polaris). Admission is always free Thursdays after 5 pm.

Range Creative Art Center in Hibbing: classes starting up in October: woodcarving, pastels, watercolor, drawing, stained glass, clay, and more.

MacRostie Art Center in Grand Rapids: throughout September, sponsored by Bill & Diane Rutherford: “More, Please” by Minneapolis artist Mari Richards---sculptural & installation art about excess---in the MacRostie Gallery. In the Minnesota Gallery: 2nd Annual Mail Art Exhibition.

Brewed Awakenings has work by Jay Jones up on the walls this month, Bryan Stenlund next month. Music at various times on various nights, which is also the case (visual art & music, variously) at Rivers Italian.

7th Annual Goods From The Woods & Green Living Celebration @ Ruttger’s Sugar Lake Lodge Saturday 9/19 9-6, free & open to the public w/free shuttle busses to & from town.

At the Myles Reif Performing Arts Center tonight (9/17) “Plaid Tidings” by Grand Rapids Players @ 7:30, tomorrow & Saturday @ 7:30, Sunday @ 2, sponsored by Drs. Lee Jess & Jordan Anderson/General Dentistry. The Magnus Martensson tour (“Excuse me, does my piano count as carry-on....”) comes to Reif 9/23 @ 7:30. Then Saturday 9/26 it’s Mu Daiko, Japanese drumming, dancing & theatre @ 7:30, sponsored by Ogle’s Marketplace Foods w/funding from Minnesota State Arts Board.* 10/1: Tanglefoot, the farewell tour, @ 7:30, in partnership w/KAXE. 10/3: Brule & American Indian Rock Opera @ 7:30, sponsored by Rowe Funeral Home w/funding from Arts Midwest. 10/9: Judy Collins @ 7:30, sponsored by Woodland Bank. Special note: next Tuesday 9/22 @ 7 (free & open to anyone) the Bush Foundation will be at Reif to talk about their Artist Program fellowships & awards for 2010-2011 (next year the focus is on visual arts).

Out of town: I’m recommending the world premiere of the Jon Ferguson Theatre’s “Super Monkey” in the Dowling Studio at the Guthrie Theater (Mpls.). Opens tonight (9/17), runs through 10/4. It’s a modern and (fair warning) adult farce, concerning a doorman and the people who move in and out of his building, through his door. All he wants to do is make everyone happy, even if just for a few seconds.

*The Mu Daiko performance will feature the premiere of a new work, “Taiko Caravan”, commissioned by the Reif Center and the Sheldon Theatre in Red Wing. Mu Daiko, from St. Paul, is acknowledged to be one of the best taiko drum ensembles in the land and three years ago was one of only four North American Japanese-drum troupes invited to the North American Taiko Conference in Los Angeles. This will be a powerful visual and musical experience, which will start (weather permitting) with an outdoor party and parade of drummers. (

I Love KAXE!

There was a "meet up" last night at Fitger's Brewhouse in Duluth before the Ani DiFranco concert (which ROCKED) at the DECC auditorium.

KAXE fans were told to find the table with the KAXE bumper sticker where Heidi Holtan was sitting (in a KAXE t-shirt) say "I love KAXE" and then they would receive 2 free tickets to Ani DiFranco.

Next meet-up? Dwight Yoakam at the Grand Casino Mille Lacs, Saturday night!

Where's Guido?

This Saturday on Between You and Me, we'll be talking about hunting. The small game season opens this weekend, as does bow hunting for deer.

Steve Downing, a master of the art of stealth, will be out in the woods. He'll describe his "cammo" outfit and we cannot wait to hear about his hunting tie. We want to hear your stories too.

That's Between You and Me on Saturday morning at 10am.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Now Hear This! Recent Audo Highlights from KAXE

There is always a lot going on at KAXE, from serious stuff like Bio-fuels at Ainsworth site in Cook to a 2 hour discussion about Chickens within city limits (which is more serious than you might expect). Below you can hear further arguements from Aaron Brown that 'chicken' is one of the funniest words in the English language and Steve Downing with his thoughts on big chicken-farms. It's also been the ricing season in Northern Minnesota and Matt Miltich shares a story about going ricing for...ducks. And we have unreleased recordings of 70's Bemidji rockers Podipto shared by Josh Collins, the son of Podipto founder John Collins. We add new pieces regularly to our Audio Highlights at

Ricing for Ducks with Mathew Miltich
Wherever Mathew Miltich goes, and whatever he's doing, he's always on the lookout for ducks. Here's his story about a recent day of ricing with his buddy, Charlie Schweigert. Matt is a writer and musician from Wabana Township in Itasca County and he shared his thoughts on The Morning Show.

Guido's Feathered Friend Kennel...
Did you know that there are more chickens on Earth than any other bird? Neither did Steve Downing until recently and he shared this audio essay with us for Between You and Me about Chickens.

'Chicken' is a Funny Word
Regular contributor Aaron Brown shares the story of Bruce the Rooster, who lacks social skills...even by poultry standards. We talked about Chickens on Between You and Me. Check out more from Aaron at his blog

Podipto with Josh Collins
Josh Collins, son of Podipto founding member John Collins, joined Doug MacRostie to talk about this 70's Bemidji rock band, and he brought along never before heard recordings of Podipto including live recordings and original demos on Centerstage MN.

Border News Roundup with Marshall Helmberger
News from north-east Minnesota: bio-fuels at the Ainsworth site in Cook & Harvest moon fest in Ely Marshall edits The Timberjay, a weekly newspaper serving northeastern Minnesota.

Friday, September 11, 2009

91.7 KAXE and 90.5 KBXE, Northern Community Radio

In early August, the FCC awarded Northern Community Radio a construction permit to build a new radio station that would serve the Bagley/Bemidji area.

We hope you will call KAXE at 218/326-1234 if you have any questions or want to help build KBXE! You can join a committee for construction, fundraising, events, technical crew or publicity OR you can come to the next general meeting.

KBXE will be a noncommercial station licensed in the city of Bagley. Depending on the final location and power of the KBXE transmitter, the station could serve Bemidji, Fosston, Gonvick, Clearbrook, Debs, Erskine and Zerkel.

KBXE can broadcast at as much as 100,000 watts, or it may be more cost effective to use less power. In some respects, the location of the transmitter will determine the ERP (effective radiated power) of KBXE. A high power station cannot be located near some other stations due to interference issues, while a lower power station would have more location options.

KBXE’s construction permit was originally awarded to the Headwaters Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (HUUF) in Bemidji. Northern Community Radio signed a purchase agreement with HUUF to obtain the construction permit, at cost. HUUF was interested in bringing a community radio station to Bemidji. The HUUF agreement stipulates that Northern Community Radio cannot transfer KBXE’s license to any other organization for at least 10 years. This is so Northern Community Radio cannot just build and then sell KBXE to make money. HUUF definitely wants a community radio station to serve the Bemidji area, but did not think this was something they could do themselves.

Now Northern Community Radio is the sole owner of the KBXE construction permit. Northern Community Radio’s board of directors will “own” KBXE on behalf of the community. Our organization’s mission, which is to “build community in northern MN through radio broadcasting, cultural events and interactive media,” will guide KBXE just as it does KAXE. KBXE will serve a wide broadcast area just as KAXE does.

Northern Community Radio was interested in a new station because KAXE’s signal to the west is experiencing more and more interference. Translators are low priority for the FCC and do not have the protections that full-power stations do. KAXE’s Bemidji translator is in the commercial band, making it especially vulnerable. A commercial broadcaster could take its 105.3 frequency for a full-power commercial station if the FCC opens another filing window. The radio spectrum is a limited natural resource. KBXE’s 90.5 frequency is the last remaining noncommercial frequency that can serve the Bemidji area.

In all, 5 entities applied for this broadcast license. A settlement agreement allowed both the Unitarians and Leech Lake Reservation to squeeze in their proposed stations before Northern Community Radio purchased the construction permit. Leech Lake Reservation is building a tribal station that will broadcast at 90.1 FM. Its call sign is KOJB.

Northern Community Radio plans to build studios in Bemidji, although the location hasn’t been determined yet. At an initial gathering in Bemidji with about 80 KAXE members, those attending said locating downtown, building green, and including a performance space were important considerations. They also thought KBXE should be a mix of KAXE and locally originated content, that KBXE should air NPR programs, and that KBXE should have its own version of the Morning Show. Everyone wants to meet again in a month or two. New people are welcome to join the process at any time!

A committee is working now on a tower location. They are trying to determine if we can build a tower of if we should rent one, and where.

Another group is looking at studio location options. They are looking at land and buildings and talking about the pros and cons of locating with other organizations and building new versus renovating.

Yet another group will help raise the money to get the project done. The project will have to show significant community support before it will be able to get matching money from foundations or government agencies.

There is a lot more to do, including reaching out to more people in the Bagley area, but this is a start!

There is a deadline. KBXE has to be built and operational by March 23, 2012 or Northern Community Radio will lose its construction permit. The tower and transmission plant are high priority in getting the station on the air by the deadline. There are a lot of unknowns, but we think it will cost at least $1 million to build the tower, transmitter and studios, and possibly closer to $1.5 million.

Call or email KAXE/Northern Community Radio if you have ideas, want to sign up for a committee or would like more information: 218/326-1234 or

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Split Rock Lighhouse recipe

by Heidi Holtan
Tomorrow morning John & I will be talking with Norman Ollestad about his story of a plane crash in 1979 he was in where his father and father's girlfriend were killed. It's called "Crazy for the Storm - A Memoir of Survival".

We'll also be talking about the new book "The American Lighthouse Cookbook - the Best Recipes and Stories from America's Shorelines" by Becky Sue Epstein and Ed Jackson. It celebrates the history, dishes & lore of selected lighthouses across the country.

You'll find a recipe for shrimp toast from the Lahaina Lighthouse in Maui, Hawaii, a recipe for grilled striped bass with salsa verde from the Sandy Hook Lighthouse in Sandy Hook, New Jersey and a recipe for Apple Pudding Cake from the Split Rock Lighthouse in Two Harbors, MN.

Here it is:

1 c chopped black walnuts
2/3 c vegetable shortening
1 1/3 c sugar
2 eggs
2 tsps baking soda
2 tsps cinnamon
1 tsp nutmet
2 c all purpose flour
6 cus honey crisp apples (peeled, cored & chopped)
apple pudding cake sauce
1 c heavy whipping cream for serving

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 13x19" pan. Heat a frying pan over medium-low heat. Toast the walnuts until the begin to change color and become fragrant, about 7 minutes. Pour into a dish and put aside. In the large bowl of a mixer, cream together the shortening and sugar. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and beat well after each addition. Sift together the baking soda, cinnamon, nutmet, and flour. Beat into the sugar mixture. Fold in the apples and nuts. The misture will be stiff. Spread into the prepared pan. Do not bake it yet. Pour the Apple Pudding Cake Sauce evenly over the batter. Do not stir.

Bake for 1 hour. Serve warm with whipped cream.

1 1/2 c packed brown sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
4 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 c water

In a medium saucepan, stir together the brown sugar and flour. Sitr in the butter, vanilla, and water. Bring to a boil while stirring occasionally. Boil gently for 3 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Beach Ball, A Lamp and Bemidji Walk into a Bar

by Doug MacRostie

Back in the 60's & 70's a group of friends came together and formed what would be one of the best acts coming out of the midwest during the era with a unique style of rock, blues and country that has remained in the minds of many during the 30 years since the band disbanded. I, of course, am talking about Bemidji rockers Podipto and this Thursday night at 6 on Centerstage MN I'll be talking with Josh Collins - son of the late Podipto founding member John Collins. While he enjoyed the records, Josh wasn't born until after Podipto disbanded in '75. Upon finding old reel-to-reels of the band, he dove deep into a pile of unreleased live recordings, original demo versions of songs and more, and we'll talk about the history of Podipto and listen to some of these never-before-heard gems!!!

I've also got the new release from Jake Dilley and the Color Pharmacy called DeTour EP. While I'm still eagerly waiting for the upcoming full-length release from Jake Dilley, this EP is an excellent indie-rock example of his creative songwriting and unique musical vision. You might remember their previous release The Red Balloon which was an alternate soundtrack to the old French film by the same name. His previous work has also included alternate music for scenes of Charlie and Chocolate Factory...very interesting and engaging stuff.

Centerstage MN is Thursday evenings at 6, streaming live online at; or 91.7 Grand Rapids, 89.9 Brainerd and 105.3 Bemidji. All interviews are archived at and the show is rebroadcast Sunday mornings at 6.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Another UnFair Year

by Scott Hall

I'd like to go to the MN State Fair every year, but I make it about once every four years. Not this year. About 20 years ago, we did the morning show from a small studio in the Horticulture Building at the Fair. It was great fun talking to 4Hers, and about Fair food, animals, agriculture and history. Karal Ann Marling was our co-host that morning. Her book, "Blue Ribbon: A Social and Pictorial History of the Minnesota State Fair" is still a fun read.

We don't spend much time on the Midway anymore, but the food, farm animals, food, entertainment, food, DNR fish and wildlife sites, food, people watching and food are still big attractions. I felt even worse after reading Rick Nelson's list of ten food favorites in the Friday Star Tribune. The deep-fried smelt (pronounced SCHHHMELT by John Bauer and others) and the coffee frozen custard looked the best to me. What are your Fair favorites?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

What does Labor Day mean to you?

Getting Ready for Labor Day...

Did you know that Labor Day has its roots back to Tuesday, September 5, 1882 in New York City? During this era, it was common for people to work 12 hour days, 7 days a week. Working conditions were poor. On that Tuesday, 10,000 workers marched from City Hall to Union Square to bring attention to the plight of workers. The event continued the next few years, and started to spread to other cities. Twevle years later, congress declared the 1st Monday in September as Labor Day. has a nice little article about the roots of labor day.

The labor movement has arich and colorful history in Northern Minnesota. One of the most interstinng stories is the Strike of 1916. It's important that we understand the the "weekend has been brought to you by the labor movement", but we really want to get to know how you honor and celebrate labor day weekend.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Non-Conformist Unite: Enchanted Ape On the Way!

by Doug MacRostie

The band name Enchanted Ape has one historical reference (that the band found out after coming up with the name); Philosopher Thomas Carlyle used 'enchanted ape' as a derogatory term for people who were non-conformist or who went against the grain - perfect for this original and unique roots-rock band out of Minneapolis. I'm very excited to have Enchanted Ape for our first ever 'Closing the Tent Event' under the Rotary Tent at KAXE's Amphitheater in Grand Rapids Sat. the 15th. And this Thursday night at 6 on Centerstage MN I'll be talking with Chris O'Brien; singer, songwriter and guitarist with Enchanted Ape.

Chris and I will be talking about their latest CD Off the Ground which came out last year, and we'll hear music from their 2005 debut Three Ring Symphony. Both albums are outstanding examples of organic and evolving music with an earthy blend of acoustic, electric and slide guitars mixing in elements of jazz, blues and improvisational music. In previous blogs I've said they, "further the vibrations of the Grateful Dead" and I am VERY excited to see Enchanted Ape in action for the Closing the Tent Event on Sat. the 12th - click here for more info!

Also on Centerstage MN Thursday night there will be a set of future guests including The Hobo Nephew of Uncle Frank, which is the brother songwriting team of Ian and Teague Alexy along with drummer Paul Grill. Their new album Traveling Show is an excellent CD with their musicianship, songwriting and musical vision rising to new heights. Another future guest will be indie roots duo The Pines from Minneapolis, made up of Iowa natives David Huckfelt and Benson Ramsey. Their new CD Tremolo has a dark, Americana sound, highlighting their songwriting and musicianship. And the other future guest in the set is Steve Kaul, he's put out Solo Guitar - a wonderful (surprise) solo album featuring Steve's outstanding guitar work. Originally from Bemidji, Steve is the singer and guitarist with The Brass Kings out of St. Paul.

I've also got new music from Junkyard Empire; they're new release is called Rebellion Politik; a crazy mix of hip hop, jazz and civil-discontent. And a new self-titled release off the Iron Range from High Drama Blues which ranges from straight-up blues rock to emotional slow-moving grooves.

Next week I'll be joined by Josh Collins, son of the late John Collins - a founding member of late 60's and 70's folk-rockers Podipto from the Bemidji area. Josh will bring along previously unreleased and never-before-heard recordings!!!! It's going to be awesome :D

Centerstage MN is Thursday evenings at 6, streaming live online at; or 91.7 Grand Rapids, 89.9 Brainerd and 105.3 Bemidji. All interviews are archived at and the show is rebroadcast Sunday mornings at 6.