Thursday, May 31, 2012

Culturology 5-31: Art and architecture

by Travis Ryder
Aaron Squadroni participates in a "speculative architecture" collective.  Architect by day, living in Grand Rapids and working in Hibbing, he finds time to work long-distance with like-minded artists and designers on alternative streetscapes and other projects, some of which end up in competitions. Starting Friday night, The Art House Xperimental Architecture (AXA) group shows off a range of images, media, and built work in MacRostie Art Center's Minnesota Gallery and an "art shanty" on the grounds of Old Central School.

Native American artist Joe Geshick passed away in 2009 after a career that took him from prison to art school in New York and studio practices in Reno, Nevada and Ely, Minnesota.  His large-format, spiritual, semiabstract realism depicts Native themes in a universally accessible way. The value of his work continues to grow: Two pieces on display at the Edge Center Gallery in Bigfork this month are for sale in the five-figure range.  Curator for the show, Journeys, Karen Ferlaak, tells us how the works at this show are being borrowed from a number of private collections. This represents the first major show of Geshick's work since his passing, and a high-profile show for the Gallery.  An opening reception is coming up Friday from 5 to 7 at the gallery in Bigfork.  Support for this show comes from the Blandin Foundation and the Anishinaabe Fund of the Duluth-Superior Community Foundation.

Amy Clark gives us a close-up profile of Duluth-based singer songwriter Teague Alexy.  His new album "This Dance" is a solid disc, and a synthesis of many of his musical interests: foot-stomping string-bands, earnest folk, rock, and even reggae.  Alexy is known for his various collaborations and work with his brother Ian in the group Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank, but this time it was mostly just him and Twin Cities guitarist/engineer/producer Erik Koskinen.  Teague is playing all over the region in the coming weeks; his gig list is here.

Culturology Calendar
Thursday, May 31
Author Anton Treuer presents at 6:00 at Brainerd Public Library.

Friday, June 1
First Friday attractions through the afternoon and evening in downtown Bemidji.
First Friday in Grand Rapids, too.
Joe Geshick exhibition, Journeys, opening reception from 5 to 7 at Edge Center, Bigfork.

Sunday, June 3
Ride the Paul Bunyan Trail with former congressman and biking advocate Jim Oberstar Sunday. The ride will start at the Baxter/Brainerd trail head at 9 a.m. Lunch for $5 will be served back at the trail head following the dedication of a new bridge on the trail.

Monday, June 4
It’s the grand opening of the Mesabi Trail’s headquarters, Mesabi Station, at 1:00 just east of Eveleth.
It’s Flipside Summer Art Camp at the Franklin Arts Center cafeteria, Week 1: June 4 – 8 will cover Visual Art Through the Ages.
Edge Center for the Arts invites aspiring puppeteers to get involved with a show called Edge of the Wilderness Almanac.  Master puppeteer Teresa Linnihan will be on hand to help build 14-foot tall puppets and build a plot around life in the region.  Events will include putting the massive marionettes in the Bigfork parade June 9, and show dates June 21 through June 24.  All are invited to the first sessions Monday from 2 to 4 or 4 to 6 at the Edge Center.
The Lyric Center for the Arts in downtown Virginia presents their monthly ‘Words and Lyrics’ spoken-word session with proofreader Jeanne Maki of Angora.  This gets going at 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, June 5
Grand Rapids Tuesday noon Summer Concert Series begins with the New Generation String Trio; at United Methodist Church; with a lunch served at 12:30.

Wednesday, June 6
Paul Bunyan Playhouse has opening night for their first production of the summer repertory season, ‘The Spitfire Grill’.  The show starts at 8 and runs Wednesday through the weekend, and more shows on the way next weekend.

Minnesota History Datebook
This week in 1858, Eden Prairie was the site of the final major battle between Minnesota’s principal tribes. About 150 Ojibwe attack and defeat Shakopee's band of Dakota.
May 30, 1871 The steamer St. Paul carries the first shipment of grain from the port of Duluth.
115 years ago, the first automobile in the Twin Cities gets some publicity. This week in 1897, The St. Paul Dispatch runs a photograph of the car, owned by cigar maker H. J. Schley.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Culturology 5-24: Memorial Weekend Action

by Travis Ryder
Thursday through Sunday
Dylan Days in Hibbing celebrates that city’s most famous musical son.  The weekend-long event begins with a welcome reception and music from The Adjustments on Thursday night.  Events to follow include the literary showcase, singer-songwriter contest, bus tour, and headline concert Saturday night from Twin Cities folk band Murzik.
Duluth’s Dylan Fest includes a “Blood On the Tracks” train excursion to Two Harbors tonight, with bands like the Black-Eyed Snakes, Dirty Horse, and the Bitter Spills on board, and at the Legion in Two Harbors.  The train boards at 5:30 at the Fitger’s complex.

Friday, May 25
The Chmielewski Fun Time Band provides the polka and old-time music at a fundraiser dance at the Jacobson Community Center Friday night starting at 7.

Saturday, May 26
There’s a Veterans’ Memorial Pow-wow Saturday and Sunday at the grounds near Palace Casino in Cass Lake.
Itasca State Park is gearing up for the start of the tourist season with a slew of naturalist, historical, and musical events at the park to entertain the big Memorial weekend crowds.
An Open Jug Band Jam is happening at Amazing Grace CafĂ© in Duluth’s Central Park starting at 7:30.  That’s a prelude for the sixteenth annual Battle of the Jug Bands happening there Sunday starting at 1.

Sunday, May 27
Garrison is the site for an invitational art fair on Sunday beginning at 9:30.  It’s a juried event sponsored by the Mille Lacs Art Council.

Monday, May 28
Grateful citizens will pay tribute to the nation’s war dead at remembrances in cemeteries, community centers, and VFW halls around the region.

Tuesday, May 29
Dr. Anton Treuer is the author of eight books.  Many of them focus on Ojibwe history and culture.  Treuer will speak at the Bemidji Public Library at 7 p.m. Tuesday night, and at 6 on Thursday at the Brainerd library.

Tuesday and Wednesday
Open auditions for the Central Lakes College summer production are happening Tuesday and Wednesday night.  Show up at 7:30 either night.  Readings from the scripts being considered will be provided.  Neither is a musical, so don’t worry about bringing a song.  Production dates are July 12 through 15 and 19 through the 22.

Minnesota History Datebook
May 22, 1888: Minneapolis architect LeRoy S. Buffington, the "Father of the Skyscraper," patents a construction method involving a steel skeleton that allows structures to be built to any height.
It’s the 85th anniversary of the first nonstop solo  Transatlantic flight. This week, in 1927, Little Falls native Charles Lindbergh, Jr. takes off from New York and lands in Paris 33 1/2 hours later.
Violence erupts during the 1934 Minneapolis teamsters’ strike.  Picketers and hired thugs clash, and dozens of police and goons end up in the hospital.
May 24, 1941 Robert Zimmerman is born in Duluth. He grows up in Hibbing and becomes folk, roots, gospel and rock artist Bob Dylan.  After achieving fame, he did not perform in Duluth until October 22, 1998.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Culturology 5-3: Opening Near You

by Travis Ryder
Art openings are big news this weekend in three corners of our listening neighborhood.  We visit with Katie Marshall from MacRostie Art Center in Grand Rapids, and their featured artist Adam Swanson.  We'll look at some of the other highlights of the First Friday art crawls in Grand Rapids and Bemidji, and visit with Mary McReynolds from the First Stage Gallery at the Lyric Center for the Arts in Virginia.  She tells us about the "Open Water" juried exhibition that opens there tonight.

Also, we'll hear about the foot-stomping good time that is Charlie Parr and his new project, The Devil's Flying Machine.  Amy Clark brings us closer to the prominent resonator guitarist and singer, based in Duluth and currently touring in Europe.

Culturology Calendar
Thursday, May 3
The 6th annual "Open Water" themed Art Show,  juried by Richard Saukko and Mary Erickson, will open tonight with an Artist's Reception and Wine Tasting from 5:30 to 8.  The "Open Water" Exhibit celebrates the onset of summer activities in Northern Minnesota with 28 pieces of art created by nineteen artists from Minnesota and Wisconsin.  The First Stage Gallery is on Chestnut Street in Virginia.
Lori Line is playing a show at the Chief Theater in Bemidji tonight.
A one-man Shakespeare show tonight at Central Lakes College’s Dryden Theater tonight.  Tim Mooney presents “Lot ‘o Shakespeare starting at 7:30.
Rhonda Laurie and her band do pop and jazz standards, Thursday at 7, GR library, Friday at 7, HCC theater; Saturday at the Performing Arts Ctr, Cloquet.  Free.

Friday, May 4
Bemidji State Professor Steve Sundahl will show his recent work in a gallery show entitled “Experiments in Moving & Standing” at Bemidji State’s Talley Gallery beginning Friday.  Sundahl is a designer and sculptor.
Folksinger Larry Long plays a Grassroots Concert at the Journey Church in Nisswa.  Jazz guitarist Cory Wong will accompany him.
American Family Theater’s production of Cinderella is at the Reif Center in Grand Rapids.
First Friday art crawls offer new showings, artist open houses, and live performance in Grand Rapids and Bemidji throughout the afternoon and evening.

Saturday and Sunday, May 5 and 6
Geology buffs will gather at the Cuyuna Agate and Mineral Show at Aitkin High School, this Saturday and Sunday.
The Itasca Symphony Orchestra performs an evening concert Saturday at the Reif Center, Grand Rapids, and a Sunday matinee at the Edge Center in Bigfork.

Next Thursday, May 10
Folksinger and guitarist John McCutcheon plays at the New York Mills Cultural Center.

MN History Datebook
May 4, 1925 St. Paul's Ford Motor Company plant assembles its first car. The mayors of St. Paul and Minneapolis ride around in the Model T with Ford execs during a ceremony. Soon, the plant produces five hundred cars each day.  86 years later, this past November, the final Ford Ranger pickup rolled off the line and the plant closed.

May 3, 1959 Duluth becomes a true ocean port. The British freighter Ramon de Larrinaga arrives via the newly-opened St. Lawrence Seaway to become the first deep draft ocean ship to enter Duluth's harbor.