The PGBC Marching Saints dance and drill team raise their fists during the Black National Anthem at intermission of the Rondo Days dance competition.

“Your Crew vs. My Crew” creates community amidst competition at Rondo Days [Photos]

The second annual “Your Crew vs. My Crew” dance competition finished out this year’s Rondo Days, which celebrates the black community that once thrived where I-94 now cuts through St. Paul.

“Every year we celebrate Rondo Days and the people and community who once stood there,” Leviticus Martin, the host of the event, proclaimed to a cheering audience during intermission of the competition. “So keep that in your minds and in your hearts when you come to Rondo Days, to the festival, to the parade, to the competition, that’s what it’s about. It’s about the community, it’s about love.”

The competition took place at Gangelhoff Arena on the Concordia University campus on Saturday, July 18th and lasted almost three hours. The competition and dance exhibition included nine crews from Minnesota, Indiana, and Nebraska. Continue Reading

World Cup Street Fair

Raíces Media​ hosted a World Cup Street Fair on Saturday, June 27, at Kix Field in Minneapolis, just off the Greenway, in conjunction with The Sanneh Foundation ​and the Urban Stars Soccer Club.​ World Cup veteran Tony Sanneh and The Sanneh Foundation hosted a free soccer clinic for kids at the event. The Sanneh Foundation, based in St. Paul, offers many free camps and clinics in St. Paul and Minneapolis. Tony Sanneh leads a skill-building soccer clinic with a group of kids. Continue Reading

Entrance to the Eloise Butler Flower Garden

Botanical wilderness hides near I-394

Just minutes from Glenwood Avenue, Wirth Lake Beach and Interstate 394, there’s a sanctuary for plants, animals and people too. Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden was first established in 1907 as the first public wildflower garden in the United States. To this day it remains unique, displaying hundreds of flowers that offer a new experience each visit, ranging from the first spring blossoms, the Showy Lady Slippers in June to the colorful fall foliage. Embedded within the larger Theodore Wirth Park near the Minneapolis-Golden Valley border, the 15-acre wildflower garden culls a mixture of native plants with others from the Eastern US and even beyond of North America. In over 100 years the garden has expanded, but its mission at the start and present are nearly identical: to offer a botanical wilderness within the city. Continue Reading

Colin Matthes Road Trip

REVIEW: Colin Matthes: Instructional and Flood Resistant Work

One of the curses of contemporary art is that too many artists, and viewers believe that irony – the ironic gesture, the ironic moment, the ironic image or thing – is a doppelganger for ideas, content and technical skill. Worse yet, irony functions too often as a surrogate for meaning, even quality- those abstract notions where ideas, materials and skill merge to create a resolved work of art. In Colin Matthes: Instructional and Flood Resistant Work, the Milwaukee-based artist largely avoids these pitfalls by employing irony more as an existential platform from which to respond to today’s social climate, rather than as an endgame unto itself. More a comprehensive installation than a show of discrete works, Instructional takes as its starting point the notion that most of us act as if all is well with our world, and that we are immune to all of the global trauma. After all, our lifestyle is too sophisticated and too propped up by technology for us to need basic survival skills. Continue Reading

Phillips neighbors oppose new Water Yard site

People in the Phillips neighborhoods of Minneapolis are incensed about a new proposed water-maintenance site (or, a water yard) they say will add to the pollution of the area. Seeing little promise of new jobs from the new site, neighbors will be packing the Ways and Means committee meeting of the City Council on Monday to urge council members to vote no on allowing city staff to enter into negotiations over purchasing the property. “Phillips has been dumping grounds and forget-me-nots of polluters for several years now,” says Jose Luis Villasenor, the Executive Director of the local nonprofit Tamales y Bicicletas. He’s been a resident of East Phillips for 19-20 years. “We have been working with the community and local stakeholders about how to get rid of the polluters.”

The community group East Phillips Improvement Coalition (EPIC) had two realizations when it came to the site, Villasenor said. Continue Reading

Flags waved while DJs played music at the Somali Independence Day festival in Minneapolis on June 13.

2015 Somali Independence Day Festival in Photos

The Minnesotan Somali community celebrated the 55th anniversary of Somalia’s independence from Britain and Italy this weekend at a festival that spanned three blocks of West Lake Street. According to the 2010 American Community Survey data, there are around 25,000 Somali-Americans in Minnesota, a third of the Somali population of the United States. Although Somali Independence Day is technically July 1, the Minneapolis festival was held on Saturday, June 13 because it will be Ramadan from mid-June until mid-July. Somali flags and balloons with the logo of Progressive Insurance, one of many sponsors of the event, were prominent features around the festival. Friends and families came together to celebrate on Lake Street, between Blaisdell and Grand. Continue Reading

Review – Novelty Shots: A Political Fantasy – Fire Drill – The Art of Paying Attention

They don’t hand out the programs until *after* Fire Drill’s latest production, Novelty Shots: A Political Fantasy, is over. It’s deliberate, but I’m still not entirely sure why. Do they not want to spoil the surprise?  What is the surprise? Is any review like this one just going to be a massive pile of spoilers? Is it even possible to spoil this show? Continue Reading

lurking in trees

Heated Debate Over Low-Level Crimes Continues in Minneapolis

Minneapolis repealed the long-standing lurking and spitting ordinances on a 12-1 vote, with only Northside Council President Barb Johnson voting against the repeal. But for Nekima Levy-Pounds, the newly elected head of the Minneapolis NAACP, Johnson’s comments during the Council debate point to troubling assumptions.

“People who were present found her comments to be offensive,” Levy-Pounds, a law professor at the University of St. Thomas, told me this week. “She inferred a couple of things that gave a racial aspect to some of the crime happening on the north side.”

As the ACLU report, entitled “Picking up The Pieces: A Minneapolis Case Study”, clearly shows, lurking and spitting are not the only crimes that unequally impact people of color.

Stay tuned. This conversation is just beginning. Continue Reading

The corner of 14th Avenue and Fourth Street Southeast is the center of Dinkytown. In the foreground is Loring Pasta Bar, formerly Grays Drug. Adjacent to that on the left is a building that was once Dayton's University Store and on the right is Dinkydale, that was once a hotel. Photo by Bill Huntzicke

Commission recommends Dinkytown for heritage preservation

While agreeing that Dinkytown should continue to grow and change, the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission unanimously recommended on June 9 that most of the four-block business district be designated for historic preservation. The HPC decision came after hearing about two hours of testimony, some of it impassioned on both sides, but most of it in support of the plan to try to preserve the character of the small business district adjacent to the University of Minnesota in Southeast Minneapolis. About 20 people testified, raising first principles, such as the balance between free enterprise and urban planning and questions like what is history, what can be preserved, and what is Dinkytown. HPC’s action is a recommendation to the Minneapolis City Council, whose zoning and planning committee will take up the plan at 9:30 a.m. on June 25, and the full Council could vote on it at its July 10 meeting. If the HPC had rejected the plan, it would not have gone to the Council. Continue Reading