“Now, the yearly question: Where to purchase paczki in the Twin Cities? The have to be real paczki-round, stuffed with jam, and glazed. Not bismarks by another name.” As Fat Tuesday looms Twin Citians of Polish descent totally understand Judith Blanchard’s pain.
One of my favorite e-letters arrives every few weeks from Judith Blanchard, the point person for the Polish American Cultural Institute of Minnesota (PACIM). Judith writes about all manner of things, including paczki, in her role as spokesperson for PACIM, a vibrant center committed to promoting the culture and heritage of the many Polish residents of this community. Judith manages the PACIM library and a host of PACIM-sponsored events ranging from polka dances to internationally renowned musicians and speakers to food events featuring Polish delicacies including kolaczki, pierogis and paczki, the sine qua non of Fat Tuesday.
She also keeps the Polish community in the Twin Cities tuned into programs on Poland and its heroes. This month Judith’s news notes start by advising readers that the Polish American Library has added a number of new Polish movies with English subtitles and other fascinating donations. Her mention of the library reminded me of good intention to share a bit about PACIM and its resources. Towards that goal I’ve plucked highlights from Judith’s news packed update. These quick picks offer an idea of the range of information PACIM collects and shares:
- Deserving of special note is a one-woman drama entitled Manya-A Living History of Marie Curie is “an academically impassioned, vehemently private, fervently Polish scientist, mother and teacher. The dramatic production is April 1 at O’Shaughnessy Auditorium, St. Catherine University. Tickets ($20 from the O’Shaughnessy Ticket office, 651 690 6700 or www.ticketmaster.com.
- WWII history buffs with a drive to learn more about the Battle of Cassino will be interested in the discussion of the controversial struggle presented by author and military historian Flint Whitlock, author of Rick and Anzio and Veterans of the Fifth Army. The talk is at 7:30 p.m. April 14th at the History Center at Historic Fort Snelling. $5 admission; students free. The talk is part of the Dr. Harold C Deutsch Roundtable which meets monthly to discuss and promote study of the history of World War II.
- Understanding the Transatlantic Migration Experience: Austria and Hungary” is the topic of a talk by James Oberly of UW-Eau Claire and Anne Marie Steidl, University of Vienna. It’s Thursday, March, 3:30 p.m. in 120 Andersen Library on the West Bank of the U of M (612 624 9811)
- Israeli pianist Alon Goldstein will explore the counterpoint of Bach and the “aural imagery” of Chopin and Debussy, along with “the sharply etched harmonics of Jancek and Ligati: at Sundin Music Hall on March 13, at 3:00 p.m. at Sundin Hall.
- Twin Cities of Polish descent – and many others – love Polish dance. The Midwest Polka Association welcomes the light of foot to any of their dances. February 26 they are at the Fridley KC Hall, 6831 Central Avenue (763 571 1492). They will hold their St. Patrick’s Day (!) Dance on Saturday, March 12, at the same site. On April 16 the MPA will celebrate their eighth anniversary back at the Fridley K of C Hall. It’s an all-star event featuring Gene Retka and the Jambolaires band from Little Falls. (k.carlson55110@yahoo or 651 426 1079)
- It’s a well known fact that folks come from far and near for a fine Polish feast. Though many are known to settle in at Kramarczuk’s, they should also check out the Sauerkraut Supper sponsored by Holy Cross parish on March 8 ($12 adults and $5 children) Looking ahead, Holy Cross will also sponsor a Bake and Craft Sale after Mass on Saturday, Saturday, April 16, and Sunday April 17. Still in the area, the folks at Pope John Paul II School will host Fish Fries on Fridays March 11 through April 15. Pope John Paul II also serves Soup Suppers on Thursdays, March 16 through April 13.
And now about the Library: The PACIM Library, located at 2514 Central Avenue, just North of Lowry in Northeast Minneapolis, contains over 50,000 titles, in Polish and English. The Library features current titles as well as books that reflect and preserve Polish culture and heritage. The collection also features audio books, DVD’s, videos, fiction and children’s books. Supporters of the Library often purchase Polish titles when they visit the homeland, then contribute the books to the Library for others to read and enjoy.
The PACIM Library is open on Sunday afternoons 1:00-3:30 p.m. Free and open, though books circulate only to PACIM members; membership is just $25.
Many thanks to Judith Blanchard for keeping the community and this ethnic interloper apprised of All Things Polish happening in Northeast and in the community at large. For more information email email@example.com, find updates or leave a message at 763 571 9602.
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