Memoirs of an 80s Minneapolis Slacker: Fear and loafing in the Whittier neighborhood, ’79 – ’86

In 1979 we saw, near the southwest corner of Whittier, an excellent pre-internet publicity stunt: on the exterior wall of the Yukon Club, then a 3.2 joint at Grand and Lake, a frame in which posters for events at the bar should have appeared. Within the frame, handwritten, it said: “Live. The Pistons. But not here.” Continue Reading

Southwest Light Rail agreement draws criticism

The Metropolitan Council and the city of Minneapolis have announced a tentative agreement regarding the configuration of the Southwest Light Rail Project. The project’s path through the city of Minneapolis has been controversial, and the mediated agreement requires approval from a number of cities and government agencies before construction can begin. After the deal was announced yesterday, opponents weighed in as South West Light Rail Train advocates moved quickly to meet deadlines for getting federal money. Rico Morales filed this report. [Audio below]Find the original post here. Continue Reading

THEATER REVIEW | Ghostbridge Theatre’s surreal “Drowning” floats

The Twin Cities is full of little theater companies run by people committed to their concept and the chance to produce their work. Despite general interest and my diligence following theater here, I am still amazed at the new companies I continue to discover. This week I found a sweetly experimental “dedicated to the performance-of-original-work” theater company Ghostbridge Theatre performing Jeff Nichols Drowning at the Cedar Riverside People’s Center Theater. The show was originally developed at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and later performed at the Kennedy Center’s American College Theater Festival before coming here. Nichols and Ghostbridge Theatre offer up about  a show a year, restaging and reworking pieces that he had in his back pocket. Based on the images from their website, each new reworking looks and feels different, as the actors and designers alter and develop the concepts in each production. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | You really don’t want to meet the Dicks at Dick’s Resort in the Mall of America

I’m not one to cry. Truth is, I rarely cry, but during a visit to Dick’s Resort in the Mall of America I was literally reduced to tears! The bartender was abusive, abrasive, and mean as HELL. I wasn’t sure why he was in a bad mood, but later found out that it is their “niche” to be mean as spitfire. Were they really trained to treat people like this, to the point of harassment? Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | The Big E sizes up MN GOP candidates

The Big E, confessing to Minnesita Progressive Project (MPP) readers and contributers, recently wrote that his heart no longer pines to hose down right wing sparkle ponies like Michele Bachmann or even review books by the likes of a Keith Ellison.  The Big E (known to his Minneapolis neighbors as Eric Pusey), is the founding scold of the MPP lefty sentry post and appears on the current edition of Democratic Visions as he retires from political blogging. After a moment of posing as a weary blogosphere elder  (as if blogging was old enough to earn elders), the smart, liberal confederate, prompted by an actual DFL elder,  Tim O’Brien, shines with bemused and bewildered takes on the current state of the Minnesota Republican Party and its clownish, hopeful State and Congressional candidates.   Mr. Pusey, who has splashed gleefully in the rushing stream of blogs, Tweets, Facebook twerking and probably Skype, does quite well in the “legacy” medium of television where I operate.  Fox Nine News knew that and for a while put him on from time-to-time.  But the Fox 9 News producers didn’t have the cojones to make him a regular pundit.   Too bad.  Mr. Pusey has good chemistry. This ten-minute Eric and Tim segment is yours to consider.  Its “tagged” (the TV producer’s sense of the word) with an homage to the late, great, populist troubadour Pete Seeger and Twin Cities activism thanks to the air guitar wonders -The Junk Yard Democrats, a peoples’ anthem, and creative editing.  Enjoy!  Enjoy!  Democratic Visions February Segments Ex-blogger Eric Pusey and Tim O’Brien on senate and gubernatorial hopefuls.Jon Spayde as a clinically depressed motivational speaker with advice for Republican hopefuls.I report on the DFL 48 Precinct Caucuses and present an award winning short film making change. Democratic Visions is handcrafted by Eden Prairie, Edina and Minnetonka volunteer Democrats at the Bloomington Community Access Television studio by arrangement with the Southwest Suburban Cable Commission. Democratic Visions Cable ScheduleMinneapolis – MTN Channel 16 – Sundays at 8:30 p.m.; Mondays 3:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. Hopkins, Minnetonka, Edina, Richfield and Eden Prairie – Comcast Channel 15 – Sundays at 9 p.m., Mondays at 10:00 p.m. and Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. Bloomington – BCAT Cable Channel 16 – Tuesdays at 2:00 p.m. & 10:00 p.m.; Fridays at 9:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. & 2:30 p.m. The entire Feburary program and 183 archived Dem Vis segments can be seen on the Democratic Visions Channel on YouTube. Democratic Visions has become the  liveliest political issues show in Minnesota.   I know.  I produce the darned thing.   Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | Carry permit holder fends off crowbar wielding intruder

Construction worker Craig Paulson was thinking about where to go for lunch as he worked on renovations inside a bank-owned residence in a quiet, tree-lined and well-manicured neighborhood in Uptown on one of the last days in November.His appetite and lunchtime thoughts quickly faded, however, when Paulson, working alone in a back room inside the residence on the 3300 block of Girard Avenue, turned around and found himself faced with a “large” man wielding Paulson’s own three foot crowbar just steps from where he was working.The lifelong construction worker and father of three kids of whom he has sole custody, said that the weather was pleasant that Tuesday morning and that’s why he’d left the door of the residence open and unlocked as he worked. “It’s a nice part of town,” Paulson followed, describing the startling and unexpected encounter with the intruder.Paulson said his crowbar alongside other construction tools had been lying on the floor just inside the front door of the residence where he had been working that morning, and he said that he suspects that the intruder picked up the crowbar when he entered the residence “and carried it throughout the house” until he found Paulson in the back room.Faced with the crowbar wielding intruder who then took a step toward Paulson, a large man himself at over 6 feet tall and 240 pounds, he said he could only imagine what the intentions may be of the intruder whose height “towered over” him, and whom Paulson described as having dilated pupils and acting “like he didn’t know what he was doing.”Instinctively, Paulson – who has a permit-to-carry a firearm and describes himself as a “lifestyle” carrier who has a gun on him “every moment” that he’s awake – reached for and drew his concealed firearm and pointed it at the crowbar wielding intruder.According to Paulson, the suspect then turned and fled dropping the crowbar on the way out of the house. Paulson watched the suspect flee to a parked passenger car about a half a block away where he got into the driver’s side of the vehicle, but Paulson said couldn’t tell if he got into the driver’s seat or the back seat of the vehicle as it sped away.Paulson dialed 911 and reported the incident to police who arrived a short time later and filled out a report calling the incident a “burglary of dwelling,” according to the police report. Paulson said the police told him that it’s “not uncommon” for suspects to enter homes through open doors in the spring and fall looking for items that they can quickly steal while the occupants may be in another part of the house or in the back yard.Despite the fact that police recorded the incident as a burglary, Paulson said he feels like he avoided a “potentially bad situation” that day that could have turned into something much worse. Paulson claims that the responding officer even said they “love the CCW guys.”The Minneapolis Police Department was contacted for this story and was asked whether there has been a pattern of similar incidents in that area or elsewhere in Minneapolis, and they were also asked for information about the frequency of reported incidents of defensive use of firearms by carry permit holders in Minneapolis. Continue Reading


It’s 10 p.m. in Uptown. Every moth from the four corners of the earth has diverted course for the glowing light of Super America on Lake and Aldrich. A scrubby guy in a Rush t-shirt skulks timidly near the door, a cigarette hanging precariously from his mouth.“Spare some change?” he asks, while I make my way between him and a stack of window cleaner.“Sorry man, I only use plastic these days,” I reply. He leans closer, squinting through the wisps of smoke in his eyes.“That’s okay,” he says, “there’s an ATM inside.”Stupefied that my routine brush-off was actually challenged, I clamp my mouth and walk into the store.Something akin to survivor’s guilt accompanies me while I crisscross the isles and load up on soda pop, Cheetos, and a decadent variety of Little Debbie snack cakes. (Debbie wouldn’t be so little if she actually ate this stuff.)Fortunately for me, I have a limited capacity for shame in the face of a certain fix.My parents used to stash junk like this all over the house to keep it out of my reach. Continue Reading

MUSIC REVIEW | Koo Koo Kangaroo, Pink Mink, Dillinger Four and 4onthefloor gather at the Triple Rock Social Club

The Triple Rock Social Club ended their Fourth of July three-night extravaganza with a surprise fourth night with four Minnesota bands: Koo Koo Kangaroo, Pink Mink, Dillinger Four and 4onthefloor. The show was announced on Friday. It seems like there were visions of a big night with big crowds and while that didn’t manifest is was a fun night with a hometown feel. Koo Koo Kangaroo started the night with their music for all ages–from Rolling in the Minivan to Awesome Rainbows. While many stood back and watched, there was a group of hardcore fans dancing up front. Everyone enjoyed when Gabe Douglas stormed the stage and sang along. Continue Reading