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

OUT Twin Cities Film Festival 2013: Reaping well-deserved national acclaim

Around a year ago, I wrote an article about the third annual OUT Twin Cities Film Festival. Right around that time, Minnesota was one of four states where voters would decide whether to amend the state’s constitution to ban same-sex marriages. Less than three weeks ago, the Minnesota Senate passed a bill legalizing gay marriage. Governor Mark Dayton signed the bill, and as of August 1, gay couples will be able to marry in Minnesota.There were two documentaries in OUT last year that explored the same-sex marriage discussion, both taking different sides of the topic; eventually, there will be a documentary focusing on Minnesota’s recent victory on legalizing gay marriage. This year’s lineup does not feature any films about same-sex marriage; however, it will feature one of the most notable figures who spoke about and supported same sex marriage, former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe. Kluwe will be one of the keynote speakers kicking off, via Skype, the OUT Twin Cities Film Festival this Wednesday, May 29; Kluwe was released by the Vikings and signed by the Oakland Raiders on May 15. The opening night of OUT, entitled “Ally Appreciation and Visibility in Media,” takes place at the Graves Hotel and will feature comedian Ian Harvie, WCCO news anchor Edward Moody, and Twin Cities DJ favorite Shannon Blowtorch, along with the film screening of Break Through with the director and cast members present. Continue Reading

2013 Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival: Highlights of the first weekend, hot prospects for the second

When I reported a few weeks ago that spring was on its way and the temperatures were on the rise and we could start expecting seeing green grass, I was way off. There was further proof that winter was sticking around a little longer for the opening night of the 2013 annual Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival. It was snowing.It felt a lot like one last winter blast in late February instead of early April. I have attended opening night of the festival since 2002 and after the screening of the opening night film, The Angel’s Share, at the party that followed the screening, I asked Senior Programmer and the Film Society Board of Director’s chair, Tim Grady, if he could ever remember it snowing on opening night of the festival and he replied, “Never.”Nevertheless, at the theater over the festival’s opening weekend, the crowds were lining up waiting patiently for films to start, grabbing concessions, talking with another about what they had seen, and herding into different theaters looking for a new discovery with a film from Mexico, Germany, Spain, France, or the U.S.: the festival was in full stride and ready for its close-up.After skipping the opening night film, my festival did not start until the following day at one of its first matinee screenings; it was a thrilling encounter. Continue Reading

MSPIFF or MSPFest 13 – MSP International Film Festival 2013

Being at a film festival when you have a chance to settle into it and focus only on organizing your schedule and moving from one cinema to another, is a world of its own. Most people come for as many films as they can and join the lines in the foyers.  For filmmakers, guests, gold and silver pass holders the place to be when you have a little longer break is the lounge on the second floor. Munchies, coffee, a few sofas in an empty, freshly renovated room (last year it was a borrowed office) are the privileges you buy with the pass. The best part, however, are the recommendations you get from the other film fanatics (many profess to viewing up to 70 films in the two weeks. There is not kinder word than fanatic. Extreme fans, at the least) Continue Reading