Circus Juventas student wows in a new show

Eighteen year-old Freddy McConnell from Bloomington is a high school senior at Cyber Village Academy in St. Paul and a performer at Circus Juventas, a youth performing arts after school program teaching students anywhere from ages 4-22 circus skills. Each year, they hold their annual spring shows before their premiere summer shows in August. McConnell performed in the Blue Show for Circus Juventas’s Spring Show. This week, he will perform in the Purple Show for Circus Juventas as he will be in acts on Thursday, Friday and Saturday this weekend (May 7-9). Continue Reading

TC Weekend | Mpls. Aquatennial, Rondo Days, Highland Fest, Roots, Rock & Deep Blues Fest & more!

Updated 7/18/2014 12:45 p.m.The All-Star festivities have wrapped up, but the Best Days of Summer are just beginning with the start of the Minneapolis Aquatennial and other big cultural and community festivals in the Twin Cities this weekend. So far the weather forecast looks bright — perfect for getting outdoors and enjoying the festivities! See what’s on tap below: Highland Fest, July 18 – 20The 31st Annual Highland Fest offers something for everyone with a mix of new attractions and old favorites. Live music, a beer tent and an assortment of food and beverage vendors will make a return this year, along with a juried art fair, petting zoo, dog races, business fair, 5k  race, and activities for kids. Debuting this year are a community picnic, Wine and Canvas, a meat raffle/bingo, Zumba in the park, a pancake breakfast, wine tasting, a movie in the park, and an All Ford Car and Truck Show to commemorate 86 years of the Twin Cities Ford Assembly Plant.Highland VillageCleveland Avenue S. & Ford Parkway, Saint PaulGo here for the schedule of eventsFree Minneapolis Aquatennial, July 18 – 26Fresh off the All-Star festivities, Minneapolis is on a roll with the start of the 75th Annual Aquatennial Festival, the official civic celebration of the city. Continue Reading

TC Weekend | Art-A-Whirl, EcoArts Festival, RetroRama and more!

Retro fashion, local art, burgers and more — this weekend’s line up offers a little something for everyone. So far the weather sounds postcard perfect. Read on for details:    RetroRama, May 16If you love 70s and 80s fashion, this fun and funky event might be just what the doctor ordered! This year’s RetroRama features retro fashion by local designers, inspired by the new “Sights, Sounds and Soul: Twin Cities through the lens of Charles Chamblis” exhibit. The event will also feature a short set by singer, Cynthia Johnson, the voice of “Funkytown.” 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

THEATER REVIEW | BareBones carries on with visual delight

Every year we look forward to the BareBones Puppet Collective Halloween performance down by Hidden Falls in the far reaches of Highland Park in St Paul. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the event; and we made it to opening night. The performance includes extreme puppet mastery and other big visuals – such as aerial dances and fire juggling.The performance starts with a pre-show introduction. A pumpkinhead talks us through the idea of Halloween as the time when the walls between the living and dead and thinnest and therefore the connection between the two is strongest. We also meet four of the undead who are unwilling to admit they are dead and continue on as Future Inc. to plan for the future. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | East Side of St. Paul is ‘out of sight, out of mind’ until a serious incident happens

In recent weeks, a devastating incident occurred on the Eastside of St. Paul where several teens allegedly beat a passerby until he was unconscious. This is a circumstance that no person should have to endure. One of the notable pieces of information that has surfaced is the fact that the passerby was white and the teens were African American. Although some within the broader community argue that the attack was based on race, the reality is that in light of the circumstances under which the attack occurred, the victim could arguably have been any individual who was within the vicinity of the young people in question. Actually, a similar severe beating of an innocent Black man, Edwin Daniel, by five young Somali men occurred on the Eastside just a few years prior to this most recent incident.The factors that contribute to these types of horrific episodes, including shootings by young people against other young people, may revolve around underlying issues at the intersection of race and poverty that are pervasive on the East Side of St. Continue Reading

Ten tips for creative placemaking emerge from Get Connected! meeting in St. Paul

Have you ever wondered what creative placemaking is? A top-ten how-to list from Jill Mazullo, Envision Minnesota’s director of communications and development, reveals what it is by describing how to do it: Go where the people are.Block off the street.Make it easy for people to come.Feed people.Show pictures of what’s possible.Have people vote with post-its.Give people something to do.Have fun projects for kids and grownups.Invest people in the outcome.Use social media to your advantage.Irrigate, an artist-led creative placemaking initiative that spans the Central Corridor Light Rail line in Saint Paul, gives a more formal definition of “placemaking” as, “The act of people coming together to change overlooked and undervalued public and shared spaces into welcoming places where community gathers, supports one another, and thrives.“ Placemaking can involve temporary activities such as performances and chalked poetry, or more permanent installations such as landscaping and unique art.Connecting over placemakingCreative placemaking was the focus of the final Twin Cities Media Alliance Get Connected! community meeting, held in partnership with Envision Minnesota at St. Paul’s Chatterbox Pub on October 30. Mazullo’s list comes from a blog she wrote about the event, synthesizing the lessons of the Charles Avenue Friendly Streets group.The Get Connected! event featured opening remarks by Mazullo and Envision’s executive director Lee Helgen. Most of the evening was devoted to presentations by Hamline Midway Coalition members Lars Christensen and Erin Pavlica, and Twin Cities Media Alliance neighborhood engagement coordinator, Marcos Lopez-Carlson.Lopez-Carlson, in his presentation, illustrated how blogging, Reddit, and other new media tools can play a major role in placemaking. Continue Reading

Francis Basket food shelf reopens in St. Paul’s Highland Park neighborhood

Almaz Zeru works part-time three days a week at a pizza parlor.  She is a survivor of the ravages of war in Eritrea and has made dramatic life/cultural changes coming to Minnesota.  She has used Francis Basket food shelf in Highland Park for three years.

“I get minimum wage and when I get a better job I won’t need to use food assistance,” said Zeru, a single mom of two children.  

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