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

Sonora Grill: Mexican with a flair

I was pleasantly surprised by my most recent visits to the new Sonora Grill at 33rd and E. Lake Street. I’ve been a fan of the original Sonora Grill counter inside the Midtown Global Market, but the new sit-down, table service restaurant (in the former Molly Quinn space, strikingly remodeled) offers a full bar, more variety, and a creative take on Mexican cuisine. The basic staples of Mexican street food are on offer — caramelos (tacos, $4) and bocadillas (sandwiches, $10, lunch only) and guacamole ($5), but there are also more creative offerings, ranging from a hermosillo roll ($10) – which was described to me as a a Mexican take on the sushi specialty roll, stuffed with shredded pork and rice, breaded with panko crumbs and deep-fried. I’m also eager to try the fried pork tail ($6), which, according to a manager, is prepared like Buffalo chicken wings. Some of the more adventuresome offerings may be too adventuresome for the mostly non-Mexican clientele: I expected the Mexican tripe and garbanzo stew to be a version of menudo, the classic hangover cure, but it turned out to be something different, and a lot more interesting — a stew in the style of the French tripe a la mode de Caen, with lots of chewy strips of tripe in a very savory, not-too-spicy tomato and chile sauce.  I tried it on my first visit and loved it, but by the time I returned a couple of weeks later, it had disappeared — it just wasn’t selling, the manager told me. Continue Reading

MUSIC REVIEW | Freddy Votel and Davu Seru Drum Duet with Paul Metzger and Transitional Species at Seward Café

Saturday night the Seward Café was abuzz with locally blended experimental and improvisational music. Earlier last month I saw another show of the same genre at the Seward and my only complaint was a small audience. I think word is getting out. There were more people last night, who braved record cold temperatures to see these guys.To set the stage, music at the Seward has a beatnik coffeehouse feel – although they do serve beer and wine. Each artist performed for about 15-30 minutes and played one song. Continue Reading

MUSIC REVIEW | Paul Metzger, Suzuki Junzo, Jesse Peterson and Forgotten Works at Seward Café: Secret gem of a concert

Sunday night I saw a show that should have been standing room only in almost any venue. As it was there was plenty of room at the back of the Seward Café for four stellar, yet unconventional, musicians. Headline was Suzuki Junzo on tour from Tokyo. Apparently this was his second time to Minneapolis. Last time he played, it was more of a noise set; this time is was an eerie set of love songs. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | Powder puff elections

A lot of comment has been made about how “civilized” this mayoral election has been.  I do think it is progress when personal insults are considered beyond the pale. But there are definitely negative aspects of the history of some candidates that need to be considered in voting. I think pretty much across the board, the local media have backed off from discussing these things.  Just one example is the union endorsement of candidates.  The firemen’s union angrily switch to Mark Andrew when Garry Schiff dropped out. The media could have done a great investigative piece on that. But nothing.  The simple fact is that a large percentage, perhaps the majority, of the endorsing unions are suburban residents.  They want to influence a city they refuse to live in.  I don’t think most voters are conscious of this. Continue Reading

Minneapolis: A brand new Longfellow

Those faded Welcome to Longfellow signs that can be seen around the Greater Longfellow neighborhood will soon become a thing of the past. The Longfellow Community Council’s Advancement Committee has plans to replace the signs with the new Longfellow branding, which was unveiled at last week’s fall membership meeting.The new look is an effort to promote the neighborhood and increase its visibility in Minneapolis. Melanie Majors, LCC executive director, commented, “Our rebranding campaign is going to help LCC market Greater Longfellow to a broader audience and highlight the vibrancy and amenity rich features of this community.”Re-branding the NeighborhoodCurrently, the new logo adorns t-shirts, stickers, and tote bags, which are for sale at the LCC and will be available at neighborhood events. The next step of the rebranding phase will include new signs around the neighborhood and banners hung along East Lake Street, according to Patty Day, LCC Advancement Committee chair. She noted that if funds allow, the committee is also discussing the possibility of installing bike racks with the logo and a community mural. Continue Reading

Ea(s)t Lake Street Challenge: Serving up a dining destination

East Lake Street restaurants have made eating at local spots an even more delicious proposition with the recently announced Ea(s)t Lake Street Challenge.Fourteen restaurants along East Lake Street are participating in this two-month-long challenge, which simply involves eating at a participating restaurant, collecting the receipts, and winning prizes, including Ea(s)t Lake Street t-shirts, and entry into a raffle for $250 gift certificate packs to restaurants along East Lake Street.Serving up a Dining DestinationWanting to increase awareness of the restaurants along East Lake Street, Shawn Cooke from Zeke’s Unchained Animal brought his idea for the challenge to Renee Spillum at Redesign. Cooke commented, “I thought it would be nice to highlight all of the great restaurants along East Lake Street, and get people thinking about it as one big destination for great cuisine.”Spillum got to work, securing funding for the project from Redesign and the City of Minneapolis, and developing marketing materials.The spectrum of offerings along the roadway is remarkable, explained Spillum. “Where else can you find Japanese food, Ethiopian food, Mexican food, and Indian food just on one block? All corners of the globe are represented here.”East Lake Street has seen several new restaurants open in the last year, creating a higher density of restaurants in a relatively small area. Inspired by the marketing of foodie destinations in other parts of Minneapolis, Cooke hopes that East Lake Street will be thought of as a destination for great dining. Continue Reading

A fond farewell to the Twin Cities Daily Planet

In November 2007, I joined the Twin Cities Daily Planet as assistant editor. I asked Daily Planet editor Mary Turck if I could also be arts editor—since, after all, there were only two of us—and she said something along the lines of, “Sure, why not?”Six years—and 1,435 articles and blog posts—later, my time with the Daily Planet is coming to a close. On October 14, I’ll be making the move from the Daily Planet’s Seward headquarters to American Public Media, in what Garrison Keillor refers to as “hustling, bustling downtown St. Paul.” There, I’ll be joining the digital music team, working as an editor and writer on the websites of The Current and Classical Minnesota Public Radio.I’m excited for this new opportunity and very much looking forward to working with my talented new colleagues, but of course it’s hard to say goodbye to the Daily Planet, where I’ve had what feels less like a job than an odyssey. 2007 wasn’t that long ago, but when I started at the Daily Planet, MinnPost didn’t exist, METRO was a promising new monthly, and The Onion’s local A.V. Club didn’t even have a website. Continue Reading

Minneapolis traffic signals slated for retiming

Two years ago the Minneapolis Department of Public Works set out to cut commuter delays and reduce fuel consumption by improving the timing of traffic signals throughout the city.The project is now in it’s second phase, and starting on October 21st, crews will begin work on the traffic signals in Longfellow and Seward. “As they are implementing the new signal timing plans drivers will experience noticeable pattern changes,” explained Heidi Ritchie, aide to Gary Schiff, in an email. “One of the most noticeable changes will likely be the operation of left turn arrows. The left turn arrows at many signals will run at different times of the day and the sequence as to when the driver sees a left turn arrow come up in a cycle may also change.”The city-wide project will replace 141 obsolete traffic signals controllers and cabinets, 72 of which are located in South Minneapolis.Issues with the traffic signals can be reported to 311 or to Nick VanGunst at 612-673-2172. Learn more about the traffic signal project.If you like My Broadsheet, help us spread the word and tell your neighbors and friends. Continue Reading

Minnehaha Avenue reconstruction plans for bike lane, not cycle track

Hennepin County has decided to recommend that a bike lane, and not a cycle track, be installed on Minnehaha Avenue. County staff presented the updated plan to residents at two meetings held on September 30 and October 2 in Longfellow.The decision between a cycle track or a bike lane for Minnehaha Avenue has been a hot-button issue this summer, with cycle track advocates questioning the methodologies used by the County. “In the end, this is engineering judgment by the licensed professionals that will sign this plan,” said Craig Twinem, the project’s lead designer, at the Wednesday evening meeting. “These guys are smart and they stand behind this plan, and I stand behind it…. We are not against cycle tracks, the County feels that cycle tracks are not the best option for Minnehaha.”County staff noted that 81 percent of crashes between vehicles and bicycles occur at intersections. Continue Reading