38th Street and plans for renewal

The opening of the Seward food co-op on 38th and 4th Avenue is probably the biggest non-governmental development to hit 38th Street in at least 50 years. But it has brought into sharp relief the under-utilized and under-appreciated business districts along the rest of 38th Street.

Council Member Elizabeth Glidden has been tirelessly organizing community meetings to encourage neighbors to remember the old neighborhood and imagine new possibilities for the street. The first three meetings had visits by former residents who have left the ‘hood and become famous, like Judge Lajune Lange and Gary Cunningham.

Besides being married to the mayor, Gary Cunningham is the executive director of the Metropolitan Economic Development Association and a member of the Metropolitan Council. A picture of the Bryant-Central co-op hangs on his office wall. He says it is one of his sources of inspiration. Continue Reading

TC Weekend | LynLake Street Fest & Open Streets, West By West Bank, Art in the Hollow and more!

Local art and music, books, open streets: there’s a lot to love about this weekend’s line up with festivals and activities all over town!  As with last weekend, this weekend’s weather forecast seems to call for a bit of rain, but after our winter, what’s a few raindrops?!  See this weekend’s vibrant line up below:Art in the Hollow, June 7Art in the Hollow, the only art fair on Saint Paul’s east side, will feature over 50 visual and performing artists creating art in a variety of forms – murals, mosaics, sculpture and more, with many artists creating on-site. There will be a prize-awarded sculpture installation contest, a teen art poster contest, a teen gallery and much more! Go here for more information.Swede Hollow Park 720 Payne Ave., Saint Paul10 am – 5 pm Ancestry Books Grand Opening, June 7Come out and celebrate the good things happening in North Minneapolis with the grand opening of Ancestry Books! Enjoy great local music from hip-hop artist Toki Wright, and vocalist Mankwe Ndosi, plus a live painting by Jordan Hamilton and food and drinks.Lowry & Penn AvenueMusic, food, 12 pm – 2 pmBookstore opening 2 pm  It’s Easy Being Green, June 7 Are you interested in learning to garden or make your own green household cleaner? How about gaining a better understanding about the risks of lead paint or composting? 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

REVIEW | Artifact Traffic: multidisciplinary storytelling performance

Daina Ashbee roiled and sinewed herself crossing the stage floor more amphibian-like than human, breathing thick water from low or pawing the air for a gulp of oxygen, during her first dance performance on the stage of Intermedia Arts.  Phil Fried voiced her actions through his electric bass, the audible brother to her physical sister.  Two more dances choreographed by Rosy Simas and danced by Ashbee were accompanied by Fried bringing happy cheers from the audience. Opening night of Artifact Traffic, a performance that is part of the Indigenous Voices Series in conjunction with Pangea World Theater and Intermedia Arts Presents, played to a packed house on November 15. Directed by Heid Erdrich and R. Vincent Moniz, Jr., the show had the feel of a hanging out with buddies while they played with you during recess to entertain you.  Yet, inside the entertainment is a powerful awareness. In the program, Erdrich and Moniz  said, “The performance is a collage made up of collaborative works that contain the artifacts of images, ideas, and influences shared between artists, across artistic genres.”Erdrich’s “Indigenous Elvis” was a series of quick, almost improv skits, involving what would happen if a 911 call came into the center and Elvis, as in Presley but this time an Indigenous man and his response came in the answer of an Elvis song to suit the situation. Margaret Noodin lulled blues songs in Anishinaabe, to Briand Morrison’s deft finger style guitar work, and sang Heid Erdrich’s poem, “The Clouds,” in Anishinaabe.Stuart “Big S2” Perkins and R. Vincent Moniz, Jr. showed their chops as versatile performers, ranging from serious poets to silly dressed bit characters in a collaborative piece, “Pawn Shop.” When Moniz, Jr. donned a set of fragile wings, dream flying round the stage, versing his heart’s wishes, the audience flew with him under his wing.Without titles or introductions of the works to frame the artist’s intention, the audience had to guess at what the intention to be conveyed was. Perhaps as in Stuart Big S2 Perkins’ poem, it is, “yesterday is over-tomorrow never comes-today my heart beats likes the drum.”The show runs Saturday, November 16 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, November 17 at 4:00 pm. Continue Reading

Socializing on the arts scene: Pro tips for surviving a night out

When I was growing up, my one and only dream was to stay in the house and do nothing. This was mainly because I hated school, but I also felt at an early age that freedom from school meant the freedom to engage the world without restrictions. In my adolescent mind, this meant sitting in front of the TV all day eating junk food and watching old VH1 documentaries (this was back before VH1 became a reality show cesspool).After 15 years total of schooling and plenty of hard work and luck since then my dream came true, albeit in a perverse sort of way. The one thing I didn’t anticipate was that while working from home there are a million opportunities to relax but no time to do so: because you’re the only one making sure you stay on top of things, you have to work all the time to prevent the ball you willfully hold from dropping. Because of this, my dream of being a lazy teenage butthole has morphed into the warped reality of a shut-in with a paint brush and poorly developed social skills.The sad truth is that I spend more time in the house than outside, I spend more time watching my dogs vomit on the couch then I do with friends that are the same species as me, and I spend more time painting flowers than actually smelling them. Continue Reading

Happy birthday to us! A party celebrating seven years of citizen journalism

On May 1, the Twin Cities Daily Planet marked seven years since its official launch in 2006. On May 21, we celebrated with a big party at Cause Spirits & Soundbar. Lolla Mohammed Nur emceed a presentation that spotlighted citizen journalists Elizabeth Thao and Kristoffer Tigue, and after some sound-system snafus were sorted out, DJ Stacy Schwartz—a Daily Planet contributor herself—got the house rocking. Thanks to the hundreds of citizen journalists who have made the Twin Cities Daily Planet a national model of participatory journalism! Continue Reading

Brett Newski & the Corruption: From Vietnam to Lyn-Lake

Brett Newski & The Corruption, a pretty damned good pop-rock outfit, are coming to the Twin Cities on May 4, launching their second U.S. tour at Cause in Minneapolis, hailing all the way from—you ready for this?—Saigon, Vietnam. Just when you thought you’d heard of everything.It isn’t some kind of marketing gimmick. The band actually happened to form there. And they do play sharp, hook-driven songs, brightly beat-savvy music that belongs both on the radio and on the dance floor. You can check it out on their album Tiny Victories. Continue Reading