Her dream came true: Meet Husna Ibrahim

When Husna Ibrahim stuck her hand inside the envelope and pulled out her acceptance letter for the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, her life’s dream came true. “Every day just being able to say that you go to the University of Minnesota and walking up and saying ‘oh my gosh, I’m a college student.’ That’s a huge deal,” Ibrahim said.  
Ibrahim is currently a sophomore student at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities and is an alumnus of Project SUCCESS, a program that showed her college was possible.  
Ibrahim was originally born and raised in South Africa. Growing up, her mother wanted her and her four sisters to be independent and educated. Continue Reading

Somali president visits Twin Cities, receives mixed welcome

It was completely dark by the time Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud arrived at Northrop Auditorium on the University of Minnesota campus on Aug. 9. But the lack of light didn’t stop protesters, many of whom had been demonstrating for hours, from rushing to the curb and chanting “Down, Hassan, down!” as the president arrived.President Mohamud’s visit to the Twin Cities is part of his attempt to build relationships with the strong Somali population in Minnesota, but his reception was met with mixed feelings. More than 100 protesters showed up among the several hundred attendees at the event, attacking the president for his current policies, which protesters say lack adequate security improvements and fail to keep promises.“Somalis back in Somalia, they have been in civil war for 24 years and they don’t have a voice,” said protest organizer Abdirizak Jama. “President [Mohamud] is ignoring the federal system, the federal constitution.”Back in May more than 100 Somali lawmakers asked the president to resign for failing to deliver more tangible change, like improving security in a nation struggling to rebuild after two decades of war.President Mohamud’s support also doesn’t accurately represent the Somali-American community in Minnesota, Jama said, which he estimates at more than 25,000.The U.S. Census Bureau estimates about one in three of the 85,700 people with Somali ancestry in the United States live in Minnesota, according to their most recent data.Said Mohamed said he’s frustrated by the lack of government funds used to educate the people of Somalia about the dangers of the extremist ideology perpetrated by terrorist groups like Al-Shabab.President Mohamud is responsible for the death of Somali parliament member Saado Cali Warsame, who was killed last month in a drive-by shooting in Mogadishu, Mohamed said. Continue Reading

Minnesota Fringe Festival: The Second Oldest Profession at the U of M Rarig Center Arena

CAVEAT: I am producing a show in the same venue that is technically in competition with this one for an additional performance (though I do not view mine as a serious contender).

SHOW TITLE: The Second Oldest Profession
PRODUCER: Tinker-2-Evers-2-Chance
HAILING FROM: Minneapolis
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Peter Moore’s solo show is a collection of delightful stories of the famous (and not-so-famous) from the world of show business, drawn from Moore’s nearly 40 years as an actor and director. Highly entertaining! Continue Reading

VIDEO: Dinkytown Greenway expands, grand opening

Phase III of the Dinkytown Greenway, an off road bike trail that connects the University of Minnesota with downtown, opened on July 20 with a ribbon cutting ceremony and two group rides. Phase III utilizes a tunnel under the 35W bridge approach that was built under the bridge when it was reconstructed.Council Members Jacob Frey and Cam Gordon led group rides from Gateway Park and TCF Stadium and met Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and other local leaders at Bluff Street Park, near where the tunnel connects Bridge #9 and an off-road bike trail that leads to the far end of the University of Minnesota campus with on-street bike lanes on 2nd Street South that lead to downtown.This video takes a look at the Gateway Park Group ride and the speeches and ribbon cutting at Bluff Street Park: 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

MN Videos | Talkin’ Dinkytown

The historic business district of Dinkytown has been a staple point in the cultural fabric of the University of Minnesota for decades. One could easily spend a day (or week!) exploring the vast variety of shopping and delicious cuisine Dinkytown has to offer. Today many of the old businesses are being replaced with large apartment complexes and bigger business. Dinkytown is changing, but as the buildings get built higher, the people remain grounded. Watch this short film and discover why Dinkytown, Minnesota is indeed “where the love is found.”Directed By Spencer KnottOriginal Song: “Talkin’ Dinkytown” Written & Performed By Kevin NoonanProduced By Spencer Knott & Kevin Noonan Continue Reading

MUSIC REVIEW | Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit rock sold-out Varsity Theater in Minneapolis

The first dozen or so times I saw Isbell perform with the 400 Unit (the band he typically tours with) — you could say he was a different man than today. Then, on stage between songs, he’d soothe his voice with a gulp or six of Jack Daniels from a bottle the size of my head. He’s now sober and it truly shows in not only his vocal talents, but also in his general demeanor during the show. He’s grown up and his crowd seems to have grown with him somehow, both in size and behavior.This is his third stop in the Twin Cities in the past year and I’ve made sure to attend the others as well. He’s absolutely my favorite singer/songwriter going currently. Continue Reading

THEATER REVIEW | “Eurydice” by the University of Minnesota’s Department of Theatre Arts and Dance: Not your usual epic love story

It seems only fair to admit up front that I’m in love with Sara Ruhl’s playwriting. If I manage to squeeze some theater into my schedule, and the theater company is producing a Sara Ruhl play, they’re already more than halfway there in completely winning me over. The work of director Lisa Channer and the artists working with the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance at the University of Minnesota easily filled in the rest and then some with their moving and funny production of Ruhl’s spin on the legend of Eurydice.”The moon is always rising above your house.”The wonder of Ruhl’s work as a writer is that in looking at the world from odd angles, much like a poet, she unlocks the deeper humanity lurking beneath the surface of everyday life. She creates a world where things exist like talking stones and rain falling inside elevators and music always has a central place. But in these weird and whimsical worlds, we get a closer glimpse of the powerful bond between a parent and their child, even after that child has become an adult. The foreign landscape and peculiar situation of the characters makes the recognizable human elements of the story that much more compelling.”His eyes were like two blackbirds and they flew to me.”Just as in the legend of old, Eurydice (Kiara Jackson) dies on the day of her wedding to the musician Orpheus (Edward Euclide) and is carried off to the land of the dead by a stranger who may or may not also be the Lord of the Underworld (Nico Swenson, who plays both roles). Continue Reading