Sunday, October 21, 2018

Those Pesky Dead Flies in the Perfume (When Success and Shame Go Hand-In-Hand)

“Behind every beautiful thing there’s been some kind of pain.” — Bob Dylan

The Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes has so many thought-provoking verses. One of my favorites is Ecclesiastes 10:1 which goes like this:

“As a dead fly gives perfume a bad smell,
 So a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.”


The longer one lives, the more opportunities one gets to experience this seemingly universal conundrum. Why is it that so many of our heroic or gratifying experiences get marred by a dead fly in the ointment? Here is a stroy from my life, by way of illustration.

A Hero, Sort Of

When I was a kid, playing baseball was something I lived for. It seems like we played every day while I was growing up, whiffle ball, baseball, Little League, Pony League and sandlot, stickball in the streets. I went out for baseball in high school playing on the Freshman team, Jr. Varsity and eventually got a Varsity letter in my Junior year.

Mr. Dennison, our JV coach, seemed to like my hustle and my sophomore year I started the first game at shortstop, but struck out twice against a kid with a mean curve ball. There were other infielders and Mr. Dennison left me on the bench the second game. He was looking us over, getting a feel for how we'd perform in game situations.

In the third game I also started on the bench, which is not where you really want to be. The opposing pitcher was a hefty fireballer but he was also a bit wild, and in the late innings, after a strong base hit and an error he walked the bases loaded. Coach D. came over and said, “Think you can hit this kid?”

I said, “No problem,” and I believed it.

I loosened up and planted myself in the batter’s box waiting for the pitch. He fired it chest high down the middle and I smashed it over three hundred feet down the left field line, foul. Strike one.

There was a big sign out in left field that had the numeral 300 in black letters on white background. As the ball flew past that I knew exactly what it meant. Now I knew I could get around on him. I used a 33" bat and loved the sound it made when you connected, and that one connected. After checking the bases he started his motion and once again fired the ball in like a cannon.

I once read an article about Henry Aaron that noted how quick his wrists were, so I did special exercises that one of our coaches showed us in order to strengthen our wrists and improve their quickness. And when I swung the bat, once again it struck the ball with force and sent it flying out over the left fielders head past the 300 foot marker, again just foul.

Roger Maris, who broke Babe Ruth’s record of 60 home runs in a season, was a left-handed hitter who played in the original Yankee Stadium where the right field fence curled in to 297 feet. Many of his homers were no further than I was hitting them that day. So now it’s bases loaded, the count two strikes. I told myself to hold back just a tad, determined to keep it in play. We were down by two runs and it seemed important to come through so I could earn my spot as a starter.

The pitch was, of course, another speedball, since that was the pitch he relied on. I remember it being a little high, but I was on it. Crack! You could tell by the sound it was a goner, this time flying out to right center field between and beyond the outfielders. The first run already scored before I reached first. As I rounded second I could see an outfielder had retrieved the ball. I was tearing toward third and the kid coaching raised his hands signaling me… to what? Was that a signal to slide or to stop?

I executed a beautiful slide, but was a foot short of third. Somehow I thought the ball was already on its way so I tried to stretch my foot, but I was still short. In point of fact, I had enough time to stand up, knock the dirt off my uniform and take a step onto the bag, but thinking the ball was incoming I just kept stretching.

Finally the ball arrived, the third baseman tagged me out, and when I got up to go get my glove — it was the third out — the whole team was laughing. To everyone watching it was hilarious. Or rather, hilariously stupid, depending on your point of view.

I did earn my spot as a starter, and by the end of the season had the fewest strikeouts on the team, second best batting average and a lot of good memories. That ridiculous moment trying to stretch my leg a foot was like a dead fly in the ointment though. It’s impossible to think of that game-winning drive without recalling the silly way it ended. There’s something humiliating about such public stupidity.

Which brings to mind the time I jumped out of a moving car thinking I would impress a lass I had a crush on. Alas.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Serendipity, the Duluth Armory and a Dylan Fan from Germany

Tuesday afternoon I got a call from Visit Duluth asking if I might be available to give a tour of local Dylan sites to a journalist from Germany who had just arrived fir the day. I just happened to be downtown when the call came and we arranged to meet at Amazing Grace, a coffeehouse in Canal Park's DeWitt-Seitz Building. I was waiting at a table when our faithful Visit Duluth liaison Maarja Hewitt arrived with our Deutschland guest Christoph Moeskes in tow.

Moeskes is editor for a German travel publication called America. He's also an avid Dylan fan, and having the opportunity to tour a bit of our Minnesota North Country was an opportunity he didn't want to miss. The meeting place was selected somewhat randomly inasmuch as our purpose was simply to find a connecting point and then tour a few sites beginning with Bob Dylan Way.

Fate intervened, however, with a few quick, simple twists. First, Tuesday was an open mic afternoon for the Music Resource Center (MRC), under the auspices of the Armory Arts and Resources Center (AARC). The AARC is tied to the Duluth Armory where young Robert Zimmerman saw Buddy Holly perform in one of his last concerts. The first duo to perform on stage included Tristan Espamer and Manny Eisele, Manny riffing a white electric guitar with Tristan on bass. The usic has a Santanaesque quality, only missing the eccectic percussion accompaniment. Manny was the son of local artist Carla Hamilton, who grew up in nearby Wrenshall, left home at 18 and ultimately lived in Stuttgart for 18 years. Returning to the States in 2012 she has been an active force in the local art scene.

As soon as I mentioned this to Christoph and Maarja, Carla herself came in and sat down at the next table, whereupon I called her over and introduced her to our guest from Germany. I thought it would be a nice touch for Christoph and Carla to exchange a few words in German. For laughs I shared three sentences I know from junior high German class.

Then, another twist of fate occurred. Mark Poirier, head of the AARC, arrived for the MRC open mic event. We introduced Christoph and he invited us to take a quick tour of the interior of the Armory, a rare and unexpected opportunity for sure. The planned ride along Bob Dylan Way would be moved to the last part of the two hour tour.

The Duluth Armory was built in 1915 and has a storied history. In 1918 a great fire consumed as many as 35 communities on the south and west outskirts of Duluth. The Armory served as a shelter and meeting place for families that were separated. And for the decades afterward it became a cultural hub for entertainers and public speakers including Bob Hope, Harry Truman, Liberace, The Supremes, and most significantly for Dylan fans, Buddy Holly.

A site recognized on the National Register of Historic Places, there has been a hardworking board comprised of volunteers striving to save the structure and fulfill a vision to make it a significant resource again for the community.


Check out this 1935 audience that came here to hear the symphony.
Mark Poirier (left) discusses Armory status with Christoph Moeskes.
(L to R) Ed Newman, Christoph Moeskes, Maarja Hewitt
And so with an open door Mark Poirier ushered Christoph, Maarja and I were into the Drill Hall, where troops once practiced digging fox holes, where masses gathered for entertainment, where rural refugees found consolation after that tragic fire. Standing there before the stage one is immediately struck by all the history that has been made here. It seemed you can still feel the presence of those echoes from time past.

We then slipped up to the Green Room, that staging area where performers prepare for going on stage. The dilapidated walls hardly diminish the feeling one gets from knowing that Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, Johnny Cash and so many others each waited here, tuning their guitars, assembling their "game face" and pulling themselves into a presence that would take the stage. And what a big stage it was, large enough to contain an orchestra, which it did at one time.

Mark and Christoph enjoyed an engaging conversation throughout. 

Bob and his family lived upstairs.
OUR NEXT STOP was the duplex where Abe and Beatty Zimmerman lived upstairs when they brought young Bobby home from the hospital. St. Mary's hospital is only a few blocks from the Zimmerman home which is on 3rd Avenue East a half block above 5th Street. Christoph took photos and looked for the plaque, which he enjoyed.

While driving on Fourth Street Christoph and I both agreed that Duluth should rename it Positively Fourth Street. I went so far as to suggest we rename Highway 61 as well... Highway 61 Revisited.

We worked our way to the Duluth Depot where Bob Dylan Way commences. We stopped at the first intersection to give our guest an opportunity to take a photo of the Dylan-themed manhole cover there, then we tucked our vehicle between the buildings to crawl along the passageway which ultimately leads from the Depot to the Armory.

I broke off at this point, appreciative of the opportunity share a few moments with our European visitor. His next stop was to be Hibbing, where the Zimmermans moved with six-year-old Bob and brother David 1. Christoph started the adventure in Minneapolis, taking in a number of sites there including the impressive six-story-high Dylan mural adjacent to Hennepin Avenue. The editor planned to head over to Bemidji from Hibbing before returning to the Twin Cities to make his departure.

Christoph... Thank you for making time to visit with us here. We look forward to the stories you share about America, in America.

Related Links
The Historic Duluth Armory

Items of Note Regarding the Historic Duluth Armory
Christoph Moeskes' magazine, America

REMINDER: The Potter & Potter Houdiniana auction begins at 10:00 a.m. You can follow along in real time and also bid if registered. Details here.

Meantime, life goes on all around you. Get into it.

Friday, October 19, 2018

A Visit with Amazon Bestselling Author Jill Klunk

I first became aware of Brian Tracy about thirty years ago or so when I was taken up with books and tapes from the "motivational" section of our library. W. Clement Stone, Napoleon Hill, Zig Ziglar, and others of their ilk were part of the motivational diet I was slurping in big gulps at the time. I most vividly recall Brian Tracy's Psychology of Selling as being dense with useful insights, later purchasing the two CD set to listen to while commuting.

In June I began contributing as a writer on Medium, the blogging platform developed by Ev Williams (who previously co-founded Blogger and Twitter.) If you're a writer, there's much to like about what Williams and his team have created. Facebook is a social community of one sort, and platforms like Pinterest and Instagram seem to be visually oriented communities. Medium, on the other hand, is a virtual community for writers and readers. Imagine going to a party where everyone you meet happens to be a writer. And it isn't just Americans here, but writers from every corner of the world.

Jill Klunk, like myself, is relatively new to Medium, but not to writing. She had the privilege of being selected as a contributor to a new book by Brian Tracy titled Ignite Your Life, which became an instant bestseller on Amazon.

EN: You were selected to contribute to Brian Tracy’s 2016 bestseller Ignite Your Life. How did you come to be chosen for this opportunity?

Jill Klunk: I responded to a FaceBook post. DNA was looking for candidates to submit their story on how they got to be where they were. So, I shared this opportunity with my Mentor and we felt it was a great opportunity. On October 23, 2015 I received a letter from Celebrity Press, LLC congratulating me for being selected to participate in Ignite Your Life. On December 17, 2015 I received a letter from Celebrity Press congratulating me that I had been selected by the Editor as one of their recipients of the "Editor's Choice Award" in recognition of the best chapters in the book Ignite Your Life. A couple of weeks later I was interviewed by Lindsay Dicks and Nick Nanton, Esq. On November 4, 2016 the book Ignite Your Life was officially released for publication and my story was one of the 40 stories featured in this book.

EN: The chapter you wrote was about Attraction Marketing. What is “Attraction Marketing”? And how does this differ from Inbound Marketing?

JK: Attraction Marketing is providing your audience with information to build trust and relationships to attract them to my products. It is one of the most powerful ways to provide value and grow my business. I attract people to my business through Facebook, postings, word of mouth, as a minimum.

Like Attraction Marketing, Inbound Marketing is a technique for drawing customers to products and services via content marketing, social media marketing and search engine optimization.

EN: You had a successful career in real estate.

JK: Yes, I did have a successful career in real estate for 13 years. In real estate I not only sold and listed properties I was responsible doing my own marketing, ads in newspapers, postings on Facebook and preparing my own newsletters to my firms and Clients. This was in essence my "jump off" into writing.

EN: How long have you also been writing? 

JK: I started writing stories in college (2002) and wrote them very sporadically until I got into the real estate business. When I would be showing homes to my Clients I would share information with them about neighborhoods, cities and my experiences. This ultimately was what prompted me to pursue writing more seriously.

EN: What lessons from your real estate experience would you apply to people who want to be successful as writers or entrepreneurs in other fields?

JK: Number 1 rule in my book is to just be your self. Your Clients can sense when you are being sincere and when you are not. My favorite story I share with my Clients is: A young man, a college student, lived across the street from me. He approached me one day and said "Miss Jill, my grandparents are coming to my graduation next week and would like to look at homes. Are you available?" My immediate response was absolutely.

As it turned out his grandparents had recently lost everything they had in Hurricane Sandy and were considering Conway SC as one of the areas to move to. After looking at homes, they decided to purchase a home in the neighborhood their grandson was living in.

EN: What was your biggest take-away from working with Brian Tracy?

JK: All of my dealings with Brian Tracy were through Celebrity Press, LLC and Dicks and Nanton Agency. I never spoke with him directly. The folks from Celebrity Press were very professional and I would highly recommend then.

* * * *
Here are some links where you can follow Jill Klunk or find the Brian Tracy book which she contributed to:

Blog: https://www.facebook.com/OwnYourOwnBeach/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jillklunk
eBook: IgniteYour Life

* * * *

Meantime, life goes on all around you. Get into it.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Throwback Thursday: Car Quotes

"Two wrongs don't make a right, but three lefts do." ~Jason Love

Yesterday I wrote about the cars of the Alcatraz East Crime Museum. It seemed like for Throwback Thursday it wouldn't be too far out of line to share a few more quotes about cars.

* * * *

In 2009 the Street Rodder Road Tour was in town, passing through on the third leg of its eight scheduled week-long road tours for that year. More than 300 local folks brought their classic cars as well to make it the second such annual event at the AMSOIL Center in Superior, Wisconsin.

In honor of the occasion I thought a few car quotes would be in order. Funny thing is that when you look up "Hemingway Quotes" in Google, you get quotes by Hemingway, and when you look up "Quotes about Suffering" you get proverbial wisdom about suffering. But when you type in "Car Quotes" you get pages of sites dedicated to pricing your ride, or someone else's vehicle. It takes a little more work to pull up quotes about cars.


Nevertheless, I achieved my aim and thought a few of these worth sharing.

"The best car safety device is a rear-view mirror with a cop in it." ~Dudley Moore

"Never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly." ~Author Unknown

"Car sickness is the feeling you get when the monthly payment is due." ~Author Unknown

"The shortest distance between two points is under construction." ~Noelie Altito

"I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered." ~George Best

"When buying a used car, punch the buttons on the radio. If all the stations are rock and roll, there's a good chance the transmission is shot." ~Larry Lujack

"In less enlightened times, the best way to impress women was to own a hot car. But women wised up and realized it was better to buy their own hot cars so they wouldn't have to ride around with jerks." ~Scott Adams

"The best way to keep children at home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant, and let the air out of the tires." ~Dorothy Parker

Enjoy your day, and and your ride.



Related Links
F. Scott Fitzgerald's Love Affair with Cars
Cars of The Great Gatsby

Meantime life goes on all around you. Get into it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Cars of Alcatraz East Crime Museum

"Break the rules and you go to prison. Break the prison rules and you go to Alcatraz." 

Alcatraz East, new home of the Crime Museum.
They say crime doesn't pay, but it has certainly sold a lot of newspapers and generated plenty of stories. From the earliest years of Hollywood, tinseltown has produced a wide array of films and TV shows about bootleggers, hustlers, mob violence and the consequences of a life of crime. In 1931 Edward G. Robinson made a splash as a small time criminal who goes to the big city to make a fortune in Little Caesar. The following year Howard Hughes' Scarface hit the silver screen, loosely based on the Chicago mob boss of the same nickname whose career had just come to a close. In fact, Hollywood produced seemingly countless Capone films. More than 20 actors have played the notorious mob boss, and a dozen more have played characters based on the man. Books are equally numerous, one of them by Deidre Marie Capone, whose grandfather was "Uncle Al's" brother.*

When we were kids my brother and I loved watching The Untouchables on television, with Elliot Ness heading up the good guys trying to reign in Capone and company. At that time we thought the bad guys were cool, so when we played I'd be Machine Gun Kelly, and others would play Baby Face Nelson, Scarface or Johnny Torrio. When all of us kids grew up we were a ripened market for Brian De Palma's slick, no-holds-barred version of this Chicago gangland story starring Kevin Costner and Sean Connery as the good guys and Robert de Niro as the ultimate Capone.

John Dillinger's 1933 Essex Terraplane, purchased in 1934. FBI agents
nearly got him, but he escaped with his girl friend Evelyn Frechette.
You can still see a bullet inside the car from the shootout.
Another name that resonated with readers of crime stories was John Dillinger. And when Warren Beatty wore the mantle of Clyde Barrow, that film put a human face on the life of crime. Beatty must have enjoyed playing the role because he later decided to wrap himself in the character of Bugsy Siegel, the gangster who helped create The Strip in Las Vegas and the glam in glamour.

We visited our kids when they were in California for a spell and one of the highlights of the trip included a visit to the Rock, the island of Alcatraz. In 2016 a Washington D.C. crime museum closed and its artifacts, memorabilia and collections were moved to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee to a new home called Alcatraz East.

The Alcatraz East museum features 20 different exhibit areas focused on five themes: the history of American crime, the consequences of crime, crime scene investigation (CSI), crime fighting, and pop culture. Authentic pieces used as evidence in well-known criminal cases, and interactive exhibits and activities, are on display. And some rather famous cars as well.

Replica of Bonnie & Clyde's 1934 Ford V-8, shot full of holes for the film.
The flathead V-8 engine was introduced in 1932, and soon became an instant hit. 
You can see we've travelled far afield of the purpose of this blog post which was to share a few of the cars featured at Alcatraz East. Cars have played a defining role in U.S. history since Henry Ford's invention of the assembly line. Cars are featured in at least two of F. Scott Fitzgerald's books (we especially remember the role cars played in The Great Gatsby) and GM wasn't far off when it pegged Chevy as "the heartbeat of America."

Prohibition-era gangsters rushed through the city with Tommy-guns blaring, and bank robbers made their daring escapes in their getaway cars with running boards. In Bonnie and Clyde, those shootout scenes and especially the final takedown in this cream-colored '34 Ford (pictured above) probably set new standards for realism in Hollywood violence.

Serial killer Ted Bundy's 1968 Volkswagen Beetle is also featured in the museum. His name alone gives one the creeps. The vehicle was integral to both his murders and his ultimate conviction when it yielded important DNA evidence. The car is displayed without the front passenger seat in the same way Bundy used the car.

Until OJ attempted to make his great escape in his white 1993 Ford Bronco, the slowest white Bronco in this country was John Elway. That Bronco driven by Simpson’s friend Al Cowlings is now parked inside Alcatraz East. Do you remember where you were during that slow speed chase with OJ in the back seat? I do.

For the record there are a couple vehicles from the "good guys" side here as well including a County Sheriff's car and a Surveillance Vehicle that had been used by the Food & Drug Administration.


Pigeon Forge is located Southeast of Knoxville near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a most beautiful part of the world. According the Rachael Penman, director of artifacts and exhibits,“Our crime cars each represent a cautionary tale, symbolizing a warning about the consequences of crime, while our law enforcement vehicles are positive reminders of all that law enforcement does every day, both in public and behind-the-scenes, to keep us safe.”

Related Links
For more info or to purchase tickets: www.alcatrazeast.com
* My interview with Deidre Marie, Last of the Capones
Claudia Oltean's Another Chance to Die
Writing Crime Fiction In Prohibition Era Detroit
Our Visit To Alcatraz 

Meantime, life goes on all around you. Engage it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Tech Tuesday: A Mid-Month Medium Update

I've been quite active on Medium lately, the ad-free blogging platform for writers and readers, which no doubt contributed to the dream I had as I was waking this morning. The dream went something like this...

Out of the blue someone contacted me and asked if I ever co-authored any of my blog posts. He said he wanted to co-write something with me on Medium.

I replied, by email, and said I had not but would consider it. I asked what he would like us to write about. He replied, "Columbus' second voyage to America."

No doubt this topic came up because of the annual controversies surrounding Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples Day which was in the news last week.

In the dream I agreed to work with him on this because it is by writing about things that I learn new things and it was something I actually knew little about. So I asked him to send something and I would edit and add to it, but what he sent was a link to a Wikipedia page about the explorer's second voyage to the "New World." He had not written anything at all. I replied that Medium doesn't work that way. You can't just plagiarize something by taking it from somewhere else and calling it yours.

At this point I woke up and thought, "Wow, that was interesting."

* * * *
For those unfamiliar, Medium is a relatively new social media platform started in 2012 by Ev Williams, who co-founded Blogger and later Twitter. One objective was to create an environment where professional and non-professional writers could share their work and find readers. Ease-of-use was likewise a pre-eminent objective as well.

After walking along the edge and sticking my toe in the water here and there from January till spring, I was enticed (inwardly moved) to finally dive in head first and swim in the Medium pool to see what would happen. It seemed to me that the only way to really understand the medium was by means of total immersion.

In June I made a six-month commitment to see what I could do with it. The initial attraction for me was that one could import previously published articles simply by copying the URL of your original article (if it's online) and pasting it into Medium, which does most of the heavy lifting for you.

You may still have to tweak a few things to get the look just right, but it's all very intuitive with no HTML required, and the pages are all WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get.) The look is clean and reader-friendly.

The more you are involved with Medium the more you appreciate all the thought that has gone into the platform. There are seemingly countless details that had to be considered which you might not notice as a reader, but as a writer you slowly find out the good people at Medium are looking out for your best interests.

Here's a feature that I especially like as a reader. Each article lets you know up front how long the story or article is going to be should you decide to read it. That is, they tell you how much time it will take you to read this if you start it. For example, when I posted an essay titled Thoreau's Journal, they put a little time stamp there below the header that says Oct 5 - 4 min read. There is nothing more annoying to begin reading something that is 25 pages long when you have only five minutes till your next meeting.

Whereas Blogger organizes content by author, Medium organizes it's content by themes, by using tags to batch content. Another way that this is achieved is through publications. Here is a listing of the Top 100 Publications on Medium. Most of these are Medium publications, though many well known publications have representation here. When you look at the top 100 list you will see that #2 there is The Economist and #8 is the Washington Post.

By reading through the list you can see the kinds of topics people are interested in. Much of it here is related to careers, tech and business, but there are also publications for writers, lovers and crypto fans. Although I very quickly became designated a "top writer" about art here, it's apparent that art is not the most important topic that readers are gathering to in this online blogspace.

Licensing.  Another thoughtful feature on Medium is that when you publish your article you can select what degree of rights you want to maintain. I hadn't noticed this at first, but when I learned of it, I quickly adopted it as an important step when publishing. You can choose to make your story a free public domain story via Commons, or you may restrict it from being re-used altogether. I have been trying out different selections, usually offering the right to re-print so long as I am given attribution.

I only recently learned that like the Wall Street Journal and other newspapers, there is a limit to how many free articles non-members can read. But even this has been addressed so that authors can acquire a link that enables friends to read your aticle even if they've already hit their limit for the month. Here is link to my article John Updike's Four Life Forces using this "free access" link.

One more thing I appreciate. Like Quora this is a very international community. I'm being followed and clapped for ("Claps" on Medium are like "Likes" on Facebook) by people with a whole range of unusual backgrounds, from Africa to India to Japan and Latin America. I am reminded of how when I built my first website in 1995 and put my stories online I eventually had three of these stories translated into foreign languages--Croatian, Russian and French. ("It's a Small, Small, Small, Small World.")

Like Facebook, Linked In and other social media platforms, there seem to be continuous changes afoot in an effort to make it better. So far I've been very happy in this new community. There are a lot of folk here striving to help you succeed, and editor/publishers who will notice your work if it is good. I've contributed to four or five at this point now. I'm looking forward to seeing where this saga will lead me. And you're welcome to come along.

RELATED LINKS
Read Ev Williams' The Medium Model.
How Medium Works With Writers (3 min. read)

Meantime, life goes on... Have a great day.

PS: In the "real world" Peter Spooner will be giving a talk at the Tweed Museum tonight on the paintings of David Ericson from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. in the Court Gallery.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Gaelynn Lea: Duluth Treasure to National Treasure

Learning How To Stay
This afternoon I was on the receiving end of a press release about Gaelynn Lea's upcoming album release show at Sacred Heart. Rather than re-write it in my own words, I've decided to post it as is, with a few comments as preface.

I have a number of special moments or memories that come to mind when I think of Gaelynn. The first time I heard her perform was at the Tweed Museum of Art, the occasion being (if I remember incorrectly you will forgive me) her senior recital. Whatever the occasion was, her violin playing was pretty phenomenal.

Over the years our paths have crossed numerous times through our affiliation with the Duluth music scene. Twice I performed in Salute to the Music of Bob Dylan concerts in which she also was also a performer. Her rendition of Bob Dylan's "All the Tired Horses" at one of these Sacred Heart concerts may have successfully realized Dylan's vision for the potential of a tune some had considered a throwaway.

Gaelynn has performed a number of times at Beaners and sometimes just hung out there I believe. One of my special memories was the day she got engaged. We were at Beaners and she was showing me her engagement ring, wearing the smile that has melted so many hearts.

She's known hardship and fought through in such a remarkable way that she is an inspiration to everyone who knows her. Here's the press announcement regarding her upcoming concert.


PRESS ALERT: Gaelynn Lea's Duluth Album Release Show

Photo credit: Richard Carter
When Gaelynn Lea won NPR Music’s 2016 Tiny Desk Contest, her two decades as a hardworking and talented Duluth musician finally crystallized in a beautiful moment of national recognition. It was also just the beginning of a grand adventure. With the wind of her award at their backs, Gaelynn and her husband Paul sold their house, quit their jobs, bought a van, and hit the road.

Since then, Gaelynn has played over 425 shows in 42 states and seven countries, adding nearly 100,000 miles to their Ford Econoline’s odometer. The singer-songwriter and violinist has graced the stage of renowned venues like Nashville’s Music City Roots, The Kennedy Center, House of Blues and even BBC World News. This June she was featured at arts festivals in both Iceland and Switzerland, and then went on to play Winnipeg Folk Fest in July, Travelers Rest Festival in August and Halifax Pop Explosion in October. Yet somehow between this perpetual blitz of performances, Gaelynn also managed to release her third full-length album this Fall.

Until this point Gaelynn Lea has presented most of her songs using only a few tools: a violin, a voice, and a looping pedal. But for her latest, Gaelynn Lea enlisted the help of some musical friends to bring her new album to life. "With album credits to the likes of NPR’s Bob Boilen, Low’s Alan Sparhawk, HALEY and DOSH (to name just a few), Gaelynn Lea has assembled a crack team of spirit guides for her step into the world of rock on her surprisingly rhythmic new record." (Mike Novitski, former host of Duluth Local Show on The Current) Learning How To Stay is an 11-song collection that runs the gamut sonically from pensive and luscious to aggressive and intentioned, from folk to decidedly pop, and even includes a couple of traditional fiddle tunes.

"This album is Gaelynn Lea in the spotlight. Assembling a near perfect backing band that highlights and never overshadows; it’s Gaelynn’s tremendous skill as a songwriter that’s on full display." (Walt Dizzo, KUWS Music Director) With her singular voice and deeply-affecting violin, she guides the listener through a journey that explores the contrasting nature of existence: dark and light, birth and death, anger and forgiveness, sorrow and joy. Learning How to Stay encourages the listener to stay present for it all.

Photo credit: Evr Glow Media
Gaelynn is returning to the Northland for a hometown show at Sacred Heart Music Center on Saturday, November 17th. For this special album release concert she will be backed by her full band; they will be doing a live performance of Learning How to Stay from start to finish. Doors open at 7pm and music will begin at 7:30pm. Special guests Ingeborg Von Agassiz and Jerree Small will open this all-ages show. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. This venue is wheelchair accessible; please email management@gaelynnlea.com at least 24 hours in advance if accommodations are required and we will do our best to meet your needs.

In addition to performing and recording, Gaelynn also loves to do public speaking engagements about disability awareness, accessibility in the arts, and living an enriching life. She has a congenital disability called Osteogenesis Imperfecta, or Brittle Bones Disease. Gaelynn is a strong voice in the disability community; she uses her music as a platform to advocate for people with disabilities and to promote positive social change.

Gaelynn Lea (+ Full Band!)
Duluth Album Release Show
Special Guests Ingeborg Von Agassiz and Jerree Small
November 17th, 2018
Show at 7:30pm, Doors at 7:00pm
Venue is Wheelchair Accessible
All Ages Show
Tickets: $12 adv / $15 doors
Ticket Link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/gaelynn-lea-album-release-show-tickets-51411596469
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/2656451291035599/

LINKS
Gaelynn Lea Official Website
www.violinscratches.com

Social Media
www.facebook.com/gaelynnlea
www.twitter.com/gaelynnlea
www.instagram.com/gaelynnlea

2018 "Lost in the Woods" Music Video
2017 Paste Music Session
2016 NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert
Great Big Story's Funk Plus One 
POPSUGAR Interview
TEDxYale
TEDxGullLake

Album Reviews:
Strings Magazine: Gaelynn Lea's Learning How To Stay  Another Album Review
No Depression: Learning How To Stay Album Review
Louder Than War: Gaelynn Lea Releases Brilliant New Album
The Current: First Listen
Duluth News Tribune