Thursday, June 5, 2014

Throwback Thursday and Other Delights

Pics from scrapbook show the renovation story.
There's a new night spot in Downtown Duluth: The Red Herring Lounge. When local entrepreneur Bob Monohan (Chaperone Records) spied the abandoned space across the street from where his band practiced, he wondered if maybe... And yes, with backing he was able to renovate the dilapidated downtown building and add it to the list of cool spaces to hang out when doing other Downtown hot spots like Carmody's, Tycoons and Luce.

Monohan, who has been routinely associated with poetry and arts events at The PROVE Gallery, Double Dutch and other spaces, has not only turned it into a chic night club but also an art space which will coordinate openings with the Second Friday Art Crawls. It's only a half block from where the Ochre Ghost delivered its three years of service to the arts community. Tonight might be a good night to check it out. They're having Grand Opening Bonanza. Address: 208 East 1st Street. Party begins at 4:00 p.m. till whenever.

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What follows is a blog post from 2008 in which I shared the beginning of a young adult novel I had written but had not yet published. The trigger event -- for both the book and the blog post -- was finding some slides from my year in Mexico (1980-81). I did not know at the time that three years later I would be publishing this story as an eBook...

Among other things in life, I have taken a stab at writing a novel. The setting for part of the story was Mexico, having lived there a year and having become enthralled by its magic. The Red Scorpion is its working title.

Last night I came across a disk with some of the slides I took in Mexico that year. Over the next few days I'll try to share some of the images here. The people and places of Mexico, and the accompanying memories, will always have a special place in my heart.

What follows is the beginning of The Red Scorpion.

Chapter 1
He woke abruptly, jostled to alertness by the screech of brakes and final recoil as the bus jerked to a stop. He was surprised to find that he had managed to fall asleep at all. The crowded bus included peasants with chickens, crying babies and a crush of people from all stations in life.

Dr. Comstock, glancing out the window, was dismayed to find the bus had not yet reached its destination. It was picking up more passengers, even though the aisle was now full. Several villagers squeezed up onto the steps, some hung out through the doors which had been left open. The bus lurched forward, gears grinding.

A small boy eating a mango placed a sticky hand on the rail in front of Comstock’s knee. Comstock smiled at the boy, but the boy turned his face away. Comstock was a stranger and a foreigner. The boy had been trained not to trust him.

Once more the bus screeched to a stop. This time he could see they had arrived. It was the last leg of his journey, descending to Cuernavaca from the high altitudes of Mexico City. He was eager to begin his work.

Dr. Comstock, a professor of anthropology at the University of Minnesota, had come to Mexico to locate the final resting place of Quetzlcoatl, the plumed serpent of Aztec legend. This was Comstock's second research expedition in Mexico. He intended to develop contacts that would enable him to obtain funding for a longer trip the following year. It was Christmas break back home at the University. He could think of nothing better than being in Cuernavaca. While arctic winds chilled the Minnesota countryside, flowers remained perpetually in bloom here in the land of Eternal Spring. Red and coral bougainvillea, lavender jacaranda, flaming poinciana, and golden geraniums splashed the air with color and fragrance. The floral tapestry delighted his eyes in every direction that he looked.

His wife Adele had wanted to join him, but he balked at the idea. Her presence would interfere with his work, he said. He promised she would accompany him on next year’s trip if they could find caretakers to run the Eagle’s Nest, the bed and breakfast they owned and operated.

Comstock had an angular face with deep set eyes and thick, dark eyebrows. He wore his hair cropped short. He felt he looked too British to pass for Mexican, though occasionally it worked out that way because he tanned easily and well.

Exhausted from the journey and relieved to have arrived at all, he carried his baggage the two blocks from the bus station to the hotel.
click on photos to enlarge

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Other events to check out this weekend include:

• Lonnie Knight tomorrow evening at Amazing Grace, 8-10 p.m.

• Wanda Pearcy's Excellent Organic Plant Sale (Friday thru Sunday)

• Erik Pearson's Art Opening and Reception at The Red Mug (Friday, 5-7)

• And Saturday, if you're in Kingston, New York, the Smoke Without Mirrors opening at the KMOCA Gallery there, a double feature showcasing the work of Steve Derrickson and Dennis Adams.

Meantime, art goes on all around you. Dig it.

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