Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Reminders: Clare Cooley's Warblers and Waterflowers at Karpeles & Honey Bee Folk Fest at the O

"Let me tell you 'bout the birds and the bees..."
--Herbert Newman

In 1993 we bought a house in the country outside Duluth with close to nine acres of land next to a forty acre property that was primarily pasture land. For exercise I often walk the gravel road half mile to the corner alongside this pasture. Two weeks ago while walking toward home I look across this field and saw what appeared to be a pair of kangaroos. It was hilarious to think we'd have kangaroos in Minnesota, so I stopped and watched and when one turned sideways I saw that it was a large crane.

I had many thoughts triggered, one of them being Clare Cooley's paintings of cranes that I had seen earlier this year at Karpeles Manuscript Museum here in Duluth.

Yesterday I received notice that in August there will be an opening reception for a new exhibition by Clare Cooley titled “Warblers & Wildflowers.” The reception will be August 9th from 5-9 p.m. Her show will feature 26 pieces, each depicting a different species of regional bird and bloom, and we do have an amazing variety of birds here in our region.

A pair of Clare's Cranes.
Clare's art is inspired by nature's complex inner connectedness balanced with it’s elegant simple designs  The aim of her work is to motivate protection of the environment and all its creatures by portraying its natural beauty.

We used to have bird feeders at our house, but bird feeders and incompatible with a barn cat, which enjoyed disproving the saying, "There's no such thing as a free lunch."

Back when we did have bird feeders out we saw all kinds of species, including warblers. Of these Clare stated, “Warblers are too small and fast for us to observe them closely, which inspired me to try to capture their essence and enlarge them and the wildflowers. I want to bring their beautiful brilliance into our lives all year long. May their lovely lightness of being lift our spirits.”

Originals as well as prints and note cards made in the artist’s studio will be available for purchase at the exhibition. A portion of the proceeds will go to a regional environmental organization.

You can set a reminder for this event on Facebook. Or here at Nextdoor.

While there make sure you check out the portion of Bill Pagel's Bob Dylan memorabilia on display through the second week of December. 

* * * *

THIS WEEKEND is shaping up to be a most interesting kick-off of a new event at Oldenburg House called the Honey Bee Folk Festival. The event continues to grow, with more music and more activities, the most recent being a Saturday morning bike ride from Beaners to the O in Carlton, a beautiful ride along the St. Louis River basin. It covers a spectacular stretch of the Munger Trail. The first 100 bikers will get to wear a large badge proclaiming that you are part of the Honey Bee Swarm. Join Jason and friends this Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. AT BEANERS.

The Honey Bee Fest is a 2-day event that begins Friday.

* * * *
A Little Bee Trivia

Evidently bees are now endangered so it's possible to "adopt" one through the World Wildlife Fund!

* * * *
This was interesting to me.  When the hive needs a new queen, they purportedly have a battle royale for the crown."In nature when a colony needs a new queen, worker bees will build several wax queen cells. A queen will lay an egg into these cells and nurse bees will fill them with royal jelly to feed and develop the new queen. The hatched queens then fight it out – and the survivor is the new queen of the colony. " I didn't know that.

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

Monday, July 30, 2018

Monday Miscellaneous: A Dozen Quotes and a Few Good Thoughts

Last week I finished Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness for the third time. (Maybe fourth.) I'd not read it for quite a few years though, so even though much was familiar terrain, there were a few surprises. One was that the "N" word is used a few times in the book, which I will presume means that it's unlikely many schools are having students read it these days. The second thing that had been forgotten SPOILER ALERT was that the story didn't end with Kurtz saying "The horror." There's an incident that occurs afterwards that is also an important piece of the story, that adds a little punch after the other dark details have been shared.

I mention all this because I personally enjoy reading books that I've read before. After a span of years, and a few decades of life experience, great books can ignite new insights, convey new understanding that we'd missed earlier because we lacked the life experience. This is especially so with books we read in high school or college.

All this to say, just because you read it once doesn't mean you should be done with it. This is the best part of building a personal library.

* * * *

"Play is the exaltation of the possible."
--Martin Buber

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
--Thomas Merton 

“One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.”
--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.”
--Kurt Vonnegut

"Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunderstorm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols."
--Thomas Mann

"Time is the measurer of all things, but is itself immeasurable, and the grand discloser of all things, but is itself undisclosed."
--Charles Caleb Colton, Lacon

"A hot dog at the ballgame beats roast beef at the Ritz."
--Humphrey Bogart

"A stumbling block to the pessimist is a stepping stone to the optimist."
--Eleanor Roosevelt

“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”
 --Dr. Seuss

“Newspapers always excite curiosity. No one ever lays one down without a feeling of disappointment.”
--Charles Lamb

“Life is for the living.
Death is for the dead.
Let life be like music.
And death a note unsaid.”
--Langston Hughes

“The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy.”
--Kalu Ndukwe Kalu

“You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us. And the world will live as one.”
--John Lennon

* * * *
Seen On Twitter This Morning

1. Negative thinking 
2. Living in the past 
3. Negative self-talk 
4. People-pleasing 
5. Fearing change 
6. Overthinking

Nurture you inner flame and don't dive up the fight.
Have a great week!

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Alison Aune's Art Space Inspires Both Eye and Soul

Friday evening during the Downtown Duluth Arts Walk I loitered briefly in the studio of Alison Aune, an arts professor at UMD whose studio space is located above Pineapple Arts with about a half dozen others. It's a great space, if you ever get a chance to visit. I personally love seeing studios and artist spaces. To think that it was once a bare room with white walls!

The image of a pond filling with algae comes to mind... except instead of the studio filling with photosynthetic-green cotton candy, the walls and surfaces accumulate a different kind of life form: art. In Aune's studio, it's Swedish designs.

Much of what lay on the counter had been completed for an upcoming event in Estonia. Aune explained to me how the designs were not arbitrary and merely decorative as many people suppose. Each has symbolic properties. It might be an aerial view of a well or a farmer's field. In short, like many things there's more than meets the eye.

Both she and her sister Kirsten, whose studio I visited last month, work in bright, vibrant colors. Kirsten, who works in fabric, draws inspiration from more contemporary Scandinavian forms. Alison is drawing from the deep well of history, somewhat akin to a genealogist, except she's researching the DNA of form and design, not great-great-grandparents.

* * * *
The Art Walk nights in Duluth are taking place the last Friday of each month, rain or shine, wind, snow or hail, unto perpetuity and beyond, initiated by the nonprofit Downtown Arts Collective which includes 25 organizations. Co-chairs of the DAC are Joellyn Rock of the new Rockingchair Studio and Amanda Hunter from the Joesph Nease Gallery.

Related Links
Ornamental Joy, story about Alison Aune at MN Artists .
Alison Aune Wikipedia page
Colors from the North. Article for The American Swedish Institute about Alison and sister Kirsten's upcoming show https://www.asimn.org/exhibitions-collections/exhibitions/alison-aune-kirsten-aune-colors-north
Selective Focus interview with the artist at Perfect Duluth Day . 

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Another Perfect Evening for an Art Stroll Through Downtown Duluth

Mosaic at the top of the stairs above Pineapple Arts
just outside Tight Squeek Press
Last night the weather was again perfect for art lovers to do a Downtown Duluth Walkabout. Not too hot, not too cool, not windy, and blue skies. What's not to like? And a lot of great things to see. In addition to artists showing their work there were quite a number of artists making the rounds. Most of the galleries and art studios were open from 5 till 8, though PROVE had a later shift (7-10) and some of the drinking establishments featuring artists on their walls -- Lee Zimmerman's work at the Rathskellar, for example -- had much longer hours. Dubh Linn's Irish Pub is new this month and the Nordic Center held art walkers captive with music by Rachael Kilgour, who also showed up at Peace Church today for the Woman-Made Arts & Crafts Fair.

I didn't try to get everywhere, but did see quite a bit, beginning over by in the middle of the block by Pineapple Arts, taking in Alison Aune's studio space (which is a museum in and of itself) as well as Jon Hinkel's Tight Squeek Press and Joellyn Rock's space (Rockingchair Studio), where I learned the backstory regarding how some of these UMD art profs had studios downtown.

Kite-like folding forms by Warren Rosser
The Joseph Nease Gallery was having an opening reception for a show called Transitions featuring work by Warren Rosser, though the major retrospective for James Brinsfield continues to fill much of the gallery still.

Carla Hamilton's solo show -- Minnesota Nice -- at the PROVE is quite exceptional, a bit edgy and thought provoking. The show's aim is to create a bit of discomfort as we look at some of the issues that create and perpetuate human rifts as well as the difficulties involved in forging connections across and between boundaries created by stereotypes, biases, racism and sexism. MN Nice will be on display through September 12. (The gallery is open from 4-7 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Carla Hamilton's wall of faces as part of Minnesota Nice.
I took far too many pictures and will share more tomorrow. There was more to see than there was time, so next month I will begin either at AICHO or Washington Studios Gallery. We'll have to wait and see where the Force leads.

Love, love, love Joellyn Rock's designs.

A John Hinkel print... I see a story here.
John Hinkel's workspace above Pineapple Arts.
Lee Zimmerman has been painting on silk. Sone of his drawings are and paintings
can be found in the Rathskellar, deep beneath the former City Hall.
Ryan Tischer is still featuring his Ten Days in Iceland photography. Lizzards is featuring Shawna Gilmore and Terry Millikan right now, though all the usual suspects have their work here as well. 

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

Friday, July 27, 2018

Coco @ the O and Reminders about Other Events Coming Up

The other day I mentioned Movies in the Park (Leif Erickson Park, Duluth) but neglected to mention that this weekend there are also Movies @ the O, as in Oldenburg House in Carlton. Tonight, after you finish the Downtown Duluth Arts Walk you will still have time to scurry to Carlton and catch COCO, about a 12-year-old, music-loving boy who makes an unforgettable journey to the Land of the Dead. It's yet another stellar animated story from the Pixar team. How they do it over and over again is incredible, though if you read Ed Catmull's Creativity Inc., you will get an inside perspective on the culture Steve Jobs, Catmull & company created. Here's a good starting point on the Pixar story.

Tomorrow evening at the O they will be showing O Brother Where Art Thou?, another fun film with a soundtrack you never tire of. Here is a link to everything else going on at the Oldenburg House this month, including the Honey Bee Folk Festival. It's an ambitious summer schedule at the O.

Also tomorrow, Peace Church is hosting the Woman-Made Arts and Crafts Fair. Details here.

* * * *
LOOK FOR THE SIGNS... or Pick up a Map
More than 20 locations in the HeART District

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

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Peace Church Hosts Woman-Made Art & Gift Fair. And Don't Forget Friday Night's Art Crawl.

This coming Saturday, July 28, is the Woman-Made Art & Gift Fair, featuring 24 Northland female artists. The is the 10th year of this event, which is rightfully subtitled "Marvelous Things Made By Northland Women." Admission is Free and so is the parking.
TIME: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.,
ADDRESS: Peace Church, 1111 N. 11th Avenue E.

Jewelry, ceramics, glass, soaps, garden items, photography, water colors, books, clothing, glass art and more. Here's a link to Susie's Gift Bags, Cards and Tags. In my opinion, you can never buy enough cards from local artists. Yes, it's nice when your Facebook "friends" wish you a Happy Birthday, but nothing says it like a card or gift, especially original, hand-made-with-creativity-and-love kinds of cards and gifts. Rachael Kilgour will also be adding her music magic around midday.

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well, and at the Woman-Made Fair the creative spirit is likewise prominent.

For more information visit: www.wendyupnorth.com/  Wendy describes herself as an entrepreneur whose passion is connecting people to arts, music & history. Stop by Peace Church this Saturday and Get Connected.


Alison Aune's studio inside the Pineapple Arts Building will be open Friday evening
during the Arts Walk. Check out some of the work that she will be shipping off
to Estonia and Finland later this summer!
Tomorrow evening @ Joseph Nease Gallery -- Opening Reception for Transitions. 5-8 p.m. during the Downtown Duluth Art Walk.

Friday, July 27, 8:50 p.m Greater Downtown Council's Movies in the Park will be showing the New version of Ghostbusters (PG 13), at Leif Erikson Park.

Saturday, July 28, 3-7 p.m., Art on Tap, All Pints North Summer Brew Fest, Bayfront Festival Park 120+ Breweries; 21+ Only Event - ID Required at Entry; Rain or Shine; No Pets Allowed; Blankets and Folding Chairs Allowed; Sealed Water Bottle Allowed.  Designated Drivers Recommended.
* * * *
for details about tomorrow evening's Downtown Duluth Art Walk.
Friday evening, 5 to 8 p.m. Downtown Duluth Art Walk

"Build a house?" exclaimed John.

"For the Wendy," said Curly.

"For Wendy?" John said, aghast. "Why, she is only a girl!"

"That," explained Curly, "is why we are her servants.”

― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Spotlight on Susie's Art Collage Gift Bags, Cards and Tags

This coming Saturday Peace Church is hosting the Woman-Made Art & Gift Fair, featuring 20 Northland female artists. This is the 10th year of the event, which is rightfully subtitled "Marvelous Things Made By Northland Women." Admission is Free and so is the parking.

TIME: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.,
ADDRESS: 1111 N. 11th Avenue E. "

This year Susie will be one of the artisans displaying her wares. My aim here is to provide a sneak preview of what you can find at her display there, along with a few good reasons to not go home empty handed.

* * * * 

Gift Bags

Some bags use colorful print feedsack material from the 1930s. Others use B&W prints from old family photos. Many use Susie's hand-painted paper and block-print designs.

Each bag is individually crafted and unlike any other.

Gift Bag Themes include:
-- Baby Showers & Kids
-- Wedding Shower themes
-- Gifts for a guy
-- Christmas (It's not too early to be thinking about Christmas)
-- Women's Friendship
and more....

WE ALL KNOW FROM EXPERIENCE how much fun it is when someone walks in with a gift. Unlike wrapping paper, which is often torn off and thrown away, gift bags can be used again and again. I'm thinking here of wine or culinary delights. Gift bags are a great way to hold several smaller gifts, like a year-round Christmas stocking. Eyes light up when you walk into the room with a gift bag...

Gift bags are handy, too, because you can place your card right in the bag so you don't forget it in the car, or on the counter when you leave for the party or luncheon.

SPEAKING OF CARDS, Susie also makes original cards with Art-velopes, each a unique down-home creation.

Here's a Tip: When you go to arts and crafts fairs, buy extra cards to have on hand for the many occasions where you need a card. Birthdays, graduations, holidays, sympathy and friendship cards... Cards are a memorable way to expressing gratitude.

Here's Another Tip: If you have blank cards with no message inside, Google can help you find words that capture the feeling you are striving to convey.

Susie has created a wide assortment of Gift Tags, also.

The Backstory on Dylan's Wagon Wheel

It's a showpiece in the Cowboy Angel Blue repertoire. And also a favorite in the playlist for Tom O'Keefe and Friends during Dylan Fest.

"Rock me, Mama,
like the wind and the rain,
Rock me, Mama,
like a southbound train....
Hey, Mama, rock me."

The chorus is catchy, the tune is catchy, it's easy listening and expressive... and it has become a Northland favorite in Duluth Dylan circles, but where did it come from? It's not on any Dylan album. In fact, I never really associated it with Dylan at all.

Yet, truth be told, Wagon Wheel does indeed have Dylan roots. The song was birthed during the 1973 making of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. Dylan had been hired to produce the soundtrack. (He also famously played a character in the film named Alias.)

According to Rolling Stone journalist Andy Greene it had an underground life of its own till recorded in 2004 by Old Crow Medicine Show in 2004. A few years go by and in 2013 Darius Rucker (Hootie & the Blowfish) records his version, propelling it to number one on the Billboard Country Songs chart.

Here's a paragraph from the Andy Greene story:
He (Dylan) started work on the disc on January 20th, 1973 in Mexico City. The next month he moved over to Burbank, California and brought in Byrds frontman Roger McGuinn, drummer Jim Keltner and bassist Terry Paul. The sessions yielded Dylan’s comeback hit “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” and just a few takes after finishing that classic they ran through two versions of “Rock Me, Mama.” It was far from finished, and they soon moved onto the main title track of and probably forgot all about the sketch of a song. Somehow or another, the sessions got in the hands of bootleggers and “Rock Me, Mama” began its slow, unlikely journey to the top of the charts as “Wagon Wheel.”

Follow the link to read the rest of the article, somewhat hilariously titled How Bob Dylan Co-Wrote Darius Rucker’s ‘Wagon Wheel,’ 40 Years Ago.

* * * *
For all you folk who enjoy the song Wagon Wheel, I'm willing to bet you were unaware that there's a Wagon Wheel Appreciation Thread out there in cyberspace.

For more info on wagon wheels, visit the Wagon Wheel Wikipedia page.

Moments ago I just received notice about the North American Premiere of GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY, at the NEWMAN Theater in New York. To access Tickets In Advance Before the Public, visit  https://publictheater.org/Public-Theater-Season/Girl-from-the-North-Country/?src=51940 

Access tickets before the general public 
by using the code DULUTH​ at publictheater.org before July 26th, 2018. 

Show opens September 11 and runs thru November 4

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Born In Time and Other Dylan Songs About Bein' Born

"He not busy bein' born is busy dyin'."
-- It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding

This past week I was thinking about how many Dylan songs mention the word born. It started when I was thinking about Born In Time and the line above from It's Alright, Ma. Born in Time, particularly the version on Tell Tale Signs, is on my short list of favorite songs, and "He not busy bein' born is busy dyin'" is on my short list of favorite lines.

But there are some other favorite lines with the word born in them. The first that immediately came to mind was "She was born in spring, but I was born too late" from Simple Twist of Fate. Then this one came to mind: "I was born here and I'll die here against my will" from Not Dark Yet. (I love the follow up line, too: "I know it looks like I'm moving, but Im standing still."

So I went to the Dylan Concordance and looked up the number of references to "born" in Dylan's lyrics. It turned out to be a surprisingly long list, and (for a Dylan fan) an enjoyable search-and-find exercise, reading through song after song trying to find each born-reference in its context. Dylan's lyrics are so rich and rewarding it's difficult to remain "on task" as one gets swept into the whitewater rush of imagery. Read through the lush lyrical vibrance of Changing of the Guard, for example.

What follows are the lines or stanzas where the word born appears in each song.

In the Garden:
Nicodemus came at night so he wouldn’t be seen by men
Saying, “Master, tell me why a man must be born again”

"I was blinded by the devil, born already ruined…"

Song to Woody
“Hey, hey, Woody Guthrie, I wrote you a song
’Bout a funny ol’ world that’s a-comin’ along
Seems sick an’ it’s hungry, it’s tired an’ it’s torn
It looks like it’s a-dyin’ an’ it’s hardly been born

Subterranean Homesick Blues
“Ah get born keep warm
Short pants, romance, learn to dance…”

Neighborhood Bully
“Always on trial for just being born…”

Only a Pawn in Their Game
A South politician preaches to the poor white man
“You got more than the blacks, don’t complain.
You’re better than them, you been born with white skin,” they explain.

You were born with a snake in both of your fists while a hurricane was blowing

Carolina born and bred

Born in Red Hook, Brooklyn, in the year of who knows when (opening line)
and late in the same song:
They said a mass in the old church near the house where he was born

Last Thoughts On Woody Guthrie
And to yourself you sometimes say
"I never knew it was gonna be this way
Why didn't they tell me the day I was born"

Motorpsycho Nightmare
He said, “What do doctors Know about farms, pray tell?”
I said, “I was born At the bottom of a wishing well”

Ballad of Hollis Brown
Somewhere in the distance there are seven new people born.

Don't Ya Tell Henry
I went down to the river on a Saturday morn
 A-lookin’ around just to see who’s born...

Sugar Baby
Just as sure as we’re living, just as sure as you’re born
Look up, look up—seek your Maker—’fore Gabriel blows his horn

Tough Mama
Angel Baby, born of a blinding light and a changing wind

Changing of the Guards
She’s smelling sweet like the meadows where she was born
 On midsummer’s eve, near the tower

Shelter from the Storm
If I could only turn back the clock to when God and her were born
 “Come in,” she said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm”

North Country Blues
Oh, the years passed again, and the giving was good
With the lunch bucket filled every season
What with three babies born, the work was cut down
To a half a day's shift with no reason

I Want You
But it’s not that way
I wasn’t born to lose you

Wedding Song
Oh, can’t you see that you were born to stand by my side
And I was born to be with you, you were born to be my bride

You were born with a snake in bother of your fists
while a hurricane was blowin'

What Can I Do For You?
Soon as a man is born, you know the sparks begin to fly

* * * *

Did I miss anything?

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

Monday, July 23, 2018

14 Quotes for a New Monday Morning

For most, our two biggest influences are the people we meet and the books we read. Interestingly, I've always felt that the books we read are just the same as meeting people, except we encounter them in another form. Ideas, expressed in words, are inexplicably powerful as they are transmitted from mind to mind.

There is no direct relationship between the various quotes on this page, other than that they spoke strongly enough that I wrote them down. Each stands alone, though some pair nicely with others as well, adding insights by casting new light from a different angle.

"Once you label me you negate me."

"Fiction makes you think; propaganda tells you how to think."
--Amy Tan, from the chapter "required reading and other dangerous subjects" in her book The Opposite of Fate

"I can't imagine being a writer and having others dictate to me what I should write, why I should write, and whom I should write for. And this is the reason I consider myself an American writer: I have the freedom to write whatever I want. I claim that freedom."
--Amy Tan, ibid.

"We live in an era in which appearances seem more important than reality."
--Gordon Marino, The Existentialist's Survival Guide

“I live in my dreams — that's what you sense. Other people live in dreams, but not in their own. That's the difference.”
--Herman Hesse, Demian

“If you can't change your fate, change your attitude.”
― Amy Tan

"It is a mistake to intend to write only very important things in a journal. That is not its justification."
-- Andre Gide

"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
--Howard Thurman

"If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him."
~-John F. Kennedy

"The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider's web."
--Pablo Picasso

"Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone."
--G.B. Stern

"I have no special gift. I am only passionately curious."
--Albert Einstein

"Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us."
-- Wilma Rudolph, Olympic Sprinter

"Your life is what you see in front of you."
--Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club

* * * *

And now, it is time to make your mark.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

In the Twin Ports Public Art Isn't Just for the Birds

This blog post has two aims. The first is to share a few insights about public art in Duluth. The second is to announce a Call for Artists to participate in the Superior Storm Drain Project.

One thing Duluth is famous for is its abundance of parks and recreational activities. It's something many of us possibly take for granted. It's hard to believe that a town our size has more than 80 parks, 11,000 acres of green space, nearly 7,000 acres of city Parkland, 12 miles of paved, accessible trails, 85 miles of bike-optimized multi-use trails and 150 miles of hiking trails.

Something else you've no doubt seen but not given much thought to is the quantity of public art in our city. We even have a Statue of Liberty, designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, the very same Frenchman who designed the famous torch-bearer in New York Harbor. It's a scale-replica of the original which was a gift to America from the people of France. How we ended up with this one in Duluth was a mystery to me, but this web page provides a few of the details. What's strange is how people living in Duluth can be here for decades without noticing it. I first became aware of it last year when I participated in the William A. Irvin 5K Run last year. The runners begin at the ship and proceed along the waterfront behind the DECC. When you come around the corner it's right there, nestled nestled amongst the trees.

Grandma's Marathon finishers pass Sterling Rathsack's statue each spring.
The statue featured above is probably quite familiar to all of us. Because of its prominent location as you enter the Canal Park area you really can't miss it there in front of the Caribou Coffee/Zita Pizza building. The sculpture, installed in 1992, is the work of Superior artist Sterling Rathsack. There is a totem pole feel to the design which features a squatting man with a boy on his shoulders, a seagull landing on the boy's head. It's titled Man, Child and Gull.

Like the other sculptures in the city, there is a measure of responsibility associated with the works. Someone needs to take care of them now and then. Maintenance washing, treating, sometimes painting. These and other duties fall to a handful of volunteers known as the Duluth Public Arts Commission. Public art is a responsibility, that includes keeping a status inventory as well as a maintenance regimen.

Another familiar sculpture in Canal Park is Richard Salews' Determined Mariner, also installed in 1992. The piece is cast and patinated bronze on a cast concrete base with recessed lighting. The Connecticut artist has produced many commissioned works in various parts of the country. This one is located across from Grandma's Restaurant near the entrance to Duluth's famous Lakewalk.

Superior Storm Drain Project
ON THE SUPERIOR SIDE of the St. Louis River Bay the call has gone out for artists to consider participating in the making of Storm Drain Art. The project's aim is to draw attention to the

The Storm Drain Art Project's goal is to work with artists to bring attention to storm drains and increase public understanding of the direct connection between storm drains and the nearest lake or stream through storm drain art. All painting supplies, site selection, and safety equipment will be provided by the City of Superior.

The EPA has identified stormwater as the biggest pollution threat to surface water nationwide. As stormwater flows over the ground it picks up all the pollutants in its path, including common non-point pollution such as litter, pet waste, oil and other debris. This project aims to draw attention to the role storm drains play in polluting nearby waters, and in our case this means Lake Superior, the largest freshwater body of water in the world. The City of Superior has 3,000 storms drains, for what it's worth.

THIS PROJECT HAS AN IMPORTANT DEADLINE THAT POTENTIAL ARTIST CANDIDATES SHOULD BE AWARE OF. August 1st is when your concept design should be submitted by. They are looking for 12 artists with at least two being professionals, two amateurs and two students.

If interested you'll find ALL THE DETAILS HERE. Your point person, if you have questions or need more info is Andrea Crouse. She can be reached at crousea@ci.superior.wi.us.

EdNote: It's my understanding that only artists who live or work in Superior are eligible.

Meantime, art goes on all around you... and sometimes even beneath you! Enjoy it.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Interview with James D Nickel, Author of The Dance of Number

His father's advice when he graduated from high school was to study what he loved, and math was his thing. But by the time he'd finished his university education he'd decided to never open a math book again. He was done with it. With a degree in mathematics he was able to land a job in Ventura, California as a computer analyst and his initial passion for mathematics was never extinguished. Eventually he researched, wrote and published Mathematics: Is God Silent?

I met James Nickel in the late '70s while we were students at Bethany Fellowship Missionary Training Center in Bloomington. I remember his Senior Project even then had to to with mathematics. We've been pretty much in touch ever since. The Dance of Number has been a major undertaking and a long time coming. Hard copies will be available soon on Amazon and at his imprint Sound Mind Press.

EN: You’re finally going to see the fruit of your labors with this book. Initially, you anticipated a 2013 release date. Why the five-year delay?

James D. Nickel: First, in late 2013, I decided to rewrite the entire text, the fourth rewrite since I wrote the initial draft in 2001. Why this rewrite? See my answer to Question 4. By doing so, the one text ballooned to four (nearly 2,000 total pages). And, writing a complete solutions manual is equal to writing the text itself. The solutions take up three books, 900 pages total. Second, proofing was a tedious and time-consuming process, taking almost two years.

EN: Briefly summarize The Dance of Number.

JDN: Technically, “The Dance of Number” is a tightly integrated series of four textbooks, designed for completion in four years. I start from the beginning, assuming the student knows nothing but can read with comprehension, i.e., age 11-13. In the first two texts, I teach the rudiments of arithmetic, engaging a speed paradigm that covers the four operations of arithmetic in relationship to integers. Then, I move to the operations with fractions and decimals. While doing this, I introduce many geometric ideas, along with exercises that carefully introduce the student to algebraic syntax. In the final two texts, I explore the world of algebraic syntax and mathematical reasoning, covering all the necessary topics that will prepare the student for PreCalculus/Calculus. I include most of the concepts in the typical Algebra I/II syllabus, along with a significant amount of requisite two- and three-dimensional Geometry, a complete course in Trigonometry, all the methods of mathematical proofs, and even an introduction to Calculus reasoning.

EN: How has the book evolved from your original vision for the project?

Click on images to enlarge
JDN: My original vision that stimulated the writing of the first draft in 2001 was to show the interconnections and interplay of mathematics, starting from Arithmetic and ending with the rudiments of Calculus. I have stayed true to that vision, expanding the material significantly and adding a multiplicity of enrichment ideas.

EN: How have you changed since you first began writing it?

JDN: Indeed, I have changed. When I wrote the first draft in 2001 while working full-time in the computer world, my vision of the nature of God, who God is in His essence, tended to be static and contractual, while being doctrinally correct in form. Beginning in 2011, while teaching mathematics full-time, the Holy Spirit began to lift a multitude of blinders from the heart of my theological vision. Into my heart was planted a sight of the Trinity as a dynamic onto-relational reality, from eternity past the Father loving the Son, the Son loving the Father, all in the communion of the personal Holy Spirit. This self-giving love is so intense that the writers of the New Testament struggled to articulate it. John did the best he could when he talked about mutual indwelling, the Son in the Father and the Father in the Son (John 14:10). Several of the early church fathers coined a word that pointed to the profundity of this interpenetrating and intimate relationship. That word is perichoresis. My contract/performance view of grace as “something” I get – if I do this, God will bless me – or don’t get – if I don’t perform, watch out, trouble is coming! – turned into an unconditional view of grace as a person – The Triune God loves me with the same love known in His being from eternity. By the vicarious humanity of the Son, the Father has included me in that relationship (John 14:20); and I can, therefore, freely participate in that life, that eternal life (John 17:3), by the Holy Spirit. The call to the obedience of faith, the imperatives of grace, is grounded in the unconditional indicatives of grace, the provision of the Father’s love in His Son. It is no longer a matter of me knowing God by my efforts, but of Christ, the Son of the Father, including me in His knowledge of the Father (Matthew 11:25-30). I would, therefore, change the title and theological method of James I. Packer’s classic book, Knowing God, where he calls the reader to pull up his bootstraps in the effort to know God, to Participating in the Son’s Knowledge of the Father by the Holy Spirit. Faithful to the words of Jesus, rest enveloped my heart when the Spirit opened my eyes to this participatory reality. As I grew in this revelation, I experienced a transformation in the way I looked at people, the world, and mathematics. A complete rewrite, therefore, of my textbook was required!

EN: What would you consider the most significant feature or message in The Dance of Number?

JDN: I write this in the first lesson of the text: “There is a perichoretic structure, a dance, in creation. This dance is the unity behind the diversity of the cosmos, the rational ground of all that exists. This unity exists because all things cohere in Jesus Christ, the Word of the Father, God the Son made flesh (John 1:14), who reveals to us the perichoretic nature, the dance of the dynamism of His relationship to His Father in the Holy Spirit. One aspect of the perichoretic structure of creation is number.” Since the onto-relational Trinity created and sustains all things, we should expect to see in creation a revelation of mutual indwelling, a revelation of the dance of perichoresis, all over the place. Therefore, the most significant feature of “The Dance of Number” is exploring the diverse facets of perichoresis both within the structure of mathematics and the perichoretic connection between the ideas of mathematics and the architecture of the physical world. The Triune God has wired creation by His being, by perichoresis, and we are wired for perichoresis by imago Dei.

EN: Why would you say this book is an important addition to mathematics literature?

JDN: From my preceding comments, the exploration of perichoresis makes this textbook series a truly unique addition to mathematics literature. For example, the way I teach the mechanics of doing addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, i.e., the consistent left-to-right methods employed in Japan and India, reveals perichoretic beauty in two ways. First, there is one underlying principle that interpenetrates all four operations. Second, addition interpenetrates subtraction and multiplication interpenetrates division, not merely because of the nature of inverses, but as the method for performing the respective operations unfolds, place value by place value. Our American right-to-left methods blind us to this beauty.

EN: During the past half-century we’ve seen great advances in the realm of A.I. Will there be new breakthroughs in math as a result of what A.I. technology is doing?

JDN: I’m not sure, Ed. A.I. is programmatically designed by humans using logic gates; “intelligence” is, therefore, human-given. Computers have come to the aid of mathematicians for decades, revealing, as in the case of fractal geometry, beauty beyond imagination.

EN: You once explained that “Algebra is the language of mathematics and mathematics is the language of science.” How was algebra discovered?

JDN: Algebra is a language of generalities. For example, we know that it doesn’t matter whether we add 2 to 3 or 3 to 2; we get 5 as the sum both ways. We write this principle as an algebraic equation: a + b = b + a where a and b stand for any number in general. Early civilizations, e.g., Egypt, Babylonia, China, invoked the generalization rule in their commercial transactions, land taxation, and building constructions. They stated rules using rhetoric. When the ancient Greeks inherited the mathematics of the ancient world, they continued the rhetorical expressions. Their focus was primarily on static forms of Geometry, not Algebra. In the third century AD, Diophantus, who lived in Alexandria, Egypt, was the first to introduce symbols into the algebraic analysis of the solutions to equations. His algebraic work wasn’t the way we do it now for it was part symbol and part rhetoric, called syncopated Algebra. The symbolic Algebra we use now comes from the work of the European mathematicians Viète (1540-1603), Descartes (1596-1650), and Fermat (1607-1665), men who relied on the seminal algebraic work of the medieval scholastic Oresme (1325-1382). This algebraic syntax was not only one of the legs that the Scientific Revolution stood one, but without it, Newton (1643-1727) and Leibniz (1646-1716) could not have invented Calculus, one of the characteristic expressions of the modern Western genius as the historian Arnold Toynbee (1889-1975) observed.

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Related Links
James Nickel explains Why I Wrote Mathematics: Is God Silent? 
Order The Dance of Number here.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Thurgood Marshall Story Is Powerful Reminder of Many Important Truths

This week I saw the film Marshall for the first time. The film, based on a true story, retells an early case legal case by Thurgood Marshall, the young attorney who would later become the first black man to serve on the Supreme Court. It's an impressive film, made all the more so by the acting of Chadwick Boseman, the star of Black Panther and an actor I definitely want to see again.

This summary by a reviewer on imdb.com expresses my take on the film as well.:
This enjoyable and inspiring movie is a worthy contribution to the courtroom movie genre. It memorializes the great Thurgood Marshall (who later won Brown v. Bd. of Education and sat on the Supreme Court). The film brings to life a forgotten rape case in Connecticut that Marshall tried early in his career when he was the solo staff lawyer at the NAACP. The story focuses on the plight of a black man accused of raping a white woman and it highlights issues of racism in the courtroom and on the streets. The movie recalls the classic films "To Kill a Mockingbird" (which also involved a black on white rape case) and "Anatomy of a Murder" (which also involved sexual issues and in which--like many real trials--we're never sure just what actually happened and who is telling the truth). The writing is sharp and witty and the acting and direction are great. Particularly strong is the emerging partnership and friendship of Marshall and the local lawyer, Sam Friedman, who had never tried a criminal case and thought he would just sit next to Marshall during the trial and do nothing. But the judge forces Friedman to conduct the trial with Marshall serving as his adviser--and he rises to the occasion.

Here's an excerpt from another imd.com review:
The actors in this intelligent film are all first rate and believable in their roles. Film is strong in mystery and suspense. The film is part of history but very entertaining from start to finish. It's an uplifting and positive film for everyone to enjoy. There are great believable interpersonal relationships. The film is high quality production including the music score. There is no detail that was spared. Plenty of great symbolism in the film for example the images in wall frame pictures in court room. I do expect actor and/or actress and other film awards in the future. Marshall 2017 is a must see film.

I only later realized that I had seen Boseman before on the screen. He played the role of Jackie Robinson in the film 42. I predict him to be the next Denzel Washington, a serious actor who will leave a legacy. He's well on his way.

One feature of the film, which takes place around 1940, is the reminder that blacks were not the only people discriminated against. Jews were not permitted into certain establishments, country clubs, etc. You may recall Jack Nicholson in the film Chinatown asking if the nursing home accepted Jews.

Near the end of the film, the prosecuting attorney tries to work a plea bargain with Sam, the attorney forced by circumstances to defend this black man charged with rape and attempted murder of a white woman. Friedman's response is one of many great lines in the film.

Loren Willis: "I thought Jews were supposed to be smart. You sound just like the Negro."
Sam Friedman: "That's the greatest compliment you could have given me."

In the closing arguments, as Sam trickled drops of ink into a glass of water, I thought of Perry Mason's manner of making vivid a point he wished to get across to the jury. And though we never saw the discussion that took place when the jury deliberated, I imagined the Henry Fonda film 12 Angry Men, and how what appears an open and shut case can become altogether other when honest dialogue occurs.

The DVD is available on Netflix. It comes with my highest recommendation.

Related Links
Marshall @ imdb.com
Emmett Till

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Local Arts Scene -- Third Thursday In Superior Tonight and Niiyo-wiij-anishinaabeg Tuesd

Composition by Joe Geshick
Original drawing by George Morrison
In recent years I have been running into a few new concepts that may have been out there but I hadn't given much thought to. One of these is the notion of mindfulness, which is defined as "a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique."

The idea of mindfulness syncs up with another concept which many of us became aware of 40-50 years ago, that of living holistically. I can't say I've lived that conscientiously, but the notion certainly has gained more appeal as I get older.

I mention all this because it seems to me that in many respects that Native peoples practiced these things in a manner that we could have learned from had there been an attempt to do so. Native culture was a holistic relationship with the elements, with the earth, with one another, and here in the Northland many features of their culture have been re-emerging.

One way to gain a window into Native culture is through the arts. This coming Tuesday the Duluth Art Institute is hosting a closing reception July 24 for the exhibition Niiyo-wiij-anishinaabeg, which is translated "Four Friends." The exhibit has been currently on display in the Great Hall at the Depot.

The four friends include the three artists and a space holder for you, the viewer, to become a part of the relationship the artists all have in common, creating art to build community and relationships among humanity. As you explore each unique piece, you're invited to reflect on your path as you experience "traveling with friends together" (wiijiiwaagan). The exhibition includes sketches by Joe Geshick and George Morrison as the blueprints for what would become their master works and signature styles. Carl Gawboy has eight new works on paper that storyboard the artist's first major book project, set to be released later this year.

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Tonite it's Third Thursday in Superior

Bee sure to check out the Honey Bee Fest 
(follow This Link)
Two days of great music and more.
"Let me tell you 'bout the birds and the Bees."
No, it's actually much more than that, though it's
so beautiful there you just might fall in love again.
It's kinda what happens at Oldenburg House.

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