Monday, December 31, 2018

End of Year Sign Off. Getting Ready to Turn the Page.

Skyline Drive just west of Twin Ponds.
Through most of November and December, Mother Nature has been fairly stingy as regards Northland snowfall. She made up for it here during the Christmas season, and despite the extra work involved, the scenery certainly becomes quite stirring.

This week's big media news has been a Sandra Bullock film called Bird Box. I've not seen it because I am wearing a blindfold, but something like 45 million people purportedly watched it the first week after it was released.

In other news, the Yellow Jackets are on the move. Belgium, Israel, Italy and elsewhere, people are making a fashion statement. Not exactly an "electrical banana" mellow yellow, but it seems to be catching on as the color of the year.

The color yellow was fairly prominent in California news this year, too. As in wildfires, also out of control and difficult to contain.


Since we're knee-deep in the Northland winter season here, it seems like a good time to recall to mind a bit of that ol' Summertime. Here are a handful of jazzy, schnazzy and bluesy versions to help you dream and ring in the new year.

George & Ira Gershwin' classic rendered by Andrea Motis with The Joan Chamorro Quintet and Scott Hamilton.

Here's Charlie Parker's rendition of the same classic.

I had the privilege of seeing Doc Watson in 1972 at a Folk Festival at Ohio University. 

I doubt the Gershwin's could have half imagined Janis's emotive rendition.

If you are in any way a creative being, 
strive to go beyond yourself this coming year. 
Dreams help all of us to thrive.


Sunday, December 30, 2018

Looking Back: The Year In Pictures--24 Images from Ennyman's Territory 2018

I stopped here to eat while driving up the East Coast last spring.
I became a grandfather this year for the first time.
Painter Frank Holmes made this cute construction.
Duluth Dylan Fest banner ad. Bob turned 77 this year.
Pianos were part of this year's story.
Earth Rider logo. Craft beer scene continues to expand. 
Jacob Mahon, busker and emerging talent.
Now an annual highlight.
Blood on the Tracks Express. Music, and more music.
Oldenburg House emerged as a special place in Carlton.
The Glory Pool at Oldenburg House.
Movies made up part of our lives.
Husby Pottery continues to be part of the visual arts scene here.
We had a Honey Bee Festival in Carlton, also. 
A visit from journalists in Pakistan produced some adventures.
I learned a bit more about public art this year.
This Minneapolis mural is six stories tall, and priceless.
Saturday jazz at Saratoga came to an end this year. Just passing the time now.
Selfies were part of 2018 again.
Many atyp art venues continue to pop up. 
Shout out to Kathy McTavish and others doing original artwork on the fringes.
Minnesota musicians received their due this fall. (Blood on the Tracks)
Sometimes life is pretty magical. I wonder what's in the cards for 2019.
As we turn the page on another amazing year, it was also a year with significant losses. Aretha Franklin, George H.W. Bush, John McCain are among the more well-known of the many celebrated whom we lost this year. Locally, a big hole was left after the passing of John Bushey, host of KUMD's Highway 61 Revisited.

Have you got any major goals lined up for 2019? Don't be afraid to think big. 

Saturday, December 29, 2018

A Visit with Michael K. Anderson: Unassuming Gift to the Community

Musician Jim Hall. Photo by Michael Anderson.
I can't recall precisely when I first met Michael Anderson, though my guess is that it was about five years ago. The occasion was a Duluth Dylan Fest concert with Scarlet Rivera, Gene LaFond and a host of others. I could see by the camera gear he wore like a necklace that he was probably a pro photographer, and when I learned that he was documenting the concert for the Armory, it wasn't hard to come to that conclusion. As a blogger also playing the documentation game, I was please to learn he would be happy to share with me his photos afterwards.

So began a relationship of several years duration in which I would be on the receiving end of Michael's generosity on behalf of the community.

Over time, I learned that photographer Michael Anderson, like most of us, has many other facets and upon learning of some of these varied interests I wanted to shine a light on this man who has been so self-sacrificing, whom so many know but really only know in a very narrow way.

EN: Briefly outline you career path from college to present.

Ryan Lane. Photo Credit: Michael Anderson.
Michael K. Anderson: I finished my undergraduate work in 1992, a 23-year process between a couple of semesters after high school through a couple of decades working as a journeyman millwright at a local industrial plant. The bachelor’s degree was a big goal for me as I never believed I was smart enough to ‘make the grade,’ graduating in the lower half of my high school class. I initiated college classes while I was still working full time and the confidence and momentum continued to grow until I was close enough to finishing the degree (start of my senior year) and I had vested myself in the retirement program with 20 years at the plant.

After finishing the Bachelor’s degree I started singing principal roles in local musical theater and grew quickly as an actor/singer (a potential I’d always had but did not have the confidence or incentive to move in that direction).

At the same time I was developing a reputation as a photographer with an initial focus on the Superior Municipal Forest & The St. Louis Estuary. I was working as a canoe/kayak instructor with The UMD Kayak & Canoe Institute and the Trek & Trail program in Duluth. I had also initiated a guide service into the Municipal Forest Called Urban Wild. My intention at the time was to let people know of the significance of the Forest and the value of an urban wild within the city boundaries. The Forest totals over 5,000 acres of Boreal Forest as well as 27 miles of shoreline: part of the St. Louis River Estuary System. I was able to take two of the Superior mayors into the forest by canoe to let them know of its beauty and significance. At that time there were issues with potential development in The Forest and I figured the greater the awareness of its significance the better opportunity to stop the development.

Over time the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources took an interest in establishing a State Natural Area in half of the forest & waterways, considering it an ‘exquisite’ natural area and, a few years after, the National Oceanographic & Aeronautical Association (NOAA) chose the St. Louis River Estuary as the second fresh water National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) in the nation. I acted as a resource with my experience guiding in the area as well as sharing my photography.

This is a history of the unfolding after finishing the Bachelor’s degree. Even with the opportunities as a singer & photographer I had the opportunity to go back to work as a millwright at the hardboard plant for financial reasons. The plant closed 5 years later, burning that bridge, opening other options in my life. At this point I was able to step into the masters in social work program at UMD with re-training funding available for dis-placed workers ( a program Paul Wellstone made possible).

Josie Langhorst. 2018 Singer/Songwriter performer.
Photo: Michael Anderson
EN: We met through your photography work on behalf of the Armory. I then discovered you have been shooting all variety of subjects. How did you come to take a serious interest in photography?

MKA: With the social work degree (and a commitment to digital photography equipment) I started photographing many social justice events, volunteering my services to gain experience & increased recognition. This has facilitated publication of my work nationally & internationally.

I also enjoy portrait photography, looking to capture the ‘character’ of my subjects.

EN: In addition to psychology and photography you’re something of an outdoorsman. How does canoeing and being out on the water inform your other interests?

MKA: I have always been connected with the outdoors and, with a painful break up in the early ‘80s, my time on the waters of the St. Louis River & The City Forest increased significantly to facilitate healing. This retreat into nature lasted for years & enhanced my creativity as a writer & photographer.

Water washing kindly, gently through my life
Calming my concerns, removing my fears
Clarifying a vision, a direction in life

My watercraft is guided
Floating gracefully on a sea of complexity
And I, in my place, paddle in hand
Have become an observer, calmly over-seeing

Like the process of sanctification

This deepening spiritual connection lead me to facilitate/guide others into a similar connection with nature. I was able to do this as canoe guide/instructor, photographer, and occasional writer.

"Shakespeare's in the Alley" Dylan tribute by the artist Skye.
Photo: Michael Anderson
EN: You mentioned the importance of breathing properly, which pertains to both singing and yoga. Why is breathing correctly so important?

MKA: My mother was quite the singer who had a passion for music. She wanted the 4 of us kids to take piano lessons to at least have a foundation of musical awareness. I suppose I also was gifted with a voice but I spent years not following that path of vocal development until later in life, especially after leaving the industrial plant the first time & finishing the under-graduate degree. I connected with a voice teacher from New York 15 years ago who was in town. He recognized the potential in my voice but said it needed more foundation: the deep belly breath which connects with the potential (which I believe is found in the belly: our energy center), supporting the vocal expression.

Over the next years with an increased focus on breath & voice work I realized the connection with the physiological & psychological components of vocal expression. I incorporated the work of Reich (a student of Freud) and Alexander Lowen in my master’s thesis on The Effects of Breath & Vocal Training on Self-Expression, Self-Esteem, & Self-Efficacy. This thesis related breathwork with counter-acting sympathetic autonomic nervous system reactivity to external & internal stimulus. We can consciously alter breathing patterns toward belly breathing/yogic breathing to relieve stress stuck in the physiological & psychological body. (Recent studies on trauma & shame support this.)

Facilitating belly breathing to support the vibrational tone has made a significant difference in my ‘voice’ as well as freeing me from the issues around ‘self-expression.’ I have also incorporated bits & pieces from a plethora of ‘routes of knowing’ to continue supporting my thesis and to bring into my work as a psychotherapist, focusing on releasing anxiety (bound up energy) and depression, often leading to other mental disorders. All under the auspices of Voice Work!

* * * *
Related Links
Michael Anderson's Photo Galleries
Bob Dylan Way home page

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

Friday, December 28, 2018

A Life Lesson from Tesla's Memoir, My Inventions

One of the things I like about autobiographies is how they enable you to directly engage with the mind of the author. An autobiography shows what a person thinks about and reveals what is important to them. Samuel Goldwyn jokingly said "No one should write an autobiography until after they are dead," but Mark Twain did him one better. He wrote his while living but would not permit its publication till he had been dead 100 years. That way he could be totally honest, yet not hurt people who were living, some of who he perhaps still cared about.

Nikola Tesla's autobiography is more about his ideas, a very different account than the "tell-all" pilf of gossip columns, though it is not absent of interesting anecdotes about others. The title alone shows that it is of a different character, just as he was a different kind of man.

Tesla's autobiography was originally published in 1919 as a series of six articles in the publication Electrical Experimenter. The chapters are as followes:
(1) My Early Life
(2) My First Efforts in Invention
(3) My Later Endeavors
The Discovery of the Rotating Magnetic Field
(4) The Discovery of the Tesla Coil and Transformer
(5) The Magnifying Transmitter
(6) The Art of Teleautomatics

Like many other influential people, Tesla was a lover of books. "Of all things I liked books the best," he writes. "My father had a large library and whenever I could manage I tried to satisfy my passion for reading."

* * * *
The opening paragraph of the first chapter, My Early Life, contains the lesson I wanted to relay:

The progressive development of man is vitally dependent on invention. It is the most important product of his creative brain. It’s ultimate purpose is the complete mastery of mind over the material world, the harnessing of the forces of nature to human needs. This is the difficult task of the inventor who is often misunderstood and unrewarded. But he finds ample compensation in the pleasing exercises of his powers and in the knowledge of being one of that exceptionally privileged class without whom the race would have long ago perished in the better struggle against pitiless elements.

Here it is, the conviction that formed the foundation of his life quest, his belief that invention is not only a vitally important undertaking, but the most important undertaking of a creative mind.

He saw himself as part of something bigger than himself that was essential to the betterment of the human race. Even if the work was misunderstood and unrewarded, it was a vital and privileged undertaking.

* * * *
The great minds of philosophy likewise considered themselves as participants in a great dialogue that extended back through history through the Enlightenment and back all the way to the Greeks. A man like Nietzsche believed that his work of cultural analysis and commentary was of importance to the larger body of humanity.

The emerging Information Age and thought leaders behind the Internet were fully aware of its potential power to alter our lives in the same manner as the Gutenberg press contributed to the Reformation, the Enlightenment and the expansion of Western Civilization. I recall a 1980s article drawing attention to this information revolution occurring in our lifetimes.

* * * *
Perhaps this is why so many people remain unfulfilled in their careers. They fail to see any connection between their actions and a higher purpose beyond a paycheck. 

There are countless jobs which could easily be shown to have a greater value than even their owners are aware of. Our souls languish when it feels like our activities have no meaning, our labors vain. 

What are you doing to make a difference? 

Thursday, December 27, 2018

The Year In Review: Ennyman's Top Ten Blog Posts of 2018 Feature a Lot of Dylan

It's that time again, as one year ends and another approaches, a good time for summing up. After taking an inventory of pageviews, here's a list of hotlinks to the top ten stories of 2018 at Ennyman's Territory. Hint: They're all about Bob.

I'd like to believe that I've written a lot of thought-provoking and rewarding reads again this year, so popularity is not always the measure of value. (Example: Danielle Steele.)

Drumroll please...

A Visit with Harvard Professor Richard F. Thomas, Author of Why Bob Dylan Matters

Duluth Dylan Fest 2018 Official Schedule

You Never Know Where Bob Dylan Will Show Up Next

More Blood, More Tracks -- The Bootleg Series Thunders On

Why Bob Dylan Matters: New Book Brings Still More Insight Into His Genius

Bob Dylan's Scarlet Town Revisited--Professor Craig Grau Scratches Beneath the Surface of a Complex Roots Story

Start Spreading the News: Dylan Still at the Top of His Game in the Big Apple

Mad Magazine Takes a Poke at Dylan, and Some Additional Dylan-Related Humor

Marking Yesterday's 55th Anniversary of the Release of Bob Dylan's Freewheelin' with Suze Rotolo's Letter to Her Mother

Numero Uno
George Harrison & Friends: The 1971 Concert for Bangladesh

Bonus Track
If you're a Pinterest participant, you might enjoy this Pinterest board titled, All Dylan All the Time.

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

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Almost Wordless Wednesday: 21 Snapshots from the 2018 Twin Ports Art Scene

It was a tremendously rewarding year for viewing art. 
This set of images hardly scratches the surface.
Like a living organism, Twin Ports artists seem to 
continually evolve and renew themselves through 
their devotion to the act of creation. 

Thank you to all who have so freely shared their work.
May you continue to be inspired and inspire others 
as you pursue your passions.

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