Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Dylan's Blowing in the Wind Gets a New Twist in Super Bowl LIII

I first heard the song when Eddie Hilliker loaned me The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan of which "Blowing in the Wind" was the opening track. Its breadth and heartfelt simplicity was striking. I was in seventh grade.

This weekend millions of people will be hearing that same, simple yet thought-provoking song in an Oscar-nominated commercial featuring the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales and wind power. OK, no, I made that up about an Oscar nomination, but it really is a beautifully filmed spot. And like everything else Bob does it's generating buzz.

* * * *
When we took our daughter to college--the University of Minnesota, Morris--we were surprised to learn that the wind turbine there supplied 60% of the school's electrical power. The school is located on the flatlands of Western Minnesota and as you drive that long stretch of two-lane blacktop from Sauk Center to Morris, the wind turbine in the distance serves as the first sign that you are nearing your destination.

When several years later my daughter and her husband went back to Morris to marry, the wedding taking place in a park near what are now two wind turbines. Dylan was part of that experience as well, as I walked her down the "aisle" to Love Minus Zero/No Limit.

* * * *
As for the commercial, it is a remarkable piece of camerawork, filmed entirely in a single shot. By drone? The title of the spot is "Wind Never Felt Better" which has multiple layers to it.

It opens with the wind blowing on a dog's face, the little fellow clearly enjoying it. Then the camera pulls back and we see those famous Clydesdales pulling the Budweiser wagon across a field. Toward the end, just as the wind is mentioned for the first time in the song, the angle shifts again to reveal the turbines generating electricity.

The choreography is simply splendid. Every facet shows a masterful touch. From the opening emotional connection to the final logo on one of the turbines as the camera pulls away, every detail seems to have been considered.

Some may suggest that Dylan has sold out once again, permitting capitalists to degrade this anthem of the Sixties. In response I would suggest otherwise. What a great way to resurrect this important song, to widen its reach in a new era, in a period of time as turbulent as those early days of cultural upheaval. And just as the wind is generating energy for Budweiser now, "Blowin' in the Wind" energized a generation.

* * * *
Here are the lyrics for the whole of the song, still worth pondering today.

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
Yes, ’n’ how many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, ’n’ how many times must the cannonballs fly
Before they’re forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

How many years can a mountain exist
Before it’s washed to the sea?
Yes, ’n’ how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, ’n’ how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn’t see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, ’n’ how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, ’n’ how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

Copyright © 1962 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1990 by Special Rider Music

Dylan has performed the song live 1552 times since April 1962, most recently at the Beacon Theater in New York this past December 1. The song has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and ranks #14 on Rolling Stone's list of 500 greatest songs of all time.

Related Links
Kate Street's Simplemost account of the new Budweiser spot.
Wind Energy Statistics
Infographics and Stats from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)

TRIVIA: Today is the 60th Anniversary of the evening when Bobby Zimmerman went with his friend Louis Kemp to see Buddy Holly and the Winter Dance Party at the Historic Duluth Armory.

Snapshots from Our 60th Anniversary Dance Party @ The Sports Garden

Born Too Late brought back memories from before their time.
Sunday evening we celebrated the 60th Anniversary of Buddy Holly's Dance Party at the Armory. Born Too Late opened the show, featuring lead singer Rokkyn, Bella lead guitar, Taylor on bass and Traxx on the drum it. And the kids were all right, warming up the crowd with some old time favorites--Burning Love, Be My Baby, Folsom Prison Blues and Johnny B Goode.

Todd Eckart & his team then rolled out an hour of rockin' tunes from the 50s, followed by a second set of Buddy Holly originals. George (bass), Matt (drums) and a wailin' Jimi Cooper set peoples' feet to stompin' and rompin'...

If you couldn't be there, here's what you missed.
(Photos courtesy Michael K. Anderson unless otherwise designated.)

Smokin' Todd Eckart and his Roadhouse Boys packed the house.

Secret of their success? It was in the shoes. High tech & solid gold.
Photo courtesy Donald Jay Olson

Photo by Ed Newman, of Michael Anderson documentarian & winning dancers
Photo by the author

The temp here today is 40 below, a very cold morning and reminiscent of 60 years ago.
When Buddy Holly and the Winter Dance Party played at the Duluth Armory, it was weather these Texas and California boys could never have imagined. When the bus left Duluth that evening it was 20-below with a 40-below wind chill. Halfway across Wisconsin in the middle of nowhere the bus broke down. You can read about the rest of that frightening night ride here. Drummer Carl Bunch got frostbitten feet and was unable to play in Milwaukee the next evening.

Meantime, life goes on... Stay warm.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Local Art Seen: Scott Murphy's Delightful Duluth Story Mural Inside the Depot

Don't you just love all the new murals that have been popping up around Duluth. The Lincoln Park Craft District has especially come alive with public art the past few years.

One of our more visible murals that nearly everyone sees who goes downtown is that pillar support which Scott Murphy painted to look like the spines of books in that public area beneath a portion of the library. A few of the selected books there are by local authors, which is especially cool.

Today I wanted to highlight another favorite Scott Murphy mural, this one on the interior of the Depot in the vicinity of the theater there. It's in a circular space so that the wide, horizontal painting curls around you. The photos here are in order from left to right, with many familiar Duluth landmarks. How many do you recognize? Take time to enjoy it next time you are in the Depot. In addition to people and places, you will see a few a few amusing Murphy trademarks...

The Duluth Art Institute Member Show is in the Great Hall and three exhibitions upstairs in the galleries. If you go, be sure to also take a few minutes to take in Scott Murphy's wonderful gift to the community.

Related Links

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

Monday, January 28, 2019

The No-Boss Business Model Is Flawed

Photo by Hans-Peter Gauster on Unsplash
This morning I came across an interesting article at Aeon that struck a chord with me titled No Boss? No Thanks. It brought to mind a bad experience I had between 15 and 20 years ago dealing with a very flat organization that had no bosses. Everyone in the company was a "boss" sort of. The opening sentence hooked me in as did the lines that followed:

Management thinking is notoriously faddish. One week, the gurus, star CEOs, pundits and professors are talking about downsizing as the solution to corporate bureaucracy and inefficiency. The next week, the bandwagon has moved on to knowledge-management. Then to empowerment. And so on – sometimes in cycles, such that old ideas are revived, dressed up and resold to a gullible audience. Serious thinkers might pooh-pooh all this as guru talk, driven by media hype and ‘thought leaders’ hawking their latest books.

What is interesting is when one idea is pushed from the top down as the way to proceed and then the following year a new approach is propagated that directly contradicts the first. The ideas a pushed by "authorities" whose books become bestsellers and therefore the ideas must be good, right?

After giving several examples of fads (a few of which I experienced at one time) Nikolai Fossi and Peter Klein, authors of the No Boss? No Thanks piece, proceed to discuss the super-flat organization.

The concept is, in essence, a reaction against the dehumanizing effect of corporate culture. It is also an attempt to empower everyone in the organization. The problem comes when you make the company so flat that no one is in charge. There is no leadership. "We're all leaders here."

Sounds good in theory, but what happens in practice? What about decisions regarding company direction? Or when customers are mis-handled?

I was responsible for the advertising and signage at our local airport when a new vendor was selected to manage the interior design space there. The company was a "flat" organization with everyone on the same level. Each was a boss or supervisor or whatever. The contracts were created with someone who seemed capable, but when it came time to execute the plan problems ensued.

Before long I had a different rep. There were unresolved issues and I wanted to speak to her supervisor to address the way our account was being handled. That is when I learned the problem of flat organizations. There was no one higher up the chain of command. When I tried to address the issue by speaking with others in the company it was always bounced back to the problem person.

As the Aeon article's authors observe, "Someone needs to be held accountable for the firm’s actions – the buck has to stop somewhere."

If I recall correctly, Peter Drucker addresses this issue in The Effective Executive by pointing out that when there is a fire, someone has to dictate, "OK, everyone run this way and head out that exit."

Leaders don't have to micromanage every dot and tittle, but when the occasion calls for it, someone has to take charge and make a decision. Drucker emphatically states that making decisions is the key responsibility of leadership.

The bottom line here, again citing Aeon, is what you might expect: "As should be clear by now, we think that the bossless-company narrative has been badly oversold by its proponents."

I'm not suggesting that there is a perfect way to run an organization. Let's face it, businesses are made up of persons, people who are also struggling with issues of meaning, concealing areas of incompetence, pride and insecurities.

When all is said and done, this article is a pretty darned-good read. No Boss? No Thanks.

Here is the URL should the link be dead:

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee Helps Put "Manifest Destiny" In Perspective

I first read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee 45 years ago as part of a Native American anthropology class during my senior year at Ohio University. At the time I was unaware of how recently it had been published. Now, it is nearly a half century since Dee Brown wrote this remarkable book documenting a tragic history of the relations between the European settlers and the indigenous peoples who once lived free, in harmony with the land.

Having grown up in suburban Cleveland and New Jersey, I had little to no awareness that these lands had once been wide open and homelands for another race of peoples. There is little to no visible evidence in the Eastern regions of our country. The high school I attended in New Jersey was Bridgewater-Raritan and I was oblivious to the fact that the Raritans were the native peoples in that region at one time.

Since the late Seventies I have lived primarily in Minnesota where there is a much more visible Native culture. For those desirous to learn more it's a rewarding and revealing experience. In addition, the history here is much nearer than when I grew up in Washington Valley in Bridgewater. Within our lifetimes we would have been able to talk with the children of people who had seen Custer's assault on the Sioux at Little Big Horn.

I'm guessing that most Americans are oblivious to the history presented in Dee Brown's narrative. For myself it reads like Foxe's Book of Martyrs, except instead of Protestants being burned alive and suffering all manner of abuse, it is the Native tribal peoples being repeatedly pushed around, starved and slaughtered. It is unbelievable how many treaties were signed only to be broken by our government. It's equally unbelievable how much suffering the "civilized" descendants of of Europeans inflicted on the "uncivilized native peoples.

Here are some reviews of the book that resonated with me.

“Shattering, appalling, compelling...One wonders, reading this searing, heartbreaking book, who, indeed, were the savages.” ―William McPherson, The Washington Post

“Extraordinarily powerful.” ―Nat Hentoff

“Original, remarkable, and finally heartbreaking . . . Impossible to put down.” ―The New York Times

Dee Brown's meticulous research comes across as a fair and reliable presentation of what actually happened. I personally disliked the movie Dances With Wolves because the Hollywood version of this story had no good white people (except Kevin Kostner) and no bad Native peoples. Brown presents a true history where there were officers sympathetic to the tribal peoples, and occasionally young Native peoples who lacked discipline (after being starved) and in anger did things they ought not to have done, with absurdly harsh suffering inflicted in return.

Sometimes bounties were given for gathering Native's scalps. Naturally, this inspires the wrong type of people to get into the "Indian hunting" business. It's hard to to live free when there's a price on your head, just for being born. It makes my stomach churn, and all readers with a conscience will feel a measure of pain.

Here are a few reviews from readers at Amazon:

R. Lee: A tough read not because it's not excellent, but because it is painful. The clearest picture it paints is that the most ever enduring and quintessential American values are greed and consumption at the expense of the less powerful... My heart hurts for the injustices meted out by the American government.

Craig Wood: Each of the chapters -- covering different tribes and historical events -- is thoroughly researched. Dee Brown clearly spent years researching his subject, and his diligence is evident throughout the text. It's a weighty topic, and the author pays due respect to it through his thoughtful and meticulous work.

Robert Maley: Good to look back on our history, so we keep things in perspective. What whites did to the Native Americans is shameful and should never be forgotten. Hard to believe that our society was so capable of such cruelty.

* * * *

FWIW, I am listening to the audiobook, narrated by Grover Gardner.

The history of suffering is the history of our human race. The Cold War Killing Fields reveals the untold suffering inflicted by American on civilians from WW2 to end of the Cold War. Sadly, when you consider slavery, and our treatment of the proud, indigenous peoples who were this continent's first caretakers and conservationists, it's incomprehensible that these things were done by people who went to church on Sunday.

I'm reminded of the Barry Maguire line, "Hate your next door neighbor but don't forget to say grace." It's all too sad.

Related Links
The Power of Imagery in Steve Premo’s “Free the Slave — Slay the Free” 
The Cold War's Killing Fields, a Review

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Local Art Seen: DAI Member Show Is Always a Favorite

The Great Hall at the Depot. Duluth Art Institute Member Show.
I don't know what the temperature was precisely, but it was cold Thursday evening. That didn't stop people from filling the parking lot with cars and the Depot with friends of the arts. Here is a representative sampling of some of the 123 pieces I saw in the Member Show.

Margaret Helstrom's Pink made me think of Matisse.
Faith Holding Hope, by Shawna Gilmore.
Shells, by Doug Dunham. Digital print on aluminum.
Days on the Wine Dark Sea #1 by Karen Nease.
Kris Nelson's Delft Influenced.

Sarah Brokke Erickson's She is the Moment Just Before.
I Believe In Chance by Adam Swansom
Matt Kania's Mr. Potato Mouth (Check out his show at the Zeitgeist before it's gone.)
Tab Benoit Sings the Blues, by William Wise
Bridges of Tischer Creek, by TJ Beaulier. Oil on wood relief.
Linda Glisson, Moving Through
Aza, by Ivy Vainio
Red Wine and Song by Ingeborg Von Agassiz
Detail from Patricia Lenz's Overseeing Loss in the House of Insects


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

Friday, January 25, 2019

Tribute to Mary Oliver: Local Poets Reflect

To honor her passing on January 17, this past week Duluth poets each read a favorite Mary Oliver poem at 6:40 A.M. each day on Duluth radio station KUMD’s Northland Morning program at 103.3 FM. In the event you were not able to catch these morsels, here is what you missed.

Guest Post
Phil Fitzpatrick

22 January 2019

Phil Fitzpatrick reads "Three Feet Away" at
Duluth Dylan Fest, May 2015
Mary Oliver passed away last week at the age of 83. She has been a beacon to poets and non-poets for decades and once gave a reading here in Duluth at The College of St. Scholastica. She has meant, and still means so much to so many. It’s almost too obvious to say, and yet for her devoted readers, her poems yield so many varied and crystal-clear access points to her unique perspective on nature and on human nature.

The five members of one of the several writing groups in the Twin Ports area share their own personal takes on what Mary Oliver and her poetry means to each of them. Perhaps in these five references to her work and her life, you might find a link to other poems and other truths.

Candace Ginsberg: Candace offers this snippet from Mary Oliver’s “A Settlement”:

And I am walking out into all of this with nowhere to go and no task undertaken but to turn the pages of this beautiful world over and over, in the world of my mind.
* * *
Therefore, dark past,
I’m about to do it.
I’m about to forgive you
for everything.

Deb Cooper: I’ve carried her poems with me and in me over the past decades, particular ones essential to my life at certain times. Most recently, it is these lines:

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.

Ellie Schoenfeld: Mary Oliver said, "For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold..." and that is exactly what her poems have been for me.

Penny Perry: From “Winter at Herring Grove”:

“Of all the reasons for gladness,
What could be foremost this one:
That the mind can seize both the instant and the memory!"

Perfect description of the joys of the still observer.

Phil Fitzpatrick: In my mind, among the countless Mary Oliver standout poems is “In Blackwater Woods” which we read at my mother’s memorial service in 2004. Its wise prescription for carrying on in the face of loss continues to have daily relevance to me:

To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal,
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

* * * *

As it turns out I have a couple connections to the late poet. She was from Maple Heights, Ohio. I, too, lived in Maple Heights for a time, till the year I turned 12.

A second connection would be through an apparent mutual interest in Bob Dylan. Though he's not mentioned in the poem by name, other than in the title "And Bob Dylan Too," it was fun to discover this poem a few years back, which I shared here on Ennyman's Territory in October 2017.

* * * * 
Related Links
Deb Cooper reads "Roses, Late Summer"
Gary Boewhower reads "Mindfulness"
Ellie Schoenfield reads "Dogfish"

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Upcoming Events at Oldenburg House & Two Harbors and a Reminders About Tonight

How to catch an artist. 
First let's start with the Art: The DAI Member Show and the Biennial Opening Receptions are tonight at the Depot from 5-8 p.m.
Hope to see you there.

* * * *
The Swansons at Oldenburg House in Carlton have released a schedule of upcoming presenters and performers for Magnolia Salon and Cookin' at the O.


Register Here

Register Here

Sarah Greer
Register Here 

Register Here

Register Here

Register Here

Register Here

* * * *
Guest Artist Bonnie Cutts will be at Two Harbors Community Center for an Art Lecture and Workshops. The events are sponsored by Voyageur Artists.

Bonnie Cutts
Bonnie Cutts is a Minnesota artist  who was trained by GOLDEN for the Certified Working Artist Program in 1998. Since 1998 she has been offering lecture/demos and hands on workshops in select locations around the midwest. Bonnie is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where she received her B.F.A. in drawing and painting. She has been exhibiting her work professionally since 1981, in both solo and group shows. Her drawings and paintings are included in numerous corporate and private collections around the country.

HERE ARE DETAILS of the Two Harbors workshops.
>>SCROLL DOWN TO THE DESCRIPTIONS that correspond with date of even you wish to attend.

FREE Mixed Media Techniques Lecture and Demo
February 15th     6:00 - 8:00
Two Harbors Community Center
*No charge but we need at least 15 people
and RSVP is required: email Sandi at

Workshop #1 Loose, Lush Landscapes
February 16th 9:30 - 4:00    (9:30 checkin and setup)
Two Harbors Community Center
$100 Non-members ($75 + $10 materials fee for members)

Workshop #2 Encaustic Effects With Acrylics 
February 17th 9:30 - 4:00 (9:30 checkin and setup)
Two Harbors Community Center 
$100 Non-members ($75 + $10 materials fee for members)

Meantime, art goes on all around you. Get into it.
See you tonight @ the DAI

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

MSP Airport Takes a Big Step Forward for the Arts: RFPs and Other News

Girls check out a display at MSP.
I've done a lot of business traveling these past 30 years and one of my favorite aspects of all those planes, trains and automobiles (ok, very few trains) has been seeing the ways airports design their interior spaces, especially with regards to the local art and the stories they tell. The Allentown-Bethlehem airport showcases local student art at its entrance and a display from the Martin guitar factory as you check in and depart. (There was a very nice vintage 1937 Martin 00-42 guitar used by Chris Weber while recording a portion of Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.)

Memphis has its Elvis tribute, among other things. At the Minneapolis airport there's always been a long area in the A-C wing of the terminal featuring local and regional artists. When not in a hurry I skip the moving walkway in order to saunter more deliberately up close to the art work.

ALL THIS TO SAY that the airport has a new director for the Arts@MSP. (If you travel much, you already know the each airport in the world has a three letter designation. Duluth, for example, is DLH.) The new director is Ben Owen and he has put the word out that he's looking for proposals on how to use some of the wall space at Minnesota's busiest airport. The following was forwarded to me earlier this week. 

The latest news and project opportunities 
from Arts@MSP

Airport Foundation MSP  

Happy New Year from the Arts@MSP Program at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport!

I trust that 2019 is off to a wonderful start for you. My name is Ben Owen, and I am the new director of Arts@MSP.

The airport features performance art as well.
If you have not heard of us before, Arts@MSP is a partnership between the Airport Foundation MSP and the Metropolitan Airports Commission. The program includes visual arts, performing arts, and exhibits that showcase the cultural and natural heritage of the Upper Midwest. We will use this newsletter to share updates about arts and culture programming at MSP, and to announce upcoming commissioned art projects and other opportunities to get involved with our program.

There are two immediate job opportunities for experienced arts management dynamos to join the Arts@MSP team. If you or anyone you know is interested in working at the intersection of public art and the aviation industry, we would like to hear from you. Note that if you applied between December 21, 2018 and January 16, 2019, we may not have received your application because of technical difficulties with our email server. Please resubmit your application at the links below.

Lastly, if you are a visual or performing artist, artisan, or a representative of a partnering organization, we have three opportunities for you to share your creativity, talent, and stories with the traveling public, as well as one from the City of Bloomington. Follow the links below or visit our current opportunities page for additional information.

As always, please reach out with any questions about the Arts@MSP Program.

All my best, Ben

Help Us Make Art Happen

Exhibitions Coordinator

We are looking for an experienced professional to coordinate exhibitions programs at MSP. If you have experience with art handling, collections management, exhibitions preparation, gallery administration, and/or visual arts selection, read more here

Performing Arts Coordinator

We are looking for an experienced professional to coordinate performing arts programs at MSP. If you have experience with musical and/or performing arts selection, cultural, or non-profit programming, and working with audio equipment, read more here

Help Us Transform Space to Place

Request for Exhibit Proposals 
at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport

Ongoing Recruitment
Overview: The Arts@MSP Program requests exhibit theme proposals from artists, artisans, and partnering organizations for a variety of select locations in Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport.

View full RFP

Request for Performing Arts Proposals 
at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport

Ongoing Recruitment
Overview: The Arts@MSP Program requests qualifications from performing artists and arts organizations whose work reflects the rich diversity of the Upper Midwest to showcase their unique talent at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport.

View full RFP

Caribou MSP Airport North Terminal Art Installation
Deadline – February 14, 2019, 11:59 PM CST

Overview: Caribou MSP Airport, a Minnesota Joint Venture between Francicorp, Inc. and Caribou Coffee Company, Inc., seeks an artist to create designs and install a two-dimensional art piece to be incorporated into the new Caribou at the entrance to the North Terminal Mall at Terminal 1 of Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport.

View full RFP

* * * *

Thank you to Ben Owen and the Airport Foundation MSP. And thank you, David Beard, for sharing this information with the Northland arts community. Just one more example of how Art goes on all around us.

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