NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Monday July 26th 2021

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July 2021

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Correction for Migizi address from July issue

Alley Oops

In the July 2021 issue, we incorrectly gave the address of the new MIGIZI building as 1845 WEST Lake Street. The correct address is 1845 EAST Lake Street. We have learned from this mistake that the “W” and the “E” are next to each other on the keyboard. We have also learned that Nicollet Avenue is the road that divides South Minneapolis into east and west.

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Free and Fun Programming for Children Impacted by Incarcaration

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Community Woodshop Seeks Physical Space and Neighborhood Input

By JESSIE MERRIAM

https://www.fireweedwoodshop.org/

Fireweed Community Woodshop (FCW), formerly known as the Women’s Woodshop, had to close its South Minneapolis physical location in April of 2020 due to COVID. The shop was started by Jess Hirsch in 2016 as a safe studio and classroom space for women and nonbinary folks to practice and learn woodcraft. During the lock-down, she and a group of dedicated instructors, volunteers, and students used the down time to learn and transition the shop to a cooperative nonprofit, renamed Fireweed.

Fireweed’s mission is to facilitate creative and vocational experiences in the art of woodcraft for genders traditionally marginalized in the field.

Throughout the past year, the woodshop has offered virtual hand tool classes such as spoon carving, chip carving, woodblock printmaking, and Dala horse carving as well as demos such as dovetails and bowl carving. The virtual space created new opportunities to gather folks outside of the metro area as well as large groups together in panel discussions such as “Getting into the Trades,” “Getting into Furniture,” and “Building Codes and Construction Standards.”

While virtual programming will continue, FCW is seeking a new physical space to facilitate more varied classes, fabrication projects, support local makers through retail, and to gather as a community again.

FCW is also hoping to reach new communities post-lock- down and is interested in hearing from community members about what they
would like to see offered at a femme-centered woodworking space,
and will be launching a “Get Involved” page with inquiry forms for volunteers, apprentices, instructors and board members in the coming
weeks.

Some of the in-person classes offered pre-pandemic
BIPOC spoon carving class, June 2021, taught by Fireweed instructor Vanessa Walton in coor- dination with St Paul Parks and Recreation. Photo by ASHA SHOFFNER

Community inquiries and feedback can be directed to

fireweedwoodshop@gmail.com.

Check out www.fireweedwoodshop.org and @fireweedwoodshop for updates on free summer carving hangouts and other events and offerings.

Any leads on affordable spaces that can support the electri- cal needs of power tools and classroom gathering can also be directed to fireweedwood- shop@gmail.com.

Jessie Merriam is an instructor, Education Committee member, and free carving hangout coordinator with Fireweed Community Woodshop.

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Peace House Community: A Place to Belong

Pleased to Almost Meet You

By MARTI MALTBY

I stole the title for this column from Colin Hay, the lead singer from Men Without Hats. His song “Pleased to Almost Meet You’ is a tongue in cheek commentary on how people these days tend to talk a lot about getting together without ever actually meeting. The song opens with the lines:

I’m pleased to almost meet you
The pleasure’s almost mine
I can see that you’re busy
Perhaps another time
I’m pleased to almost meet you
Here let me get that door
No need for conversation
They do say less is more

Before covid hit, I heard many people talk about being too busy to spend time with friends or family. After covid hit and everyone started interacting through video chats, the discussion focused on how much people missed face to face interaction. Now I’ve heard debates about whether workers will want to come back to the office or stay at home, whether we will keep connecting with far-flung friends through our phones or just go back to meeting at coffee shops, and whether we will gather in places of worship or simply watch online videos of the services from the comfort of our pajamas and living room couches.

As the discussions have evolved, I’ve been interested more in the reasons someone would choose one alternative over another. Some argue that returning to the office will spark greater creativity as workers share ideas and experiences, while others proclaim the benefits of being able to focus on a project without being distracted by coworkers. Creativity versus efficiency – which will win? Will we value personal comfort over communal health?

I have no idea what our future socializing will look like, or which values will dominate our future interactions, but I have come to a few conclusions. First, I think many people have realized how much they really need to be connected to others. For all the binge watching of television shows and all the online shopping, many of us realized that personal interaction means more to our emotional wellbeing than we had realized. Computers can only do so much for us. We still need to play, to connect, to be heard, and to contribute to something beyond ourselves to feel whole.

Second, as a society we’ve learned a lot about the opportunities and limitations of technology. Hopefully we’ll use this lesson to find the balance between interpersonal interactions and impersonal transactions. Computers can do some things for us that would be time consuming and agonizing if we did them ourselves, but we’ve also learned that some things, like conversations with the people around us, shouldn’t be moderated by a computer screen. At least, I hope we learned that. As I said, I don’t know what the future will look like.

The optimistic part of me believes that I have learned from this time and that I will have a richer life because of it. I hope the same for all of you.

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An Unexpected Blessing

RETURNING CHAPTER 10

By PATRICK CABELLO HANSEL

Agnes led them down the alley to 29th Street, then scampered over to Bloomington, and down the steps to the Greenway. Luz followed quickly, with little Angel in her arms. Big Angel slipped on the leftover ice on one of the steps, and slid on his butt most of the way down. His adrenalin was pumping so hard, he didn’t notice the pain, or the wetness in his pants.

When he got to the bottom of the stairs, he couldn’t see anyone. He thought he had lost the rest of his family, and fear gripped his entire body.  Oh god, no! he thought, I can’t do this.  There was icy fog along the Greenway, and try as he might, he couldn’t see anyone in any direction.

Then Agnes called his name.

“Angel,” she shouted. “We have to hurry!”

She was under the 15th Avenue Bridge, and moving fast. Luz was struggling to keep up with her.

“How can that old lady move so fast?” Angel said, out loud, and started running. He slipped again and fell in a slush pile. Now he could really feel the pain and the wet.

He caught up to them just as they were heading up the 13th Avenue ramp. They all made it to the top without falling. Only Agnes was not out of breath.

“Is it ok if we take a shortcut?” she asked. She didn’t wait, but cut behind the fence that had signs posted saying, “No Trespassing—Property of Hennepin County Railroad Authority.”

Luz passed little Angel to Angel and the three of them followed. Fortunately, Agnes had slowed down a little, to step around the tree roots and other junk that was there. An old mattress, two-thirds of a bicycle, bottles, a bag of wet clothes, the remnants of a blue tarp.  

They followed the fence line for what seemed a long time. Neither Luz nor Angel could see where they were going, but they didn’t know what else to do but follow Agnes.  

Agnes stopped at a place where a tree had grown into the fence. Its main trunk surrounded the chain link, and little branches entwined in the top.

“Here’s where you go through,” she said.  

“Aren’t you coming with us?” Luz asked.

“Don’t worry, litet ljus,” she said.  “I will meet you where you are going.”

“But where are we going?” Angel asked.

“Go up this alley one block, cross the street by the Grease Pit. There’s a brick building halfway up the next. Go to the back door and ring three times and wait. Three times. No more, no less.”

Then, as if she were some kind of animal acquainted with the night, she slipped away down the ravine.

“Angel, what are we going to do?” Luz asked.

“Do you trust her?” he answered.

“I do. I don’t know why. We just met her, and we don’t know anything about her. But she said she knows Mother Light.”

“Right,” Angel said. “But how do we get through this fence?”

Both of them looked and touched and prodded the chain link to look for any opening. They were about to give up when Angelito said “Mami, papi, look—steps!”

Sure enough, there were little pieces of wood hammered into the tree trunk.  How hadn’t we seen them before? Angel wondered.

They were going to help Angelito climb up, but when they went to grab him, they didn’t see him.

“C’mon guys,” he said.  He was already on the other side of the fence.

The two weary parents scrambled up the tree over the fence. Luz scooped up Angel and started to  walk down the alley. Angel turned to look back at the tree, but somehow it didn’t seem to be there.  He was baffled how that could be, but Luz was calling him to follow quickly.

As they got to 28th, they could see a warm, golden glow coming from the alley across the street.  The glow grew slightly as they approached the building.  Following Agnes’ instructions, they rang three times, and waited for what seemed to be an eternity.

Angel was about to ring again, but Luz’ hand stopped him.

“She said ‘ring only three time’, remember?” she said.

Just then, the door opened and the warm glow they had seen was now accompanied by the smell of freshly baked bread and cinnamon.  And who was standing there, but Agnes, in a bright white dress, with a neckline trimmed in light blue and gold.

To be continued…

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Free Native Pollinator Plants! Plantas Polinizadores Nativas Gratuitos!

Corcoran Pollinator Project has free native plants and pollinator gardening resources to share with Phillips residents. For more info check out corcoranpollinatorproject.org or email corcoranpollinatorproject@gmail.com.

Corcoran Pollinator Project tiene plantas nativas y recursos de jardinería polinizadores gratuitos para compartir con los residentes de Phillips. Para obtener más información, envíe un correo electrónico a corcoranpollinatorproject@ gmail.com.

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Unconventional Stories from a Firebrand

Arts, No Chaser

By DWIGHT HOBBES
David Daniels. Photo by Mitch Olson

Quintessential firebrand David Daniels is that rarity, a performance artist who, instead of self-righteously blowing hot air, actually utilizes spoken word to send messages of consequence.

An auspicious debut was his play Malcolm X Meet Peter Tosh, premiering at South Minneapolis’ Cedar Cultural Center (1993), moving to a 2-year stint in Denver (Mercury Cafe), its popularity there and at other venues starting his career off with considerable traction. He made his home here and recalls, “I feel fortunate to have been part of a rich counter-cultural history…in Minneapolis. My time living on the West Bank and working at the New Riverside Cafe brought me into it. The West Bank was Haight-Asbury long after the Haight was just a memory for the counter-culture.  Its blend of artists activists and musicians was instrumental in the development of my work.” A partial listing of that work includes the Talkin’ Roots and 4:20 Report CDs, I, Edgar HooverBlack Hippie Chronicles and Kolorada…A Western Tale, and a week-long hit at the 1997 New York International Fringe Festival. Daniels has performed in Holland, Germany, and France, recalling “German immigrants from Ghana, Senegal and South Africa felt I [presented] an authentic Rasta message while never denying I’m an American. Previously, they felt American reggae artists were primarily imitating Jamaicans.” Most recently, he recorded Annie Jones (featuring Charlie Parr) at Minnehaha Studios.

June 5, in the third installment of Adventures in Music and Storytelling, David Daniels, backed by Dog Circle (Marshall Obert  guitar-banjo, Aug Nubis guitar, Dhanny Boldt tabla, Matty Dennison Didgeridoo, Dennis Maddix bass), performed at hand-craft gift emporium Twisted Groove, something of a super head-shop. “For years”, he says, the Twisted Groove has been a center of the Twin Cities’ counterculture.” Among area notables in the full house were poet Chris Shillock, Uzza vocalist-lyricist Tabatha Pedtrovich and Libertarian mayoral hopeful Nate AtkinsDaniels, in fact, returns this fall, performing at a benefit for Atkins. “We’ve witnessed the failure of Jacob Frey and his administration. [Atkins’] positions on marijuana legalization and on dealing with the police alone make him worth consideration by voters.”  Daniels is in fact, a politically minded sort who was Eugene McCarthy’s Consumer Party vice presidential candidate (1988), Grassroots Party candidate for US Senate (2000) and their candidate for Minnesota Lt. Governor (2014). The spoken word piece, 4/20/21, an account of the Derek Chauvin verdict from Denver, is fairly representative of his artistry. Instead of hopping on a soapbox, he has an off the cuff take on issues of considerable significance. An excerpt goes, “[The] bar happens to be just a few blocks from Colorado’s State Capitol. Should Chauvin get off, any action in protest would likely take place there and the journalist in me would be there to report it. Besides, my bus stop home is across the street from the Capitol.”

“My life hasn’t followed convention,” says Daniels. He was educated at the Watkinson School in Hartford, a prep school where he was “one out of ten [blacks] in the entire school…and two were my brothers!” He chose afterward to attend Alaska Methodist University (now Alaska Pacific University) and he lived in Alaskan communes. “My writing was bound to be unconventional. [Folk] write what they know, [and] my influences were people who defied the mainstream, mainly Bob Marley and Richard Brautigan.” He sums up, “I never set out to be a creative writer or performer. The fact that nearly 30 years after the premier of Malcolm X Meet Peter Tosh I’m still at it and that people are still drawn to the work is immensely satisfying.” Next on his drawing board, “I will be reading in Denver my story of landing in Minneapolis on the day after George Floyd was murdered. I have several creative irons in the fire including a memoir and a storytelling/music EP.”

In 2017, Daniels defected to Denver, where he’s closer to his married daughter and gets to dutifully dote on his grandchildren. It’s not really a case of our loss being that city’s gain as he has solid roots in both places. For which his followers are immensely grateful.

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Loss of Two Landmark Theatres a Tragedy

By HOWARD MCQUITTER II

In 2003, Loews Cineplex gave way to Landmark Theatres as the new owners of the Edina Cinema at 50th and France in Edina. Altogether the Edina Cinema had been in operation for 87 years, but then came COVID-19 to force the prize of Edina closed for “good”. What a loss for us cinephiles and all other regular moviegoers who just wanted to see perhaps an art-house film or even a dashing big budget movie. I think of the countless screenings I saw there or decided to take a 6B or 6C bus to view a film of my liking (always with a pen and notebook in the dark to write my reviews). The Edina (four screens and 1300 seats) had been remodeled some time ago – beautiful, yet not gaudy. 

           There may be hope, all may not be lost for Edina. Suzanne Haugland, the building owner, told FOX 9 she’s optimistic about finding a new private partner to restart showing movies there again.

      Another Landmark theatre, Uptown Theatre, in Uptown Minneapolis was evicted from their space in May by the building’s landlord Lagoon Partners, LLC. According to the  complaint, Landmark Theatres allegedly owes $340,000

in back rent and fees. If this is true, what caused Landmark Theatres to be so remiss?

        Uptown (then called Lagoon Theatre) opened on June 3, 1916, one of the oldest theaters in the Twin Cities, surviving the Great Depression of the 1930s, World War ll, the Vietnam War, and the 1970s and 1980s. The name changed to Uptown Theatre on April 11,1929 at the same time sound came to motion pictures. A fire broke out on April 25,1939, but the theatre was soon rebuilt. When the Uptown closed in 1975, Landmark Theatres chain took it over.

        Upgrades of the Uptown Theatre began on January 31, 2012, leading to renovations from a 900-seat theater to about a 358-seat theater. To my delight it always had one screen. I saw countless films there, again with pen and pad in hand. The management and the employees were superb. The staff was as keen as I was on films, past and present. I walk by the theater weekly and lament its loss. 

Both the Edina and Uptown theaters closed because of COVID-19. I had many a wonderful time at each, only to see the day when the lights went dark permanently.

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the alley needs your help! a letter

By CATHY STROBEL-AYRES


P.O. Box 7006
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Phone: 612-990-4022
Email: copydesk@alleynews.org

Dear Friend of The Alley:

For many of us, the world seems to be in a time of great change, some might even say chaos as we emerge from the greatest pandemic of the last 100 years. And, yet, every day, people in the Phillips Community greet the day, put a life and family together, work hard to make ends meet and do so using their many diverse, cultural ways of knowing to try to make it happen. For over 45 years, The Alley, a community governed media source,has also been doing its best to reflect many of those stories and keep on putting one foot in front of the other to keep publishing month after month. Published on a shoestring budget and largely volunteer run, The Alley informs, engages, and facilitates communication and promotes the exchange of information, opinion, culture and creativity among thousands. The resilience of the Phillips Community is resounding, and it inspires The Alley Newspaper to try to do its very best to reflect this resiliency within the pages each month.

The Alley remains committed to maintaining its original free print format because we know many of our readers do not have the same level of access to computers or the Internet as readers in other communities. The paper is not really “free” to produce, however. It is more expensive to print and distribute than it is to only publish an online paper.  Nearly all our monthly expenses are for layout, printing and delivering the print edition.

The Covid-19 pandemic created a new challenge for us last year with a loss of ad revenue and our simultaneous commitment to dedicate no-cost space each month to publish on-the-ground Covid-19 guidance from the perspective of a contact tracer and from the MN Health Department. We emerged intact albeit still operating on a month-to-month shoestring budget. That said, we face a new challenge with the retirement of long time volunteers who handle the day-to-day operational tasks of banking, mail, phone and email inquiries, invoicing, accounts receivable, etc.

I am writing today to ask for your help to fund a new part-time business manager to take over this work and to assist us in expanding and deepening our community engagement efforts. This will allow us to grow The Alley’s content to include regular participation from youth and young adults, the arts, non-English speakers, and to promote our small businesses with an emphasis on those that are immigrant, Black and Indigenous owned. We expect a business manager to devote 10-15 hours each month as we establish and develop this position. In addition to asking for your help through financial contributions, the Board decided to increase our ad and sponsorship rates, something we have not done in well over 25 years. This increase begins in 2022 and will also assist us in supporting this position. However, we need your help to support this position for the remainder of this year.

We are asking you for a tax-deductible donation to help us fund this new position at a cost of $4,000. Last year, you our readers and supporters, contributed over $3,000! This was critical in keeping The Alley In business while other community newspapers were forced to close down. We hope you can support us again this year and help us reach this larger goal. You can donate online at: https://www.givemn.org/organization/Alleynewspaper or mail a check to The Alley, PO Box 7006, Mpls, MN 55407.

With your support,The Alleywill continue to land on doorsteps and newsstands throughout our community. 


Cathy Strobel-Ayres, President

Board of Directors
Alley Communications

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Vote, Then Take a Hike!

Vote, Then Take a Hike

Part 3 in a series of articles about the 2021 municipal elections, brought to you by the League of Women Voters of Minneapolis

When did you last enjoy a park? Did you have a picnic? Did you watch a little league game or take a knitting class? Minneapolis parks offer any activities a creative mind can imagine. The many facets of the park system are overseen by nine commissioners elected by YOU. One position for each of six park districts and three at-large positions are up for election this fall.

 Meeting monthly, these commissioners are responsible for maintaining park properties, developing new sites to equitably serve residents’ needs, and proposing policies that govern the use and safety of the 180 park properties, 55 miles of parkways, 12 formal gardens, seven golf courses, and 49 recreation centers in our city. They also appoint the superintendent who implements the board policies, overseeing the budget and staff of more than 600 employees. 

Perhaps you’ll want to know about the improvements planned for your neighborhood park, or maybe you want to learn about plans for the Upper Harbor Terminal on the Mississippi, or how the golf courses are operated. Information is available at Minneapolisparks.org. There you can learn about your park commissioners who are hoping to have your vote. Make your voice heard by contacting them and making your plan to vote in November.

ANOTHER CHOICE YOU HAVE

This fall you will also be able to vote for two members of the Board of Estimate and Taxation. Board members set maximum tax levies for a variety of city and park and recreation funds. The board also reviews some department budgets and participates in the city’s debt management policy, concerned with interest rates and prudent debt levels.

As a citizen, you vote for your representatives on this important oversight board. Your attention and your vote matter.

C:\Users\cjacobson\Google Drive\LWVMplsCollective\Administration\Logo 2021\LWVMinneapolis_rgb (1).jpg

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