NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Tuesday December 12th 2017

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Ondine & Holy Rollers

Ondine (2009)

Ondine (2009)
***1/2
Wayforce Entertainment
111 minutes
Director: Neil Jordan

Syracuse (Colin Farrell) makes a living by fishing off the coast of his native Ireland free of a catastrophic BP oil spill, with untainted fish at the end of his line. One day Syracuse unexpectedly catches in his net, a woman likened to the Celtic myth of the selkie – a seal that can shed her skin and transform into a human.

Syracuse’s bright 10 year old daughter, Annie (played extremely well by Alison Barry) realizes her dad’s past tense story of the mythical mermaid Ondine, is real in the present tense.

Syracuse’s new guest seems bemused by her surroundings as well as insisting on being away from people. He hides her in his deceased grandma’s cottage in a cover. Almost reading her father’s mind, his physically challenged daughter Annie visits the cottage, and finds Ondine swimming in a pool.

Colin Farrell has shown on several occasions his versatility as an actor. Noteworthy is his subtley and nuance “In Bruges” a couple of years ago and again wonderfully exhibiting himself as Syracuse in “Ondine.”

Neil Jordan’s “Ondine” of what initially appears to be a selkie, illustrates similarities (and differences as well) to John Sayles “The Secret of Roan Inish” (1994). Yet all the while the cameras are clicking, the woman out of the sea likely has a secret. Syracuse divorced and recovering from alcoholism, likewise his ex-wife who hasn’t put down the bottle altogether, share custody of wheelchair-bound Annie. However the father-daughter combination capture nearly every camera shot.

Ondine is Syracuse’s secret other than his perceptive daughter, along with Ondine – mean more to him than a fisherman’s catch. Though Syracuse willingly consults his priest (Stephen Rea) regularly, Syracuse unwisely doesn’t take his priest’s spiritual advice on one critical issue.

Holy Rollers (2010)
***
89 Minutes
Director: Kevin Asch

The title “Holy Rollers” may easily throw you off – thinking the plot revolves around some Protestant evangelists but no the characters are Orthodox Jews living in Brooklyn, 1998. For starters, Jesse Eisenberg as Sam Gold, and Justin Bartha as Josef Zimmerman, are Hasidic Jews living in a tight-knit Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn.

What’s different, Sam’s next door neighbor Josef is not being the clean-cut Jewish man rooted in the synagogue but rather a trafficking middle-man for the drug Ecstasy, from Amsterdam to New York.

“Holy Rollers”, like Joshua Marston’s “Maria Full of Grace” (2004) captures the subject of drug smuggling, the former with less intensity and not with the usual suspects in crime. Sam’s dilemma is choosing between aspiring to be a rabbi, his father’s wish, or working for Josef between Amsterdam and New York, by cashing in big time in smuggling and selling Ecstasy. Jesse Eisenberg brings some complexity to his character, a genuine innocence of a boy next door.

Around the same age as Sam, Rachel (Ari Graynor) gives him Ecstasy and asks him to run away with her. Sam’s structured way of life is severely tested and upstaged by the hedonistic secular world. Once rumors emerge in the neighborhood, Sam’s new job is unsavory. His father’s patience runs out and he is then rejected by his father.

Sam is definitely conflicted between his Orthodox Judaism (his father selects the bride) and the unsavory business of drug trafficking. Jesse Eisenberg is good, as the boy next door leaping into the underworld.

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Dave’s Dumpster August 2010

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The Great Extinction

by Peter Molenaar

July 17, 2010, a storm is brewing…

In the past 540 million years there have been five major events during which over 50% of animal species died. The most recent occurred 65 million years ago with the extinction of nearly all dinosaurs. What an incredible bonanza this was for the tiny ancestral shrew-like mamaliform whose gene pool was to explode and then radiate in every direction.

As for the birds, they descend from that line of dinosaurs which included T. Rex. Surprisingly, the more archaic of present day birds have existed unchanged in form for merely one million years. The cormorants residing at Powderhorn Lake appear more ancient than that.

From their island perch, our cormorants display horizontally spread wings bent vertically at the joint to declare: here I am. Their oil-drenched cousin, that iconic pelican, posed similarly before the camera.

Moreover, elements of the old hadrosaur culture have been revived by our Powderhorn geese. Some stand watch via graceful movements of head and neck, while others feed upon fresh grass or submit to tranquility. Why would a howling 20-something all-night raver ride his dirt bike directly through their midst?

And so…

Shrew ascended the trees and assumed a myriad of forms. Later, the trees parted and shrew came down to walk upright. This new form would become the creature referred to as Astralopithecus.

As it happened, one of these ancestors became frustrated while attempting to crack an elephant bone with a stone. Curiously, when smashed, this particular stone produced several splinters . When examined, these splinters cut the finger and drew blood.

Note: the value of a commodity is determined by the socially necessary labor time embodied in it.

As for homo sapien sapiens, the big U.S.A. banks paid out $145 billion in total 2009 executive compensation and spent millions lobbying against meaningful financial reform. A former Secretary of Labor put it this way: “Congress has labored mightily to produce a mountain of legislation that can be called financial reform, but it has produced a molehill relative to the wreckage Wall Street wreaked upon the nation”.

Which is to say, relative to the geologic and evolutionary time-scale, the world capitalist order should be extinct in about a minute.

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Open Letter to the Community Historic Community Protection Legislation is studied locally by North Mpls. and nationally by CA–Re-Elect Responsible Lawmakers

With regard to a post on Mpls.e-democracy forum suggesting we sweep all the incumbents from the legislature, I just received a note from a friend in north Mpls. telling me to hang on to Rep. Karen Clark and Sen. Berglin. My friend’s neighborhood is facing exposure to becoming host to a hazardous waste site and is aware of what Rep. Clark, Sen. Berglin and many neighborhood folks have accomplished together to bring about a first-in-the-nation environmental justice zone protective of the Phillips’ population through a bill in the legislature. The legislation requires far stricter guidelines than currently exist to protect a large section of the urban core neighborhood of Phillips, based on poverty statistics, already existing area pollution, health challenges and intense diversity. Phillips and Clark/Berglin’s high profile protective bill are being watched from as far away as California for implications and responses. The bill is historic on the environmental justice scene.

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Alley’s Gallery of Loss-August

Sideyard of 2512-14 Chicago Avenue looking East that is now the approximate location of the Skyway Connecting the east building of Children’s Hospital to the new 800 car Parking ramp on the west side of Chicago Av.

Foreground: Wooden apple crate from the National Tea Grocery Store at corner of 25th St. and Chicago Av, Harvey Winje with family dog Tipper and his red J.C. Higgins bike from Sears Roebuck 5 blocks away. Back ground: A Chicago-Fremont route Twin City Rapid Transit streetcar passing by on Chicago Av. Behind the street car: the block of housing demolished in 1968 for the building of the first portion of Children’s Hospital in 1969 by Bor-Son Construction Company under a new concept called “Turn-Key” Project in which it was all financed, designed, and built by the contractor and then paid for at the end. A new structural concept called post-tension cable construction was used which had been used locally near Loring by Bor-Son Construction for the first time in the Midwest on two, tall apartment buildings. It was a structural concept that strengthened floors subsequent to hardening of concrete and eliminated heavy beams thus minimizing the total exterior height of each floor. It resulted in minimizing the use of many building materials that extended the height of the building; i.e. exterior finishes, interior vertically piping, and interior wiring. Thus, structurally and socially Children’s was built with post tension that remains today.

Photo Credit: Maybe Hilma or Paul Winje (Harvey’s Parents), Clarence, Hazel or Paul Winje Jr., Dick or June Johnson (Harvey’s sisters and Brothers), or best friend Bruce Koberstein from 912 East 25th Street. 1948 with “Box” camera

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Teams are “Planting the Seeds” to “Grow Health”

by Janice Barbee, Cultural Wellness Center

Community Health Action Teams are “Planting the Seeds’ to Grow Health
Residents who live in the Backyard area (East Phillips, Ventura Village, Phillips West, Midtown Phillips, Powderhorn Park, Corcoran, and Central neighborhoods) have been meeting monthly in Citizen Health Action Teams (CHATs) to develop their strategies to improve the health of residents. The Backyard Initiative was initiated by Allina Hospitals and Clinics in the fall of 2008. What was once a project led by Allina is now a community-owned project in which Allina is a major partner.
At the July meeting, several CHATs presented an update of their work.

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Liberty and Justice for all?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMERICA!
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all!

Once again, on America’s 4th of July Birthday, we are reminded that some Minnesotans have been in the forefront of efforts to ensure “liberty and justice for all.” For example, there were many early leaders of the movement to abolish slavery right here in Minneapolis. Paul Hawken reminds us that, “abolitionists were the first people to create a national movement to defend the rights of those they did not know. Until that time no group had filed a grievance except on behalf of itself. The founders of this movement were largely unknown…and their goal was ridiculous on the face of it: at that time three out of four people in the world were enslaved.” And yet there were people right here in Minnesota that we did know who had been denied “liberty and justice for all” as they were devastated by early settlers and whose crimes against humanity are perpetuated today. The recent efforts to redevelop Fort Snelling “unearths” the travesties that happened there on sacred land. It is an opportunity to revisit the dilemma by making historical accounts and depictions accurate because it is the right thing to do and to ensure that we never again allow liberty and justice to be denied “for all.” The articles begin with information and excerpts setting the stage, followed by an opinion article by neighbor Jim Graham, a third about indigenous people as the focus of a new Movies and Music Series, and “Listening, Responding, and Supporting” a positive effort by young people to work for justice.

See also “Bow to Rwanda” in Raise Your Voice on pg 7 about liberty and justice for all in Rwanda

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Elders met where Rivers meet Genesis and Genocide are Whitewashed

Have you ever wondered why Hiawatha and Minnehaha Avenues run counter to the north/south grid system of most streets?

It’s because those roadways were originally entrenched trails between major water sources–the falls of rivers and creeks— made by the indigenous people and animals long before the imposition of a European geometric grid street system.

The same is true of Hennepin Avenue from river falls to the lakes southwest.  This part of our history is “marked” indelibly in the landscape.  Other parts of our history are written.  And there are parts of our history that are passed on from person to person, decade to decade as oral tradition.  Some oral history is remembered within rhythm having been made into song with music.  Here are excerpts from an article in the StarTribune by Nick Coleman, June 6 column, “Fort Snelling: State’s cradle — and stain” suggested that the Minnesota Historical Society has neglected to tell the difficult story of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 at Historic Fort Snelling. The following excerpts are from that article.  Read the full text at www.startribune.com or Coleman’s article and related text at www.mendotadakota.com or www.friendsofcoldwater.org

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“Liberty and justice for all” demands history of all

By Jim Graham

Yes, we SHOULD look in depth at the history of Ft. Snelling. And then pray no one ever comes to “Re-Develop” us, our culture, and our children.

Another advocate of unrevised history recently said, “What I learned from that experience with the state-hired historians, is that their information is hugely biased and not to be trusted, particularly when it comes to delineating the history of a mostly vanquished people who lived entirely in an oral tradition.”

At an open house to receive “Public Input” a United States Park Service representative was quite aggressive in his assertion that their was NO history of the Cold Water Springs. (The sacred area near Minnehaha Falls that was violated during the routing of the Light Rail Transit and rerouting of Hiawatha Avenue in spite of disagreement and protest.) area having any documented religious significance for the Mdewakanton Dakota people.

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Indigenous people focus of new “Movies and Music” series

Indigenous artists, filmmakers, producers and actors will be showcased this summer in a four-part music and movies series at Father Hennepin Bluffs Park in Minneapolis. The series is hosted by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Migizi Communications and the First Nations Composer Initiative.

Musical performances will feature local artists Red Ponie, Blue Dog, Mitch Walking Elk, and Chase Manhattan. The series offers the opportunity to catch Indigenous films that have been shown at national and international film festivals, and been sold out at the Walker Art Center (Barking Water).

The last evening in the series features the next generation of filmmakers with several student-produced short films from youth media programs such as In Progress and Migizi Communications, as well as Magic Wands, a new pioneering Ojibwe language film from Minneapolis filmmaker Elizabeth Day.

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