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Thursday November 21st 2019

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MayDay in Metamorphosis

HOBT’s MayDay is taking a year off:  Save the date for May 2, 2021 

Dear MayDay supporters and friends, 

We give deep thanks for the ways each of you have supported HOBT’s MayDay Celebration. Your support over these 45 years, especially your outpouring of support this year, means a great deal.

Over the last four months, we, the HOBT Leadership Team, have heard from more than 500 community members and artists about their dreams for the future of HOBT’s MayDay. Themes drawn from this feedback support what we have known for years but have only now documented: MayDay in its current form is not only unsustainable financially and logistically, the creation process systematically marginalizes and appropriates the work of artists of color. This cannot be allowed to continue.

The HOBT Leadership Team has decided that taking a year off from producing MayDay to pause and redesign MayDay is the best way to come back with a stronger, more equitable MayDay in 2021. 

We know that for some, this is difficult news to hear. We did not come to this decision lightly. In the coming year, HOBT can choose either to produce the MayDay celebration that South Minneapolis has grown to know and love, or to invest our time and resources in rebuilding that celebration to equitably and resiliently continue as a valuable institution for future generations. We cannot do both. 

In the interest of the long-term value of this MayDay celebration, we choose to rebuild. We choose to live into a new kind of working and creating art together: one that is truly collaborative and opens up new opportunities for transformation by placing our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion at the center and giving power to artists and leaders of color. 

In many ways, HOBT’s MayDay 2019 was a wild success. Attendance, fundraising and community passion for the event surpassed all expectations. The support and generosity of the MayDay community put HOBT in the position where we now have the opportunity to ensure we are both more sustainable, and a more deeply community rooted organization moving forward. Thank you for your generosity and the gift of this opportunity to take a year off to address serious structural problems. 

We are calling this a year of MayDay in Metamorphosis. We are placing all of our energy, time, resources, and hope into a process to transform MayDay, taking all we have learned over the last 45 years to recreate a new process and structure for MayDay that is more deeply with our mission to foster creativity, empathy, and interconnection. 

Work will begin immediately to assemble a MayDay Council made up of IBPOC artists and community members who will be tasked with using what HOBT learned from four months of community engagement to shape a new MayDay process that is truly collaborative, community-owned, and equitable. 

We ask and hope that you will support this decision. We have chosen to rebuild because we truly believe it gives us the best chance at continuing the MayDay Celebration for generations to come. This metamorphosis moment will require the time and talents of the thousands of people who make this celebration possible: artists, staff, volunteers, donors, vendors, and participants. In its cocoon, the butterfly dissolves its former self to become something entirely new. This is not a period of rest. This is a period of radical reinvention. 

Onward, 

The HOBT Leadership Team: Site Director Steve Ackerman, General Manager Naomi Campion, Communications Director Claire Curran, Finance Director Linnea House, and Executive Director Corrie Zoll

What’s Next 

Here’s how you can support MayDay in Metamorphosis:

Nominate individuals to serve on the MayDay Council. 

Over a two-year term, this team will be tasked with designing a collaborative MayDay model and will represent a wide range of the communities present in our neighborhoods. Compensation, childcare, travel expenses, accessible meeting spaces, and food will be provided. This group will meet twice a month at most, with a day-long kick-off retreat in November. Read more about the MayDay Council here.  Nominations are open until Oct. 24. Nominations can be made by filling out a short nomination form online or by calling HOBT Executive Director Corrie Zoll at 612-540-5366. 

Sign up for text updates. 

Text MayDay to 77222 for updates on the MayDay in Metamorphosis process. We will also continue to make updates as the MayDay Council is selected and convened at hobt.org/imagine. 

Become a monthly donor. 

This work of transforming HOBT’s MayDay requires financial support. By giving monthly, your gift builds a predictable source of income to fund a resilient and equitable future for MayDay.

Work with In the Heart of the Beast. 

Our incredible MayDay artists would love to work with your neighborhood, community group, school, or place of worship. For more information about HOBT’s education and residency programs, go online or email ncampion@hobt.org. 

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Cartoon October 2019

cartoon DavesDumpster 10-2019

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Movie corner: ‘It’ returns with roller-coaster ride that thrills

By HOWARD McQUITTER II

Howard McQuitter

oldschoolmovies.wordpress.com

howardmcquitter68@gmail.com

“It Chapter Two” 

***1/2 of 5  

New Line Cinema

Andy Muschietti directed the well-crafted horror film “It” (2017), the highest grossing horror film a $ 700,381,748 worldwide. He has his sequel “It Chapter Two” when “The Losers,” now adults, are called back to their hometown Derry, Maine, to confront the menacing clown, Pennywise (Bill Skargard). While many sequels are or seemingly redundant, Muschietti’s sequel is a legitimate one. However, the running time of two hours and 50 minutes, I think, cannot be altogether justified. 

Twenty-seven years later, Mike Hanion (Isaiah Mustafa), a librarian at the town library, is the only one of the seven-group,”The Losers,” who stayed in Derry. Events of missing children begin to recur in Derry bringing back nightmarish flashes to Mike. Mike – in panic mode – calls Beverly (Jessica Chastain), Eddie (James Ransone), Ben (Jay Ryan), Richie (Bill Hader) and Bill (James McAvory) urges all of them to return to Derry. All of them except Mike went on to more  fertile ground to cities in other states for work. Now they must all confront and destroy Pennywise. 

Coming back home also means flashbacks for each individual from relentless bullying to physical and sexual abuse by a father. One sign of the masquerading and murderous clown is a red balloon(s) means he’s in the area somewhere.

But things are initially unsettling in the first 10 minutes of the film when about five men viciously attack a gay couple; one of the men is thrown into the river only be chewed up by Pennywise. (The man tossed in the river is Xavier Dolan.)

It’s safe to say most of “The Losers” are in the  amnesia stage until Mike shacks it out of them.

 Flashbacks to their childhoods links well into their adult- hoods giving us a reflection of the evil clown’s first murders.

I will say I closed my eyes at times (even when I didn’t want to) not much different than when I was a kid seeing scary science-fiction movies in the 1950s. I liked “It Chapter Two” less than “It,” but the roller coaster ride in the sequel good enough for me.

Cast: James McAvory (Bill Denbrough), Jessica Chastain (Beberly Marsh), Bill Hader (Richie Tozier), Isaiah Mustafa (Mike Hanion), Jay Ryan (Ben Hanscom), James Ransone (Eddie Kaspbrak), Bill Skargard (Pennywise), Andy Bean (Stanley Uris), Jaeden Martell (Young Bill), Wyatt Oleff(Young Stanley), Sophia Lillis (Young Beverly), Finn Wolfhard (Young Richie), Jeremy Ray Taylor (Young Ben), Chosen Jacobs (Young Mike), Jack  Dylan Grazer (Young Eddie). Director: Andy Muschietti. Written by Gary Dauberman.Cinematographer: Checco Varese. Music by Benjamin Wallfisch. 

Running time: 170 minutes. (R)

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Peace House community: Getting involved

By Marti Malby

“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.” -Edmund Burke

I first encountered that quotation when I read Bob Geldof’s autobiography “Is That It?” Geldof had reached the part of his story where his band, “The Boomtown Rats,” couldn’t get any of their songs on the radio and he personally was almost broke. One night he saw a news story about the famine occurring in Ethiopia at the time and he decided he needed to do something. He called some other musicians in the hope of recording a song and donating the proceeds (which he expected to be measures in hundreds of dollars) to the famine relief efforts. 

As some of you know, the group he put together became known as Band-Aid, which spawned USA for Africa, the Live-Aids concerts and many other projects. Literally billions of dollars of charity can be traced to one man who did a little because he thought it was all he could do.

His story, and the quotation he gave from Edmund Burks, came back to me this month when Peace House Community received a $5 donation along with a note. The donors have supported us for years, but only a few dollars at a time. This was perhaps the smallest donation they have ever given, but it was the note that caught my attention. It read in part:

“Excuse the smallness of the check. We are very poor right now and hope to send more later, or bring in some groceries for your pantry. Speaking of that, a relative has a tattoo shop, and my hope is to encourage her to get involved with you financially.”

Knowing that people who “are very poor right now” believe that what PHC does is worth supporting, and that they are willing to sacrifice their own comforts to make PHC’s activities possible, is humbling. It reminds me that I and others who work for non-profits are responsible to our donors as well as our community members for justifying their faith in us. 

But the note was also energizing. It reminds me that on days when I am tired or cranky or overwhelmed, that I still have something to contribute. No matter how little I feel I have to give, I am surrounded by others who are in the same boat but who give because they can.

I have never met the donors who sent those $5, but I sent them a handwritten note of thanks. I want them to know that their gift, even if it is small compared to what they want to give, still makes a difference, and that I do not want them to give up and do nothing because they could only do a little. 

I have learned that no one on their own will make much of a difference in this world, but a lot of people doing their little bit can make a huge difference.

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Hobbes in the House: Men abuse women because they can

By DWIGHT HOBBES

You can find all kinds of think-tank rationalization as to why men beat women.  You can, as well, find study upon as study as to why Black women are killed by Black men at a rate almost three times higher than the death rate at which White women are killed by domestic violence.  Among the “reasons” cited are things like abusive men being, themselves, victims.  Victims of, for instance, low self-esteem.  Poor role modeling.  Cultural conditioning.  Alcoholism.  There are other excuses, but these will do as a general frame of reference.

Importantly, you can find respected professionals who come up with such causes for men battering and killing their wives and girlfriends.  I went looking on the Internet and almost immediately came across an article in that highly regarded monthly magazine Ebony.  The article by Marchel’le Renise Barber reads, “Dr. Nathan Hare, a clinical psychologist and sociologist in private practice in San Francisco, sees common traits among men who batter women. He says while abusive men are found in all races and socioeconomic groups, most Black male abusers are jealous, insecure and are attempting to imitate the classic ‘street pimp’ playing a ‘mind game’ with the women by showing a loving and warm side to sustain interest – then inflicting pain. Other abusive men are imitating their fathers or their mothers’ boyfriends and convince themselves that women expect abuse. ‘These men see their manhood as their ability to control women who are out of control’ says Dr. Hare, who adds that many male abusers have been victimized themselves.”  In that same article is the statement, “Due to alcoholism, low self-esteem, a lack of ethnic pride and a sense of helplessness in supporting their families, Black men have been reported as being more likely to be abusive toward Black women, says psychiatrist Dr. Carl Bell.”

I’m not trying to pick on Marchel’le Renise Barber.  I’m not trying to ridicule Ebony.  There are plenty of journalists and plenty of publications citing similar circumstance. 

None of which hold very much water. There comes a point in time at which you have to go with simple common sense over even the most scholarly information.  Accordingly, while low self-esteem, cultural conditioning and drink-induced short fuses are not imaginary ailments, looking at them does not cut to the core of why men abuse women.  And, frankly, color, race, ethnicity or, for that matter, the moon rising in Aquarius don’t have a single thing to do with it. 

Men beat women because they can get away with it and you don’t have to be a clinician with a string of letters after your name to figure that out.  I can prove it to you with a very basic line of reasoning, a hypothetical example F. Lee Bailey, William Kunstler and Johnnie Cochrane all put together couldn’t debunk. 

Here’s the scenario.  A woman is cowed against a wall, shrinking away from her man who is advancing on her, scowling in rage, fist balled, about to whup her butt yet one more time.  No matter how pitifully she cries out for him to stop, no matter how she begs, he keeps closing the distance between them and is just about to punch her lights out.  Do you have the picture in your head?  Okay, now, imagine she suddenly turns into man bigger and stronger than him who, if he so much as thinks about hitting, will tear him a brand new ass.  How much would you care to wager that he doesn’t somehow lift himself above his low self-esteem to put his anger in serious check?  How much do you want to bet he finds himself capable of transcending his cultural condition?  That, no matter how much he has had to drink, he doesn’t suddenly get sober as a judge?  There’s a reason he doesn’t have any more self control than to beat her bloody from one end of the house to the other, yet, when the police show up, he lets them put the handcuffs on and lead him out the door, off the jail.  He knows if he even thinks about hitting one of those cops they will all stomp a mudhole in his behind.

We cannot afford to risk women’s lives by sympathizing with their abusers.  Never mind this and that diagnosis of some social malady.  Men beat women because women can’t kick their asses for them. Regardless of what Dr. So-and-So pontificates, men accordingly have to be held accountable.  Period, end of story.

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Letter to the community: Corrected Minneapolis water facts

To all this Concerns: 

I commend the STEP-UP interns who worked with the Backyard Community Health Hub this past summer and for your in-depth study of water this summer! (Water is life: Drink and live, Sept 2019 issue) I believe that Water is the foundation of all wellbeing, so I am very grateful that you brought forward many ways of Water’s importance to the functioning of our bodies. I also like that you made a strong case against the preposterous popularity of Water sold in plastic bottles. Thank you so much for this good work you have done.

Unfortunately, there is a mistake in the blue box of  “Additional Water Facts & Sources” that might lead readers to think that bottled water is cleaner than tap water, and I think that is not your intention. In this box of facts, you have the question. How often does tap water get tested??? The answer in your box says simply: “Tap water is tested roughly every year in the Twin Cities.”

In truth, our Minneapolis Public Water Works performs approximately 500 tests each day on tap water! ….500 chemical, physical, and bacteriological tests, each and every day!! (http://www.minneapolismn.gov/publicworks/water/water_waterfacts) 

This is vastly more than the testing of Bottled Water that is regulated by the FDA.

Alley Newspaper readers ought to hold this corrected fact in their head and hearts. 

There is no reason in Minneapolis to purchase Water in plastic bottles! 

WATER IN PLASTIC BOTTLES IS NOT HEALTIER!  

A purchase of water in plastic bottles adds to environmental degradation with the awful build up of plastic in our water streams and landfills! A purchase of Water in plastic bottles is much more expensive than tap water and because most plastic is made from oil, purchasing bottled water also ultimately supports oil industries. DON’T BE FOOLED BY ADVERTISING to purchase Water in plastic bottles! Instead, thank our Public Water Workers for their diligent work of bringing clean water to the shared convenience of our taps by paying your monthly Water bill with gratitude.

Thank you Backyard Community Health Hub Interns for your important study of Water!

Sandy Spieler

Water lover, Water protector, artist

https://sandyspieler.com/water-work/

sandralspieler@gmail.com

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The Rand Report: Why were homeless misplaced during Glow?

By Rand Retterath

Rand Retterrath

On July 27, 2019 large portions of the Midtown Greenway were cleared for an event. 

Care to know what it was?

It was the Midtown Greenway Coalition Greenway Glow 2019. Through registration, ticket and alcohol sales, pledges and more they raised nearly $23,000. They say it is for the “Greenway.” PLEASE do not be confused! The money goes directly to the Greenway Coalition EXCLUSIVELY.

Care to know what was cleared? People were cleared, homeless people as well as their possessions. 

I have a problem with that.

Many years ago, the Executive Director looked me in the eye and said, “Unlike some, we do not think homelessness is a crime.” Apparently, that is true only as long as they are not seen.

One week later, the Powderhorn 24 took place. They found an ability to co-exist over the course of the 24 hour event and set up / clean up periods.

Local residents grudgingly find ways to deal with trash, theft, traffic, sex, needles, assault and much more on a daily basis and over months and years.

For a week, all the MANY people calling the Greenway home were asked to relocate to protect the delicate sensitivities of Coalition members for a single afternoon event. Their possessions littered my neighborhood.

Along the Greenway, I found Coalition-branded drink tickets. It is illegal to drink and bike, yet the Coalition encouraged it, through branded drink tickets.

The Greenway is overwhelmed with homelessness, feces, urine, drugs, sex and sex workers and alcohol in staggering quantities, creating a myriad of social and environmental problems. Yet there the Coalition was, apparently above the law. Their drunken revelries are apparently ok. Privileged white elitism if there ever was such a thing.

According to the Coalition’s most recently available Form 990, the salary expense for the Coalition is $124,820 against revenue of $119,690 down from $206,065 the previous year. Overall, they lost over $76,000. 

Further, with this shortfall, all of this money goes to salaries, NOT the Greenway, more elitism or perhaps more correctly protectionism by definition a stone’s throw from nationalism, isolationism or dare I say: Trumpism.

Somehow, participants of the Powderhorn 24 were able to coexist with everyone. Over the years, Powderhorn 24 organizers have worked diligently to mitigate the concerns of the community. To show solidarity with community and homeless alike they discourage alcohol. They clean up after themselves within hours. They manage the noise, keep the trail reasonably clean and share it with other cyclists, runners, families and homeless folks. I have even seen them sharing water and food resources with people other than themselves.

The differences could not be more profound. Homelessness is a complicated issue. It is a tragedy! Hiding people from public view for an event is WRONG, IMMORAL, TRAGIC, DISRESPECTFUL and reflects a sense of decency that I want no part of. 

Thankfully, they won’t exist much longer for lack of support and respect.

REMEMBER THE ATLANTA OLYMPICS!

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Raise Your Voice: Changing horizons

By PETER MOLENAAR

Peter Molenaar

Those of us who have connected over the years with All My Relations Arts and Two Rivers Galleries were privileged to receive invitations to the recent opening receptions. These “Changing Horizons” events commemorated the 100th birthday of George Morrison, the Ojibwe artist who graduated from the local Minneapolis College of Art and Design, before viewing much of the world through the eyes of an abstract impressionist. To which I will add: Neighbors, these art openings offer a splendid opportunity to mingle with bright young faces who have significant lives awaiting. 

Some questions:

Did Morrison violate his heritage, as some have suggested, by immersing himself in the modernist art movement? (Conversely, did some “modernists” violate the past when they took inspiration from Navajo sand paintings?) Moreover, how does Marxism resolve the dialectical tension between ‘formalism’ and ‘realism’ in relation to aesthetics and the question of artistic freedom?

Regarding the first question, in principle, Native Americans have the absolute right to walk wherever the rosy cheek ones walk, because they are indigenous to the land. Conversely, do the rest of us have such absolute right? No, we do not. Special spaces are reserved for the first peoples.

As for the Marxist attitude, for example, in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, Marxism-Leninism persuaded the avant garde to embrace ‘realism’ for the purpose of elevating the masses, who, at the time, were largely illiterate. (Note: The patronage of capitalists had ceased.) Anyone doubting the beauty and purposefulness of this period should visit the Museum of Russian Art at the not so very far away 5500 Stevens Ave. location. However, historically, the “Reds” in our own country certainly upheld some relatively ‘formalistic’ expressions, which were part and parcel to the “Harlem Renaissance” of the 1930s. So, evidently, a liberal attitude towards formalistic expression eventually will prevail in this country, with some emphasis on meaningful content. Okay?

In the meantime, this community is asked to celebrate the artistic expressions of the historically oppressed peoples among us, who in their combination in the not so distant future, will assume majority status and leadership. We certainly will all do better when the day beyond the changing horizon arrives.

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September 2019 edition of The Alley

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GET IT FRESH THIS SUMMER

courtesy WAITE HOUSE

Teens garden at Waite House

by Tesha M. Christensen

At the Waite House, they’re nurturing a healthy foundation by growing fresh vegetables and then working with kids on an business venture.

In all, Pillsbury United Communities, which runs the Waite House (2323 11th Ave S,,),  has five spots in the Phillips neighborhood that they farm or sign the  lease to provide technical support for community members to have their own plots, according to Food Systems Manager Ethan Neal.

Who is involved in your gardening program?

Ethan: One of our gardens, which is located behind the Phillips Community Center where Waite House is located, is entirely kept by a group of 14 and 15 years old. They worked with our chef to develop a new salad called La Fresca. They grow the food in back and sell it to another nonprofit called Roots for the Home Team, who then in turn makes the salads for Minnesota Twins games. Our kids then go to the Twins Games on the weekends to sell these salads and learn business acumen. 

What type of items were planted in the garden this year?

Ethan: This year we have a variety of things planted. A lot of kale, lettuces, tomatoes, peppers, pollinators, strawberries, etc. 

What is the value of having a garden at Waite House and what skills are the kids learning?

Ethan: The value is multifaceted for sure. It serves as a place of education for youth ranging from how to create their own business, to soil health, to eating healthy. It also allows as an income stream for our youth and our nonprofit. The food also goes into our free community meals held at the Waite House. It also beautifies the neighborhood with well kept and tended land.

 

TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN PLANTING SEEDS, GROWING COMMUNITY – Drop by Urban Ventures’ farm and farm stand for vegetables, wood-fired pizza, burritos, and salads on Tuesdays and Wednesday, 11:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m., July-October. Urban Farm on the Midtown Greenway is at 2841 Fifth Ave. S. (29th St. and 5th Ave. S.) Urban Ventures produce is not touched by harmful chemicals. SNAP/EBT benefits accepted. Neighborhood residents can enjoy a 50% discount on all vegetables and fresh food with our Neighbor Card. To get a card, simply sign up at the farm stand during open hours.

TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN
Simone Rendon (left) along with daughter Moneek (center) and Alexie Pennie of Nice Ride, has been selling her jams and jellies at Four Sisters Farmers Market each Thursday since they opened. She grew up in Phillips and lives in Hastings now, where she enjoys foraging and harvesting her ingredients and then fashioning edible art. “It feeds my mental health,” said Simone. She formerly worked in IT, and was depressed and unhappy. She and her daughter agreed that switching to this work has changed their whole family.

TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN
Four Sisters Farmers Market is open each Thursday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Sept. 26 at 1414 E. Franklin Ave. (parking lot of PowWow Grounds). While you’re there, browse through the veggies sold by Dreams of Wild Health, which works with kids on a farm in Hugo, Minn. through the Garden Warriors program. This year, 15 kids in two sessions were bussed out to Hugo for 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. work days spent planting, harvesting and processing ingredients. Above is Korbin Lyn Paul. On Thursday, Aug. 22, folks could sample food the teens made under the direction of resident chef Brian Yazzie of Intertribal Foodways.

 

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