Arts & Culture

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Wilbur B. Foshay: The Man & His Tower
Produced by Britt Aamodt

It was called the Tower. It didn’t need another name. The Foshay Tower, at its founding in 1929 and for nearly a half a century, reigned as the tallest building in Minneapolis. Though the Tower sank into a period of gentle neglect, it was revitalized in 2008 as the upscale W. Hotel-Minneapolis. The same cannot be said for the Tower’s builder, Wilbur B. Foshay, whose comet-like rise as a powerful Midwestern utilities magnate was embodied in the obelisk structure. Just two months after the Tower’s dedication, on October 29, 1929, Wilbur Foshay lost everything in the Stock Market Crash, save for his his reputation. That, however, was defamed in 1931, when he stood trial for mail fraud, in what was largely a Ponzi scheme.

Wilbur B. Foshay: The Man & His Tower, Part I

In Part I of this two-part documentary, Foshay: The Man and His Tower, KFAI producer Britt Aamodt explores the meteoric rise of the WB Foshay utilities empire, which at one time stretched from Minnesota to Central America. Combining interviews, historical research and Wilbur Foshay’s own words, Aamodt paints a portrait of an era rash big dreams, economic speculation, and a bigger fall—telling the tale of how the Great Depression stripped Wilbur Foshay of his empire.

Wilbur B. Foshay: The Man & His Tower, Part II

In Part II of this documentary, Foshay: The Man and His Tower, KFAI producer Britt Aamodt takes up the narrative of Wilbur Foshay, examining his luxurious Minneapolis lifestyle—the houses, the gold faucets in the Tower offices—and how this bumptious businessman picked himself up after the Crash of 1929, only to receive word that he was being indicted for mail fraud. One of the biggest trials of the day took place in Minneapolis, sending Foshay to Leavenworth Prison, and a Minnesota family to their deaths, in the fallout from the trial. Aamodt follows Foshay after his release from prison, when the man who built the Tower sought to rebuild his life in small-town Colorado.

Listen to the entire documentary at

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A sound-rich audio postcard of Venice, Italy.

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This week we covered a lot of bases in the Echo Chamber: sending our heart out to Japan with music by a number of Japanese artists; getting to some women artists we missed last week; and just playing the newest stuff. Also, we debuted a new segment called “Roots of Dub”, where we go back in the roots & dub archive for a full set.

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We begin with a few recordings of pets reading their own work, and then Peggy Orenstein calls in to talk about her book Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Frontlines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture. Peggy Orenstein is also the author of Schoolgirls: Young Women, Self-Esteem and the Confidence Gap.

In the second half of the show, famed fantasy writer Orson Scott Card calls in to talk about his latest book, The Lost Gate. Orson Scott Card is the author of many other books, among them Ender’s Game.

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“Memories of El Pocho” On this episode of RP we give our fellow Pochas Erica & Amy some felicitaciones for their engagements. (We send our condolences to their boyfriends…just kidding) Also a SPECIAL announcement regarding the future of Radio Pocho.

Musically we have some classic rolas from the 60s and a cameo by Huggie Boy (DJ Miguel Vargas thinks it’s Huggie Bear). Mellow Man Ace and Lighter Shade of Brown remind us that Pochos also rap.

And real talk…R Kelly showers us with his latest single “When A Woman Loves”.

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Five stories from KFAI’s 10,000 Fresh Voices series:

1. Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center
Produced by Michelle Alimoradi
On a quest to give their neighborhoods a facelift, six south Minneapolis residents get together to create a facility where community members could meet and create art together. Catering to artistic mediums that use flame, spark, or heat, the Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center has already attracted attention and gained popularity in just a few months.

2. Susan Hensel Gallery
Produced by Jessica Folker
Most art galleries are governed by the rule of “look, but don’t touch.” But at the Susan Hensel Gallery in South Minneapolis, visitors have hands-on access to the room of one-of-a-kind books, including stories spun into yarn. KFAI producer Jessica Folker spoke with gallery owner Susan Hensel and local artist Jodi Reeb-Myers about their show, Readers Art 11, a national survey of artists’ books. The exhibit runs through April 23. For more information on this and future exhibits, visit

3. Lou Bellamy Retires
Produced by Sabrina Crews
After 35 years of teaching, theater legend Lou Bellamy will retire from his position as an associate professor of theater at the University of Minnesota. Recently, the University’s Department of Theater Arts and Dance presented a tribute to honor Lou Bellamy’s legacy. KFAI’s Sabrina Crews has the story.

4. Winter Farmers Markets & D’Lish
Produced by Dan Greenwood
Twin Cities farmers markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs) thrive in the summertime. But with Minnesota’s short growing season and long winter, the relationship between patrons and producers is brief. Until now. Ann Yin, of Local D’Lish, spoke to KFAI producer Dan Greenwood about how she and others are bringing the market indoors, and offering delicious local products year-round. For more information about Local D’Lish, visit

5. St. Paul’s West Side & District del Sol
Produced by Maria Almli
A collaboration between the Minnesota Humanities Center and the Chicano Latino Affairs Council features history of St Paul’s West Side and District del Sol. KFAI’s Maria Almli has more.

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