May 2013 Archives

In recent decades, Cirque du Soleil popularized a gravity-defying act with its Aerial Silk performances. Several circus-arts studios in the Twin Cities are now translating that art form into an exercise routine. KFAI’s Christina Cerruti visited an Aerial Fitness class at the Rabbit Hole in Minneapolis, where students build strength while reaching new heights.

For the past 13 years, De La Salle High School in Minneapolis has hosted a Starry Night Prom—a prom for people of all ages living with disabilities. More than 1,400 guests attend, and nearly 200 students volunteer to make the Starry Night Prom a memorable spring event.

Each year, students in the Central Touring Theatre work long hours to write, direct and perform an original social justice play based on actual events in their lives. To learn more, KFAI producer Jemma Brown went to the St. Paul high school, where young actors interviewed each other about the experience. With, in order of appearance: Tyler Chapman and Destiny Roberts; Debra Estifanos and Otavious Johnson; Chloe Quiroz and Amoni Oda; and Brandon Swaggart.

Urban Arts Academy is a small, nonprofit school that offers a range of holistic lessons to preschool, elementary and middle-school students. Using art as a tool to enhance the natural desire to explore, the Academy offers affordable preschool, after-school and summer arts education. Will Wright visited the South Minneapolis school to hear about this creative approach to educating youngsters.

Mille Lacs Kathio State Park encompasses 9,000 years of human history. At one time it was an important social and spiritual center for the Dakota, and later it became home to the Ojibwe. The park’s archeological significance has made it a National Historic Landmark. KFAI’s Britt Aamodt met with naturalist Jim Cummings to learn about the diverse history of the park’s Landmark Trail.

Born and raised in St. Paul, Paul Metzger has been playing and performing music since he was a teenager. Working primarily with acoustic instruments, he’s developed a signature improvisational style on guitar, banjo and various homemade instruments. Part of the Twin Cities’ music scene since the ’80s, he led the band TVBC, which is often considered one of Minnesota’s first experimental/progressive jazz groups. Produced for KFAI by Danny Sigelman.

When a local woman designed a “Judgmental Map” of Minneapolis to satirize the Twin Cities, she caught heat from people who branded her as a racist for calling North Minneapolis “the Compton of the North.” KFAI producer Will Wright talks to the artist—Sarah, who declines to use her last name—about the project, and visits with improv comedian Stevie Ray to discuss satire as social commentary.

Virginia, Minnesota’s Socialist Opera House was built by miners who spent $40,000 of their own money—an enormous sum for men who pocketed $2 a day from laboring in the mines. The 800-seat auditorium resounded with Bizet and Verdi, as well as the fiery speeches of traveling socialist lecturers and labor organizers. The hall was remodeled into offices in the 1950s, when a Cold War America rankled at the word “socialist” on the building’s facade. Today the building still stands, though altered, as the home of Virginia Co-op Credit Union. KFAI’s Britt Aamodt talks to Clarence Ivonen, who as a boy, sat rapt in his balcony seat, and as a man, reported on the decline of the aged beauty for the Mesabi Daily News.

America’s Temperance Movement arose from Protestant pulpits in the early 19th century, and took root among Minnesota’s rural immigrant populations who eschewed alcohol and tobacco. KFAI producer Britt Aamodt traveled to Cokato, Minnesota to visit Temperance Hall—a community structure built in 1896. Today, the hall is the centerpiece of Temperance Corner, which also includes an old schoolhouse and an immigrant cabin, and plays host to popular seasonal festivals.