May 2012 MinneCulture Archives

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

1. Chess champion DJ Hooker Jr
Produced by Will Wright
While most kids are playing video games on televisions, cell phones and computers, one Minneapolis youth is focused on a board game that is centuries old. DJ Hooker Jr has been playing chess since he was two-years-old, and the South High School student recently took top honors at the National High School Chess Championship. KFAI producer Will Wright has the story.

2. Heart of the Beast’s May Day celebration
Produced by Dixie Treichel
In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask theater holds its annual May Day parade and festival the first Sunday in May in the Powderhorn neighborhood. Honoring the earth and community with art and pageantry, this is the 38th year of the festival. KFAI’s Dixie Treichel has more about this colorful community event.

3. Artists’ work reflects Great Mothers of Islam
Produced by Dan Greenwood
Hend Al-Mansour and Leili Tajadod-Pritschet are two Middle Eastern artists whose work reflects the Great Mothers of Islam. KFAI producer Dan Greenwood talked to the women about gender representation in their art.

4. Charlotte van Cleve: a Minnesota Legacy
Produced by Bobbie Scott
Charlotte Ouisconsin Clark Van Cleve was a remarkable woman who left a legacy in Minnesota. A newborn Charlotte arrived here in 1819, when her father landed with the Fifth Infantry to construct Fort Snelling. Spending her formative years at remote military posts instilled in Charlotte a love of the flag, and throughout her life she exemplified strong patriotism and an altruistic nature. She raised a large family, and after the Civil War, founded Bethany Home—a safe-haven for “fallen” girls and women. Charlotte served tirelessly as the president of Bethany Home for more than twenty years, often taking unpopular stands in support of those she called her “girls.” Despite her sometimes controversial opinions, Charlotte was a beloved and respected member of the community throughout her long life. This MinneCulture documentary was produced by Bobbie Scott, with production assistance by Nancy Sartor. Special thanks to Sabrina Crews, Lisa Day, Ron Grogg, Christine and Jeff Nordin, and the Historic Fort Snelling Fife and Drum Corps.

Live from Minnesota presents…

Mary Cutrufello at the Amsterdam Bar & Hall
Produced by Daniel Zamzow

Singer/songwriter Mary Cutrufello was raised in Connecticut and spent years as a recording artist in Texas. She settled in the Twin Cities 10 years ago, and continues to play locally and nationally. Known as a “honky-tonk heroine,” she’s been featured on Austin City Limits and has produced a number of albums, including a major release on Mercury Records. Vocal nodes silenced her for three years, but in 2007 she returned to performing and released the album, “35.” Her most recent release is “Fireflies till they’re Gone,” which showcases both her full-throated rock wail and quiet intensity.

Charlotte van Cleve: a Minnesota Legacy
Produced by Bobbie Scott

Charlotte Ouisconsin Clark Van Cleve was a remarkable woman who left a legacy in Minnesota. A newborn Charlotte arrived here in 1819, when her father landed with the Fifth Infantry to construct Fort Snelling. Spending her formative years at remote military posts instilled in Charlotte a love of the flag, and throughout her life she exemplified strong patriotism and an altruistic nature. She raised a large family, and after the Civil War, founded Bethany Home—a safe-haven for “fallen” girls and women. Charlotte served tirelessly as the president of Bethany Home for more than twenty years, often taking unpopular stands in support of those she called her “girls.” Despite her sometimes controversial opinions, Charlotte was a beloved and respected member of the community throughout her long life. This MinneCulture documentary was produced by Bobbie Scott, with production assistance by Nancy Sartor. Special thanks to Sabrina Crews, Lisa Day, Ron Grogg, Christine and Jeff Nordin, and the Historic Fort Snelling Fife and Drum Corps.

Live from Minnesota presents…

Brian Laidlaw
Produced by Flor Trevino

California native Brian Laidlaw considers himself a poet first and musician second. After several years of touring, Laidlaw settled in Minneapolis to earn his Masters of Fine Art in poetry at the University of Minnesota. He wrote the album “wolf wolf wolf” as the audio counterpart to his masters’ thesis and released it in the fall of 2011. In this edition of Live from Minnesota, Laidlaw shares his poetry, music and insight on blending of these art forms. For more information, go to brianlaidlaw.com. Produced for KFAI by Flor Trevino.

Live from Minnesota presents…

Maria Isa and Los Nativos Cinco de Mayo Celebration at Conga Latin Bistro
Produced by Daniel Zamzow

Born and raised in the Twin Cities to NuyoRican parents, emcee, singer, and songwriter Maria Isa is celebrates her cultural diversity through music and political activism. In 1992 she started her performing arts education at El Arco Iris Center for Arts, forming Raices in 2002 with other advanced students to conserve their ancestral Puerto Rican folklore music. Following her nomination in 2006 for the Minnesota Music Award’s Best Hip-Hop Artist category, she released her first independent album “M.I. Split Personalities” in May of 2007, and later her sophomore studio project, “Street Politics.” Maria performs in the Twin Cities, Puerto Rico and nationally.

Los Nativos formed in 1996 and was one of the original groups in Rhymesayers Entertainment. The St. Paul duo of Felipe Espinoza-Day (Felipe Cuauhtli) and Jermain Ybarra (Chilam Balam) produce music with a conscious message, integrating Hip Hop, Jazz, Funk, Rhythm and Blues, Tejano, Mariachi, Salsa and Cumbia to deliver a style all their own. Los Nativos was nominated by the Minnesota Music Awards for Best New Band in 1996, Best Hip Hop Group in 1999, and Best Hip Hop Recording in 2003. They perform locally and nationally.

Live from Minnesota presents…

Patty & the Buttons at the Red Stag Supperclub
Produced by Tom Garneau

Patty and the Buttons formed in 2008 when accordionist/vocalist Patrick “Patty” Harison returned to the Midwest. Inspired by his travels and work Panorama Jazz Band, Loose Marbles and the Baby Soda Jazz Band, he formed the Buttons to continue his love of hot rhythm and happy feet. The band’s eclectic repertoire includes New Orleans Traditional Jazz, Western Swing, Gypsy Melodies, Dust Bowl Ballads, Jug Music and 1930’s Popular Song. The core instrumentation of accordion, clarinet, guitar and bass is light and swift, but also beautifully melancholy and lush. Known as an accordionist, Patty doubles as the bands vocalist, with a vocal style that has been described as “Tom Waits meets Rudy Vallee.” This show was produced for KFAI by Tom Garneau.

The Great Falls: St. Anthony Falls
Produced by Dixie Treichel

The Great Falls, dubbed “St Anthony Falls” by Father Louis Hennepin, evolved during the Ice Age and became the birthplace of Minneapolis. A spiritual place for Native Americans, and especially Dakota people, the Falls have always been a magnet for their beauty and power. European settlers harnessed the water power for lumber and flour mill industries that developed along the banks of the Mississippi, but years of over-use marred the landscape. Today St. Anthony Falls are part of the Mississippi River Historic District.

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

1. Sam Jasmine’s talking dart board
Produced by Dixie Treichel
Sam Jasmine is an avid dart player, who also happens to be blind. In 2009 she invented the Audio Dart Master, a talking dartboard for the visually impaired, while playing in an audio dart league in the Twin Cities. KFAI’s Dixie Treichel has more.

2. Spoken word artist Tish Jones
Produced by Dixie Treichel
Tish Jones is the Community Engagement Director for the St Paul Almanac, and Executive Director of TruArtSpeaks. She began performing at age 14, and today the 24-year-old poet and spoken-word artist has a body of work that focuses on the rhythmic and lyrical content of words. KFAI’s Dixie Treichel has the story.

3. CHAT: Center for Hmong Arts & Talent
Produced by Will Wright
Hmong people come from the mountains of China, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand, and have a strong presence here in the Twin Cities. KFAI producer Will Wright spoke to Hmong arts and culture advocate Kathy Mouacheupao and artist Kao Lee Thao about arts and identity in the Twin Cities’ Hmong community

4. Architect Clarence Wigington
Produced by Will Wright
Clarence “Cap” Wigington was the nation’s first Black municipal architect, and served as a senior designer for the city of St. Paul for 34 years. Sixty of his buildings in Minnesota are on the historical registry, including the Highland Park Water Tower. Producer Will Wright talks to biographer David Taylor about the architectural legacy of Cap Wigington.

5. Science fiction writer Clifford Simak
Produced by Britt Aamodt
Science fiction author Clifford Simak published his first pulp story in 1931. During his 50-year career, he wrote hundreds of short stories and nearly 30 novels—all while working as a reporter for the Minneapolis Star newspaper. Today Simak is considered one of the great writers from Science Fiction’s Golden Age, alongside Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein and Ray Bradbury. But unlike other Sci-Fi writers, Simak’s stories focused on common men and women, living in ordinary surroundings.

Aliens in the Heartland: Clifford D. Simak and the Emergence of Pastoral Science Fiction
Produced by Britt Aamodt

Clifford D. Simak is part of Science Fiction’s Golden Age (1940s-50s), and the author of classics including “City,” “Way Station” and “Goblin Reservation.” He began his career in 1931 with the publication of “The World of the Red Sun” in Wonder Stories, a popular pulp magazine of the time. (That story would inspire a young junior high student, Isaac Asimov, to later try his hand at writing fiction.) Simak’s career spanned 50 years, and his prolific body of work included more than 100 stories and nearly 30 novels. He won three Hugo awards and one Nebula, and in 1977 was recognized by his peers as a Grand Master of Science Fiction—at the time, only the third author to receive such accolades. Through all the success and acclaim, Simak remained a small-town Wisconsin boy at heart, and maintained his reporter job at the Minneapolis Star newspaper. His Midwestern roots defined his fiction, in which regular folk in common settings confronted extraordinary circumstances—time paradoxes, immortals, aliens and parallel universes. Born in rural southwestern Wisconsin in 1904, Cifford Simak died of leukemia in Minneapolis in April 1988.