Ep. 35: The Toonsmith: Dave Mruz, Minnesota’s Cartooning Historian
Season 5 is all about Minnesota history.
Superman. Charlie Brown. Donald Duck. These ‘toons all have roots in Minnesota. In this episode of the MinneCulture Podcast, KFAI’s Britt Aamodt introduces us to a cartooning historian who helped preserve the backstory of some iconic characters.
Ep. 34: A Living History of the Boundary Waters
In wilderness settings, there are connections people can make to the land, regardless of their age, race or gender, by walking in the footsteps of those who have come before them.
With this in mind, a group of Minnesota paddlers set out in the fall of 2020 to travel across the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to retrace the steps of a wilderness pioneer named Arthur Carhart. Their journey took them across abandoned portages, streams plugged by beaver dams and through remote territory inside the nation’s most visited wilderness area.
Carhart made his journey to the Boundary Waters in 1921. Though a century has passed since his expedition, there were generations of people who lived in this landscape that is now defined as a ‘wilderness area.’ The Indigenous communities were here long before white voyageurs and government officials put their canoes on this countless collection of lakes, streams and pathways through the Boundary Waters.
In this episode of the MinneCulture Podcast, producer Joe Friedrichs takes a look at what the term ‘wilderness’ means in the past, present and future of the Boundary Waters.
Ep. 33: James Garrett Jr. on Why Black Architecture Matters
James Garrett Jr. is an architect at 4RM+ULA architects, one of the only Black-owned architecture firms in Minnesota. Garrett and his family have deep ties to St. Paul’s Rondo neighborhood. During his childhood in St. Paul, James fell in love with buildings and the bustle of urban landscapes. Later, while in college, he would discover that he himself had a connection to these landscapes through a man who helped create them, Clarence Wiggington, the first Black municipal architect in the country, serving St. Paul from 1915 to 1949.
In this episode of the MinneCulture Podcast, reporter Katie Thornton speaks with James Garrett Jr. about his life, his passion for architecture and how community-driven design can be a type of activism.
Ep. 32: Stay Young, Go Dancing
Polka dancing was once a staple of small-town Minnesota, enjoyed by German, Polish, and Scandinavian immigrants who settled in farming communities. It was a popular activity in ballrooms throughout the Midwest in the 20th century. Today, polka dancing and ballrooms have mostly disappeared. But, for the residents of rural Sibley County, the legacy of one legendary polka venue still looms large. Producer James Napoli has the story.
Ep. 31: Murder Cliff: The Death of Mary Fridley Price
The plain, uninteresting Mary Fridley Price. Not the sort of girl anyone would notice—except now she’d gone and leapt over a cliff to save her poor dog. The dull—and very dead girl—was suddenly front-page headlines. No one was supposedly more grief-stricken than her charming husband Frederick Price, who found comfort in his wife’s inheritance—and in the arms of his mistress…
Are you suspicious? Mary’s father sure was.
KFAI’s Britt Aamodt shares the story of Minneapolis’ most notorious murder trial of 1916.
Ep. 30: The Godfather of Black Space in Minneapolis
Anthony Brutus Cassius was questioned by the FBI, fought to be the first Black person in Minnesota to get a liquor license, and his famous greasy burgers were once mentioned on the Johnny Carson show. But above all, starting in the 1930s, Cassius created space for the Twin Cities Black community to eat, drink, organize and connect. Even today, there are hardly any Black-owned bars or restaurants in the Twin Cities. Cassius’ story helps us to understand how we got here.
“The Godfather of Black Space in Minneapolis” traces Cassius’ life and impact as a labor organizer, civil rights leader, and entrepreneur. This episode of the MinneCulture Podcast was produced by food writer and chef Mecca Bos and audio journalist Nancy Rosenbaum. It’s the first installment in the Hidden Black Foodways of Minnesota — an audio documentary and podcast series that will spotlight untold and under-told stories of Minnesota’s Black food makers and pioneers.
Ep. 29: Generation AIDS
Minnesota was never a host zone for HIV/AIDS, but for Minnesotans living the disease the struggle was the same: to stay alive and to fight the homophobia that wanted to ignore an epidemic dismissed as a gay man’s disease. This is their story, reported and narrated by KFAI’s Britt Aamodt, hosted by Ahanti Young.
Ep. 28: When the Gay 90’s Came Out
Hear Todd Melby share a history of the famous gay bar that began as a supper club for a straight crowd. Hear stories from behind the bar, on top of the bar, at the coat check and in parking lot. KFAI’s Todd Melby Reports.
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Connect with KFAI’s MinneCulture editorial team at legacy[at]kfai.org. Arts press releases, underwriting opportunities and story ideas are always welcome.
Support for MinneCulture on KFAI comes from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Support also comes from Hennepin History Museum.