2021 tempted us to “get back to normal,” but the Twin Cities arts scene largely resisted and innovated by staging events outside, charging bouncers with the task of checking vaccination statuses, producing virtual art exhibits and fusing art forms to continue healing. Through it all, MinneCulture producers brought you timely arts stories as well as Minnesota history stories, told with modern and progressive voices. Here are some of the most memorable stories from 2021, as selected by the MinneCuture editorial team.
Emily Michaels King and Her Digital Detritus for the Zoom Era
Performance artist Emily Michaels King dropped a new production last wintercalled ‘Digital,” which invited the audience into the bedroom, into the computer screen, and into the body, for an immersive, tangible virtual experience for the zoom era. KFAI’s Sheila Regan reports.
The Sonic Legacy of Leif Brush and His Terrain Instruments
Duluth-based sound artist Leif Brush passed away in March of 2021. His Terrain Instruments were just some of the audible sculptures that isolated and emphasized the sounds of otherwise natural phenomena. KFAI’s Ben Heath celebrates the work of a remarkable Minnesotan.
Ty Yule Remembers Pi: “The Dyke Bar of Our Dreams”
Pi Bar infused the Twin Cities with an ecstatic, high energy jolt of queerness for the year and a half it was open. They catered to lesbians and queer women, but was also open to the entire LGBTQ scene, making its embrace of the transgender community explicit. In his recent memoir, “Chemically Enhanced Butch,” former Pi proprietor Ty Yule reflects on Pi’s brief but impactful existence in the Twin Cities. KFAI’s Sheila Regan reports.
Self-Determination and Other Teachings of the Red School House
Created through a partnership between Migizi Communications and KFAI’s MinneCulture, First Person Plural used recordings from archived episodes of First Person Radio to tell Indigenous history stories rooted in Minnesota. In this edition, Dixie Treichel shares the story of the Red School House, formed in response to the discrimination experienced by Native youth in our education systems. Listen here:
Savannah Bustillo’s Tongue Twisters in Graphite
In the world of audio recording, sound is visually represented in what’s called a wave form. They often look like tall ovals with vertical spikes. In the world of visual art, a Minnesota artist uses such wave forms to illustrate accents and tongue-twisters with printmaking and stencils. Get to know the artist, Savannah Bustillo, in this story by KFAI’s Sheila Regan.
Marking 100 years with Celebration and Reflection at Ingebretsen’s
December is the busiest time of the year at Ingebretson’s, a Scandinavian market and gift shop on Lake Street in Minneapolis. As Ingebretson’s marks its 100th anniversary, it’s a time for celebration and a time for reflection at the shop. Britta Greene reports for KFAI’s MinneCulture.
Ep. 30: The Godfather of Black Space in Minneapolis
Season 5 of the MinneCulture Podcast was devoted solely to Minnesota history. 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. Hear Cassius’ story in this episode of the MinneCulture Podcast, produced by Nancy Rosenbaum and Mecca Bos.
Ep. 35: The Toonsmith: Dave Mruz, Minnesota’s Cartooning Historian
KFAI’s Britt Aamodt shared three tremendous feats of storytelling in Season 5 of the podcast, including a chronicle of Minnesota connections to famous comics and cartoons. Listen here and learn a thing or two about Donald Duck, Superman, Charlie Brown and more.
Fly Robin Fly: That Disco-Crazed Moment When The Gay 90’s Came Out Of The Closet
In downtown Minneapolis, there’s a gay bar with several dance floors conveniently named the Gay 90’s.
But… the Gay 90’s hasn’t always been gay. The bar began as a supper club for a straight crowd. It opened in the 1950s and the name was a reference to an earlier decade, the 1890s. Then, in 1975, the vibe changed in a big way. The owners of the Gay 90’s bought a disco ball, hired DJs, and turned the 90’s into a club catering to gay men. In this original KFAI documentary by KFAI’s Todd Melby, you’ll hear a history of the bar featuring some of the people who worked, danced and connected at the Gay 90’s.
MinneCulture productions on KFAI are supported by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.