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Monthly Archives: March 2010

DAD-DAUGHTER OUTINGS have become our Saturday morning ritual, which in wintertime means museums (Jo says it with emphasis on the MU). We have lots of excellent options close to home, though the Minneapolis Institute of Arts is our standby. Minneapolis’s little Met, it houses the most expansive and eclectic collections this side of Chicago (early photography, T’ang bronzes, Native American dolls, Conceptualist paintings, artist books, mid-century modern furniture, medieval tapestries…), which you get pretty much to yourself if you come early. We try to arrive as they unlock the doors.

Even when you let the three-year old lead here, you find art you like.

From this position you can toss a penny in the fountain below.

If we like a painting, we imitate poses. Animals are preferred.

Last weekend we opted for the Bell Museum of Natural History, the old-school taxidermy-and-dioramas unit of the University of Minnesota. Johanna is obsessed with the “realness” of stuffed animals, so I figured she was ready.

Made mostly in the 1940s, the Bell’s giant displays have held up well. Here Jo leaves her snout print on the timber wolves diorama.

Do they anthropomorphize the animals a little, or am I projecting? This raccoon seems full of ennui.

“Daddy, where is she taking her baby?” I didn’t feel like correcting her.

Fortunately, most of the simulated behavior is easy to interpret.

It hadn’t occurred to me to ride these, but people under 3′ tall are attuned to stuff like that.

A museum morning inevitably leads to lunch, typically Vietnamese or Chinese. Last month our meal was crashed by raucous Chinese New Year dragons, sending Johanna scurrying under the table in terror. A fortune cookie or two later, it was all but forgotten (Jo’s policy: “You read it, I eat it”).

If time permits on the way home, we play in the snow, which gets easier and grosser as you head into March.

With our sheaf of crayons and pencils (mind the No Markers rule), we do a couple drawings together each museum visit. Sometimes the art creeps in, along with funny things Johanna says.

> Gang of Four – At Home He’s A Tourist

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SPRING VIBES INTENSIFY EVERYTHING. I joined the gleeful hordes on city trails this weekend, but merely washing windows was an ecstatic act. I was practically pogoing in the car downtown today to a new/old “Doolittle” cassette, windows down, volume up. The frisson of freedom that follows cold-weather confinement; it’s a big reason I live here.

Enthusiasm was swelling all week long. We hit the Heights Theatre for a 6th Annual Arab Film Festival selection Saturday evening, though the movie paled next to the meal we had beforehand at Victory 44, an unassuming pub that serves scary-ambitious food in North Minneapolis. We were all over the tasting menu—beets and bleu cheese with honey pearls, lamb loaf with carrot ketchup—even before they trotted out the fifth course, assorted desserts on a platter the size of a gatefold LP, melted up with a butane torch for extra flair. There was a mob at the door as we left.

St. Paul Slim tore it up before The Genius at the Triple Rock Social Club Thursday, but his beatboxing DJ (Snuggles) stole the show:

For GZA/Genius and the Wu-Tang Clan generally, their role as cultural icons may have dimmed their freshness as performers. It’s not so dog eat dog anymore on the streets of Shaolin, I guess (He’s got mouths to feed/unnecessary beef is more cows to breed). GZA kept it lackadaisical like his cameo in Jarmusch’s Coffee & Cigarettes:

Sarah submitted her application today to be part of the inaugural CSA (Community Supported Art) project, wherein art patrons can buy a curated crate of work by local artists; a more enticing treat than the food version, IMO.

Wow wow wow. This week I dropped by Foot in the Door 4 at the M.I.A. (4000 amateur artworks jammed floor to ceiling into two galleries; individually mediocre, but sublime altogether). Grabbed the excellent new Dessa album (picking up her songy rapping on radars far outside the 612). Though I have no special qualifications for the honor, I landed a project with money guru Suze Orman. She’ll easily qualify as the biggest celebrity I’ve met (assuming they let me meet her). Wim Wenders is probably second; Floppy a distant third. I admit I’m having trouble imagining her as a real person.

A concluding note of appreciation for my mother in law (#4 licensed dental hygienist in Alaskan history; ooold school), observed here giving HER OWN TEETH a professional-style cleaning. Hard. Core.

> Bobby Goldsboro – Little Things

YOU CAN’T KNOW WHAT YOU’LL GET when you drop in on old friends. Which is either a reason for caution or part of the fun or both. After too many Oregon trips with no Bro Time, I finally hit Portland to see two of my best amigos exclusively. At my request, it was a weekend of nothing fancy—just doing their thing. Fortunately, their normal lives are full of the kind of WTF I love but miss out on anymore.

Click pics once or twice to expand.

Steve (Theodore Roosevelt High School Class of ’93) a/k/a Hulk Hands, pensive before sturgeon fishing.

Travis (Perkins Elementary Class of ’86) tending the burn pile outside his house in Skapoose, an evil-smelling stew of motor oil, construction debris and junk mail.

Cheap thrills: Taking rides on the hydraulic equipment at Atomic Auto after hours.

Spotted crossing the Hawthorne Bridge from downtown. I obeyed.

Protests and conspiracies abound in Portland, some familiar, some not.

A mummified frog found whole inside a tire, its stomach full of bees.

Explore Travis’s hangar-sized shop and you find all kinds of weirdness.

Upstairs is a labyrinth of salvaged Saab parts waiting to be recycled. It’s the automative equivalent of a creepy doll museum.

Shooting pool with the assembled dudes who haunt the joint after hours.

I couldn’t tell you the purpose of a single tool here.

Saab engines look like bionic hearts.

Travis’s house is what’s known in rural Oregon as “‘Dozer Bait.”

T’s chickens in an improvised enclosure, which I recognized was made from a futon I slept on last time I visited.

“I told him to get his RV off my property or I’ll burn it.”

Dinosaurs, guns and a friendly roommate reminder.

Hi! I love this trick.

A respected fisherman when I’m not around, Travis has yet to catch shit in my presence.

The Multnomah Cut leading into the Columbia River has a few noble ruins.

The preferred bait for sturgeon fishing is alien fetus, I learned.

This is a photo of the man at Travis’s birthday party who sat by the campfire until his boots and feet burned. It was a very sad story.

Steve’s band, usually spelled “Cougar,” played my last night in town at the third oldest bar in Portland.

Steve claimed it was a sub-par Cougar show, though I was delighted. They were followed by the “goodbye” performance of Sprinkles, which featured hilarious verbal abuse hurled at the audience.

Travis contemplates 4th Street at 2AM. He declined to go for Mexican with us in Vancouver (the other Vancouver).

I ate so dirty on this trip.

I don’t recall a meal without chili or gravy.

Steve and Shannon brunching after we managed to stay up listening to records and watching Chappelle until 4AM.

Hangovers make you look older (so I’d like to think).

Goodbye to the country’s oldest continually operated airfield. Thanks S, T & S for a memorable trip.

> Guided by Voices – Shocker in Gloomtown