February 2011 MinneCulture Archives

2/2/2011 MinneCulture

February is Black History Month, and to celebrate KFAI will be featuring special programming throughout the month.

Tonight’s edition of MinneCulture features an encore presentation Penumbra Theater, produced by Andy Driscoll. For nearly 35 years, Penumbra Theatre has been producing plays by, of and for the African-American community. Its legacy includes 27 world premieres of important plays by Black playwrights, and the starting place for all of August Wilson’s productions.

In this special radio documentary, meet members of Penumbra’s highly revered company of actors and performers, including its founding Artistic Director, Lou Bellamy.

2/7/2011 MinneCulture

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

1. Blu Dot
Produced by Dale Connelly
Fourteen years ago, three college friends—Maurice Banks, John Christakos and Charlie Lazor—chose Minnesota as the place to start an inventive contemporary furniture company with a sense of humor. Today, Blu Dot is creating eye-catching products to occupy the industry’s vast middle ground between IKEA and the stuff no one can afford. KFAI producer Dale Connelly has the story.

2. ARTitecture
Produced by Britt Aamodt
Buildings represent artistic decisions; and when they’re old, they also possess historic pedigree. ARTitecture, a photography exhibit that examines architecture as art and history, will be on display at the Burnsville Performing Arts Center through February. To view images of Andrew Hill’s photography, go to middletowncreative.com.

3. Artist Florence Hill
Produced by Dixie Treichel
Minneapolis-based Florence Hill has been a practicing artist for nearly 50 years, creating work in a variety of mediums. She is a frequent lecturer and painting demonstrator, and for 35 years has hosted a Sunday figure-drawing co-op in her Minneapolis studio. KFAI producer Dixie Treichel spoke to the octogenarian about her artistic legacy.

4. Frank Big Bear & All My Relations Gallery
Produced by Cyn Collins
The new All My Relations Gallery, which is part of the Native American Community Development Institute, recently celebrated its grand opening with an exhibit by artist Frank Big Bear. Known for his prisma-color drawings, the inaugural show featured vibrant paintings that drew colorful commentary by friends and vistors. KFAI producer Cyn Collins was there.

5. Minnesota African-American Museum & Cultural Center
Produced by Britt Aamodt
Roxanne Givens has one dream right now, and one challenge: to open Minnesota’s first African-American history museum and do so on schedule, by fall 2011. But fund raising during an economic recession is challenging. The Minnesota African-American Museum and Cultural Center already has a home at 17th and 3rd Avenue in Minneapolis, in the historic Coe Mansion near the convention center—a place Givens believes is an ideal backdrop for building cross-cultural relationships, educational advancement and community support. KFAI’s Britt Aamodt talked to Givens and MAAM marketing coordinator Shvonne Johnson about the challenges of coordinating and opening a museum in two years, and the rich vein of Minnesota’s African-American history they hope to tap for the 8,500-square-foot space. For more information, visit maamcc.org.

2/9/2011 MinneCulture

Cornbread Harris
Produced by Michelle Bruch, Daniel Zamzow & Nancy Sartor

At the age of 83, Cornbread Harris still gigs regularly in Minneapolis. Recognized for his wit, soulful blues and signature style, he’s also renowned for his famous son—music producer Jimmy “Jam” Harris, who has worked with artists including Prince, Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson and Gwen Stefani. Cornbread Harris performed on Minnesota’s first rock record 55 years ago, and his most recent album is a compilation of performances with Cadillac Kolstad, a Twin Cities rockabilly artist. The man and the music is currently the subject of a documentary titled, “Man, Blues and God – The Life of Cornbread Harris” by Thomas Zocher.

A fundraiser for the documentary film about Cornbread Harris takes place Sunday, Feb 13, from 7-11pm at Wilebski’s Blues Saloon, 1638 Rice Street, St. Paul. For more information, visit wilebskisblues.com and click on the calendar page.

Producer Michelle Bruch offers a short profile of Cornbread, followed by a concert performance recorded live at the 331 Club by Daniel Zamzow. Production assistance by Nancy Sartor.

2/14/2011 MinneCulture

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

1. Chocolat Celeste
Produced by Elena Erofeeva & Michael Milligan
After years working on the road and managing a corporate staff of thousands, Mary Leonard decided to shift her focus and manifest her dream of becoming a chocolatier. Her risk paid off. After less than a year in business Chocolat Celeste was awarded for being one of the ten best emerging chocolatiers in America. KFAI producers Elena Erofeeva and Michael Mulligan went to the St. Paul shop to talk to Mary and sample the confections.

2. Nice Girls, Mean Bags
Produced by Todd Melby
“This is what happens when Minnesota nice goes wrong.” That’s how Meghan McDonald-Heisserer describes the company she started with Christina Nguyen. Called “Maybe You Should Die,” the Minneapolis firm sells handmade “Mean Bags” with nasty insults, cards written from the point-of-view of stalkers, kinky cards for lovers and cards that celebrate failure. Says Christine, “We take it to the extreme.” KFAI’s Todd Melby takes a closer look at this unusual business venture.

3. Sculptor Rabi Sanfo
Produced by Dixie Treichel
Rabi Sanfo, a Burkina Faso native, immigrated to Minneapolis in 2004. Since then, he has put his welding background to use by creating metal sculptures. Although his artistic techniques have evolved over the years, the core theme of his work remains: to share the history and culture of his native Burkina Faso. Sanfo has received numerous awards at juried exhibits and art festivals. He also supports local organizations by donating his work to fund-raising events. Sanfo lives and works in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District. “The shapes of my sculptures, furniture and decorative objects are inspired by words, stories, fables and situations that come into my mind, and my culture. By the magic of bending, grinding and welding, I try to give these inspirations a form, an expression and a touch of life so when I get lost in a deep contemplation, I feel like they are living.”

4. Harriet Alexander Nature Center
Produced by Maria Almli
Harriet Alexander was a bit of a recluse, so it was quite a surprise when the elderly Roseville, Minnesota, resident left a quarter of a million dollars to the Central Park Foundation after she died. In 1990 the Harriet Alexander Nature Center was built in her honor. Nestled on 52 acres of marsh, woodland and prairie, the Center is a natural respite that offers programs to groups from preschoolers to seniors. KFAI producer Maria Almli paid a visit.

5. University of Minnesota’s Experiment Station is a Factory of Innovation
Produced by Michelle Bruch
From “Honeycrisp” apples to “Sven” and “Ole” roses, the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station is a factory of innovation. Headquartered at the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus, the Experiment Station supports 400 research projects in a single year. KFAI’s Michelle Bruch highlights a few of the experiments underway.

2/16/2011 MinneCulture

New Beginnings: The Story of Liberians in Minnesota, Pt 1
Produced by e.g. Bailey and Sha Cage

This special three-part documentary airs from 7:30-8pm on MinneCulture:
Part 1: Wed, Feb 16
Part 2: Mon, Feb 21
Part 3: Wed, Feb 23

For some time now, Minnesota has been a refuge for immigrant communities displaced from their homes due to a variety of circumstances. Minnesota’s Liberian community grew rapidly in the aftermath of a series of civil wars that ravished their country. However the story of Liberians in Minnesota does not begin with these civil wars, but stretches over more than 50 years.

In this radio documentary, producers e.g. Bailey and Sha Cage explore Liberian history, along with the growth and development of the community here in Minnesota.

Hear conversations with a wide-range of community members, including Wynfred Russell, Abdullai Kiatamba, Piso Tarr, Yeamah Brewer, Mameneh George and others, as well as prominent local figures including State Representative Keith Ellison, history professor Peter Rachleff, and theater director Wendy Knox.

This three-part program provides an overview of where the Liberian community in Minnesota stands today, the contributions it has made to the state, and what the future holds.

2/21/2011 MinneCulture

Due to a computer error, mp3 archives for this broadcast are not available. The problem has been addresses and will resume as normal for next week.

The Real Audio Archives are still available to listen to.

New Beginnings: The Story of Liberians in Minnesota, Pt 2
Produced by e.g. Bailey and Sha Cage

This special three-part documentary airs from 7:30-8pm on MinneCulture:
Part 1: Wed, Feb 16
Part 2: Mon, Feb 21
Part 3: Wed, Feb 23

For some time now, Minnesota has been a refuge for immigrant communities displaced from their homes due to a variety of circumstances. Minnesota’s Liberian community grew rapidly in the aftermath of a series of civil wars that ravished their country. However the story of Liberians in Minnesota does not begin with these civil wars, but stretches over more than 50 years.

In this radio documentary, producers e.g. Bailey and Sha Cage explore Liberian history, along with the growth and development of the community here in Minnesota.

Hear conversations with a wide-range of community members, including Wynfred Russell, Abdullai Kiatamba, Piso Tarr, Yeamah Brewer, Mameneh George and others, as well as prominent local figures including State Representative Keith Ellison, history professor Peter Rachleff, and theater director Wendy Knox.

This three-part program provides an overview of where the Liberian community in Minnesota stands today, the contributions it has made to the state, and what the future holds.

2/23/2011 MinneCulture

New Beginnings: The Story of Liberians in Minnesota
Produced by e.g. Bailey and Sha Cage

This special three-part documentary airs from 7:30-8pm on MinneCulture:
Part 1: Wed, Feb 16
Part 2: Mon, Feb 21
Part 3: Wed, Feb 23

For some time now, Minnesota has been a refuge for immigrant communities displaced from their homes due to a variety of circumstances. Minnesota’s Liberian community grew rapidly in the aftermath of a series of civil wars that ravished their country. However the story of Liberians in Minnesota does not begin with these civil wars, but stretches over more than 50 years.

In this radio documentary, producers e.g. Bailey and Sha Cage explore Liberian history, along with the growth and development of the community here in Minnesota.

Hear conversations with a wide-range of community members, including Wynfred Russell, Abdullai Kiatamba, Piso Tarr, Yeamah Brewer, Mameneh George and others, as well as prominent local figures including State Representative Keith Ellison, history professor Peter Rachleff, and theater director Wendy Knox.

This three-part program provides an overview of where the Liberian community in Minnesota stands today, the contributions it has made to the state, and what the future holds.

2/28/2011 MinneCulture

1. Louis Alemayehu
Louis Alemayehu is a poet, musician, educator and community elder. Born in Chicago of African and Native heritage, he developed artistically during the Black Arts Movement of the 1970s. Now a Minnesota resident, Louis is a founding member of Twin Cities music group Ancestor Energy—a group he’s performed with for more than 25 years.

2. Douglas Ewart
Composer, improviser, sculptor, mask and instrument maker, Douglas R. Ewart is also an educator, lecturer, consultant and visionary. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, he immigrated to Chicago in 1963, and moved to Minnesota in 1989. He traveled to Japan in 1987 as part of a U.S.-Japan Creative Arts Fellowship, where he studied both modern Japanese culture and the traditional Buddhist shakuhachi flute. He has performed around the world in several ensembles, including the Nyahbingi Drum Choir, the Clarinet Choir, Douglas R. Ewart & Inventions, Douglas R. Ewart & Quasar and Douglas R. Ewart & Stringnets. As an instrument-maker, Ewart creates unique varieties of winds and percussion. He also handcrafts masks that have been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and elsewhere.

3. Andrea Jenkins
Andrea Jenkins is a poet, writer, performer, educator, and activist. She has been a part of the local poetry community for several years, earning awards, fellowships and commissions during that time. She currently works full time as a Senior Policy Aide to the 8th Ward City Council Member Elizabeth Glidden and serves on the boards of OutFront Minnesota, Forecast Public Art, and SMARTS. Andrea co-curates the Queer Voices Reading Series with John Medeiros at Intermedia Arts. Most recently she was selected to be a Naked Stages Fellow, supported by the Jerome Foundation, to produce a one-woman show loosely based on her manuscript Black Pearl. As a transgender woman of color, she has committed herself to improving the condition of LGBT people and the broader community through extensive volunteer service and leadership roles in community organizations

4. Rabi Sanfo
West African native Rabi Sanfo immigrated to Minneapolis in 2004. Since then, he’s used his welding background to create metal sculptures. As his artistic techniques have evolved over the years, the core theme of his work remains: to share the history and culture of his native Burkina Faso. Rabi Sanfo has received numerous art awards, and supports local organizations by donating his work special events. He lives and works in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District.