In cultural anthropology, a rite of passage, or “liminal phase,” marks the transition where normal limits to thought, self-understanding, and behavior are relaxed, leading one to new perspectives. Once an anthropology student himself, Adam Levy, (The Honeydogs, Hookers $ Blow, Bunny Clogs) founded Liminal Phase to combine old and new sounds with electronic and acoustic instrumentation. The band weaves avant-garde tonalities and melodic ideas into improvised soundscapes that touch on jazz, psychedelia and West African syncopation. Liminal Phase features Adam Levy on guitars; DeVon Gray (Heiruspecs) on bassoon, flute and keys; Lisa Hirst-Carnes on oboe and harmonium; Joey Van Phillips (Mystery Palace, Dessa, Gayngs) on drums; and Dan Zamzow (Cloud Cult, Deep Soul Deities) on cello; with DJ Nathan Brende adding diverse electronic textures.
The Mississippi River was dubbed “messippi” by the Ojibwe Indians of Northern Minnesota. The fourth largest river in the world, its headwaters begin at Itasca State Park and flow into the Gulf of Mexico from Louisiana. Covering more than 2,000 miles in 31 states, the Mississippi has been the creative inspiration for American legend and folklore, including Mark Twain’s “Huck Finn.” In this documentary, producers Flor Trevino and Peter Frey explore how young people are rediscovering this majestic landmark. With original music by the Okee Dokee Brothers, this project is part of the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.
Joy Islam, Tushar Ahmmed and Palbasha Siddique are three impassioned Bangladeshi musicians who have made Minnesota their home. Fusing Bangla musical roots with other genres including folk, classical, heavy metal, and pop, they’ve made an indelible mark in the Twin Cities. KFAI producer MJ Gilmore talks to Joy, Tushar and Palbasha about how their personal journeys have influenced and affected their music.
When Minneapolis politicians censored small time scandal sheet publisher, Jay Near, it sparked the country’s first debate on whether the government can control people’s speech and punish them for publishing unpopular ideas. Called the first great press case, the surprising 1931 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Near vs. Minnesota is a landmark of First Amendment law, and continues to guide our democracy today. KFAI producer Susan Gray talks to media and legal experts, who describe the characters that played a role in creating this important jurisprudence.
The Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies, housed at the University of Minnesota, includes more than 30,000 items from around the world. KFAI producer Dixie Treichel tells the story.
The fastest-growing refugee community in Minnesota over the past few years is a population from Southeast Asia most Minnesotans have never heard of—the Karen (pronounced Kuh-RENN). The nearly 7,000 Karen living here, mostly on the east side of St. Paul, have kept a low profile since they first started arriving in 2000. Their journey to Minnesota has been long and difficult. The Karen are an oppressed ethnic minority from Burma, the country also known as Myanmar, and for more than 60 years, innocent Karen men, women and children have become displaced by violence and civil war. Like many refugees who come to Minnesota, the Karen are here because they want to be safe and free from persecution. Most importantly, they want to give their children a better life and a good education. As producer Marisa Helms reports in this MinneCulture audio documentary, the story of the Karen is about resilience and the survival of a community and culture. Here in Minnesota, the Karen have found refuge, and finally, hope for the future.
Lots of folks are into vinyl these days. Some people are even making mix tapes again. But if you really want to embrace obscure, seemingly dead media, there’s no better way to do it than to buy 78 rpm records. This documentary takes listeners inside the rarefied world of 78 record enthusiasts, including Greg Carr, former KFAI “Dig Up the Roots” DJ, and Scott Holthus, owner of Vintage Music Company in Minneapolis. Holthus owns hundreds of thousands of 78 records and he refurbishes the machines that plays them.
They had names like The Cinebuff, the Bronco, The Maple Leaf, The Sunset. They were the drive-in movie theaters of Minnesota. Once, there were more than 80 outdoor movie theaters in the Gopher State. Today, only a handful remain, including the Sky-Vu in Warren and the Starlite 5 in Litchfield. Produced by Todd Melby.