Death Cafe is a global social franchise that wants to help people talk about death. At a Death Cafe, participants can talk about taboo topics in a lightly moderated open forum. Minnesota has a couple of these volunteer-run discussion groups. You show up, have a snack, take a seat, and chat about any topic that has to do with death.
There are many ways to mourn the loss of a loved one. Some find comfort in sharing stories and some find solace in nature. Out in the Sax-Zim Bog area, KFAI’s Matthew Schneeman found two families doing both. This story looks at both Camp Christopher and Auggie’s Bog Walk in Northern Minnesota.
Camp Christopher is a free trailer campsite for people who have lost someone to suicide. Auggie’s Bog Walk is a memorial boardwalk featuring small owl carvings. Both are testaments to the power of connecting with nature and connecting with others.
It was a big night for community journalism at the Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists 2023 Page One Awards. KFAI reporters won five awards in the Radio category at last night’s ceremony, including three first-place mentions.
Season 6 of KFAI’s MinneCulture was recognized as Best Podcast — congratulations to producers Joe Friedrichs, Emily Haavik, Sheila Regan, Matthew Schneeman, Tony Williams, host John Gebretatose, and producer/editor Julie Censullo. Reporters Michelle Bruch and Joe Friedrichs were honored with first place awards for feature reporting and in-depth reporting, respectively. Reporter Tony Williams was honored with a third place award for feature reporting and Ryan Dawes and April Ehrlich were honored with a third place award for breaking news coverage.
The award ceremony was held at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul.
Community journalism provides a unique opportunity to uplift stories from the diverse communities of the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota, and it is an honor to be recognized for this work. KFAI is proud of the thoughtful, diligent, and creative work of all of our reporters and producers.
Complete list of awards:
Podcast – First Place awarded to Julie Censullo, Emily Haavik, Matthew Schneeman, Tony Williams, Sheila Regan, Joe Friedrichs, and John Gebretatose for season 6 of the MinneCulture Podcast (Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud)
In the 1990s, something special was beginning to take place in Minneapolis. On the West Bank, street artists would congregate over a slice of pizza at Rocky Rococo, challenging one another to who could paint the most elaborate graffiti throughout the cities. For people of a certain generation, names like Emer AKB, YEN 34HM, and Ewok MSK HM AWR all evoke a golden age of street art covertly tagged on Minneapolis South High School or the tracks near the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus. What was once regarded as petty vandalism has morphed into an indelible feature of our local history.
The rebellious spirit of these artists has paved the way for others to use artistic expression for chronicling history. In a tumultuous post-George Floyd moment, the question of what responsibility artists hold in speaking for, and with, their communities remains a delicate one. Which is why Joe Ellis, a native of South Minneapolis, has dedicated his career as a curator and gallerist to amplifying the creative voices of his community through various projects. KFAI’s Nick Kouhi sat down to talk with Joe about what inspirations guided his practice, as well as his hopes for the sixth edition of the Lyn Lake Street Art Series, set to open on July 14.
Ellis and and LLSAS have created a limited addition silkscreen print for LynLake Street Art Series which will be available for public purchase at the event.
Come One, Come All to the Queer Circus! Founded by Martina Mayotte (The Bearded Lady) and Gabe Gabriel (The Ring Master with Silver Slipper Productions), Queer Circus is a menagerie of spectacular performers creating an all-inclusive “cirque-lesque” experience to promote queer and non-binary visibility.
Queer Circus builds unique shows for a variety of spaces, including Can Can Wonderland, the Minnesota Fringe Festival, Lush Lounge & Theatre, Twin Cities Pride and other events across Minnesota. KFAI’s Dixie Treichel recently visited the Queer Circus and spoke with the founders and some of the performers in today’s story.
While answering the phones at St. Paul’s Legal Aid office in the early 1970s, a group of VISTA workers stumbled across an enormous problem. Call after call, women who suffered violence at home had no safe place to go with their kids. Despite the danger, VISTA workers brought families into their own homes. They formed the nonprofit Women’s Advocates and raised enough money to buy a house on Grand Avenue in St. Paul — one of the first shelters in the country for women fleeing domestic violence.
Women’s Advocates is still in operation today. KFAI’s Michelle Bruch talked to some of the women who founded the shelter and some of the survivors who stayed there. Dissertation research by Amanda Jo Dennison contributed to this story.
Erin Aldridge has been playing violin since she was two and a half years old. Today, she’s the concertmaster of the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra and a professor at the University of Wisconsin Superior. To many, she may be the reigning queen of classical, but in recent years she’s found a new calling.
As a fiddler in Danny Frank & the Smoky Gold, she brings her traditional knowledge and skill to a new style. And in the wild, rowdy, and high-speed world of bluegrass, she’s found something she didn’t know she was missing. Reporter Emily Haavik tells the story.
Their instruments include flutes made from bamboo and the charango, a guitar historically made with an armadillo shell. KFAI’s Michelle Bruch talked to the band about the Indigenous music that inspires them.