Sunday, July 15, 2018
I didn’t see the synagogue on Alder and Roosevelt or the Mill Creek Flood channel that runs through downtown, but I did get Sharon from Best Western to take me to the Barer Building and we drove past the Capitol Theater marquee which is now part of Macy’s. Stan and I saw “Holiday Affair” with Robert Mitchum and Janet Leigh (RKO) at the Capitol in 1950.
AMERICA’S GREAT MOVIE HOUSES
Juana gave five former Spokane residents a wonderful tour July 13 of the beautiful art deco FoxTheater where we saw movies in youthful splendor that we will never forget. Here’s one good reason to visit Spokane, where thoughtful urban design has given away to shoddy ugly commercial developments.
Ed Tatt, the father of my good friend, Bill, owned a dry cleaners store that faced the street in the Fox Building. That space is now incorporated into the lobby. The theater boasted air conditioning starting in 1929. I saw “Psycho,” “Macabre” and Abbott and Costello Saturday matinees here growing up.
Friday, July 06, 2018
“CARNIVAL” BACK STORY
Ultra creepy 60s horror movie “Carnival of Souls” was lost and then resurrected in Europe before a late 80s revival here. The haunting image of the deserted dance pavillion at the Salt Lake Saltair inspired former University of Kansas (Lawrence) professor Herk Harvey to commission a script built around the pavillion. (This was before a fire destroyed the building.) Filming the closing scene in a freezing river water in Lawrence was an incredible ordeal, remembered by actress Candace Hilligoss in her memoir, “The Odyssey and the Idiocy.”
She was fired by her agent after he saw a preview in the 60s but found her fame when “Carnival” was revived in the 80s. Sidney Berger, a KU student, played the creepy lecher John Linden.
This project seemed doomed from the get-go, but thanks to Sweden and Germany it gained traction in the U.S. I saw it at the Campus Theater on Oaks St. near the U of M in the late 80s and loved it.
I bought the DVD on a trip to see Mike and Kim in Salt Lake City. The British Film Society lists “Carnival of Souls” as one of the 100 best movies of all time and Criterion has a restored DVD for $20.82. (Less expensive DVDs are available.) The film influenced a lot of horror movie directors.
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
PAULSEN’S SNOOZE FEST
You might want Rep. Erik Paulsen to prepare your income taxes, but you certainly would fire him as your representative in Congress in a perilous time when the country is being run by a corrupt tyrant and his cronies.
After winning two lotteries — one to get a ticket to a “town hall” meeting and another to ask a question — I got my first face to face with Paulsen Wednesday night at a well attended event he arranged at the Brooklyn Park Community Center.
He answered meekly, “no comment” when I pondered aloud: “You have been getting a paycheck from taxpayers for 14 years and serving in the House without distinction so wouldn’t now be a good time to road test trickle down economics? Have you contacted Target about getting your old job back.”
The disagreable scold who was the meeting’s monitor commented that I was “rude.” (Ms. Manners continually admonished the enthusiastic audience to be “civil.”) If ever there was a time to be candid, it’s now I concluded after about 45 minutes of his inane mumblings.
Anyone who avoided sleep during the event could see that Paulsen lacks conviction and passion for the job in a Congress that desperately needs people of conviction about liberty and equality.
Another resident asked the somnulent congressman while he has waited almost 8 years to hold a “town hall” event. For him it was a brave decision to meet constituents although he dislikes uncivil discourse and acknowledges that “you can’t please everyone.”
A senior man with died blonde hair and sporting a “Trump” lapel pin seemed to be a functionary for the congressman’s team but didn’t ask questions.
We had to write our names and cities on an index card and throw them in a bowl for a drawing to determine who could ask questions. Impromptu outbursts were not allowed in this tightly controlled event.
Planned Parenthood had a huge presence outside the Brooklyn Park Community Center Wednesday night for the Paulsen event along with freelance protestors. The protestors lacked “tickets” to the meeting so were not allowed inside the building.
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
ARCHITECTS SEEK INPUT
EDINA — The new Southdale Library should include a theater for the performing arts, a Bloomington resident suggested Monday night at a community meeting hosted by MSR architects at the exsiting library.
Library patrons crowded into the community room to brainstorm in small groups on their hopes for a new library. A meeting room that could accomodate up to 100 people and larger elevators for the handicap and baby strollers were among the proposals for the new building.
Four to five acres of the existing seven acre site would be devoted to the new library, the architects said. In meetings last year input was sought by MSR for non library development of the remaining two acres which would include “affordable housing.” (Has the Suburban Hennepin Housing Coalition provided input on what is “affordable”?)
Hennepin County Commissioners will decide on final plans for this new multi-use development on York Avenue. The next community meeting will be held at the Southdale Library at 7 pm July 23.
Thomas Meyer, FAIA, Jeffrey Scherer, FAIA, and Garth Rockcastle, FAIA, established MSR in 1981. Their office is located within the ruined walls of the National Historic Landmark Washburn A Mill above the Mill City Museum. The MSR-designed complex has won numerous awards, including a national AIA Honor Award and National Trust for Historic Preservation Honor Award.
(I had asked in the small group if taxpayers were paying for the architects’ work of if it was pro bono, which brought an angry response from a library patron for my apparent “stupidity”.) The architects are funded by tax dollars.
Friday, May 18, 2018
One of the unknowns in trying to understand “police use of lethal force” was the background, education, etc. of local police officers. So I spent an hour Thursday visiting with officers at “Coffee with a Cop” at Ikea’s restaurant. This was a followup to the class I recently completed at U of M OLLI with Connie Osterbaan, a retired research criminologist and adjunct professor in criminal justice at the U.
Osterbaan showed videos that put into question the value of body cameras on police officers because the view from the cameras doesn’t give an accurate record of the event. The officers at Thursday’s discussion disagreed and gave enthusiastic endorsements of body cameras as a “fantastic tool providing data that makes police work harder not to use force.”
Some officers graduate from community college law enforcement programs, but one detective said that officers are “poorly trained” and Bloomington city government doesn’t provide enough funds for police training. It will take another 25 years to catch up on police training with emphasis on human traits data, the detective added.
One of the complaints made by Black Lives Matter activists is that police don’t live in the communities where they are employed and therefore may not be involved in community building with people of color. That certainly is true in Bloomington where only a small percentage of the 120 officers on the force are Bloomington residents. Officer McCullough said for him it “is a benefit not living in the city.”
I had an interest in pursuing the police culture topic having served for about a year covering the cop shop for the Idaho Statesman in 1965-66. Unlike my coworker Dave Frazier I was not that interested in law enforcement although I went on a high speed hot pursuit chase with Sheriff Paul Bright in the back seat of his Chrysler Newport squad car. Also I covered a jail break in the Ada County courthouse where officers had their guns drawn. I wrote the initial story on the Billie Butler coed murder in 1965 in Boise.
Bloomington offers a Citizens Police Academy Thursday nights from 6 - 9 p.m. for ten weeks during September 6 - November 8, 2018., but the hour long Coffee with a Cop on Thursday satisfied my curiousity. Their work involves more than giving tickets to speeders on 98th Street. More police attended the Ikea coffee conversation than residents and all were caucasian with a few women officers.
The detective immediately identified me as not a typical resident based on the questions I asked. He observed that a must be a reporter. I told him that I had local government reporting experience with the Idaho Statesman.
Thursday, April 12, 2018
“It’s better to be in a bad movie than no movie at all,” says an actor in James Franco’s “Disaster Artist,” a behind the scenes look at the notoriously bad midnight movie “The Room.”
Franco does a good imitation of Tommy Wiseau, the mysterious soul who made up for what he lacked in talent with a big back account.
David Franco plays Tommy’s sidekick Gregg and it’s implied that Wiseau may have had romantic notions about Gregg that were not reciprocated.
“Disaster Artist” is best viewed with Tim Burton’s “Ed Wood,” another Hollywood incompetent who lives on via VHS and DVD.
Minnesotans pay $9 at the Uptown Theater once a month to see “The Room” while I got the DVD from the library free.
America’s fist indoor shopping mall is shrinking with the demolition of the Pennys store to make way for a fitness center that won’t be connected to the mall. Meanwhile, the parking lot is being filled in with retail and a waste treatment plant. Soon the mall will be the size of a SuperAmerica gas station.