Sunday, January 06, 2019


Antisemitism, racism, George Soros and Facebook were provacative topics Sunday at the Jewish Community Action forum on antisemitism at the Jewish Community Center, St. Louis Park.
.Eric K. Ward, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, spoke at the morning session to a Jewish audience and then again in the afternoon elsewhere in Minneapolis to non Jews.  “Antisemitism forms the theoretical core of white natonalism,” Ward wrote in a Political Research Associates article in 2017.
Facebook's attempt at a smear of George Soros, who is a Jew, as related to criticism of Facebook and its ties to Russian election propoganda were covered in the media and obstensibly puts Facebook on the same page as the white supremecists.

“Live the Jewish life and don’t let antisemiticsm overtake our gift to the world,” said Dania Rajendra, center, from Newsweek and Cornell University and a participant in the JCA forum on antisemitism Saturday in St. Louis Park.
More than recognizing racism in the Jewish community, Jews need to support organizations that take on antisemitism, vote for candidates who promote diversity and reach out to others in the community, said Jewish Community Action Executive Director CARIN MROTZ.

Followup sessions on antisemitism will be held later this month by JCA.  The forum was co-sponsored by the Teamsters Union.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018


FIRST FRIDAY group attended a memorial luncheon Monday for Gregg Iverson, 73, Minneapolis, who died sometime over the Thanksgiving holiday at his family’s home.  We were members of Business and Professional Singles of which Gregg was a pioneer long before I joined in the mid 80s.
I didn’t know Gregg well but was reminded of his colorful history by others who spoke at the event in the Richfield American Legion Hall.  Iverson loved a good time and attended frat parties at the University long after many of us disdained any fraternal allegiances.
He may have facilitated the election of Keith Ellison to Congress when he sidelined the leading contender, a protege of then Rep. Martin Sabo, at a debate.  “Real DFLers don’t live on Lake of the Isles,” said Iverson of the Sabo protege at the event where Gregg was one of the contenders for the job.  He continued to run for office until last month. 
One of his cousins recalled a Tom Sawyer-like housing painting event at the Iverson home that was organized by Gregg’s dad Arnie who the cousin described as a “cheap SOB.”
Iverson was “real Minnesota” Norwegian and there are fewer as the Gopher State is now more culturally diverse.
Iverson was an Air Force veteran of the Vietnam War, taught high school and worked in the state highway department administrative offices before retiring in recent years.

Watching the art house flick “Favourite” was like being inside the Trump White House madness, Rick Notch and I agreed halfway through Olivia Colman’s outstanding performance as England’s Queen Anne, a desolate and fading monarch.
Acting against sound advice, she decides to pursue a winless war that pushes the economy near bankruptcy — call it Anne’s “border wall.”  Meanwhile, the knives are out among her palace aides as they jockey for power.
You will either love or hate director Yorgos Lanthoms’ pretentious touches like the fish eye lens that suggest surrealism and the mostly dimly lit scenes that foretell death.
We agreed that “Favourite” won’t play well in Pipestone and Eveleth, but it’s one of several potential award winners debuting at the Lagoon, Uptown and Edina.  With all the choices at the theaters and online streaming it almost makes us forget about the miserably cold weather here.

With the James Baldwin novel “Giovanni’s Room” I am challenged this weekend about the cost and consequences of love and desire.  This past week I finished a second read of “Call Me By Your Name” while watching James Ivory’s “Maurice” and “Room with a View.”  I came to some conclusions about the impact of music and the marvel of nature with this sensory overload.  So I have signed up to retake Dr. Resch’s music class this winter in St. Paul.

“I, Jane Doe,” a 1948 court room drama, is a fantastic lost film from Republic Pictures, directed by John Auer.  The cinemaphotography and segues are artistic.  This gem has been restored with 4K technology in black and white — stunning!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Ex-gay reform “therapy” is about power and control by fundamentalists who fear the “other” in gays and lesbians.  This brilliant film with Lucas Hedges, “Boy Erased,” explores this theme in painful detail.
Like “Call Me By Your Name” the music track alternates mood themes with contemporary tunes and a memorable solo by Troye Sivan who is an actor in the film.  Also similar to CMBYN, the movie ends with a father son conversation.  
Russell Crowe plays the fundamentalist preacher dad and Nicole Kidman appears as the mom.  It's not about religion.

It moved from the Uptown to  the Edina and it will find an audience because this movie explores a cause of our current polarization and hate vs love.

Similarly, see Alfonso  Cuaron's "Children of Men" where fear of refugees dominates life in a grim aftermath of global warming.  This relates to a class I took on climate change in Africa where drought has driven refugees to industrial world countries like US and Europe where CO2 gases caused global warming.
On the same DVD watch the documentary "The Possibility of Hope," where experts say if we act now we can slow down the coming catastrophe.  We need a change in DC, don't we?

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Playing with Fire

Who can forget Fifties Saturday night Limbo parties under the fiery limbo pole?  Many a party goer wound up in ER but was a good sport abut it.  From AMC album “Limbo Party” — Jamaican music by Ivy Pete and his Limbo Maniacs — who apparently patented the firey limbo pole.  Purchased 8/17/18 at Goodwill, Bloomington.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Garland Theater, Downtown Spokane 2018

21st & Bernard, fence for Manito Park.  Took 44 bus up Bernard past Cliff Park.  Got off and then took bus downtown .
Downtown Plaza
Murals, Interior State Theater
Washington Water Power. Spokane River
This delightful young man runs one of the rides at Spokane’s river front park where you can see a tatoo parlor in the background.  Thankfully the carousel building lends some elegance to this area.  Lots of sad, desperate looking people wait for buses at the terminal up the street.

“We love Seattle,” a local shouted out at the Seattle GLBT choruses concert July 7 at the restored Crosby (State) Theater in Spokane.  We all laughed.  I had a front row seat for this chorus preceded by dinner at the Davenport Hotel.  The director of the Seattle choruses said they were glad to get out of their “Seattle bubble.”
Spokane’s mid century modern auditorium style movie theater, the Garland, reigns in regal splendor on the funky north side.  I was lost in the huge auditorium with the massive screen.  The audience loved Amy Schumer in “I Feel Pretty” but I was there to see the theater which houses a bar and hair salon.  As a kid I saw several second run movies here.  What a treat that it has been restored.

Last month I did the hometown right. Familiar on the highway going to Deer Park: Hupin Camera Electronics and White Elephant military salvage. Northtown looks uninviting. Garland, Fox and State theaters are dreamy and not to be missed. August Paulsen Medical Bldg., Spokesman Review and Realty Building all recognizable. River greenway an improvement. Most stores downtown are not attractive but Nordstrom located there even though many downtowners are homeless folks. Very sad. Historic preservation hit and miss and mostly missed.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Walla Walla, Spokane and Road Scholar class

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.
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.

The Road Scholar Ice Age Floods Eastern Washington tour --Rod Scholar tour/class.  Beauty & wonder of Eastern Washington "scablands" rivals S. Dakota Badlands and then some.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Artsy Horror Flick Carnival of Souls

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.