Wednesday, April 27, 2016


IMMIGRANT’S STORY — “sun crying”
Bloomington civic theater cast member discussed Jewish culture, immigrants, oppression and hope during the audience talk back session after today’s performance of “Fiddler on the Roof.”  Few musicals stir up such emotion as this venerable classic and one audience member bore witness that this production was equal to the Broadway debut that he saw 51 years ago.
Director/choreographer Michael Gruber provided the cast with background on the pograms in Eastern Europe in the early 1900s and this was helpful.
“Fiddler” remains relevant in light of today’s report from the New York Times that Pope Francis received drawings from Syrian children in a refugee camp — one showing children drowning in the sea and another depicting the sun crying.
(John Paul Gamoke makes you believe that he is Tevye.)

With acclaimed programs in music theater at Mankato State University and U of M Duluth it’s a small wonder why we have a wealth of talented young performers in the Twin Cities and beyond.  Mentorship of young performers learning from professionals is one of the byproducts of Bloomington Artistry’s civic theater efforts, we learned Tuesday  at the U of M OLLI class at Bloomington Arts Center. 

It’s a two-way street, explained Equity actor John Gamoke, with the professional actor learning from the newbies.  Anita Ruth for the past several years has conducted these informative classes on music theater and it’s time well spent in the lifetime learning program.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


BLOOMINGTON — A Minnesota Republican legislator has introduced a bill that would discriminate against migrant farm laborers based on their country of origin, said Ken Peterson, Minnesota's Commissioner of Labor and Industry, Tuesday night at the Progressive Isssues meeting at Davannis Restaurant.  
Farm workers now earn $12 per hour for working up to 48 hours per week, but overtime pay is time and a half or $18 an hour.  Under the Republican measure Mexican workers would not be eligible for over time pay, Peterson said. This is a “bad step” and “let’s give these people a break,” Peterson added.  The labor commissioner said he believes that Gov. Mark Dayton would veto the bill if it ever reaches his desk.

Boise’s Oldies FM Station 99.5 reported that Idaho Democrats held the largest ever caucus in the United States and Bernie got 80 percent of the vote in Ada County and 78 percent in the state. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Junk Dealers, RKO and Movie Sale

Thank you Rick Notch for giving me this wonderful encyclopedia, “The RKO Story” by Jewell and Harbin, of all you need to know about American movies.  The back stories on “Hunchback” and “King Kong” were entertaining as I watched these two movies last night.  We should have been at the Orpheum or Fox in Spokane to see both of these on the big screen.

The family business is being honored now at the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest with the display “Jewish Scrap Stories”.  I am interested since my father and two uncles were in the scrap business in Eastern Washington.  (Uncle Dave was quite prominent with B. Barer and Sons, Walla Walla.)  Families fled from persecution in Europe and emigrated to American in search of a better life, the narrative reads.  Most everyone my age knows of scrap metal dealers, the first recyclers, in their communities.  See the exhibit at the Jewish Community Center, St. Louis Park.

Imagine a movie junkie like me being in a room with nothing but old VHS tapes and DVDs.  That’s the scene at the Southdale Library which is selling ($2 and 25 cents) the massive collection of movies and TV shows that the Star Tribune TV critic received over the years from networks and studios.  It boggles the mind.