Wednesday, September 14, 2016


MINNEAPOLIS — Robbinsdale’s city government, the owners of the Robbinsdale’s historic Terrace Theatre and Inland Development Tuesday afternoon in Hennepin County District Court asked citizens advocating preservation of the theater to provide bonds totaling almost $6 million if the court approves a temporary restraining order to stop the planned demolition of the 1951 movie theater.
After hearing arguments from all sides, Judge Michael J. Browne said he would take the lawsuit under advisement and issue a written order.
Terrace Theatre 2016
Attorney Erik Hansen, representing the concerned citizens group, said by advocating for demolition of the theater, a natural resource, the city through it’s redevelopment agency was in violation of the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act (MERA).  The Robbinsdale Economic Redevelopment Agency was represented by an attorney and another attorney represented the property owner New York real estate trust Brixmor.
The Legislature’s intention in passing MERA was to encourage citizens who lack financial resources to challenge development that would destroy natural resource, Hansen said.
Hansen presented documents from Minnesota Preservation officer Dennis Gardner stating that the Terrace would qualify for designation on the national register of historic places.
Affidavits were submitted to show that others have tried to purchase the theater, but Brixmor never returned their telephone calls, Hansen added.
The attorney advocating demolition said City Manager Marcia Gleek and Inland Development CEO Ken Carlson are both working with HyVee to redevelop the property, although HyVee publicly stated that it was putting its involvement in the project on hold.
About 25 people attended the hearing which lasted until about 6 p.m.   — Dave Zarkin

In an interview I did with cable Ch. 12 after the hearing, I said that the Terrace Theatre story is the most exciting news in Minnesota aside from the election.  My interest in preservation and restoration dates back to my days as a news reporter for the Idaho Statesman.

The level of civic involvement in Robbinsdale to save this national resource is truly amazing and uplifting to all Minnesotans.

Friday, September 09, 2016


If you watched KHQ-TV on Saturday night in the ‘50s you saw Polly Bergen singing the weeks top hit songs along with Dorothy Collins and Snooky Lanson  on "Your Hit Parade."   I scored this album last week at my neighborhood thrift store.  Bergen is no relation to Edgar Bergen but may have dated Charlie McCarthy.  She appeared in the comedy “Cry Baby” with Johnny Depp and in 1957 portrayed torch singer Helen Morgan on a CBS-TV special.

 Surprise Fact about Polly Bergen.  In high school I read "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen.  When I gave my book report, I mentioned that Polly Bergen was starring on Broadway with Farley Granger in a musical version of "Pride and Prejudice" called "First Impressions."  There is an LP.  Of course, it is rare now.  I've never heard the LP of the show.  (Gary Hudson)

Monday, September 05, 2016


With some exterior work, this WPA building has become quite attractive.  When I worked in it form 1970-77 as the public information specialist for 4-H, it smelled like a toilet inside and was quite dingy and dark.  It was a good time with enthusiastic 4-H staff like Leonard Harkness and Juanita Reed.  

Teens performed from across the state long before we knew “Glee.”  We prepared hometown news releases, copied on a ditto machine and mailed to newspapers in an adjacent trailer.  (The 4-H Building at the Minnesota State Fair. Leila Navidi, State Tribune, Saturday)

Sunday, September 04, 2016


In the subversive 2011 movie “The Rum Diary,” a conservative politician says, “Bomb Cuba off the face of the earth and let their people live in peace.”  
The movie based on Hunter S. Thompson’s novel of the same name provides biting political commentary relevant to 1960 wherein San Juan, P.R. is portrayed as a poverty stricken hell hole being victimized by ruthless corporate villains.
Johnny Depp reprises the Thompson intrepid reporter role without much of the drunken and stoned stupor recalled in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” a film noted for its gross out scenes.  
Filmed in “super 16mm” it looks a bit gauzy even at 1080i, but I found it quite engrossing.   

Gonzo in Person

In the 1990s, Dr. Thompson stumbled on stage late with a bottle of Jack Daniels in hand for a forum at St. Catherine University, St. Paul, and I was in the audience.  The good doctor was no stranger to strong waters and he was indeed “in the bag” that evening so I can’t say that I got the good of the $12 I paid for that event.