Wednesday, November 15, 2017

More Politics

Dark money (from the Hubbards and Kochs) may have been involved in last week’s Twin Cities election but we won’t know until January due to Minnesota’s lax disclosure laws on political campaigns.
That was the headline from MinnPost writer Peter Callaghan who gave an informative post mortem on the election at today’s UofM OLLI Minneapolis Government class in United Methodist Church.
At least $40,000 of that “dark money” was left on the table when the St. Paul Police Federation’s smear campaign blew up in their face and they had to abandon a sinking ship.  Melvin Carter, the victim of the smear, handily won the election and the $40,000 that could have helped his opponent Pat Harris was never spent.

It was an OMG moment today in class when I learned that Peter Callaghan knew my boss at UPI Spokane, Bobbi Ulrich, when she was covering the State Legislature for the Oregonian.

Callaghan, now reporting for MinnPost, covered the State Legislature in Olympia for the Tacoma News Tribune, a respected Puget Sound newspaper. I worked for the very patient and understanding Ms. Ulrich in the summer and fall of 1962 when UPI was in the KXLY (CBS) Building on Main Street, Spokane.  Even though I was quite green, she said I could have covered the legislature for UPI but the draft was threatening and I enlisted the Coast Guard Reserve. 

Two Netflix documentaries deal with “bad daddy” families, “One of Us” and Trump (BBC).  In the former, people separating from ultra orthodox Hasidic families suffer depression and chemical dependency in Brooklyn, NY.
The later sheds light on the Trump family starting with grandpa who ran brothels and beer halls for miners in the wild west.  His son, Frederick, offered his children the winners/losers dictum and you better be a winner.  This was not a fit for Donald’s older brother Fred who succumbed to alcoholism and worked as a pilot and then maintenance man in Trump Tower.
Both documentaries are disturbing but “One of Us” is a fitting counterpart for the movie “Fill in the Void” about the emotional turmoil a young girl suffers in having to marry her brother in law who she doesn’t love. 

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Darko, Star Creatures, Dakota Jazz, Music Man

Forget about the parallel universe interpretation and just enjoy the commentary on middle class suburban Americana with religious fanatics, racism and more.  Our Danny is now on Netflix and worth a view.

In comparison to Bruno VeSoto, Ed Wood Jr. would be George Lucas in the bad movie world.  VeSoto’s “Invasion of the Star Creatures” is a comedy of sorts which is derivative of “Queen of Outer Space” and “Teenagers from Outer Space.”  Not a promising start with cardboard sets and creature costumes from Kmart.

Nevertheless, it noteworthy for its total badness.

Much thanks to Pat Jorgensen and the rest of the Y Silver Sneakers gang for making Monday night memorable at the Dakota’s Southdale Y fund raiser.  Pat, particularly, after we got back to the Y dropped me off at the Edina Westin Hotel where I could get a cab home since my car was in the shop.
We were almost on the stage at the Dakota where St. Paul Peteson and the outstanding Stokley Williams on drums gave jazzy interpretations to such R&R classics as “The Letter” and “Let’s Stay together.”  
Dakota’s main courses are very meager but the deserts (apple cake) are humongous and tasty.  Dakota’s relatively new address in downtown isn’t up to the spaciousness we remember when I saw Peter Cincotti at their former locale in 2004, Bandana Square.
Thanks to the Y for providing a charter bus to downtown which makes the hassle of 35 W construction and the downtown traffic nightmare irrelevant.

Gary Hudson and I now have reps as knowledgeable theater goers in the eyes of music director Anita Ruth.  Certainly Gary knows musicals but I do treasure “The Music Man” which was discussed in today’s UofM OLLI class.  The children, Amerilus and Winthrop played by Kate and Josh, were most entertaining in class today.  
Who knew that the Meredith Wilson classic would be a sell-out hit for Artistry this fall?  It crosses generations with a well written skript and songs you know.  I think in these troubled cynical times we are are receptive to a con man who seeks redemption and love. We’ve seen too much of the other kind of con man.