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On the theory that it's never too soon for Halloween, the Soap Factory is now selling tickets for its popular "Haunted Basement" performance/installation which runs Oct. 5 - 31. Prepare for masks and mayhem with strobe lights and bizarre olefactory stimulation. All this in a dank, dark basement. Ten artists have signed on to create scenes and plot-line options under the guidance of director Noah Bremer.
Having done this gig for the past five years, the Soap Factory crew have honed their skills and apparently talked to their lawyers. Thus there are guidelines. Visitors must be over age 18 and must check their bags at the door. Also, no booze, nor high heels or flip flops. Performances involve strobe lights, so no one prone to epileptic seizures should sign on. Other than that, prepare for scary fun. (Tickets are $22 plus a $3 fee. Available on line only at www. soapfactory.org)
Warm, plainspoken, occasionally frank and with a tugging undercurrent of fondness. That's the tone of this memorial, released Friday afternoon by Garrison Keillor's "Prairie Home Companion" team, which could be a model for any family struggling to sum up the life of a loved one in graceful prose:
Grace Keillor died Friday morning at her home in Brooklyn Park. She was 97. She was the mother of writer Garrison Keillor.
“Mother had a good long life and was still lucid a couple weeks ago and even had a good laugh about a dream she had had,” Keillor said. “She died in the house Dad built in 1947, with her children around her holding her hand and singing hymns.”
Grace Ruth Denham was born in Minneapolis on May 7, 1915, the day the Lusitania sank on its way to England. She was the last survivor of the 13 children of William and Marion Denham, who emigrated from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1911. She grew up on Longfellow Avenue in the Powderhorn neighborhood, attended Roosevelt High School, trained as a nurse and went to work at Eitel Hospital, across from Loring Park.
In 1936 she married John Keillor, who had courted her by singing hymns with the word “grace” in the title. They attended the Grace & Truth Gospel Hall on 14th Avenue South. John went in the Army in1942 and Grace and her three children lived with various relatives in St. Paul, Bettendorf, Iowa, and Anoka.
“Throughout her life, when adversity hit, my mother was strong, determined and persevering,” said her daughter Linda. “She did what had to be done — whether it was selling cookies door to door during the Depression, learning how to plant a garden or caring for a very sick husband. Besides her sense of fun and her love of family, what sustained Grace through good times and bad was her unwavering faith in Jesus Christ, whom she firmly believed loved her and gave his life for the salvation of all of us. She loved having children. And when times were tough, she sheltered us from the fact that we were living life sometimes at the very edge. When John suffered a severe concussion after falling off a barn roof and when he battled spinal meningitis and some of her younger children had to move in with relatives, she painted it all as if it was going to be an adventure."
For the next two years, my mother and her three children — Philip, Judy and Gary — moved from home to home to live with various family members in Minnesota and Iowa. It wasn't easy but she taught us throughout her life how important her family — both Keillors and Denhams — were to her. She was Grace, grateful for the help they provided.
After John's service in World War II, he bought an acre of cornfield in Brooklyn Park, a stone’s throw from the Mississippi, and dug a basement and built a white frame house on it. They raised six children in that house and kept a half-acre vegetable garden. After his retirement from the Railway Mail Service, they enjoyed travel to Scotland, Nova Scotia, and around the U.S.
The Keillor family, with Garrison on his mother's lap.
John Keillor died in 2001, after 65 years of marriage. Grace lived on in the house surrounded by tall trees they had planted in 1948, entertaining her family, playing Scrabble, reading, singing hymns, and praying for her loved ones. In the last five years, she was cared for at home by Sharon, Nicole, Ramona, and Diane.
She is survived by five children: Judith E. Locke, of Greenville, S.C., Garrison (Jenny) of St. Paul, Steven J. (Margaret) of Askov, Stanley W. (Kay Gornick) of Mendota Heights, and Linda Keillor Berg (David) of Minneapolis, and by 14 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren, as well asmany nieces and nephews. Preceded in death by son John Philip Jr., siblings Mary, Marion, Ruby, Jean, Margaret, William, James, Ina, George, Elsie, Joan, and Dorothy. Services will be private.
The severe cuts at the New Orleans Times-Picayune Tuesday include a local connection.
Brett Anderson, a former music critic for Minneapolis's alternative press and the son of former Gov. Wendell Anderson, was told along with nearly half of the paper's staff that his services are no longer needed.
Starting in the fall, The Times-Picayune will only print three times a week, focusing primary attention on the digital format. Anderson's firing was somewhat of a surprise. Not only is he a James Beard award winner, but the website is expected to revolve around food, entertainment and sports.
Anderson had his roots in mind when he tweeted Tuesday morning that the song of the day might be "Goddamn Job," by Minnesota's own The Replacements.
"Looks like I picked the right song," he tweeted later after being told of his cut.
Reporters at the paper are saying the cuts are much deeper than they expected.
Anderson does have some breathing room. He was recently selected as a Neiman scholar, which will allow him to study at Harvard University for a year.
Reincarnation is par for the course in the mystical world of Twin cities area writer Neil Gaiman. His popular 2009 Newbery Medal winning children’s fantasy “The Graveyard Book” has been on the verge of life as a film a couple of times in the past. The story, following an orphan raised from infancy by the ghosts, werewolves and other spooks inhabiting a cemetery, was under development by Miramax Films with writer/director Neil (“The Crying Game”) Jordan at the helm shortly. When the project expired, “Harry Potter” director Chris Columbus' 1492 Pictures and CJ Entertainment (the South Korean studio behind “The Host,” “Thirst” and “Mother”) joined forces to try anew. That effort expired as well.
Cast members of History Theatre's "1968."
Just to be clear.
A conflict last week between Yazzie and Clyde Bellecourt of the American Indian Movement had caused artistic director Ron Peluso to pull the short play temporarily. After all the parties met for several hours on Saturday afternoon, the decision was made to reinstate Yazzie’s work. However, the incident was still being talked about Monday, with many people assuming the play had been eliminated.
Part of the problem was that a Sunday Star Tribune story on the production did not mention Yazzie’s play because in the crucial hours during which the Sunday Variety advance section is printed, the History Theatre had decided to pull that short play out of the production. The absence of any mention of Yazzie’s play in that article brought a caustic note from one reader who accused the Star Tribune of stifling American Indian voices.
Yazzie, who on Thursday night was resigned to writing a substitute play about a playwright who experiences censorship in her own community, put out a plea later that night asking members of the film and theater communities to produce the play themselves and put it on You Tube. She included a copy of the script, which depicts two American Indians handcuffed by police to a lamp post on a cold December night in Minneapolis.
Meantime, Peluso said he received a call from Bellecourt, who originally had objected to several points in the script and had threatened AIM protests if the play was staged. Peluso said that in a Friday afternoon phone call, Bellecourt was hoping to seek a resolution to the issue. The parties met for several hours on Saturday afternoon, and a reconciliation paved the way for the play to be returned to the "1968" project.
For the Sunday advance story, I had asked the writers to talk about their plays. Here is the description from Yazzie, which was edited from that article when it appeared the play was going to be pulled:
Rhiana Yazzie wrote about the beginnings of the American Indian Movement:
"For Indians, Minneapolis was our Birmingham, but this story never gets out; there’s no wonder AIM began in this city. I spoke with founding members of AIM who were at the first official meeting in July 1969. I heard story after story of people being rounded up regardless of a crime, beaten before being thrown into paddy wagons, taken to the Mississippi and thrown in even in the coldest winter months and often left for dead, women raped; one in four Indian children were removed from their homes and placed into white families. AIM focused on these things immediately, taking steps to change Indian Child Welfare Laws."