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The conference site, the Elmer Anderson library on the west bank, is literally a stone's throw from the spot where the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, who suffered from alcoholism and depression, leapt to his death from the Washington Avenue bridge.
At a late-afternoon event, more than 100 people showed up for a reading by actor/writer/director Ben Kreilkamp and poets Jim Moore, Joyce Sutphen, Michael Dennis Browne, Peter Campion, Ray Gonzalez and Wang Ping.
Kreilkamp put an actor's topspin on five of Berryman's Dream Songs, including the powerful #384, which opens, "I stand above my father's grave with rage."
Moore remembered taking a class from Berryman and read "The Ball Poem" and "The Traveler."
Sutphen recalled once seeing Berryman walking out of Walter LIbrary, "talking wildly to himself." She regretted not following him to hear one of his famed lectures. Sutphen read her own poem "Berryman's Hands," as well as a Shakespeare sonnet.
Browne, who has taught at the university for 39 years, read an elegy Berryman wrote for his good friend, poet Randall Jarrell, as well as some of Berryman's favorite lines from Shakespeare.
Campion movingly read a section from Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself," as well as his own poem "Blood Brook" and Dream Song #75.
Gonzalez read from a biography of Berryman, plus several Dream Songs and his own prose poem, "John Berryman and Robert Lowell Switch Hospitals."
Wang Ping, who teaches at Macalester, read one of her poems from her new book, "10,000 Waves," and the famous Dream Song #14 ("Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so.")
Full conference schedule here.
Nine local troupes are staging 11 nights of horror at the Southern Theatre in Minneapolis through Nov. 2.
The Twin Cities Horror Festival is like a scary mini-Fringe Festival at Halloween time, with dance, theater, film and music, multi-show passes and latenight showtimes.
"Frankenstein" is a "terrifying new adaptation" by RawRedMeatProductions. "Doll Collection," by Four Hmors, is an original work about the general creepiness of dolls. In "Panacea," a 7-piece musicians' ensemble known as the Poor Nobodys performs live to original film and found footage.
Also performing are physical-theater troupe Transatlantic Love Affair, Hardcover Theater (a dark comedy about amputation), Ghoulish Delights, Gorilla Sandwich (a parlor farce adaptation of the classic John Carpenter movie "The Thing"), The Importance of Being Jim Fotis, and Erin Shepperd Presents.
Most individual shows are $15, and there's a 4-show pass at $50 and a 6-show pass at $75. Many of the shows start late, and some are followed by even later-night scary movies, so check the schedule. Follow the fest on Twitter @tchorrorfest.
Ojibwe artist Delina White who specializes in traditonal beadwork.
Four artist Midwestern American Indian artists have received fellowships worth up to $20,000 each from the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NACF), a non-profit organization based in Vancouver, Washington.
Winners of the NACF Regional Artist Fellowships are: Kevin Pourier, a carver of buffalo horn ornaments that range from sculptures to eyeglass frames. A member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, he is a Lakota from Scenic, S.D. Jennifer Stevens, a painter, potter and vocalist from Green Bay, Wisconsin who is a member of the Oneida Tribe. Delina White, an expert in traditional beadwork who lives in Deer River, MN and is a member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. Star Wallowing Bull, an Ojibwe/Arapaho who is a member of the White Earth Band of Chippewa. He lives in Moorhead, MN and is known for his pop-style paintings and drawings of American Indian subjects and motifs. Wallowing Bull's work is regularly shown at Bockley Gallery in Minneapolis.
NACF is a national nonprofit that supports the appreciation and perpetuation of American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian arts and cultures. With money from Native Nations, arts patrons and foundations, NACF has provided nearly $1.7 million in assistance to 89 native artists and organizations in 23 states.
The NACF Regional Artist Fellowship Program is an annual award open to artists in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota who are enrolled members of one of the 37 tribes located in the region and who work in visual or traditional art forms. The awards are made possible by support from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation.
In related news, the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation also supported a new Native American Artist-in-Residence program at the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS). Three artists were picked in August, each of whom will be paid during a six month residency, to study collections at the MNHS and elsewhere that are related to their work. They will also develop programs to share their studies within their home communities. The artists are Jessica Gokey, a bead work artist who lives in Wisconsin's Lac Courte Oreilles community; Pat Kruse, a birch-bark artist from Mille Lacs, MN; and Gwen Westerman, a textile artist from Good Thunder, MN who is of Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate heritage.
The Textile Center in Minneapolis has hired Karl Reichert as its new executive director starting November 17. He has done no prior work with in textile arts, but brings substantial management experience to his new post.
Reichert is currently director of the Capri Theater, a 250 seat arts-event space owned and operated by the Plymouth Christian Youth Center in North Minneapolis. The theater, which was renovated in 2009, stages music, film and theater performances as well as community forums. It presents a popular jazz series and diverse programs ranging from hip hop performances to Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra concerts.
"Everything we learned about him made us think he will be a good new executive director" for the Textile Center, said Donna Peterson, president of the fiber organization.
Peterson cited Reichert's experience in financial management, fund raising, development, artistic programming and "motivation of young people and artists" as key qualifications for the new post.
"He's had a ton of experience in the arts community, and we think he can quickly learn the specifics of textiles," said Peterson. "We wanted a manager who can help us with raising money and reaching the public as we develop programs and go into the future."
Prior to the Capri, where he has worked for nearly eight years, Reichert was a marketing and public relations consultant. He was fund raising director for R.T. Rybak's 2001 mayoral campaign, and was director of public affairs at the Minnesota Orchestral Association from 1992 to 2000.
At the Textile Center, Reichert follows Tim Fleming who resigned in March after two years in the post.
Founded in 1994, the Textile Center at 3000 University Av. S.E., Minneapolis, is a nationally known center for fiber arts ranging from weaving and fabric-dying to knitting, lace-making and batik. Its $800,000 annual budget supports a staff of 14 full- and part-time employees, an exhibition gallery, classrooms, a library and a small shop selling artisanal textiles.
Garrison Keillor reports he is "feeling good" after surgery Thursday at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
"The IV went in and night fell and a couple hours later I woke in Recovery, no fuss, with a very pleasant nurse who gave me some ice to chew on and we chatted like old pals and at noon I got wheeled up to my room for a lovely lunch of vegetable broth, coffee, cranberry juice, and orange Jell-O," he posted on Facebook.
The Minnesota writer and "Prairie Home Companion" host has not disclosed the precise nature of the procedure, but earlier this month when he announced he was canceling Saturday's "PHC," he wrote: "If you've noticed my upstairs bathroom light go on at 10 p.m., 10:10, 10:25, 10:40, etc., you know all you need to know."
No word on when he'll leave the hospital. In his Facebook post he joked, "The Scot in me says, 'you will pay for this someday' and maybe so but meanwhile I am having a very good day, made all the better by a funny phone call from my daughter. Who reminded me that long ago in this hospital coming out of a tonsillectomy she stuck her tongue out at me. Despite anesthesia she remembered that I was the Judas who took her into the OR."
Keillor, 72, is scheduled to return to the Fitzgerald Theater stage Oct. 4 for a "Prairie Home" show featuring bluegrassers the Gibson Brothers and local singer/songwriter Ellis.
But don't be surprised if he makes an appearance this weekend at the History Theater in St. Paul, where his playwriting debut, "Radio Man," opens Saturday night.
(In the photo at right, Keillor clowned with actor Pearce Bunting, who plays his alter ego in "Radio Man," during a rehearsal earlier this month. The play has a preview staging Friday night.)
P.S. After this was posted, a friend shared a letter to the Anoka County Union that Keillor wrote two weeks ago after an outing to his old high school. It's quite sweet:
To the Editor:
Last Friday, I drove up to Anoka for the Anoka-Coon Rapids football game and sat in the bleachers about 10 feet below the pressbox where, as a 14-year-old kid, I sat and wrote up the games for the Anoka Herald.
Goodrich Field looks so much the same as it did back then and off to my right was a student cheering section, about 300 strong, distinguished by wearing odds and ends of white, white shirts, headbands, caps, one boy in a white off-the-shoulder toga, tossing white streamers, setting off white smoke bombs – a solid block of high spirited goofiness and tumult and swaying and dancing in the stands – in their whiteness, the opposite of goth, more like moths fluttering at a porch light, and so utterly different from the self-conscious solemnity of the Fifties teenager. I know alcohol and this was not alcohol: this was joy and humor and hormones. The band got to play the Fight Song a couple times and I joined the throng in the end zone and the game ended, Anoka up 14-6, and the kids in white bolted for the field and a huge mash-up of bodies at midfield, arms in the air, chanting the Fight Song, and then headed for the exits, a river of youth with a happy alumnus of 72 in their midst. If these folks represent what it’s like to be young now, I am all in favor of it.
A joyful September night in my old town and the downtown cafes crowded and my old stately junior high standing big and proud on Second Avenue, where my dad graduated in 1931. Go, Tornadoes.
Garrison Keillor, St. Paul
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