Wing Young Huie's photos in China; James Denton moves here, more
For the past two years, Twin Cities photographer Wing Young Huie has been Minnesota's unofficial ambassador to China, where 60 of his photos have been exhibited at 12 sites in three provinces. He also has made two trips to China to do photography workshops and sessions on "identity, American diversity and public art." Like his earlier pictures of St. Paul's Frogtown and Minneapolis' Lake Street, "Identity and the American Landscape" documents the contemporary American scene with all the awkward promise and discomfort it holds, especially for immigrants and foreigners. Huie, who grew up in Duluth, is the first American-born member of his family -- including five siblings -- who emigrated from Guangdong, China, decades ago. The project, now on view in Minneapolis' sister city Harbin, has been seen by more than 500,000 people and received "massive media coverage in China," reports David Fraher, executive director of Arts Midwest, which organized the tour with support from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities.
MARY ABBEDesperate husband
One "Desperate Housewives" star is moving from Wisteria Lane to a Minnesota neighborhood. James Denton, who played hunky plumber Mike Delfino on the ABC hit series, has announced that he's moving this month to the Midwest to be closer to his wife's family. He told the ABC affiliate in Los Angeles that if he never came back to Hollywood "it's because it's worked so well for the family up there that we decided to stay." Denton's wife, fitness instructor Erin O'Brien, would make three or four trips a year to Minnesota during the show's long run. In a 2007 interview with the Star Tribune, O'Brien hinted that she and her husband feel a lot more comfortable away from the show-biz crowd. "The last time I was home visiting, my mom told me I seemed very cautious and serious -- two words that have never described me," said O'Brien, a native of Shakopee. "I'm not as friendly in strange situations and that's weird because I'm from Minnesota. I guess I've just handled it by circling the wagons and not letting many folks in."
NEAL JUSTIN12 for 12 for '12
Everybody puts in 12-hour days, right? Why not, especially if it's for a great cause like the Minnesota State Fair. For this "12 Artists 12 hours 12 days 2012" gig, a dozen Minnesota artists will each spend a 12-hour workday in a studio set up in the fair's Fine Arts Building. They will be demonstrating "art-making in action," so expect periods of deliberate -- or frenzied -- activity punctuated by patches of quiet rumination, head scratching and maybe even naps. All are prepared to answer questions. The artists, in order beginning Friday, are Sean Smuda (photography and writing), Dani Roach (watercolor), Michelle Westmark (photography) Abigail Wood Anderson (printmaking and painting), Loretta Bebeau (drawing), Fred Cogelow (woodcarving), Ron Merchant (oil painting), Fawzia Khan (bronze sculpture), Kimber Olson (fiber art), Cheng-Khee Chee (watercolor) and Scott Stulen (painting, sculpture). Gregory Euclide (drawing) was on hand for opening day.
MARY ABBEDouble duty
Zach Curtis has a busy September lined up. He's acting in Ten Thousand Things' "Measure for Measure" and directing "A Few Good Men" for Bloomington Civic Theatre. Full schedules are nothing new for Twin Cities theater folks who try to juggle as much work as possible. But Curtis opens both shows on the same day. "Measure for Measure" has its first performance at a correctional facility during the day, and "A Few Good Men" bows at the Bloomington black box that night. I.W. hopes there's no afternoon lockdown.
GRAYDON ROYCEThat's what friends are for
The big yearlong 100th birthday celebration of writer Frederick Manfred continues this month with a reading in Luverne, his chosen hometown, by poet Robert Bly, his good, good friend. Manfred, born in Iowa, lived in southwestern Minnesota most of his life. He was the author of 34 books, including "Lord Grizzly," most of which were set in a place he called Siouxland -- the place where Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa come together. He died in 1994 at age 82. Bly will read from his own latest collection, "Talking Into the Ear of a Donkey," at 7 p.m. Saturday at Blue Mounds State Park.
LAURIE HERTZELDubay redux
Is Jeff Dubay one step closer to rejuvenating his radio career? The future looked dire for the broadcaster after a crack-cocaine addiction that led to jail time and the loss of his job at KFAN in 2008. But this week, Dubay filled in as a guest co-host on Eric Perkins' morning show on KTWN, the next home for the Minnesota Twins. KTWN-FM's general manager Sam Elliot Gagliardi said he was inspired to invite Dubay after catching Chad Hartman's interview with him on WCCO-AM in July. Dubay is one of several local personalities who are expected to join Perkins over the next few months. Gagliardi wouldn't call Dubay's stint an audition, but wouldn't rule out considering him a contender down the road. "Everyone deserves a second chance," he told I.W.
NEAL JUSTINBack for another round
New Twin Cities breweries are popping up every week, but only one is debuting at the Minnesota State Fair. Pour Decisions, based in Roseville, is on tap at the craft beer-friendly Ball Park Cafe. For owners B.J. Haun and Kristen England, it only made sense to unveil their Scottish light ale at the Great Minnesota Get-Together. Why? Haun won Best of Show at the fair's homebrewing contest in 2010 with a version of the beer -- now called Pubstitute. The beer isn't your typical hop-monster that beer geeks rave about these days. Its low alcohol content (2.8 percent) makes it a "session" beer, which means you're encouraged to drink a few. "These are the beers that we want to drink at home and we hope other people will, too," Haun said. I.W. is guessing this is an idea thirsty fairgoers will get behind.