The Flanagan Memo - Re: That city park, again; artists I love and how about a new and big Capture the Flag tournament.
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Yes, I know it's kind of silly and no, I don't know who could make it happen, but how about a Capture the Flag tourney? I mean really.
Almost everybody I've ever known played Capture the Flag while they grew up. It was played in our neighborhood into my teens and I played right up until then. It was a dandy game, just dandy.
Of course, you needed at least three adjoining front yards to play on and kids with loud voices. Then, what I remember the most is the running. We ran and ran and, on occasion, captured the flag.
What flag? I can't remember, but it was a great game.
It won't replace baseball, football, softball or soccer, but lacrosse, perhaps?
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Supping at Lucia's to Go on 31st Street, just west of Hennepin Avenue, I saw Scott Seekins and almost did a double take.
Seekins is an artist, a character and, I learned, a fisherman. He is known for his two "costumes'' -- black in winter and white in summer. He has been wearing it for years, always changing when the weather turns. He is in white right now. Look for a change in late September or early October.
Seekins sat down and told me he was doing a kind of mobile art, walking around town and looking at the scenery. And he had an album with him of photos of himself at various local sites. Usually, he held a sign that said nothing upsetting. Just a hello, he said.
My Seekins picture titled ''Miss America'' was bought at a showing he had at Kate Dayton Nielsen's house some years ago. It's big and hilarious and a bit memorable for me because of my former days as a chaperone for the Miss Minnesota winners.
He asked if I was still collecting art and I said I was in my heart, but not in actuality. "No room to hang anything,'' I said. "And I am sorry.''
''In little rivers,'' he said, ''for trout, first, and then in the lakes for other fish. I fish winter and summer. And when I catch them, sometimes I paint them.''
Then he added, "And I never wear an overcoat.'' So be it, Scott, and good luck.
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Works by Minnesota artists, in my opinion, are a very good buy. Those in my collection are 20 years old or more, but they continue to dazzle me.
For example, there is a bright abstract painting by the late master George Morrison, a nice guy who did incredible wooden bas-reliefs. A great one is in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
There is a watercolor of the beach at Nice, France, by the late Josephine Lutz Rollins. Some stunning dancers by Leon Huscha, who continues to paint and show his works. Ditto Steven Sorman and Duncan Hanna, who now show in New York, and the late Adolf Dehn, who is represented in many major museums.
I won't forget Clara Mairs, Frances Cranmer Greenman and Clem Haupers or Paul Granlund, James Kielkopf, Elof Wedin, Robert Kilbride and John Anderson.
The amazing thing is that I knew them all. It is still a thrill.
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When I wrote about a downtown city park, a new one, I never dreamed of the replies that were posted at Startribune.com.
Some were slightly off-key. For example, dgb0-49 wrote, "Tear down Block E. You could also add the Shubert Theatre to the list.''
The post from turgid read: "The fact that Barbara Flanagan is calling some of those patches of grass ''parks'' shows how low our standards are. Perfect place for a nice park that would link the new ballpark to the rest of downtown ... a lot of people live downtown now and would get use out of it.''
And, finally, this: "Technically, Loring Park is in the Loring Park neighborhood and not in downtown Minneapolis and ditto to the Sculpture Garden.'' It was signed smdent.
May I say, once again, that Loring Park was originally Central Park and it is downtown as is the Loring Park neighborhood. At least it was when I once lived alongside the park on Spruce Place.
But on the plus side was a suggestion from someone named thatchio. "I'd argue that we don't have enough good park or plaza space. It's about making the place inviting to people, to make it comfortable to sit and watch the world pass by, to have chance encounters with friends or just to reflect. I personally think the worst place downtown for a park would be Block E or next to the Shubert. Fifth and the Nicollet Mall would be a much better spot, especially if the north half of that block were anchored with a new development.''
Two new big parks have risen in New York and Chicago in recent years. New York has turned its former high-line railroad on its West Side into a park -- and that's what we have done and are doing with the railroad right of way along 29th Street.
Chicago has won praise for Millennium Park on downtown Michigan Avenue. It's a park to rave about, and everybody does.
But it occupies more than 24 acres and we do not have that space downtown. There are small spaces, however. Small parks make good plazas. Honest.
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The Recycling Association of Minnesota has offered old-fashioned rain barrels for sale. They are designed to capture water runoff from roofs to use for watering lawns and gardens. Isn't that a good idea? Those who bought by July 27 can pick them up Aug. 14-15 at the Minnetonka Public Works Facility.