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Play about homelessness finds a home during Super Bowl hoopla

The cast of "Just Us: Out of the Cycle, Into the Circle" (including, far right, Patrick Presley) will perform their play about issues around homelessness during the week leading up to the Super Bowl. /Provided

Some of the people in "Just Us: Out of the Cycle, Into the Circle" may not have homes while the Super Bowl is in town, but they will be heard.

An encore performance of the play, first presented last November by zAmya Theater Project, is timed to coincide with the week of hoopla leading up to the big game. The idea is to draw attention to the irony that a lot of wealth is being tossed around (Maxim's big party is right across the street from Salvation Army) while, in the shadow of U.S. Bank Stadium, many are in need.

"There's a lot of money being spent on this weekend, so it raises this big question of: Why do we have any lack at all?" says Maren Ward, program manager for zAmya, a theater company that is housed at St. Stephen's Human Services and that raises awareness about homelessness.

Performed at 7 p.m., Jan. 31 at Pohlad Hall at Minneapolis Central Library, "Just Us" is roughly an hour, followed by a talkback. A play with music and, according to Ward, "lots of humor," "Just Us" presents vignettes in the life of a character named Pete (played by Patrick Presley, whose life inspired the play). Newly out of prison, "Just Us" finds Pete trying to re-establish himself, living at times in his car or a shelter.

Mostly created and acted by people who are or have been homeless, "Just Us" will include a preamble about the Super Bowl, a nod to the fact that some shelters located within the "security zone" of the event have had to relocate their clients.

"We're hoping to go out and do some flyering during Super Bowl Live (the "epic" events on Nicollet Mall in the days leading up to the game). The fact that we're inside, on Nicollet Mall, while people are partying outside, means we can at least make it known there's an option to come in," says Ward.

It won't be zAmya's last trip to the spiffed-up Nicollet Mall, either. Ward says the company also has been commissioned by Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District to create short plays to be performed on the mall at a time that currently seems far, far away: this summer.
 

Bob Dylan's handwritten poetry from Hibbing High acquired by MN Historical Society

Above: Robert Zimmerman (aka Bob Dylan) in the 1959 Hibbing High School year book.

How does a winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature get his start? If you’re Bob Dylan, by writing poetry in high school. So contends the Minnesota Historical Society, which has purchased some rudimentary Dylan poetry penned during his Hibbing High School days.

Dale Boutang, a high school pal of Dylan's, is the original source, though the two handwritten pages of poetry were bought via auction. They are probably from 1956. To verify his friendship with Dylan, Boutang provided a photo of him and Bob Zimmerman, Dylan's given name, on a motorcycle.

“The writing in these pages is fairly immature but you can already see his ballad style that will develop later,” Historical Society acquisitions librarian Patrick Coleman said in a statement. “It portends his future as a Nobel laureate.”

On a hand-printed piece labeled “Good Poem,” Zimmerman rhymes school with rule, sass with ass and pink with dink.

Zimmerman graduated from Hibbing High in 1959, changed his name to Bob Dylan and wrote quite a few songs that led to his receiving the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016.

These new artifacts will be digitized and made available for viewing at mnhs.org

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