Nazis & Me
I ď‚Ş MN / Algae / and more 27 october â€“ 10 november 2009
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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Editorial Editor-in-Chief Ali Jaafar
Mind’s Eye Editor John Oen
Managing Editor Sage Dahlen
Sound & Vision Editor Eric Brew
Cities Editor Trey Mewes
Humanities Editor Ross Hernandez
Voices Editor Matt Miranda
Bastard Ol’ Dirty (Jonathan Knisely)
Hey reader, guess what? (Chicken butt) We need you. I mean, of course we need you to read this magazine...but we also need you to be a part of it. We are all students here at The Wake; we grow old and graduate. We die horrible deaths. We fall into pits and are never found. We can’t do this forever.
Production Production Manager Ben Alpert
Photography Editor Ben Lansky
Graphic Designers Ben Alpert, Tarin Gessert, Jonathan Knisely
Art Director Keit Osadchuk
Distributors Ben Alpert, Maggie Foucault, Matt Miranda, John Oen, Pammy Ronnei
Copy Editors Katie Green, Brady Nyhus
So in order for the magazine to live on, we need you to join us. We know you have opinions and ideas. You get pissed off, you think ‘Gee, that’s interesting,’ or ‘I hate people that use the word ‘Gee’ at the beginning of sentances.’ You have your own outlook on life here at the U, so why don’t you share it? The thing that keeps this magazine alive is the flow of new ideas and experiences. What good is a student magazine if it doesn’t represent the students? So do us a favor: share your thoughts with us. Become part of us. Let us drain your precious life fluids...erm, strike that. Let your voice be heard. You are the students, speak for the students. Send us an e-mail, come to a meeting (hell, you could even send us a Word document). Do it now!
Business Business Manager Colleen Powers
This Issue Cover Artist Danielle Attinella Illustrators Talia Carlton, Angela Frisk, Rachel Mosey, Guy Wagner Photographers Rich Delcastillo, John Hooper, Meredith Hart, John Husmann, Jonathan Knisely, Ben Lansky
Advisory Board James DeLong, Kevin Dunn, Courtney Lewis, Eric Price, Morgan Mae Schultz, Gary Schwitzer, Kay Steiger, Mark Wisser
Contributing Writers Maggie Foucault, Meredith Hart, Sofiya Hupalo, Rachel Keranen, Andrew Larkin, Patrick Larkin, Jeremiah Oetting, Agnes Rzepecki, Angie Sanders, Jon Schober, Alice Vislova
Ben Alpert Production Manager
8:3 ©2009 The Wake Student Magazine. All rights reserved. Established in 2002, The Wake is a fortnightly independent magazine and registered student organization produced by and for the students of the University of Minnesota.
The Wake Student Magazine 1313 5th St. SE #331 Minneapolis, MN 55414 (612) 379-5952 • www.wakemag.org The Wake was founded by Chris Ruen and James DeLong.
The Wake is published with support from Campus Progress/Center for American Progress (online at www.campusprogress.org).
disclaimer The purpose of The Wake is to provide a forum in which students can voice their opinions. Opinions expressed in the magazine are not representative of the publication or university as a whole. To join the conversation email aJAAFAR@wakemag.org.
Nazis & Me By Maggie Foucault
After the protest on October 3 at the YWCA, I was, at first, filled with excitement. Four members of the Minnesota division of the National Socialist Movement, a white supremacist group, planned a protest of the YWCA’s recent conference, “More Than Skin Deep: Uprooting White Privilege and White Supremacy One Cell at a Time.” A counter protest was organized by community members in response to the protest, resulting in hundreds of counter protesters facing four members of the NSM. Real live Nazis! Who would have thought that there were Nazis in Minneapolis, and that they car-pooled!? My interest was piqued and I just had to meet them. I wouldn’t say I was interested in joining them. Rather, I was intrigued by the very idea of not only neo-Nazis in general, but also the fact that hundreds of people had turned out to protest their presence. My first step was to do some research. Since I couldn’t facebook-stalk them, I went directly to their web site. I was bombarded by red, white and blue, eagles, and blinking arrows pointing to random links. A little flashy for me, but you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. I spent the next few hours reading their literature. I knew that if I didn’t do my homework, I could end up looking foolish in their eyes and blow the whole thing. However, the more I read, the more nervous I became. Their contradictions, such as first telling me that their group was “about free speech,” then saying that they were for a “national press” and that anyone outside of “the nation” could not contribute to or edit a newspaper, in addition to their rigid and unforgiving tone, gave me many reasons to worry, but I was in too deep now. My favorite part to read was the recap of the recent protest. Surprisingly, it was the complete opposite of all the major news coverage. They had not actually been cowering behind police protection, they had really been standing tall and holding their ground. Counter-protesters did not overpower them; instead, the brave warriors even confused those “communists” by messing up their chant! After they left, they celebrated with German food!
27 october – 10 november 2009
I finally took a big step and called both their PR director and the random number displayed in their banner. The random number, with a 651 area code, sent me straight to voice mail. The message tried to sound tough, but I could hear gentleness in their voice underneath their tough façade. My favorite part was the end, where they stated, “And remember, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem!” The second number, the PR director, had “Eye of the Tiger” as a ring back tone and went straight to voicemail. I decided to not worry about looking too eager and e-mailed them both as well. The wait was terrible. I spent nearly a whole day waiting, and not having internet made it even worse. Finally, I got a phone call from a strange area code. It was the PR director! He was on his way to lead a “Viking Youth Group” meeting. He said he would pass my information on to the Minneapolis division at a conference call that they were having the next day, and that they would contact me. I spent the next few days waiting more, constantly checking my phone for missed calls and pacing around. Now instead of us ignoring them, the Nazis were ignoring me! I had been stood up, and was stuck with all this horrible new knowledge and none of the release of meeting real Nazis. I tried to play it cool and wait a little longer. I didn’t want to seem too pushy. Finally, I broke down, left another message, and sent some more e-mails. Again, I was ignored. If only they had a house that I could go egg. But here’s the real issue. The reasoning for starting a counter protest (not that they really need a reason), stated in nearly all the news coverage of the event, was that by ignoring these Nazis, we would be unintentionally telling them that their views and actions are valid; acceptable, even. By organizing a counter protest, we were showing them that their hate would not be tolerated. However, the National Socialist Movement did not see it that way. From their “After Action” report on their web site, “Pushing ensued and one communist even used his bike
against us as a weapon and still the members of NSM Minnesota stood their ground.” While the amount of protesters that physically engaged with the group were few, their actions, unintentionally, have encouraged the group, not dissuaded them. While obviously their hate rhetoric cannot be tolerated, neither can we tolerate aggressive or violent acts from counter protesters. I understand that it’s hard not to get worked up and flustered when dealing with difficult people (i.e., Nazis), but getting hateful and violent toward them only brings us down to the same level that they inhabit. Another thing that seems to be overlooked is the NSM’s actual standing in society. This group is far from influential. There is no reason to worry about them suddenly gaining power of any sort. Their mailing address is a P.O. box, their emails are either all at Yahoo! or Gmail. They haven’t even tried to run as a political party. In an article from MPR News, a representative from the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that tracks white supremacist groups, was quoted as saying that she expected less than 25 NSM members to show up to the protest. Add this to the fact that people were inviting me to the counter protest nearly two weeks before it even happened. The result is that 200 people showed up to counter protest a protest that consisted of four people seems like a bit of an overreaction. But where is the middle ground between ignoring this group and bullying them back? The fact is that free speech laws still apply to them, even though we feel that letting them continue with this kind of message is not acceptable. We can’t force them to stop discriminating by throwing tomatoes at them. Like an attention-starved child, negative reactions to their tantrums will encourage more tantrums, and violence will only give them justification for throwing said tantrums. In the end, there isn’t a clear-cut solution to this situation, but one thing is certain: when organizing a counter protest, people need to take into account the realities of the situation, and not project their views of “what if” situations and fears of a second Holocaust.
I Swear I’m Trying to Quit: Prolonging Our Fossil Fuel Addiction with Natural Gas By Andrew Larkin Rare is the opportunity to blatantly pursue your own financial interests and be lauded nationally as a philanthropist for it. T. Boone Pickens, it seems, is a truly blessed man. The Pickens Plan, which has gained the support of former self-declared ‘mortal enemy’ of Pickens, Harry Reid, would switch natural gas in for diesel as the fuel of choice for trucks in America. Natural gas, Pickens realizes, has several advantages: it emits about 30 percent less carbon than oil, it’s available in vast quantities in the shale fields under Texas and other southern states, and it can make him a lot of money. Pickens’ 33 percent share in Clean Energy Fuel Corporation, a company which operates numerous natural gas filling stations, as well as a 5 percent interest in a natural gas exploratory company based out of Dallas, go a long way towards explaining his plan, currently circulating in Congress with significant bipartisan interest.
Postponing a crisis does not solve it; it’s certainly clear that action on achieving renewable energy will not occur unless we’re in a real fix. Uneasiness underlies any alliance between politicians and environmentalists. Pickens brings the source of it to light when he refers simultaneously to natural gas as clean—which it isn’t, just cleaner—and to the capacity of natural gas to secure American energy independence. Is global warming, or are burdensome Middle Eastern interests the real issue for those in power? While certain costly wars might have been avoided with a bit more energy independence, it seems hard to believe that the best way to resolve our problems with fossil fuel—dependence, pollution, finite quantities—is by switching to a different one. Postponing a crisis does not solve it, and as health care reform that administrations tried to implement a decade ago is only now even close to being enacted, it’s certainly clear that action on achieving renewable energy will not occur unless we’re in a real fix. A switch from oil to natural gas would, obviously, decrease emissions—but it’s not a long-term solution to the problem of climate change. It seems more probable that it would alleviate concern about emissions just enough for alternative energy funding to lose momentum. Investment in alternative energy spiked with high oil prices in the late ‘70s, and dropped precipitously following the return of cheap oil. It spiked again with high oil prices throughout the Bush years, but the simple fact is that the potential issues climate change exposes us to need to be addressed now. Like problems with oil prices, this problem will return unless it’s fixed. The effects of carbon released into the atmosphere are not immediately realized,
27 october – 10 november 2009
meaning that we haven’t yet seen what effect releasing emissions at our current rate will do to the environment. Targets such as those set in the Kyoto Protocol neglect to even consider certain possibilities—like the thawing of methane deposits in the sea floor, which act as a much more effective greenhouse gas than carbon and are believed to have been responsible for various historical mass extinctions. Additionally, there is skepticism about whether or not the shale deposits the United States have will even be as profitable as Pickens seems to imagine. Pickens claims, verbatim, a super-abundance of energy in American shale deposits. Investment in shale extraction is booming. Yet Arthur Berman, a Texas geological consultant, says numerous analyses demonstrate that gas extraction is not nearly as profitable as is being suggested. It will neither produce as much gas, nor produce for as long, as men like Pickens are apt to suggest. He likened the rush of investment to the rush of mortgage securitization purchases that caused the current recession.
Despite how well sudden, poorly informed splurges of investment have worked in the past, he may have a point. Thus, Pickens is kindly positioning us for a devastating investment in production of a fossil fuel that won’t solve the long-term problem of climate change due to carbon emissions, all because he’s invested in it. “America is blessed with natural resources. Many of them have been badly used over the decades and centuries and are being depleted. An exception to that is natural gas,” the man himself wrote in an editorial in the Salt Lake Tribune. This analysis is correct. Yet with knowledge of Pickens’ philosophy, “This is a problem,” seems a likely follow-up statement. Countless theories about peak oil production are emerging. Climate change is nearly impossible to credibly deny. These things are making it possible to implement investment that could permanently renovate the way we produce energy. Only in the most shortsighted analysis is switching to another finite, carbon-emitting fossil fuel the way to use this investment.
Minnesoooota Love by Rachel Keranen Upon arrival in London earlier this semester I found that my accent instantly marked me as Minnesotan. Not to the Brits— they think I’m Canadian—but to the other American students here. Before I even tell them I’m from Minnesota they ask, “Do you have a booooaat?” with knowing smirks on their faces. Yes, I have a boat, but I don’t say it like that. At least I’d like to think I don’t.
I’d also like to say that I’m one hundred percent proud of my Minnesotan heritage, but that’s not completely true. Something in the way people ask about my boat ownership reinforces my idea that everyone else thinks Minnesota is a backwater land with Fargo as its capital. Many of the other American students here also believe that Minnesota is frigid year round and that we’re a bastion of conservativism. Even though I know that none of these stereotypes hold true, knowing that they exist makes me less eager to say where I’m from. I shouldn’t be, though. I may not be a seasoned world traveller—yet—but I do know that Minnesota is a state I really am proud to call home. The further away I am, the more I realize that Minnesota Nice doesn’t just reflect potlucks and smiling church ladies but represents a diverse culture largely made of good-hearted, open-minded people. Having arrived at work today in London, I started research for an article on bike share projects worldwide. Though the rental schemes are quite popular here in Europe, they have yet to make an impact in the United States. Minneapolis, however, has received federal funding for a large-scale project and plans to launch the first of such initiatives in the States next spring. Minneapolis is perfect for bike sharing as we already have a great bike culture and bike-friendly city. Unlike other projects across the world, Minneapolis’s plan is government funded and will be run by a non-profit organization. That brings me to another thing I appreciate about Minnesotans—we’re not just in it for the money. Minneapolis-St. Paul was ranked first amongst big cities in the United States for volunteerism in a 2009 report generated by VolunteeringinAmerica.org. People don’t hide their humanity behind stony exteriors, but channel their energies outward into the community. Not only do we give back through volunteerism, we’re politically active too. We typically have among the highest voter turnout in the country and we pass community initiatives in favor of issues such as
the environment and the arts. On that note, we have a strong arts scene. With a fantastic local music community and a national ranking only second to New York in theatre seats per capita, Minneapolis residents should never let others say we’re uncultured.
Before I even tell them I’m from Minnesota they ask, “Do you have a booooaat?” with knowing smirks on their faces. Yes, I have a boat, but I don’t say it like that. At least I’d like to think I don’t. While we’re not uncultured hicks, let’s not forget that we do have an abundance of natural beauty. We have some of the nation’s best paths for pedestrians and bicyclists along the Mississippi and the lakes in addition to green space everywhere. Even Minnesota winters can’t stop runners and bikers from taking advantage of our environment. In fact, the American Fitness Index named Minneapolis-St. Paul as the second fittest metropolitan area in the country and Minneapolis is considered among the nation’s best cities for runners and bikers. We’re not all white bread Lutherans either. We have many diverse, growing ethnic communities as well as ample alternative populations—vegans abound, the Pride Festival is one of the largest GLBT events in the country, and when the RNC came to town they struck out at what they feared to be a bastion of liberals and anarchists rather than eager conservatives. All things considered, Minneapolis and Minnesota deserve more respect than they get from the rest of the country. When people ask if I’m from Minnesota, I’m going to own the regional accent that is so much stronger than I ever realized. Yes, I’m from Minnesooota and I love it there. If it weren’t so deathly cold in January, I might just live there forever.
Why I Bike Through The Winter, and You Should Too! By Matt Miranda
The first thing that usually turns people off of winter commuting is the perceived lack of safety. In fact, the danger is mostly psychological, and with proper precautions and a little bit of forethought, the actual threat of winter riding can be reduced dramatically. Loose snow and ice can be conquered with knobby tires with good tread. Poor visibility on dreary days that may prevent a car from seeing you can be remedied with a flashing red light for your backpack, reflective clothing, and a headlight.
The benefits of riding a bike are well known and often extolled; exercise, fresh air, zero pollution, it’s faster than walking, cheaper than a car. Minneapolis is a bike city, and during the fairer months the campus and the city team with twowheeled activity. But come the beginning of November, most of those bicycles will be stored awkwardly in an apartment closet or left outside all winter, neglected, lonely, and rusting. To me, this is a huge waste.
Yes, I’m one of THOSE nut jobs, clad in a balaclava and an old army jacket, braving the road come blizzard or freezing rain on my bright yellow single-speed.
When I tell someone that I commute by bicycle year round, the resulting expression on their face usually ranges from a confused blank stare to outright amazement. Yes, I’m one of THOSE nut jobs, clad in a balaclava and an old army jacket, braving the road come blizzard or freezing rain on my bright yellow single-speed. I enjoy it, and it’s not nearly as hard as you’d think.
If one can get past the safety issue, there’s the question of comfort. Doesn’t it suck to ride out in the bitter Minnesota cold? The answer, again, is no, not with the proper preparation and gear. The key to staying warm while riding on those coldest of days is layers: a base layer of synthetic material that wicks moisture (such as UnderArmor), a stretchable balaclava mask to protect your face from harsh wind, a good
pair of mittens (keeps the hands warmer than gloves), some sort of semi water-resistant but breathable pants (for slush, I use Goretex), a nice wool sweater, a jacket that cuts the wind, and a good pair of boots will keep you toasty warm. Actually, you’ll probably find that overheating is more of a problem than being cold, as your body will be plenty warm once you get going. It’s true that all that sludge, salt, and crud can eat at your bicycle if you ignore it. But all that’s needed to keep your baby going is some TLC: semi-frequent baths with warm water, frequent application of a protective lubricant to your chain and gears, and an equipment inspection before each ride. These are just the few misconceived reasons why you shouldn’t ride in the winter. And there are plenty of reasons why you should! Besides the general benefits of biking described above, I personally find winter riding to be extremely fun. It’s like an extreme sport: you are physically challenged, invited to conquer the elements with little more than your muscles and willpower. Life is dull and dreary enough, and your commute doesn’t have to be. So take the plunge this winter. Don’t leave your bike locked up to the street sign all winter; use it!
Wally’s offers cheap and tasty falafel balls by Sofiya Hupalo
The quiet opening of Wally’s Falafel and Hummus went by unnoticed, even to those who live in Dinkytown. But the restaurant’s manager, Bader Jaber, says he is taking things slowly and is in no rush to publicize the joint by plastering local lampposts with flyers and the like. “Each day is better than the one before,” Jaber says. If one were to walk into Wally’s the day it opened, one would have assumed it to be a mediocre, sparsely populated Mediterranean eatery. There were no special promotions, no free samples, no alcohol involved. Just Wally’s. Take it or leave it. Jaber’s strategy is to first get accustomed to the swing of things – let the cooks master their speed and culinary tactics, become acquainted with the regulars – and then hold a celebratory evening in honor of Wally’s. Jaber, 23, took this semester off from his studies at MCTC to devote himself to the business when his friend Wally, owner of Hideaway on Fourth Street, asked him to head the place. “Wally loves Dinkytown, and this is just a side business – he’s not looking to get rich. His main goal is to add variety to food in the area,” Jaber says. Every option is authentic Mediterranean cuisine – Turkish shawarma, Egyptian falafel and Lebanese tabouli, just to name a few. Jaber considers Wally’s shawarma the best in Minneapolis, which is made fresh daily. Chicken and beef are spiced and marinated in the kitchen for 12 hours – nothing is processed. In fact, one can see the rotating meats in the window display, awaiting passersby.
if I am not hungry. Wally’s is home of the only $3 falafel I have ever seen, and after my first bite of tahini and soft pita I knew it would be a memorable one. The biggest delight of munching through a falafel sandwich comes right before – unwrapping the foil to discover what ingredients this particular restaurant has incorporated. The time flew past me as I devoured it in minutes. I even had room for cheesecake, the only non-Middle Eastern dish at Wally’s. Although almost any meal will come with hummus, one can also sample baba ganouge or foule, an Egyptian bean and veggie novelty that I have yet to experience. For shy eaters tentative of ordering a dish whose name is too unfamiliar to pronounce, I would suggest a sample plate. They are quite bulky but representative of various menu items – great for sharing with a friend. Most sandwiches include sides of fries or tabouli, a parsley based salad with tomatoes, bulgur, and olive oil. Takeout is available with no extra wait, which includes my favorite choice – pita and hummus. Simple, cheap, yet extremely scrumptious. Although the food at Wally’s is different enough not to stir up a competitive war with other restaurants in Dinkytown, the cheap prices may sway locals in its direction. Open until 3 a.m. on the weekends, Wally’s is sure to gain appreciation among the stumbling crowd of that hour. Will a grand-opening night ever be held? “Eventually,” says Jaber, but no date is set. Wally’s slow rise to power might not need it after all.
This display did not stop me, a vegetarian, from stopping in. Words such as falafel and hummus are enticing even rich delcastillo
Can You Write 50,000 Words in 30 Days? By Eric Brew How would you like to be a novelist by December? No, we didn’t say a good novelist – just a novelist. Over the last 10 years, National Novel Writing Month has inspired thousands write their own book. Bound by 30 days and a goal of 50,000 words, these writers have overcome the madness that writing typically creates. The University of Minnesota’s own NaNoWriMo group is actively seeking out this madness. The group’s president, Eric Dolski, says the experience is a personal growth of sorts – a discovery process. It’s an opportunity to forget structured essays and assigned topics and write without limits. And often, that’s exactly what must be done. Hammering away an average of 1,667 words per day demands a great deal of discipline. There comes a point when each writer realizes that there can be no barrier between the author and the page. Thoughts must pour from head to fingers as freely as they might from your mouth after a heavy night of drinking. Unfortunately this sometimes means thoughts find their way to the page as jumbled as they were in mind. This isn’t the time for well-polished sentences and pristine word choice. In fact, if a writer stumbles into November with the mindset they are going to publish the beast
they are about to create, he or she will likely fail. So why bother? If the purpose is not to produce the next innovative piece of literature, then what is it? NaNoWriMo started as an excuse to call oneself a novelist – an impressive little something to casually say at parties: “Yeah, well, in my first book…” Founders of NaNoWriMo wrote because they thought, “we would have an easier time getting dates than we did as nonnovelists.” Professional writers would probably cringe at this statement; it’s one of the many reasons writers believe why someone should not write (among wealth, fame, and power).
physical sound of other writers typing and progressing can be both comforting and encouraging. Stories will be exchanged. Snacks will be had. Struggles will be encountered and conquered. Interested in becoming a novelist? Come to the next University NaNoWriMo meeting! Email Eric Dolski at dolsk002@umn. edu for details.
The act of completing a novel is a confidence builder for participants. The event actively promotes quantity over quality – the idea being to accomplish something previously thought to be impossible. The fact that most of NaNoWriMo’s participants ultimately fail to finish their 50,000 words (only 18% succeeded in 2008) marks the event as a challenging endeavor. For those that do succeed, a great deal is owed to the support of their NaNoWriMo group. While any individual can participate in the event worldwide, NaNoWriMo began as a group endeavor – getting together with other would-be novelists to type, eat junk food, and drink (caffeine and other mind-altering substances). The U of M’s NaNoWriMo group organizes write-ins – gatherings of writers to simply write – throughout the month to push novelists to keep up with their word counts. The writeins themselves can to be used as powerful motivators – the angela frisk
27 october – 10 november 2009
Urban Escape Route
watha. Like Longfellow, others are too inspired by the park’s romantic air, which makes it a perfect place for dates. In the winter the falls completely freeze over, creating spectacular icicles. Air of romance paired with luxury.
Stacking Up Twin Cities Parks by Agnes Rzepecki
Mississippi Gorge Regional Park
Good news: the Twin Cities contains plenty of grass patches called “parks,” filled with trails less demanding of our brains and softer on the feet. Minnesota’s park system is nationally renowned and contains an astonishing number of parks. In cities of comparable population density, Minneapolis ranked first in park acreage per resident. So where are the good ones and how can you too escape the grey of city-life? In the words of University student Ashley Larson, “Minneapolis has a way of squeezing parks in odd places.” What follows are three A-list parks in Minneapolis and its surrounding area, hidden from city view and within reach of campus-dwellers.
Many bikers and joggers enjoy the Mississippi along the winding Mississippi River Byway, but the wild waters are all the more spectacular by foot, on the trails of Mississippi Gorge Regional Park. Hikers can cut away from the pretty trail and hike at the brink of the river, or lounge on quiet beaches. Between the river and steep rocky walls, it’s easy to forget there’s a whole city around you. Very convenient, and only a few miles away from our very own Coffman Union.
Fort Snelling State Park: Near the historic Fort Snelling is a park that contains long, wide trails, natural jungle-gym trees and huge tree hollows you can slip into to take a long-needed nap. Located at the base of the Fort, this park has a dark history. Members of the Dakota tribe were marched through it during the infamous “Trail of Tears” and forced to endure the winter camping on an island the trails weave around. The views of the river will take your breath away and your mind off of the stresses of daily life.
Minnehaha Falls If parks were awarded stars, Minnehaha Falls would have five. Its beauty inspires local fashion photographers, wedding planners, and the occasional world-renowned poet. Brown Falls, fed by Minnehaha Creek, is immortalized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic poem “The Song of Hiawatha”, where he cutely mistakes Minnehaha to mean “laughing water.” The falls gave rise to the character of Minnehaha (meaning “waterfall” in Dakota) the lover of a Dakota chief, HiaJohn Husmann
Bookworms: The Not-So-Underground Bookstores of the Twin Cities by Angie Sanders Buying books used is no secret among the university crowd – college is expensive. When book lists exceed ten novels or one textbook is $100, used, at the University of Minnesota bookstore, the budget gets tight. While Amazon and eBay lure consumers with low sticker prices, high shipping rates and two week turn-around times turn “great deals” into “minor inconveniences.” Not only that, the true condition of the book is subjective, especially when buying online. A book listed as “Used – Acceptable” that has “some minor highlighting” could have full pages colored in with pink highlighter; the book should instead be listed as “Slightly Used Coloring Book.” Fortunately, great deals can still be found right here in our own neighborhoods. If Dinkytown is on the list of daily sights, there are a couple used bookstores that cater to most course needs. The Bookhouse and Cummings Books can be found on 14th Avenue SE. Their proximity to the Minneapolis campus of the U of M make them prime shops for students to sell their books to, creating ample opportunity for future students in the same courses. Both shops keep a variety of books – fiction, non-fiction, anthologies, recently released, old editions – that cover a wide range of topics, perfect resources for those research papers and midterm essays. Even better, a large portion of the books
in The Bookhouse come from professors who have cleaned out their own libraries. One of the employees also noted that older books have better bindings and have an overall better quality than books printed today. Mayday Books can be found on Cedar Avenue. just off West Bank campus. The books here tend to be politically swayed and can prove useful in CSCL, Politics, Gender Studies, History and Sociology classes. Even if your academic career doesn’t center on progressive banter, the slew of books, periodicals and zines is enough to pique and enhance general, political interest. Magers and Quinn Booksellers is an absolute must check for used books. This shop is a bibliophile’s heaven. The depths of the store are inconceivable upon entry. Popular fiction and various book club books sit in the front and acts as a gateway to the expansive fiction collection. The back room opens to an array of genres and books written and almost anything you could ever want a book about. There are sections dedicated to Minnesotan authors, local authors, employee selections and popular titles. The trick in Magers and Quinn is once you find the book you are looking for, check to see if there are other copies stuck behind it – they are usually rougher in condition, but cheaper as well. As for used bookstores in St. Paul, Sixth Chamber Used Books is a neighborhood shop to check out. Just off Grand Avenue., Sixth Chamber has a growing and varied selection of books in great condition. It has a quality guarantee that their books will be in nearly new condition. The store is neatly organized, and if you don’t find exactly what you are looking for, the store will put your name on a list and notify you when a copy of the book surfaces in the store.
Buying books used is not just about the bargain or getting a required book, however. John Sand, a student at the U of M and used bookstore frequenter, said “I like knowing someone else has read the book I buy, and it is great when they’ve written in the margins. I just bought a poetry book and someone had written their own poem in the back.” Journalism student Kara Nesvig also admitted, “Sometimes I don’t find the book I set out to buy, but I still find other books that are interesting to me.” Leaving any of these bookstores WITHOUT making a purchase is nearly impossible. The wide variety of locations across the Twin Cities provides even more options when searching for course texts in a less antagonizing manner. In fact, the bookstores can make the task of book hunting enjoyable. You might not know exactly what you are walking into, but you certainly will be able to find a book or two that suites your fancy and your budget.
by John Oen
This November marks the release of 2012, a Roland Emmerich movie seeking to capitalize on our decade's hysteria du jour and general unease. Originally slated for July release, it was quietly pushed back to a timeslot thought to be more favorable. 2012 seems to embrace all of the cliché cheesiness that has characterized its director’s career. The trailer features a nearly incomprehensible series of calamitous events worldwide, with seemingly no central theme or purpose rather than “blowing stuff up real good.” It’s the ultimate culmination of Hollywood's years spent driving home the fact that cobbling together random scenes of improbably-scaled cinematic carnage will amount to box office revenue.
On some level this movie is likely just (relevant cultural anxiety) + too many special effects to comprehend. On the other side of the coin is the fact that the Dec. 21, 2012, hysteria is real. It’s at least real enough to have gained the attention of the portion of the non-tinfoil-hat public. Wrapped up in this myth is a whole menagerie of misconception, wishful thinking and desperate escapism. Central to all theories is the concept that the Mayan “long count” - a calendar devoted to extrapolating celestial events in the long-term, is thought to mysteriously end on the Northern Hemisphere's Winter Solstice of 2012. Theories are then cut with standard doses of Nostradamus, lizard people, the so-called New World Order - the usual suspects - and an internet-born cultural meme slowly comes about.
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The movie trailer suggests the film runs the gamut on 2012 theories, but it's safe to say that it cannot possibly cover it from all angles. These “theories” are often prefaced with “RE: RE: RE: RE: FWD: U GOTA RED THIS. SCARY STUF :O!”, as is the custom in scholarly journals. These writings then stumble through a melting pot of modern fringe paranoia, but usually involve a reversal of the Earth’s magnetic poles, the collision of a mysterious “Planet X” (also called Nibiru, from Babylonian
mythology), a “galactic alignment,” and various permutations and paranoia revolving around human activities (particularly the currently-broken Large Hadron Collider). These may appear to center around one central catastrophe unless one takes the time to examine the revolving-door nature of doomsday predictions. For its part, the movie seems to include massive and impossible flooding, asteroid impacts, the literal collapse and disintegration of California along the San Andreas faultline, and what appears to be enormous tsunamis cresting the Himalayas. That all of these images can be crammed into one two-and-a-half minute trailer is astonishing in its own right, but this fact also suggests that the movie was storyboarded with a grab-bag of pseudoscience. The prevalence of film featuring disaster for disaster’s sake cannot be solely attributed to the proliferation of cheap, readily available special effects. The past 30 years have seen an unprecedented wealth distribution upward in Western society, and the prominence and breadth of doomsday theories may reflect a popular disconnect. Even in cases where there is an ounce of truth, embellishment and oh-so-convenient linkage is unfathomably common since the advent of the internet, and there is a slippery slope in theory-crafting that may very well achieve critical mass with the release of 2012. From this perspective, 2012 and its predecessors are a tragic reflection of the idly destructive fantasies of a public with, by some accounts, less free time than at any point since feudalism, and even less willingness to chalk their plight up to the random machinations that drive modern commerce. For the workaday public, “Science” is cryptic and cumbersome, and is not nearly as fulfilling as the mad-lib media daydreams that characterize so much of downtime in the West. Our “news” is tailored to entertain and exaggerate, and it should be no surprise that popular science has become a loosely-interpreted spectre of failed high school curriculums’ past. The most astonishing aspect of the 2012 hysteria, however, is that like most doomsday theories, it stems from anxieties that
are at least somewhat rooted in truth. The science populist and gregarious physicist Neill DeGrasse Tyson has, by his accounts, devoted months of symposia and panel discussions to dispelling audience-queried myths of imminent doomsday. In short, none of them hold much water. However, the most surprising tale from Tyson, perhaps, is the acknowledgment that an object called “99942 Apophis” has a real possibility of striking the Earth in 2036. It is one of many “rogue” asteroids transiting the solar system, and has a diameter of roughly 270 meters (890 feet), and would impart a massive release of kinetic energy if it happened to strike Earth. This finding may be cause for real concern, but more likely it will simply be fodder for the creation of new and fresh myths. This object was marked for concern in December of 2004, and slated for impact in 2029, but new data showed that it would be a very near miss.
An object called “99942 Apophis” has a real possibility of striking the Earth in 2036. Among the leading “theories” there is hardly anything factual to be distilled. The “galactic alignment” is a very routine occasion, and in fact occurs at every solstice as the Earth and Sun align with the galactic plane in very mundane, predictable fashion. Impact by an entire planet is even more dubious, and laughed off within the science community. Fears about the Large Hadron Collider's destructive potential seem to be a combination of sensationalist misinformation and residual doomsday fetishization leftover from the Cold War and possibly before. Doomsday fantasy is a very human invention. While mass extinction events have occurred throughout natural history - in fact we are currently creating one of the quickest die-offs in Earth’s history - the concept of “the end of the world” doesn’t necessarily parse in practical reality. Whether people admit it or not, there is an undying fascination with humanity’s demise. The prehistoric Mount Toba eruption is an example of a proto-Apocalyptic, Black Swan event that ducks human
memory. Roughly 70,000 years ago, the human population is thought to have bottlenecked to some 10,000 individuals. This is by far the largest proportional die-off of the human species thus far. Yet, because it’s so far removed by history, it isn’t regarded with the same finalistic reverance reserved for doomsday theories. Looking back, any notions the prehistoric victims of Toba had of “the end of the world” seem absurd in light of our current development. Even if it isn’t articulated as such, most of our species seems to believe that we have a capital-D Destiny which we are either straying from or fulfilling, in varying degrees. On an individual level, speculation about our terminus results in numerous afterlife beliefs and unwavering commitments to doomsday predictions that, while entertaining, have universally proven to be apocryphal lines in the sand. If humans are going to be special, then our terminus is largely held to be special as well - ‘the “end” of humanity must be cinematic or it can’t really be the end.’ In extreme cases, it becomes apparent that many people just can’t imagine the world continuing without their personal presence to observe it. As with other conspiracy theories like the 9-11 Truthers, or the New Age junk science that populates used book store shelves, the 2012 hysteria reveals more about the state of society as it exists today rather than its ultimate end. It represents the deep-seated fears and anxieties of a growing subculture of the populace and utilizes the guise of scientific reassurance to claim legitimacy. 2012 theories and mass media cash-ins reveal a deep-seated feeling of vulnerability just as much as they offer a superficial romp through civilization’s explosion-filled demise. Movies are more formulaic than they’re given credit for, and on some level this movie is likely just “[Relevant cultural anxiety] + too many special effects to comprehend.” I’ll watch it, but I’ll hold myself back from becoming too engrossed to play the world's tiniest violin in the theatre.
Trains Keep Rollin’ On
By Patrick Larkin The Saint Paul Union Depot stands tall with the charm of 1923 neoclassical architecture – at its entrance are huge columns and large glass doors, the grass inside the half-circle driveway contains tasteful, well-trimmed shrubbery, and when it’s not a wintry abyss across the metro area, flowers line the rim of the drive as well. Inside, the Headhouse is complete with beautiful shiny marble floors, huge windows both on the walls and overhead. A bridge over Kellogg Boulevard connects to the concourse where the station meets the tracks. It’s a good looking train station. It’s just too bad there are no trains running through it. The last passenger train through the place was in 1971. Nowadays all that people do there is eat Greek food and send letters. But that may soon change. Plans are developing to bring back commuter rail services to Minnesota. On Oct. 14, parts of these plans were unveiled at the Saint Paul depot itself when the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) held its second round of open houses to present new analyses of the state’s rail needs and to get input from citizens. The open house in Saint Paul was one of seven meetings that took place in different parts of the state, including Du-
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luth, Rochester and Saint Cloud. The subsequent step will be to finalize plans and release them by the end of the year. The plans will then be used as a comprehensive framework around which individual projects can be oriented.
Planners think the lines would get a lot of use - Cambridge Systems predicts that the Chicago and Saint Cloud lines would see over a million annual trips by 2030, and there could be 400,000 to 600,000 riders on routes to Duluth and Rochester.
MnDOT, working with Cambridge Systematics, prioritized different train line projects according to the amount of usage they’d get. Cambridge consults offices of the U.S. Department of Transportation as well as a variety of other federal and state agencies having to do with transportation, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Transit Administration.
Assuming funding for this massive undertaking can be found, the time could be now for a revamp of Midwest transportation infrastructure.
Ridership forecasts for various routes are “certainly the crux” of the decision making, says Marc Cutler, a planner with Cambridge Systematics. Lines that come first on the list of priorities are as follows: a line from the Twin Cities to Saint Cloud and then Moorhead , a line to Duluth, a line to Mankato, and a high-speed line through Red Wing and Winona over to Milwaukee and Chicago. The first phase of the project would give the high-speed line a top speed of 110 miles per hour, and the other lines a top speed of 79 miles per hour. The rails would however be upgradeable to 150 miles per hour speeds, at a significant additional cost.
“This is a unique moment in time” for rail transportation in Minnesota, says Cutler. Federal funding “has suddenly appeared before us.” Federal funding appears in the form of an $8 billion dollar chunk of February’s $787 billion federal stimulus package designated for high-speed rail via projects with the National Environmental Policy Act. To understand how high the competition is for this money, imagine 8 slices of pumpkin pie vied for by 50 pie-craving diners. According to Reuters, 24 states filled out 45 applications for a piece of this $8 billion train pie. The amount of money requested totals $50 billion. Though officials had expected to be able to begin doling out grants this month, they now expect they won’t be writing any checks until later this winter, due to the overwhelming num-
Elk River Station
Coon Rapids Station
Fridley Station Ballpark Station
Big Lake Station
ber of applications. The New York Times reports that the only Minnesota project in the White House’s top ten rail priorities list is the track between Chicago and Minneapolis. MnDOT also lists an additional $40 billion in federal funds for the state to potentially glean, mostly in the form of loans, for various -to-city and intercity rail projects. MnDOT announced its application for $382 million from federal stimulus money in August. This amount would go towards a Saint Cloud extension of the soon-to-open Northstar line from Minneapolis to Big Lake, as well as a high-speed rail system from Chicago to the Twin Cities up to Duluth. The state has predicted that the project costs for their rail plan would cost about $8.4 billion, or $7.2 billion if the upgrades were done as one system. The projects outlined in the first phase would cost about $5.3 billion. Cutler cautions that the rail plan is an “incremental, multigenerational task.” He uses the example of the interstate highway system – it didn’t appear overnight, and the early highways were not as good as the later ones. Each train line will be treated as an independent start-up project, meaning there will be different timelines for each project. Cutler also stressed the importance of learning from other transit systems’ mistakes, referring to the New York City’s Penn Station and Grand Central Station. There is currently no direct connection between these two major transportation hubs. While the original plan for Twin Cities rails would’ve only put a depot in St. Paul, the state has since changed directions to include large commuter train depots in both St. Paul and Minneapolis. Some lines are certainly coming along more quickly than others. The Northstar commuter rail, for example, is on its way. The line’s grand opening will take place on Nov. 14 of this year, and it will begin regular commuter travel on Monday, Nov. 16. The route will run from downtown Minneapolis out to Big Lake, a bedroom community of the Twin Cities that’s not far from Saint Cloud. The $320 million cost of the project is shared by state and federal governments, as well as by Anoka, Hennepin, and Sherburne counties, the Metropolitan Council, and the Minnesota Twins. It is estimated that 3,400 people a day will use the train on weekdays from the get go. The Northstar can travel at a maximum speed of 79 miles per hour, and with six stops, the duration of the route will be about 50 minutes. It connects with the Hiawatha light rail by
Target field and then goes on to Fridley, Coon Rapids, Anoka, Elk River, and finally Big Lake. Dave Christianson, the project manager from MnDOT, also says that the train corridor between the Twin Cities and Duluth, dubbed the Northern Lights Express, is also far ahead of most other corridors. He says the project is one step away from final design, and that it has seen full support along the line. While there is the question of funding, he says the route could be in operation by 2015 or 2016. Christianson also alludes to additional rail corridors with grassroots support, such as a line to Eau Claire, Wis. When looking at the future of the Minnesota railways, it is important to note that there was a time when the Saint Paul Union Depot was truly a bustling transportation hub. At one time there were 18 tracks serving the place, which 282 trains and 20,000 passengers used daily. This fact was brought up at the Question and Answer portion of the Rail Plan meeting on Oct. 14 when an audience member recalled a time in the 1950’s when there were three daily trips from the Saint Paul depot directly to Union Station Chicago that took little more than six hours. Today, the Amtrak web site lists two daily trips that take eight hours – Google Maps estimates the drive time between Saint Paul and Chicago at 6 hours and 14 minutes. The Amtrak ticket costs $96 if you buy it within a few days of your trip, or $56 if you buy it in advance. The same trip by automobile would cost $47 in a car with a poor fuel efficiency of 20 miles per gallon. The Union Depot is currently owned by the U.S. Postal Service and private owners. In June 2009, the Ramsey County Board approved the purchase of the depot’s concourse and the 9 miles of land connected to it from the U.S. Postal Service for $49.6 million, and is trying to purchase the Headhouse from private owners for another $8.1 million. The mailmen will be relocating to a space in Eagan in 2010, at which point the county will begin a $237.5 million project to revamp the space to once again be used for its original purpose. Dave Christianson says that Amtrak signed a letter of intent to operate out of the Saint Paul Union Depot in 2012. Minnesota’s rail plans are in conjunction with a larger Midwestern rail plan which would bring high-speed trains to a number of major Midwestern cities. The Midwest Rail Initiative is proposing 110 mile per hour trains from Chicago to Milwaukee, Green Bay, Detroit, Cleveland, Cincinatti, and Saint Louis.
What’s that goop growing in the water? By Alice Vislova
So you say you’re sick of all the bullshit on TV. Pets that can talk, progress on the bill on drying paint, that kind of thing? Well, sink your ass into that booth, Mr. PBR, because I’ve got some cool stuff for you to read. It’s got intrigue, adventure, and oh, also, it’s about algae. So I suppose everyone’s entitled to their own interests, but let me tell you, algae do it for me, and I’m going to tell you why. First, algae were among the earliest forms of life. Rather than killing and eating other organisms to power their growth and reproduction like some other assholes do, algae harness the sun’s energy. By providing food and oxygen, algae set the table so that more complex life forms could come to the dinner party. Today, algae remain the most important primary producers (organisms that can harness the sun’s energy, thereby inserting it into the food chain). If providing the basis for all of life on earth isn’t enough, we care about algae now since we’ve discovered that we can use it (that’s what science is for, right?). Algae are being used in some of the latest biodiesel research going down at the University of Minnesota and many other institutions. In addition, algae are important indicators of biological problems—changes in algae growth are often the first signs of environmental disturbance in a certain area. Now, my personal relationship with algae is based on one such unusually changing individual, Didymosphenia geminata (Didymo, for short). Didymo is a diatom—its cell wall is composed of silica, an element rarely found in organisms outside of Los Angeles. Didymo is the mother of all river algae— its cells are about ten times as big as most other diatoms, and it sometimes blooms in mats so thick and wide that people call the authorities. The media have even coined a tacky nickname: “rock snot.” The particularly onerous blooms that inspired such reactions have been a relatively recent (5 - 10 years) phenomenon. But are these blooms being caused by some external environ-
mental change (i.e. global climate change) or by an internal change in the organism’s genetic make up by mutation or hybridization? This was the question guiding my research at the University of Alaska’s Environmental and Natural Resources Institute, where I spent this past summer, playing with goop in the stream. Didymo in Campbell Creek, Anchorage, Alaska, did not seem to be exhibiting the kind of problematic, out-of-control growth that disturbed people in some places like New Zealand and British Columbia. To see whether the Didymo exhibited other characteristics typical to invasive species, I monitored Didymo blooms in relation to rainfall and river flow. In addition, I placed clean rocks in the river and scraped and identified the types of algae growing on the rocks every week, in order to observe how Didymo colonized a fresh environment, in relation to other diatoms. I found that Didymo was very sensitive to rainfall, and experienced severe die-backs when flow fluctuated much. In addition, Didymo appeared to colonize very slowly, appearing only weeks after many other species of diatoms were growing on the rocks. Both findings were not typical for nuisance and invasive species, which are typically characterized as quickly growing, pioneers with a very broad range of conditions in which they can succeed. The Didymo found in Campbell Creek did not seem to be acting in the same way as Didymo in New Zealand and British Columbia, suggesting the geographically separate Didymo are perhaps different strains. This points to an internal change, rather than global climate change as the cause of invasive and nuisance Didymo blooms. The next step is to compare genetic analysis of Didymo from different parts of the world. And that’s how science is done—rarely with trumpets announcing monumental discoveries, but bit by bit, link by link. Alright, that’s it, hope you learned something.
photos courtesy of University of Alaska
27 october – 10 november 2009
The War on Moons
When the moon won’t explode, send another bus by Maggie Foucault Scientists recently shot a bus-sized rocket into the moon in a search for evidence of ice and water on the moon. The moon bombing commenced at 6:31 a.m. central time, and did not deliver the explosion that was expected by NASA, and that most of the amateur astronomers were watching for. The Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, known as LCROSS, began by orbiting around the earth, then shooting a rocket into the Cabeus crater of the moon. The first rocket was followed by a second that slammed into the same area of the moon. The Cabeus crater is 60 miles wide, and situated near the south pole. A large plume of debris was expected after the collision, and was supposed to be visible from earth through a 10-inch or larger telescope. This led many home-astronomers to wake up very early for a bit of a disappointment. The reason for a lack of visible debris is unclear. It is possible that the rocket hit a slope or a rocky area and that the debris was not tossed high enough to reach sunlight. Though many watching the moon attack were disappointed, scientists were very excited about the initial findings. The LCROSS used spectrometers, apparatuses that take light and break it down into wavelengths to then analyze these wavelengths for changes caused by microscopic vapor and particles. These spectrometers collected data before and after the crash and observed changes. It is possible for the spectrometers to have identified water and other elements, but it will take weeks to be fully analyzed. The true highlight of the launch was to happen afterward. While watching the live launch on the NASA channel, amateur astronomer Bob Foucault observed, “After the rockets went, everyone was celebrating and talking to each other, except this one guy who was packing up his computer. He walked over near these other two young-ish guys and put his hand out, like for a hand shake or something. The younger guy then put his hand up, you know, like a high five. But the old guy just looked at him funny and then grabbed his computer cord and left. And the two guys just kind of looked at each other like ‘What’s his problem?’”
The Outdoors...From Space byJohn Oen
Farmers in the Upper Midwest, and Minnesota in particular, are on the forefront of technology today with widespread implementation of satellite data to allow for better crop management. Far from the satellite images used by Google Maps et al., which may be several years old and out of season, farmers have access to new data continuously throughout the growing season. NASA’s Earth Observatory reports that an ever-increasing proportion of farmers have found themselves dependent on monthly updates from satellite imagery. They are of particular interest in the organic farming community. Organic farmers, while making a concerted effort to maintain yields without the use of pesticides, must also take into account other factors of the local environment. Since nearby operations on other farms may not necessarily be organic, even true-color satellite imagery can pick out irregularities associated with pesticide contamination. Perhaps contrary to intuition, the utilization of satellite imagery is not an exact science. Farmers and industry specialists have learned to “interpret” color shades in order to effectively judge parameters such as insect presence, diseased crops, and the aforementioned pesticide contamination. Earth Observatory information is of much higher resolution than lowercost methods, like aerial surveillance. Traditional surveillance has an equivalent resolution in true color formats, but when it comes to infrared it simply can’t cover the same spread effectively enough. It may only resolve to sixty square foot chunks, according to National Geographic, which it notes is roughly the size of a small barn. Infrared photography is not strictly necessary, as a rule of thumb, but may be instrumental in detecting yield-destroying maladies such as Rhizo-
mania in the Red River Valley’s sugar beet crop. Other commonly detectable crop disorders diagnosed from space are an over abundance of clay in the soil, over fertilization, overwatering, and a whole range of crop diseases that sound horrible out of context. Thanks in large part to responsive state governance, most Minnesota counties with significant agricultural dependence can provide support at all levels to ensure quality control. In fact, the usage of proprietary GIS informatics has been steadily increasing over the course of the decade, and the usage of orthophotography (topdown aerial photography) has been bolstered by the wave of digitization. Minnesota has long-standing policies on a state level to foster newer, more accurate solutions to long-standing growing problems. It would be disingenuous to not mention that a range of industries now use GIS technology for a variety of purposes. City-dwellers may associate rural areas with diminished 3G service and roaming charges, but it has been a true revolution on all levels of resource management. The GIS industry has grown largely unseen by those outside of applicable industries, but its input is crucial for diverse projects: from tracking herds of reintroduced timberwolves to recreating murder scenes (unfortunately bolstering CSI’s claim that images of every level can be “enhanced” ad infinitum). The Department of Natural Resources and virtually every county use this technology and the resources are surprisingly available in the mainstream. It doesn’t mean much to urbanites directly, but the organic farming movement is based on trust that standards are upheld, and this technology is of vital importance to the green movement at large.
sound & vision
27 october â€“ 10 november 2009
sound & vision
sound & vision
Built to Spill There Is No Enemy by ross hernandez
Movie Review Nobody By meredith hart
Atlas Sound Logos by ali jaafar
27 october – 10 november 2009
Built to Spill has always been political, but never like this. There Is No Enemy’s opener, “Aisle 13,” uses the phrase “Cleanup in aisle 13” as a loose conceit for America. It’s a song about passing the buck which is sort of what Mr. Martsch does in writing a song about it. Most of There Is No Enemy is entrenched in this brand of whiny finger pointing that I’ve never heard from this band. “Hindsight” is a song about universal healthcare with front man and perpetual fifteenyear-old Martsch at the megaphone for the coda “What about Canada?” It’s an album that means well, but even the title
forces a sense of guilt on the audience for their part in creating the current state of American life. I liked it better when the “you” in Built to Spill songs were about the girls Doug knew in high school, or a really selfish guy, but then he got on the Change train and loaded up the alienation gun. It’s kind of funny because every one of these songs sound like other Built to Spill songs, which is probably due to the latest trend in dinosaur indie bands: the “everyone says this is our best album so we’re going to play it all the way through” tour. There Is No Enemy is basically Perfect From Now On for politicians.
Set in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Nobody is a movie for MSP lovers, artists and indie folk. The movie stars Lindeman (local actor Sam Rosen), a frustrated graduate student at Minneapolis College of Art and Design. After being declared “done with therapy” by his shrink, he struggles to find a way to regain the ever-so-inspiring depression that had guided his previous projects. The drama of the film unfolds as Lindeman becomes more and more frustrated with a looming final critique and only a few ideas for his final sculpture that, in his words, “kinda sucks.” As he experiments with such subjects as death, love, homosexuality and militant veganism, Lindeman realizes whoring himself out to the various philosophies and radical lifestyles of his colleagues will not give him the unique identity he is looking for. He is, instead,
nobody, a realization that eventually lends Lindeman the type of motivation he needs.
The new release by Atlas Sound, nee Bradford Cox, has one song that’s going to garner a lot of attention. “Walkabout,” a collaboration with Noah Lennox of Animal Collective fame, is a big-beat summer anthem that goes past feel-good and into brain candy. The real story here, though, is neither catchy singles nor star power; it’s the way Cox’s songwriting and arranging abilities have improved since his last record. The songs all sport beautiful, full-sounding arrangements that skillfully incorporate acoustic instruments, a far cry from the ultra-compressed, digital soundscapes of his debut. The music is still firmly entrenched in the ambient-pop genre so reliably promoted by Kranky records, but now it’s grown into something completely different; a mixture of swirling ambience, quality pop
songs, and a willingness to throw acoustic and electric instruments in with scratchy samples and keyboards. Cox’s vocals are also a high point. Now higher in the mix and far more intelligible than on previous efforts, the vocal performances shine, as do the lyrics, which are wistful and perfectly paired with the music. Unlike many of his peers, including his own work two years ago, Cox has nothing to hide here and presents the performances un-obscured by excessive reverb or bit-smashing. The fact that the album still manages to create such a disorienting shoegaze-swirl is even more impressive given the clarity of the recordings. With the future of Deerhunter, Cox’s day job, ever more uncertain, the continued improvement of Atlas Sound with each record is a great comfort.
Written and directed by Rob Perez, the director of Forty Days and Forty Nights, the movie explores the reassuring desperation and endearment of the occasional lack of profundity that even the best artists experience. Aside from a few complete misrepresentations of Minneapolis winters (swimming in a lake in April, brainstorming outside in February), the movie has much to enjoy. Mix pretentious artists, human-sized vegetables, gothic death-centered social circles, an immobile goat and St. Paul’s very own Porky’s restaurant together with some good shots of Minneapolis and an excellent soundtrack, and you’ve got the recipe for a jolly good local movie.
sound & vision
By Jeremiah Oetting In this series of The Jazzman presents, our friend and jazz aficionado discusses the importance of Blue Note Records and the best years of jazz, as well as some of his music recommendations. Sit back and relax—the Jazzman is at the wheel. The Jazzman says it all started with Mile Davis’s Kind of Blue in 1957. Jazzman: “The late 50s to early 60s were the best years in jazz. Blue Note was releasing some of the best jazz albums, they were all real cookin’.” Big names like John Coltrane, Horace Silver, Thelonious Monk, Curtis Fuller, and dozens of others all had albums released through Blue Note in this time period, ushering in an explosion of influential jazz records and the development of a new jazz culture. Blue Note Records paved the way for the style now known as “classic jazz.” A fine example of a highly influential Blue Note release is the Jazzman’s pick of the fortnight:
Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers – Mosaic According to his New York Times obituary, bandleader Art Blakey pioneered drums in modern jazz, establishing what is known as the “hard bop” style. Over his 40-year career, Blakey became involved with some of the best aspiring artists, and helped usher in generations of jazz musicians. Mosaic is an early recording from Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, released in 1961 under the Blue Notes record label. Jazzman: “Mosaic is really tight. Put that up on the list of hits” Mosaic was the first album recorded by the Jazz Messengers as a sextet. While the Jazz Messengers’ member lineup consistently changed, it remained a sextet for most of the early 60s. Jazzman: “You got Freddie Hubbard on the trumpet, Wayne Shorter on the tenor sax, Curtis Fuller on the trombone, Jymie Merritt on bass, Cedar Walton on piano...it’s a great CD!” As a release from Blue Note in the height of the classic jazz movements, Mosaic is an important listen. Blakey was known as an educator in the jazz world, and his influence on jazz music can be heard in the styles of many succeeding artists. His obituary features a long list of those who started under his guiding hand, as well as quotes of praise for his ability to encourage and hone talent in young musicians. Many artists who worked with Blakey moved on to become influential musicians themselves. From the opening title track on the album, Blakey’s influential drum techniques can be heard in the robust percussion and impressive soloing. Jazzman: I put this on the bus sometimes, and people are like “Who is that?” Also recommended by the Jazzman:
Lee Morgan – Sidewinder Released in 1964, Sidewinder is another Blue Note record. Jazzman: “Blue Note kickin’ ass again...” The title track off of Sidewinder became a jazz standard, and was Morgan’s greatest commercial success, according to his online biography. Morgan was a featured trumpeter on Coltrane’s “Blue Train” and played with the aforementioned Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers in the late 50s and early 60s. The Jazzman can be found cruising through campus five days a week. Cool.
& the Mischiefs F alling F arther F or You Barron Bannister’s undeniable talent was first discovered in 1967, noticed outside a Kingston pool hall where he was heard singing a cappella along with his longtime friends Aurel Levy, Bobby Levy, and Darmon “Mischief” Fischer. Immediately set apart from the rest of the local talent with their powder blue suits, the band later known as Barron Bannister and the Mischiefs sang in perfect harmony an arrangement called “Lucile,” that would entrance the entire island in the bliss of rocksteady.
Side B Lucile Borrow a Feeling Open Your Book To Be Yours Don’t Leave Me Be
“I don’t know why we were there,” Bannister says nearly 42 years after he recorded his first record with famed producer, Clement “Coxone” Dodd in Dodd’s own Studio One, “I guess we were rude boys, but everyone was getting noticed like that.” By the end of 1967 the single, “Lucile” was all that was left of the record Bannister calls Falling Farther For You.
When April read the woman’s distressing dream in her and Bannister’s home makeshift home she saw every detail of the whereabouts of the missing record as well as other things about the customer’s personal life that Bannister insists on never revealing. “I don’t know how she do it,” Bannister says “She holds this woman’s hands and she says call BBC studio.” The woman, who I am told is heiress to a certain conservative talk-radio host, was so pleased with April’s diagnosis that she called BBC studios herself directly after the reading, demanding to search the vaults.
“I couldn’t record the record again without them. We were rudies before rudies. All together. Besides, no one wanted to wear those blue suits,” says Bannister.
“She reads dreams, and I guess she just read the right one,” when Bannister says this April smiles, she has been silent throughout the interview, blushing while Bannister praises her work because if not for April’s gift the record in your hands could have never been. “I help her out,” Bannister says, smiling
In September of 2008 a woman who insists upon her anonymity sought April’s help, finding her through a nun in a local church. “Sister Bellamy heard me singing one morning. We lived close to the nun house and I guess my voice still carries.” At the time the couple resided in the abandoned Calder Mill building near the convent where Sister Bellamy lives. In the tall iron chutes of the mill’s abandoned storage sector Bannister’s voice rang louder than the church bells every morning while the nuns walked from the convent into morning mass.
“I don’t know what happened to it,” Bannister recalls. “Coxone sent the record to BBC promising us a release.” But officials at the BBC reportedly never received the single copy of Falling Farther For You in existence. Upon hearing the tragic news of the Barron Bannister LP, Dodd offered to rerecord the songs. Unfortunately the Levy brothers, Bannister’s baritone and falsetto singers died in a car accident in 1967.
So the record was widely believed to be lost forever in the high paced shuffle of reggae’s golden era. Dodd’s Studio One later became the mecca of rocksteady, ska, and reggae music for the next decade. Bannister, overwhelmed by his compounding list of losses in the year 1967 flew to Philadelphia with the remaining profits from his single. He has lived there ever since with his lifetime girlfriend, April. Often homeless, Barron and April (who never uses her last name) lived off of the little money April could squander in her vocation as a mystic.
brilliantly with a wide gap between his two front teeth. “She’s not very outgoing, I find people who got dreams, and she does all the work.” April appears to be no older than forty, although Bannister insists that they are the same age: 60. Her vibrant black skin shows not a wrinkle and her hair on each side of her face is braided through crystals that shoot the spectrum onto the ceiling.
Side A In a Trap Just Love Baby Be True Good Cooking Falling Farther For You
“She was persistent all right,” says Amy McKinnen, an intern at BBC studios, London. “She stormed into the studio dressed quite lavishly. So much pink. But I had already found the record. I had spent all day listening for that song, ‘Lucile’ and I found it in a stack from the vaults. The label said ‘Alton Ellis: Soulful Jamaican Vocal Outtakes’ or something.” McKinnen of course is referring to the Alton Ellis’s 1967 classic Mr. Soul of Jamaica. “I played it for Mr. Bannister over the phone immediately according to Ms. _______’s demands. That wife of his must be a really great palm reader. He [Bannister] heard it in a church and he said that it was his record. It’s really quite good.” It is. Now for the first time I present Barron Bannister and the Mischiefs: Falling Farther For You.
by Ross Hernandez
27 october – 10 november 2009
September by Sage Dahlen
i saw the same fire truck twice as it rounded corners and i took a wrong turn guess i was occupied with pete’s smoke inhalation though i was sure he was fibbing that old man runner fresh out of t.p.
Bears Enter Over the Waves by Eric Brew She kept herself at a distance from the edge of the cliff. Her feeling when she approached it was careful and simple: I fear falling, so I tremble. Yet she did not fear death. It was the fear of surviving a fall that scared her more. Here she was, early thirties—already? Yes. Thirty-one, that‘s early thirties. That aura of inevitability had not yet completely faded but she never thought her lack of fear of death was very much attached to the the cliche inevitability. The fall would be maybe forty feet? “Anna, are you alright? Do you want your photograph taken?”
giggling girls and aerosol defacing public places hasn’t been this much fun since identity theft went out as the least cool crime
so either put your number in my hand or get off my porch a transparent reference to a song by some battered vegetables
“That’s alright,” she replied, “I don‘t feel like a photograph right now.” She made her way closer to the edge and tried to suppress the fear of falling—the feeling that took hold somewhere in her chest then fled out to her limbs like children running on a playground, in pursuit, during a game of tag. Did they play tag in Norway? She was able to keep the children calm for a short while. Then her body was flooded with that instability. It felt like she could fall at any moment. Why was standing two feet away so much easier? There there was no shaking nor trembling—only calm—her thoughts free to wander. Now all she could think was falling. And hitting of water below. How deep was the water? She was confident—she knew—she would survive. There was suddenly a great deal of playful laughter behind her. Children were running about. Where did these children come from? Where was their supervisor? Anna strew her sight about the small plateau. There were valleys in the distance and small dirt paths that quickly became indistinguishable from the greens that defined their edges. Anna saw only Thom. And he was with her. She supposed the children were here on some sort of field trip...how useful it would be to conquer a fear of falling at such a young age. Or reinforce one. Anna tried to think of the first time she fell. She thought to the time she took her brother‘s skateboard down the street.
A small rock became lodged in between the board and one of the front wheels. She hadn’t been wearing a helmet—it hadn’t occurred to her as she was just going down a small slope in front of their house. The skateboard disappeared beneath her feet and stopped dead on the pavement. Anna landed on her head. When she woke—which she assumed was not long after she had fallen as no one had been attending to her as she woke—she grasped her head. She shook her body as she stood, hoping to diffuse the pain. But where did all these children come from? Anna noted how one boy—maybe five years of age—held the hand of a girl of similar age. How uncommon. Though she hadn‘t seen children this age since she visited Halden and their daughter four years ago. She slowly turned back to the cliff and lowered the camera until is hung only from her neck. “I think I could make it.” Halden leapt out and held her back from the edge. One arm wrapped about her waistline and the other about her shoulders. The embrace with both restraining and comforting. Anna resisted in her mind at first but did not let the resistance manifest physically, as that would turn the balance of the restraincomfort toward restrain, she did not want that. She began an unexpected cry. Anna didn‘t cry—not since Halden stopped visiting. Halden held her tighter, “Anna, don’t worry. Shall we go back home?” She closed her eyes tightly and tried to think. She finally let her head roll forward and relax. She raised it back up, now composed. Only a soft redness on her bottom eyelid hinted at the tears. In a soft murmur she said “we’ll stay just a few minutes longer.” “Sure.”
own it, he says south african men, he says in a sing-song voice and i wouldn’t say so otherwise but you have a fucking beautiful name
sound & vision
music oct 28. turf club. say hi, wye oak. 8pm $12. 21+ oct 28. uptown bar. me and my arrow (cd release), story of the sea, chooglin’, speed’s the name, Alicia wiley, death cube. 7pm 21+ oct 29. ted mann. univ band and campus band. 7:30pm free
nov 06. the entry. future of the left. 9pm $10 nov 06. turf club. 8hz compilation release: me and my arrow, fort wilson riot, economy team, buildings, phantom tales, speed’s the name. 9pm $5 nov 07. the cedar. the mountain goats, final fantasy. 8pm $18 adv, $20 door
oct 30. the entry. the devil makes three. 9pm $10 adv, $12 door
oct 30. uptown bar. janis figure, the rockford mules. 9pm $12 21+
oct 28. oak street cinema. special night with African filmmaker cherif keita. 7:30pm $5 students
oct 31. turf club. the book of right on, red pens, puppy ogs, ice cream, lady hard-on. 9pm $6 nov 01. uptown bar. the hawaii show (last show at uptown bar in current location!) 9pm 21+ nov 02. first ave. they might be giants, the guggenheim grotto. 6pm $20 nov 02. the entry. the grates, lookbook, zoo animal. 8pm $8 nov 04. turf club. the great shark hunt, southtown avengers. 9pm $4
nov 06. first ave. trampled by turtles. 8pm $14 adv, $16 door
oct 29. turf club. command module (cd release), paul Metzger, molly maher, quitters go to meetings. 9pm $4
oct 31. kitty cat klub. halloween party: zombie season, the funeral and the twilight, hawks and oxen.
nov 06. the cedar. chris koza, the wars of 1812, Joanna james. 8pm $11 adv, $13 door
nov 09. the cedar. white rabbits. 7pm $12
oct 29 – 31. coffman theater. the shining. free oct 30. coffman theater. army of darkness. free oct 30 – nov 03. oak street cinema. you, the living (roy andersson) various $5 students oct 30 – nov 03. oak street cinema. swedish love story (roy andersson) 7:15pm, 9:15pm $5 students nov 04. oak street cinema. torturing democracy (amnesty international) 7pm $5 students nov 05. oak street cinema. art & copy (doug pray). 7:30pm $5 students
nov 05. first ave. the sounds, semi precious weapons, foxy shazam. 6pm $18 adv, $20 door
nov 05 – 07. coffman theater. hurt locker. free
nov 05. ted mann. bergen woodwind quintet. 7:30pm free
nov 06 – 07. trylon microcinema. american madness (1932) 7pm, 8:35pm. $8
By Jon Schober The xx’s debut album starts off with what may be the most effective introductory song ever made: a two-minute, brooding, bass-heavy anthem with indistinguishable vocal chanting. It is simply called “Intro,” and it seamlessly sets the disposition of the following 38 minutes that the listener is about to embark on. “VCR” comes next, and Romy Madley Croft’s voice sneaks in amongst a sparse beginning of chimes and no more than five guitar notes. This bare arrangement seems to be the game plan for the album, as Croft duets with her male counterpart, Oliver Sim, in a coy match of forlorn reactions. The band is actually a quartet hailing from southwest London, and what’s remarkable is how young they are: their debut came just as they all turn 20 years old, yet the content is strangely mature, atmospheric and even slightly indifferent. Dressed in trademark, gritty black attire, evoking a new-wave punk infusion, these young adults have already played alongside The Big Pink, Micachu, and School of Seven Bells. They have seemingly erupted onto the musical radar without warning, and there isn’t much information about them to substantiate this advance. Their web site has one video, silhouetted against a giant, graphic letter “X” yet no biography, discography, press mentions, nor media. It is certainly mysterious, and the evolvement of the album further validates the image that external sources might be trying to suggest, although I imagine their “brand” is far from their mind’s priorities. Continuing through the remaining songs, “Crystalized” stands out as one of the strongest tracks, based in a gorgeous guitar interplay and simplified drum machine. Halfway through, it erupts in a succinct and rhythmic tune; it becomes easily hitworthy before propelling the listener back into a quiet refrain. They juxtapose imagery of paralysis, paradise, mountains and seas, and the mystification of affection, seemingly a wide range of topics to cover all at once, but they manage to successfully pull off the jumble and make it a unified concept. Each track induces a different mood depending on the listener: hazy beach-bobbing on “Islands,” evocative, coarse elevator melodies on “Basic Space,” and a very passive version of lounge music on “Infinity.” It’s not like The xx is doing anything particularly new, but their style is definitely under-utilized in this day and age. They reclaim angst from its clichéd pits, revamp it with a dose of sincerity, and help us take a step back and strip away all that is overbearing in our lives.
27 october – 10 november 2009
Q: WHO RULES OVER THE SEA OF BEER?!?!?! A: BROSEIDON
Q: Why did the bro cross the road? A: To Get to ΣΧ
Q: Why did Bro-Magnon man become extinct?
A: The Natty Ice Age!
Q: Why did the bro go to the store? A: To buy fresh BRODUCE! www.wakemag.org
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