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Archive for April, 2011

New book award for Minnesota history

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Minnesota Book AwardsThis year’s Minnesota Book Awards gala featured even more good news for Minnesotans who love history: a brand-new award to be offered next year.

The Hognander Family Foundation is sponsoring the Hognander Minnesota History Award, which recognizes the author of the most outstanding scholarly work related to Minnesota history published during the preceding two years. It will be presented every other year beginning in 2012.

The Book Awards website quotes Joe Hognander’s rationale, which we’re delighted to present to you here: “We established this award because of our relationship with the Minnesota Historical Society. Its commitment to excellence is noteworthy in promoting scholarly research and writing within many of our state’s organizations. We hope this award will inspire more such activity by recognizing and rewarding the finest work in this field.”

Wrapping Up National Poetry Month

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

National Poetry Month logoTo mark the end of National Poetry Month, the Library Foundation of Hennepin County’s An Evening of Rhyme, Swine, and Wine and Normandale Community College’s Reading Series Event The Second Annual Great Twin Cities Poetry Read take place this week.

At 7:00 p.m. tonight at the Minneapolis Central Library, local poetry legend Jim Lenfestey will celebrate his new, edited collection of poems on the subject of pigs. This porcine anthology, Low Down and Coming On: A Feast of Delicious and Dangerous Poems about Pigs, features the work of 105 poets from around the world and throughout time, including Margaret Atwood, William Blake, Pablo Neruda, Sylvia Plath, and dozens of local authors.

The idea behind the collection came from Minnesota author Bill Holm before he died in 2009. In the introduction dedicated to Holm, Jim roots through the history of pig poetry since Homer, uncovering many tasty surprises. Join Jim and contributing poets Jim Heynen, Jill Breckenridge, and Katherine Grant for an evening of rhyme, swine, and wine. A wine toast will kick off the program, and a book signing reception (with chocolate-bacon cupcakes) will follow.

The Great Twin Cities Poetry Read is this Friday, April 29, from 7:30 to 10:00 p.m. at Normandale Community College, 9700 France Avenue South in Minneapolis (map).

The event, hosted by Matt Mauch and Dobby Gibson, welcomes the following readers: Steve HealeySharon ChmielarzMeryl DePasquale • Matthew Geunette • Heid Erdrich David MuraG. E. PattersonSarah FoxPatrick Hicks Lightsey Darst Juliet PattersonJohn Medeiros Sean Hill • Sin Yung Shin • Kris BigalkPaul DickinsonAnna George Meek • Matt Ryan • William Waltz • Jim Redmond • Ed Micus • Mark ConwayJim CoppocStacia FleegalCullen Bailey BurnsFrancine Sterle • Anh-Hoa Thi Nguyen, and Kyle Adamson.

The poetry read is a fundraiser for a heart transplant for Dean Young. See the Facebook event page for more information.

MPR’s Writing Minnesota

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Where One Voice EndsBe sure to check out MPR’s series on Minnesota writers:

“What does it mean to be a Minnesota writer? It means obsessing over the sound of the Mississippi River. It means writing about small towns. It means you’re a refugee who refused to speak as a child.

“It means writing about butter. It means New York might find you provincial. It means you’re not as stressed out as New York writers about your status. It means you write about Chicago. It means you grew up on a farm and saw your dad kill a cow with a pitchfork. It means your characters have secrets.

“It means watching a girl flirt with your husband in a St. Paul wine bar–and wishing she’d flirt yet more.”

Annie Baxter interviews eight Minnesota writers: Charles Baxter, Kao Kalia Yang, Nicole Helget (author of the Borealis book The Summer of Ordinary Ways), Philip Bryant, Steve Healy, Robert Hedin (editor of the MHS poetry anthology Where One Voice Ends Another Begins), Katrina Vandenberg, and Matt Rasmussen. Check out the web page for audio and excerpts.

Libraries of Minnesota

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Libraries of MinnesotaLegacy logoA veritable who’s who of Minnesota’s best-known writers of books for children and young adults will testify to the special significance of libraries in their lives this Thursday, April 21, at 7:00 p.m at the Minneapolis Central Library’s Pohlad Hall to celebrate the publication of Libraries of Minnesota.

With images by Doug Ohman, photographer of the Minnesota Byways books, which include the well-loved Barns of Minnesota and Cabins of Minnesota, and essays by Will Weaver, Pete Hautman, John Coy, Nancy Carlson, Marsha Wilson Chall, David LaRochelle, and Kao Kalia Yang, Libraries of Minnesota is a rich exhibition of Minnesota’s beloved libraries. The book is a cooperative project of the Council of Regional Public Library System Administrators and the Minnesota Historical Society Press, funded by the Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Thursday’s event is sponsored by the Library Foundation of Hennepin County, the Metropolitan Library Service Agency, and the MHS Press. Doug will give a visual presentation of photos from the book, followed by anecdotes from the contributors. Books, including select titles by the authors, will be available for purchase at the event courtesy of Magers & Quinn Booksellers, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Library Foundation of Hennepin County.

Last week’s Star Tribune Variety section featured a slide show and excerpt from the book. You can also see a preview of the book on the KARE11 website: Doug and Pete talked about the project on the air this past Saturday.

The image below is not from the book but is featured today on the popular website boingboing and originally comes from the L. A. Library via the Boing Boing Flickr pool from Bart King. Since it features a kid in a library with a copy of a book by another beloved Minnesota author and illustrator, Wanda Gag, we thought it worth sharing!

New friends, new sandwiches

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Minnesota LunchA couple of weeks ago we organized a Minnesota Lunch Bunch at the MHS, prompted by our excellent new book: Minnesota Lunch: From Pasties to Banh Mi, edited by James Norton, who also edits the popular online food magazine Heavy Table.

Our lunch bunch was made up of six staff members from different areas of the workplace, including a technology manager, two reference specialists, a curator, a publisher, and a programmer. We wanted a variety of takes on a range of sandwiches–and, of course, we wanted to get to know each other better. The collective knowledge in the group was astounding: as we visited different eateries and tasted different sandwiches, everyone contributed facts about the geography of the place, the history of the building, the immigration patterns of the people who lived in the area, the community celebrations of those neighborhood folk. We were, after all, a group filled with a love of history. And food. 

Looks like our lunch bunch is in good company, too. Sandwiches–they’re everywhere these days! Food trucks in the Twin Cities are out and about for spring, offering tasty pulled pork on buns and buffalo chicken on toasted bread. The Chicago Tribune recently featured a slide show: “30 sandwiches in 30 Days.”  And Saveur magazine’s new spring issue theme? Sandwiches, of course.

LK and Manny, Manny's TortasIt was a really enjoyable “Sandwich Salon,” if you will, that we recommend you try in your own workplace (or with friends and family), guided by the stories and photos of the eleven featured sandwiches–and all their variations and cousins–in Minnesota Lunch, which also has a companion blog by the contributors. Ours was a terrific assignment and gave us something to look forward to a few times a week. We didn’t have to drive far and we certainly didn’t have to spend much money. Journalist James Lileks, who was quoted in the introduction to the book, said about his leaving an office job: “The only thing you really miss is lunch. Where you went, who you went with, what you said and did. . . .” 

Next week we’ll feature the highlights of our sandwich tour, which began with banh mi at Trung Nam French Bakery in St. Paul and ended with the infamous Jucy Lucy at Matt’s Bar in Minneapolis. I smile every time I think about one of the first statements made by LK at our shared table: “Sandwiches. They are one of my favorite things. They’re perfect. If I were on a desert island and could have only one thing, I’d have a sandwich.”

Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Minneapolis St. Paul International Film FestivalThis Thursday marks the beginning of the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival which runs until May 5th.

The festival features several Minnesota made films and videos, and a Minnesota Made Party next Friday April 22nd at Nick & Eddie’s. Learn more about the local filmmaking community on Saturday April 30th at St. Anthony Main Theater at a free panel on “How to Make My Movie: The MN Filmmaking Scene“.

Congratulations to Once Upon a Crime Bookstore!

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Once Upon a Crime BookstoreOnce Upon a Crime Bookstore has won the Raven Prize from the Mystery Writers of America. In fact, a second midwestern bookstore has also been singled out, according to the national organization’s press release:

“Two exceptional mystery bookstores will be honored with the 2011 Raven Award. Established in 1953, the award recognizes outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing. Once Upon a Crime in Minneapolis, MN, and Centuries & Sleuths in Chicago, IL, will receive recognition for their contribution to the mystery community.”

MPR has a great article about Pat Frovarp and Gary Shulze, who have co-owned Once Upon a Crime for the past ten years.

Stop by the store to give them your best–and buy a book!

Civil War Sesquicentennial in Minnesota

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

1st Battery Minnesota Light Artillery battle flag

Next Tuesday, April 12, marks the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. Nationwide, historical societies and other historical and cultural preservation organizations are commemorating the Civil War from April 12, 2010, to April 9, 2015, with a variety of events, exhibits, and programs. The Minnesota Historical Society is no exception.

This Saturday, April 9, is Civil War Flag Day at the Minnesota State Capitol. In 2009, twenty-one historic Civil War and Spanish-American War flags were moved from the State Capitol to the History Center textile labs for a major conservation effort. Funded by a Save America’s Treasures grant in partnership with the Institute of Museums and Library Services and the National Park Service, the Tawani Foundation, and citizens from the State of Minnesota, these flags have been carefully cleaned, documented, and stitched to specially prepared mounts to allow visitors to see each one fully unfurled. The flags had been displayed at the capitol since its dedication in 1905.

The first four flags to go on display are the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment, the Third Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment, and the First Minnesota Light Artillery, all from the Civil War, and the Thirteenth Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment from the Spanish-American War. Related Civil War artifacts from the Minnesota Historical Society’s collections also will be on display. The event will feature period music, a fife and drum procession with a color guard of Civil War and Spanish-American War reenactors, guest speakers, and free general and Civil War-themed tours of the capitol. Flag conservators also will be on hand to demonstrate the conservation process and answer visitor questions, and children’s activities will be offered throughout the afternoon. Additional flags conserved in the project will be placed on display on a rotating basis, with flags being changed every six to eight months.

On Tuesday, April 12, Hamp Smith, editor of Brother of Mine: The Civil War Letters of Thomas and William Christie, will be the guest speaker at the Minnesota History Center’s History Lounge event at 7:00 p.m. The Christie letters are a treasured part of MHS collections. Hamp Smith is a reference librarian at the MHS and an expert in Civil War and military history. Please join us; the event is free and open to the public.

The Minnesota Historical Society’s collections department has also started a Civil War Daybook blog featuring history as it happened day by day 150 years ago. Minnesotans on the home front and on the battlefield lived through a tumultuous four years. See what MHS staff found in the collections to tell these stories.

Stay tuned for more Civil War sesquicentennial events with MHS Press authors over the next four years.