Archived Posts from this Category
Archived Posts from this Category
A Short History of the Ford Plant by Brian McMahon is the newest title in our digital imprint, MHS Express. It examines the history of the former Ford Plant in St. Paul’s Highland Park neighborhood from 1925 to 2011.
Food, tradition, and culture make a home. Inspired by the book Asian Flavors: Changing the Tastes of Minnesota since 1875 by Phyllis Louise Harris with Raghavan Iyer, a new thirty minute documentary co-produced by the Minnesota Historical Society Press and Twin Cities Public Television’s Minnesota Productions & Partnerships (tpt MN) celebrates Asian immigrants who have left an indelible and flavorful mark on Minnesota’s culinary, cultural, and economic history.
It’s hard to believe there was a time when you couldn’t go out for Chinese food in Minnesota, but there was—until brothers and entrepreneurs Woo Yee Sing and Woo Du Sing opened their Canton restaurant (later called “John’s Place”) in Minneapolis in 1883.
James Beard Award-winning culinary educator, chef, author, consultant and co-founder with Phyllis Louise Harris of the Asian Culinary Arts Institutes, Ltd., Raghavan Iyer narrates this documentary highlighting the exciting history and array of Asian food in Minnesota.
Profiles and interviews with chefs, restaurant owners, business owners, and culinary professionals include Supenn Harrison, founder of Sawatdee; Reiko Weston of Fuji Ya; Mhonpaj Lee and her mother May Yia Lee, operators of Mhonpaj’s Garden; Ann Kim of Pizzeria Lola; Thom Pham; and Harry Singh.
Food connects homes left behind with where we live today. Asian Flavors is the story of adventurous people who made the arduous journey halfway around the world to live in Minnesota, fleeing oppression and persecution or in search of jobs and education, and who created new homes through food. Many cooks sought not only to make a living but also to preserve the memory of their homeland through the dishes set before family and patrons alike, to the great benefit of diners in the Twin Cities metro area.
Asian flavors have changed Minnesota’s tastes, just as the many, wide-ranging Asian cultural groups have reshaped the state’s history, culture, and communities.
The tpt broadcast schedule is as follows:
Premiere: Sunday May 26, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. on tpt’s Minnesota Channel (tpt MN)
Encore Broadcasts: Sunday, June 2, 2013 at 1:00 AM, 7:00 AM and 1:00 PM on tpt MN
About tpt’s Minnesota Productions & Partnerships
TPT’s Minnesota Productions & Partnerships (tpt MN) is the local production division of Twin Cities Public Television (tpt), the PBS affiliate for Minneapolis/St. Paul. TPT MN partners with local non-profit, educational, governmental, and public service organizations to reach broader audiences throughout Minnesota. These partnership programs educate and inspire Minnesotans on important issues using tpt’s distinctive storytelling skills, television and multimedia resources. Since its inception in 2003, tpt MN has created nearly 700 television programs and over 200 multimedia projects in partnership with over 235 non-profit and public service organizations. To view past tpt productions, visit www.mnvideovault.org.
War can strain the bonds of love. No one understood that better than Minnesotans Madison and Lizzie Bowler. During the American Civil War, Madison and Lizzie courted, married, became parents, and bought a farm. They attended dances, talked politics, and confided their deepest fears. Because of the war, however, they experienced all of these events separately, sharing them through hundreds of letters. Discover how Madison and Lizzie maintained their steadfast commitment to one another, even as they struggled to balance extraordinary duty and distance with ordinary life and love in time of war.
Written by Minnesota playwright Victoria Stewart, this original play is based on the Bowlers’ letters, held in the Minnesota Historical Society’s collection and published in the 2008 MHS Press book Go If You Think It Your Duty by Andrea R. Foroughi. It is directed by Ivey Award-winner Craig Johnson, with popular and award-winning local actors Peter Hansen, Anna Sundberg, Dietrich Poppen, and Abby DeSanto. The play features live performances of Civil War-era music with original musical direction by James Lekatz.
There are two show times: Saturday, April 6, at 2 p.m. or Tuesday, April 9, at 7 p.m. Cost is $15 or $11 for MHS members. Advance purchase is required and can be made by calling 651-259-3015 or online.
This program is made possible with support from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, voted into law by the people of Minnesota in 2008.
In 1978 seven Norman Rockwell paintings and a supposed Renoir, later discovered to be a forgery, were stolen from Elayne Galleries in St. Louis Park. It is still the biggest theft in Minnesota history, and no one was ever convicted of the crime. Veteran crime writer Bruce Rubenstein, author of the new book The Rockwell Heist, details the story of the theft, the investigation, and the twenty-year quest to return the art to its rightful owners. Mr. Rubenstein recently answered some questions about his new book.
Why do you write crime stories, Mr. Rubenstein?
Because I always have something to write about. At least that was my standard answer when I was a freelancer selling articles to weeklies and monthlies. There is more to it than that, of course. People who write about business, or politics, or any number of other things always have something to write about too. But with crime your story has a dramatic hinge. And people are fascinated by crime.
Why were you drawn to the story of The Rockwell Heist?
It had everything a writer could ask for–feisty, sympathetic victims, bold villains who were part of a colorful local underworld, a sexy female con artist and her quasi-sympathetic dupe, a quest to recover the stolen paintings that went on for decades with one twist after another, hundreds of pages of files and many knowledgeable people to interview. And nobody got killed. I’ve been writing about crime for a long time, and I’m pretty tired of murders. This art theft and the many attempts to trade the loot for cash or something else of value seemed good-natured compared to the kind of crimes I’ve written about in the past.
Did you manage to solve the crime?
I found out who did it. So had the investigators. Like many crimes, it went into the books unsolved, even though the perpetrators, locally based professional criminals, were identified. There simply was not enough evidence to indict them. Their names were blacked out of the files, but I got in touch with one of the FBI’s informants and he told me who they were.
Why? Did he want credit? Notoriety?
No, in fact he went to great lengths to remain anonymous. It’s a phenomenon I’ve encountered many times. There are people who like to talk. There’s nothing in it for them. Just the opposite. In many cases they are risking their lives.
You say that the value of the paintings that were stolen has mushroomed to more than $1 million by now. How much did the thieves realize?
Not much. The value of Norman Rockwell’s work waxed and waned during the time they retained possession of the art, but it didn’t really take off until long after they’d turned it over for a pretty minimal price to the mobsters who’d hired them to steal it.
So the theft was a failure, even though they got away with it?
Not at all. It accomplished exactly what the real authors of the act, Miami-based mobsters, wanted it to accomplish.
What was that?
I’m afraid you’ll have to buy the book to find out. I’ll tell you this much: the Rockwell paintings were peripheral to their real objective.
Well, if the mobsters didn’t really want the Rockwell paintings, what did they do once they got them?
They offered them for sale through a stolen art network in Europe. The evidence suggests that the paintings were bought and sold several times there, and maybe again in Argentina, before someone who was attempting to enter Brazil surrendered them to the Federal Police in Rio de Janeiro, probably in return for expedited processing of an application for Brazilian citizenship. Brazil doesn’t extradite its citizens to face charges in other countries, and wanted criminals often seek refuge there.
How much are the paintings worth now?
Rockwell’s work has undergone a critical re-evaluation in the last decade or so, and several of his paintings have sold for more than $1 million. The collective value of the Rockwells that were stolen from Elayne Galleries is conservatively $4 million.
Bruce Rubenstein will talk about his book and sign copies next Thursday, March 28, at 7 pm at Common Good Books, and Thursday, April 4, at 7 pm at Once Upon a Crime. Please click the hyperlink to the title, above, for details.
Please join us on Thursday January 24th from 6-8 pm at the African Development Center (1931 South 5th Street, Minneapolis) for a book talk and signing with Ahmed. Refreshments from Afro Deli, a Somali business profiled in the book will be provided. The ADC’s art gallery will also be open during the event.
From the book:
“In the early 1990s, many Minnesota citizens noticed a trickle of conspicuously dressed Africans, especially women in colorful attire, some veiled and some with simple headscarves, arriving at schools, grocery stores, supermarkets, and shopping centers, sharing both resources and space. As their numbers began to grow, questions about them arose: Who are these people? Where are they from? To what religious faith do they belong?
The basic answers came quickly. They are from an East African tropical nation called Somalia, the people are called Somalis, their language is Somali, and their distinctive women’s attire is in accordance with their faith, Islam. Then new questions replaced the old: What was their past like? What brought them to the United States? Why did Somalis choose Minnesota, an icy, arctic-like state with its acclimatized Scandinavian and German populations? These three questions, in various tones, have persisted tenaciously. This book will attempt to answer them, briefly touching on Somalis’ cultural affiliation, economic aspirations, political participation, religious faith, and educational opportunities.”
One hundred and fifty years ago today, 38 Dakota men were executed in Mankato for their alleged participation in the U.S-Dakota War of 1862. This was the largest official mass execution in American history.
You can learn more about the war and its aftermath at the Minnesota Historical Society’s usdakotwar.org website. The following recent articles and posts examine today’s significance and how the anniversary is being commemorated in Minnesota, South Dakota and Nebraska.
Saint Paul, known to the Dakota as Imniźa Ska or White Rock, is, like the rest of Minnesota, a Dakota place. The Dakota people named it and left their marks in the landscape and in its history. Wherever you go in Minnesota there are places where Dakota people have lived and which they have valued over many generations. Described in Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota and shown in a new exhibit at the Black Dog Cafe based on the book is a record of the enduring relationship of the Dakota people to their homeland, something that could never be destroyed despite many years of exile brought on by the events of 1862.
The exhibit features a ceiling-high mural by Owen McBride Platt depicting the history of the Dakota people in Saint Paul and is accompanied by fabric art by Gwen Westerman and paintings by artists Jonathan Thunder and Tiffany Eggenberg. “Saint Paul/Imniźa Ska” is on display at the Black Dog until the end of December 2012.
Meet the authors of Mni Sota Makoce, Gwen Westerman and Bruce White, tomorrow, Wednesday, December 19, at 7:00 PM.
Black Dog Cafe, corner of Fourth and Broadway in St. Paul’s Lowertown.
Fur trader, congressman, governor, military leader, and senior statesman Henry Hastings Sibley (1811-91) played a long and influential role in the shaping of Minnesota. Historian and writer Rhoda Gilman has spent over thirty years examining Sibley. In this short e-book, Henry Sibley and the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, she highlights the rifts and crises leading up to the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 as keenly represented by then Governor Sibley.
Anton Treuer, author of Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask, was on NPR’s Tell Me More earlier this week, discussing the real story of Christopher Columbus.
“I think there’s a growing awareness that Columbus didn’t discover America–that the place was densely inhabited by other human beings. But certainly the Columbus experience would change the entire world. But in spite of the fact that Christopher Columbus wrote lots of letters and kept many journals, and by his second voyage there were many official scribes, army officers, priests, writing about the experience, over 500 years later this piece of history gets sugarcoated a lot.
“And you know, we now know as a fact of history that on Columbus’s second voyage, the Spanish instituted a gold dust tribute, whereby those who failed to bring a certain quantity of gold dust would have their hands chopped off. And we know for a fact of history that the Spanish cut the hands off of 30,000 people that year on the island of Hispaniola–what’s now Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
“And we know that within thirty years, the two million people that the Spanish estimated to be inhabiting that island before contact were completely annihilated. And that is a textbook definition of genocide. And we have so successfully sugarcoated the history that we have obfuscated some of the most important parts of that story.”
Check out Anton Treuer’s answer to “What is the real story of Thanksgiving?” from the book Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask.
Treuer’s recent in-depth television interview on C-Span’s Afterwords is also now available.
Molly Huber is the new editor and project manager of MNopedia, the Minnesota Encyclopedia. Publicly launched just over a year ago, MNopedia is a resource for vetted, verified, and valuable information on all things Minnesota. It is free and available online at www.mnopedia.com.
Molly joined the MNopedia team two years ago to create and develop content for the site, building upon her love for and expertise in Minnesota history. She is a native Minnesotan and grew up in Minneapolis, where she graduated from the magnet program at South High. After getting a B.A. in history from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and an M.A. in public history from the University of South Carolina, Molly returned to the Twin Cities and entered the museum field. After a short stint in the conservation department of the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS), she joined the Africa, Oceania and the Americas department at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA), becoming assistant curator. While at the MIA she was co-curator of the international Sacred Symbols: Four Thousand Years of Native American Art exhibition with then director Evan Maurer and organized other exhibitions such as Time and Tide: The Changing Art of the Asmat of New Guinea and The Art of the Necklace. Molly authored two exhibition catalogues and a number of other publications including scholarly essays, magazine articles, and academic reviews. She also copy edits and designs Pacific Arts, a journal devoted to the arts and artists of the Pacific Islands published by the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul for an international audience.
Molly is married with two wonderful and busy young sons who take up much of her time, but when she has a few spare minutes she loves to read, practice yoga, ride her bicycle, and knit. She also knows how to spin her own yarn and belly dance. Molly is thrilled to be a part of the MHS Press and to be leading MNopedia as it grows and realizes its full potential.