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MN State Fair Scavenger Hunt and shooting at the Midway by Ann Treacy
September 4, 2022, 12:53 pm
Filed under: St Paul

When the kids were little, we used to have scavenger hunts at the MN State Fair. It was a good way to see different things and spend less money. In honor of the full-fledged return of the Fair, we did it again. (You can check out the scavenger list if the mood strikes you.)

We had a great time. We ate lots of food. Checked out the biggest boar. Saw subversive seed art. Some went on the Sky Ride. We also saw the longest lines I’ve seen in years. So many people. A reminder that I’m more of a Wednesday afternoon Fair friend than a Saturday night. but Katie was in town Saturday and First Avenue set the stage for music on Saturday.

All was good and then guns were drawn and there were shootings at the Midway, where the rides and games are. We were close enough to see people run but not to see the fear. I talked to a shaken young woman who saw a gun drawn. She had finally found her sister by phone. They had scattered in different directions. She was 28 and just kept talking about how she felt bad for the young kids.

We were not far from the Midway – probably a fine minute walk. We walked through it a few times. The number of cops was staggering and for folks who had spent much of the last two years at protests, a little triggering. We thought about walking around but I wanted to see live music and someone else pointed out – if anything bad was going to happen, it was going to happen there.

Reports say they closed the fair at 10. We left closer to 11 because the fair is huge and lots of us didn’t experience the terror. Things were still open. The sad thing is how normalized the violence has become. Do you give into it? Do you stay at home? Do you carry on?

 



Gnomes, Lou T Fisk, tricked out Computer Commuter, tiny church & a fancy Mercantile, LQP County is rocking by Ann Treacy
May 26, 2022, 3:15 pm
Filed under: Minnesota

Mary Magnuson and I got to check out the broadband happenings in Western Minnesota – in person. We learned about new grants in Madison and Appleton that will help everyone get fiber, we visited the inspiring Madison Mercantile and we said goodbye to one of our favorite broadband projects of all time – the LqP (Lac qui Parle) Computer Commuter.

Traveling to rural towns is something I have missed through the pandemic, so it was fun to go to one of my favorite areas. Through the Blandin Foundation, we’ve both done a lot of work here. And back in the day I did a lot of fun training with the County EDA (Economic Development Authority). This is the sort of area where in 2010, they got funding to create a tricked out mobile computer lab (aka former hotel shuttle bus). I have taught classes there, but I think its best use was Mary Quick driving around and folks dropping in to get one-to-one (or one-to-few) hands-on support using technology. She once told me her busiest time was after Christmas when everyone brought in the new iPads or smartphone Christmas presents from their kids.

Fast forward 10+ years, and we visited the Madison Mercantile. From what we could see one woman has given birth to a community center that is as innovative and will soon be as loved at the Computer Commuter. Kris Shelstad is that woman; I’m not saying she’s done it alone but I’m saying it wouldn’t happen without her. Sounds like she came back home after the death of her spouse. A time that might drain many of us, she has turned it around to a time where she is creating community or seeding the space for community to grow based on the needs of the people around her. Super inspiring!

But truth of the matter, Mary and I most went on the road for the Gnomes of Dawson. We visited the garden and as a super bonus, we spied some special gnomes upstairs in the library…

Also we saw Lou T Fisk and the 45th Parallel (the midday point between the Equator and the North Pole)…

Finally, we checked out the Tiny Church, which is in the Gnome Garden. It seats 6. It’s weird; it kind of feels like being in a church and kind of doesn’t, which I guess means it feels a little irreverent but I got over it.



Supernatural America at the Mia for Grandma’s birthday – creepy but cool! by Ann Treacy
May 10, 2022, 9:43 pm
Filed under: Minneapolis

Kate is working at the Supernatural America exhibit at the Mia. So, for my mom’s birthday we went to visit Kate and then out to lunch with Lily. It was a really, nice 3-generation day. The exhibit was interesting, disturbing and sometimes beautiful. But as my mom said on the way out – there wasn’t much I’d want to hang on my wall at home. To be fair, who is inviting haunted art into the home?

Quick insider note: Kate said one of her coworkers saw a ghostly hand reach out from one of the pictures – life imitating art, I guess.

The real beauty of the art is the story behind it. Some were created during a séance or while the “artist” was in a trance. We talked about how many of these artists would be written off as having mental health issues – or being witches or feminists or worse. Sort of made me like the art more. Other art tried to speak to or represent the supernatural. Here are some I found most interesting.

The Precipitated Portrait of Lizzie, Mary and Christina Daugherty with Dr Daugherty is one example. The work was created by sisters Mary and Elizabeth Bangs. They performed a ritual intending to conger the image of Mrs. Daugherty (deceased) with the Dr. who sat for the portrait. The image appeared on the paper like droplets. In the end the added the deceased twins as well.

John McCrady’s Swing Low Sweet Chariot depicts the moment of death when the forces of good and evil come to grasp the soul of the deceased. I love the imagery. I sort of love the idea that there is no connection in the art about the quality of the soul – but that’s it’s merely a fight of good and evil. I love that good takes an army and evil just one devil.

I learned about the idea of spirit photography, where the photographer tries to capture images of ghosts and other spiritual entities. Apparently, it’s used on ghost hunting but the examples they had were from the Civil War. People were photographed with the hope that a recently departed loved one would appear in the picture. It’s hard to think that the pictures are real but they are fascinating and I don’t entirely doubt it.

Interior Scroll by Carolee Schneemann are still images of a performance piece of the artist reading from a scroll she pulled from her vagina. I’m a feminist, but that might not be a little extreme for me but I appreciate that the pendulum swings and art like this pushes boundaries that need to be pushed. In the same realm, are the tiny goddesses found in the 1970s. Blood was included in the materials used to form the goddesses.

Maybe my favorite is Tony Oursler’s Dust from the Thought of Form series. It’s cloud that morphs into body parts. Kinda creepy, kinda cool. (We also loved his work MMPI in Milwaukee.)

Here are more pictures of things that drew us in…



Aine’s capstone defense for Depicting the Troubles of Northern Ireland in Art by Ann Treacy
April 18, 2022, 6:34 pm
Filed under: St Paul

To graduate Aine needed to do a capstone paper or project. She chose to do a series of three-dimensional works of art, a 30 page paper and a presentation – Depicting the Troubles of Northern Ireland in Art. She has been working on this for months and today she gave her presentation. She did a terrific job.

First – here’s the art:

Bird Cage
Wire bird cage with bird created from paper penal laws, design to restrain the Irish. The cage is broken on purpose. With constraints he bird is living but not flying as it should.

The Red Hand of Ulster:
Taken from the Ulster flag and representing the blood that has been shed

1916 package:
A more literal interpretation of a package full of bullet holes like many you might have seen during the rebellion

Easter Lily:
A memorial to those killed on Bloody Sunday and a message of hope

Phoenix:
A red phoenix made of wore, a representative of the IRA and symbolizing the rise from the ashes

Body Armor:
Warrior’s garb made from actual blanket to represent the Blanket Protest and meant to look like sheep, which are prevalent in Ireland

Toilet Paper Letter:
Bobby Sands communicated (and write a book) by writing it on toilet paper and getting it snuck out of the prison. This is the first chapter of his book.

Bonfire:
The bonfire represents Orangemen’s Day. It demonstrates the impact of icons/art based on your viewpoint. It may feel celebratory to the Protestants but angers and frightens the Catholics.

Second – here’s the story behind the art.

She explained that Irish and British people are not the same, despite the misconception. She started by giving the background of British invasion and occupancy of Ireland – going back to the twelfth century. The Irish and the British have a long contentious relationship, which has manifested greatly based on religion. The British tend to be Protestant; the Irish tend to be Catholics. Laws and discrimination has developed around both political and religious differences.

Aine focused her art on a few more recent segments of activity – or rise ups. She talked about the 1916 Rising, when the Irish Republican Army (IRA) of volunteer (Catholic) soldiers invaded Dublin, centering on the General Post Office (GPO). The GPO still stands in Dublin; the bullet holes remain in the walls. Aine walked by this building a hundred times as a kid.

The 1916 Rising gave birth to Northern Ireland as a separate entity from the Republic of Ireland. It meant the Republic had a great deal of autonomy; while in Northern Ireland, which was more predominantly Protestant, the Irish Catholics suffered.

The Northern Irish Civil Rights Movement bubbled up in the 1970s, buoyed by changes spurred around the world in 1968 (including the US Civil Rights actions). It began as a peaceful push until January 1972, when police killed 13 peaceful protestors. That ignited a flame of violent discontent. On the Catholic side that was the Provisional IRA (Provos); and the Protestant side has the Ulster Defence Association (UDA). These trouble continued through the 1980s and even early 1990s.

The IRA was campaigning to reunite Ireland and/or cease discrimination in Northern Ireland. Many suspected IRA members were arrested and not treated as politic prisoners. There were three major ways that prisoners protested their treatment. The Blanket Protests, where prisoners wore only a blanket. Dirty Protest, where they covered their cells in human excrement and refused to bathe. And the Hunger Strikes, led by Bobby Sands. Many of the hunger strikers died but that effort really caught the attention and ire of the rest of the world.

In 1997, a cease fire was declared and the “Good Friday Agreement” brought political changes and peace to the region. That peace holds today – mostly. Although generations of discrimination have left a mark.



Front and Center at First Ave Peeps Show – solo Peeps Diorama submission by Ann Treacy
April 8, 2022, 9:49 pm
Filed under: St Paul

When the kids we little we used to create Peeps Dioramas for the Pioneer Press contest. Aine and I even did one on 2020 – you know due to COVID boredom. Last year I bought Peeps with good intentions but never got around to building. Those Peeps have been in the cupboard laughing at me for more than a year. Today after lunch I realized that the Peeps deadline was 5pm today. Dramatic pause…

It’s not often that the muse visits me with a burning urge but when it does I’ve got to listen. I decided I was going to Peep, dammit. I thought about possible timely topics – pandemic, war, ongoing racism and people dying because of it, oil winning over water, women losing rights like a needle in a haystack, never-ending winter – nothing felt right. Then I remembered something that does feel right – First Avenue!

So I recreated Front and Center at First Ave Peeps Show.

I hiked up to Art Scraps, the best place to go for diorama inspiration. I had a much bigger box in mind. So I have some thimble-drums and other things I may be selling on eBay soon. (Not really – total cost at Art Scraps was $3.27 – I will leave these tiny purchases to guilt me into another art frenzy next year.) Aine helped me find a box and walked up to the shop for glue and I let the magic work through me. I used the purple Peeps because – Prince. I found fairy lights, which make everything better. I created stars based on the Minnesota bands I’ve seen most recently and/or anyone who sent me a super nice note today. (List includes Kiss the Tiger, Golden Smog, Tina and the B Sides, Mae Simpson, Charlie Parr, Bathtub Cig, Mama Rose, Low Rats and Muskellunge.)

This diorama is inspired by First Ave, it is not a replica. I know the named stars aren’t inside the club. It did occur to me that if I had the time next year I would recreate (with liberties) the Clown Lounge in the basement of The Turf Club – but I’d focus on making the Peeps look like the actual bartenders. I might have to up my art skills through – or face retribution pricing for my pints.

In years past, the Pioneer Press would share Peeps submission on social media and folks could vote on winners. That’s no longer the case. So look surprised when you see me win. Actually I have great respect for the amazing artists with skill and time to create amazing art each year. And I appreciate a pastime that draws non-artists like me in too.

(Also I am allowing this terrible picture Aine took for me – because it looks as nerdy as I felt today.)



Three generations of Treacy testify to support Equal Rights Amendment in MN by Ann Treacy
February 1, 2022, 5:23 pm
Filed under: St Paul

Today my Mom (Elaine), my eldest daughter (Lily) and I did something important and a little scary. We testified in front of the Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Committee to support House File 726 (HF626): Gender equality provided under law, and constitutional amendment proposed. Big thanks to both Mom and Lily; this isn’t something we do every day but I think it was helpful for the legislators to hear from three generations and to get a glimpse at what has change and what hasn’t in the last 70 some years. And if you listen to the end you’ll hear Chair Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn say this is the first time they have heard from three generations. And thank you to Minnesota ERA for inviting us.

Here’s our portion of the meeting:

And the whole meeting:

I will paste the testimony we planned to read below. It’s pretty close to what we actually read. We thought this was important because gender is not currently protected in the Minnesota constitution. Most people think it is; most people think it should be. They had wonderful people testifying – some even more qualified than we are. In the end it was moved to Government Finance, which is a step forward. I expect is will pass in the House; not as hopeful for the Senate. (So if you care, find your state senator and ask them to make the ERA a priority.)

The sticky wicket seems to be the term gender versus sex. Detractors seem to think that including all genders means we somehow risk losing something. However, if we’re striving for equality for all, that means everyone – who cares what gender? It’s couched in a lot of different ways but in the end I feel like some folks feel we need someone to be less equal to make themselves feel more equal. I’d rather be on a team of all winners and we have the power (at least here) to do make everyone a winner.

See full testimony Continue reading



Minneapolis Homeless Memorial March 2021 by Ann Treacy
December 17, 2021, 12:12 am
Filed under: Minneapolis

It’s always one of the coldest days of the year, the annual Minneapolis Homeless Memorial March 2021. It’s a memorial service for lost friends, families and folks we didn’t know who lived in the world of homelessness – maybe as asocial worker or advocate, maybe as someone who had or was experiencing homelessness in 2021. Marchers carry a placard with the name, age and city of a deceased person. It’s a solemn, yet community building event – especially at a time when so much of life is Zoomed.

This year I knew two, Ethna McKiernan and Stephanie Battle. I know Ethna has a poet with an Irish lilt; she also worked with people experiencing homelessness. Stephanie I knew in high school; she was in my sister’s class. She was a homeless advocate. My friend Monica Nilsson knew many more, as she works in the community. But we were sad to remember two women who has died in her very close community. Overdose. I think that has been too easy, or maybe life has been too hard for all of us in the last two years.

You can find the full list of names of people who have passed away online. It include young and old, all colors and genders. The saddest to be are the “baby” placards. The march was followed by an online service.



MN State Fair 2021: Music, art, vegan food and fewer crowds by Ann Treacy
September 7, 2021, 3:23 am
Filed under: St Paul

We missed the Minnesota State Fair last year because of the pandemic. Most of us went this year, but in shifts. Dad (aka Grandpa) and I went in the morning. We had some yummy food like cheese curds and Sweet Martha’s Cookies. We walked around to the DFL booth, Education Building and some others. I’ve heard up to 200 exhibitors have backed out of the Fair this year. It seems like many, if not most of State Departments have ducked out. No calendars at the Education Building. No going inside the MN DNR. That and the light crowds were signs of the time. Even with the lighter crowds, we avoided certain areas and wore masks in buildings.

We had a break for a car wash cookout. (Where Billy has a BBQ at the car wash, which conveniently is where we park to go to the Fair!) Dad went home and Lily and Kate arrived. We found all (maybe not all) of the vegan options for them. We also checked out some art. It’s always fun to see the subversive seed art. I am going to try to create a subversive work for next year. (I am a seed art pro, at least based on the Zoom class I took during the pandemic.) We also went to the Fine Arts Building. They have some incredible artists and such a wide range. Plenty of art recognizing the year of civil unrest.

We also had some random treats like the giant rubber duck, bull riding and the cows. Lily was disappointed that the Miracle of Birth building was closed. (I was not.) She loves to see the baby animals. We were just in time for the parade and we got in plenty of steps. (Clocked in 13 miles today!) I also got a glimpse at the MN DNR Wall of Shame, which highlights animals that have been poached. I was on the look for a deer that we used to see down at Wita Tanka and we haven’t seen for a while. I didn’t see him, but I saw a few others.

Finally the music. I’m always amazed at the wide range of free music at the Fair. I stopped to see three acts (Mae Simpson, Yam Haus and Rosie Flores) and enjoyed each but also it’s just fun to see and see the music as you walk by various parks and bars.



I walked 40 miles – in 12ish hours at a FANS Ultra Race by Ann Treacy
August 29, 2021, 7:22 pm
Filed under: St Paul

I want this saved for when I’m old and no one will believe I could do it. Yesterday I did a 12 hour walk. I suspect I walked just shy of 40 miles. But because I walked home after midnight (so more like Friday night but technically Saturday) and walked (to get places) after the race, I absolutely walked 40 miles.

I joined a FANS Ultra Race, the proceeds go to college and career mentorship program for high school students, specifically working with students of color, recent immigrants, and other groups that have been historically underrepresented in higher education. Heather got me into the race. She runs all of the time. She ran the race yesterday. Here’s a glimpse of how it went for the novice first-timer.

The race started at 8am. The track is a two-mile loop around Fort Snelling Lake. I know that area very well. People come from all over the world for the race. There was a guy in his 80s who has run every one of these. There was a guy who was hoping to get a world record. The deal is you can walk or run for 6 hours, 12 hours or (wait for it!) 24 hours.

I mostly walked it alone listening to music. (Thanks to everyone who contributed to the Playlist for me – it was very helpful!)  If it hadn’t been for the blisters (turns out sock choice matters), I would have felt no pain. It was hot and sultry and there were reports of thunderstorms all day. But the path is pretty shaded. There were to stops for water and I got a cup at each at every stop. I think that was my key to success. I didn’t eat anything partially because I didn’t want to stop.

They weigh you and if you lose too much weight, they make you stop. My first hope was that this might happen. Can you imagine a better win-win situation? You get to stop and you’ve lost weight! (Going by my scale I lost just over a pound from Saturday to Sunday. Probably bad math to have this be my weight loss plan.) Also I thought they might call the race if it poured ran or saw lightning.  We got caught in huge burst of rain and lightning. But it cleared up before we really had a chance to quit.

One of the volunteers noted on my last lap that I looked exactly as I did the first lap, which was true. Except due to weather my hair was curlier. Walking is the best because it doesn’t beat you up. The runners were amazing to see. But then they were very sweaty and then there were painfully stretching and then some were laying flat out. God love those real athletes, but walking is where it’s at!

Kallie walked a few of the last laps with me, which was a huge help. Really though I wasn’t super hurting. The last part of the race they have us on a smaller track. And it was nearly dark and the fast runner are trying to eke out every last mile they can. While some of us turtles wonder what the heck we’re doing. Remember Vacation, “look kids, Big Ben, Parliament.” That’s what it felt like – and there was no way to get off at that pint. Luckily that was only for 10 minutes and then I was done. And gotta admit it, I was proud of myself.

And an hour later I was at the Icehouse watching Happy Apple!



Help Monica and Ann Eat with the Pioneer Press at the Minnesota State Fair by Ann Treacy
August 8, 2021, 11:44 pm
Filed under: St Paul

The Minnesota State Fair is having a contest to win a trip to the Fair with Eat editor Jess Fleming as she samples her way through the 2021 new foods. I think Monica and I are the perfect walking companions to offer our opinion on the best the fair has to offer!

First, we are the best walkers for touring the Twin Cities. Last year, we walked a whole marathon in a day. Two years ago, we led a nighttime walk with Governor Walz and Lt Governor Flanagan to meet people experiencing homelessness. Often we grab our pickers and pick up trash walk on the shores of the Mississippi at Wita Tanka and folks seem to enjoy our #whatIsawonmywalk posts.

Second, we are huge State Fair fans. When my daughters were little, I started a tradition of creating a scavenger hunt each year for the Fair. That morphed into a big Treacy Family tradition of three generations wearing matching shirts and competing with the annual scavenger hunt. Last fall, Monica and I lit up the State Fair with the Love Vote Rise message.

We’re brave, we’re opinionated and like a diversity of food! And we’ve been walking all over the Twin Cities building up an appetite.

So how can you help? It seems like part of what the Pioneer Press would like to see in a contest winner is someone (or people) with a little social media muscle. And between now and the contest deadline, we will be posting periodic messages about how awesome we would be at the Fair. On Twitter and Instagram we’ll use the tag: #getustothemnstatefair and/or you look for posts on Facebook (from me or Monica). If you wouldn’t mind taking a second to like or comment on a random post, it might help!




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