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A dream for the amazing post-apocalyptic home on the streets by Ann Treacy
July 5, 2018, 10:45 pm
Filed under: Minneapolis

Last fall I wrote about the terrible beauty of a well-kept homeless campsite. It is under a bridge in Minneapolis – hidden out in the open. It’s what you would picture a post-apocalyptic home in the wilderness would be as a kid. There’s a truck at one end and a car at the other but otherwise no formal structure. There are rooms but only in the sense that a fort made of blankets has rooms. Well and furniture and art.

The room that always impresses me the most is the dining room, with a table, chairs and usually set with dishes.  There’s a porcelain doll on the shelf and a gorgeous, vintage ballgown hanging behind the table.

The house is missing so much – link running water or a ceiling but the details and decorations make you forget that. There’s a brick in-laid path leading into the house. There are knickknacks and art – so much art of all different forms.

Sadly I’m writing about it again because we found out that the man of the house passed away a few years ago – and the woman of the house was recently found dead. Marsha and Chester. Now that they have been named in the paper I feel like I can say their name too. I never met them although I stopped by a couple times to try. It was just a few weeks ago that Monica and I walked by – we heard some clanging about but no answered when we said hello. Both were musicians and apparently well known in nearby the West Bank neighborhood.

I have been so struck by this house that I went in to do a brief video tour and take some pictures because I don’t know what will happen to it now. I wish the site could be left ASIS or maybe modified. Keep the table, chairs and couches or maybe have an artist create a heartier version of what is there. Keep the art that was so painstakingly created and maintained and quietly; keep the space open for anyone who needs a place to rest. That might be someone experiencing homelessness. It could be a runner coming down the path in front of the home. It could be one of the kids from the neighborhood. It’s just a good reminder of daily humanity.

I don’t know who owns the land under the bridge – the city of Minneapolis  I would guess. Or it’s close enough to the University of Minnesota to be theirs. Apparently the space nearby was used when the 35W Bridge came down, yet the construction folks found a way to leave this space alone. It does inspire such reverence.

It would be a nice gesture to use that space to memorialize the creators. To remind people of the art and humanity in all corners of our works.



The Worst of Times: A vigil for Thurman Blevins, a black man shot by police in Mpls by Ann Treacy
June 25, 2018, 3:31 am
Filed under: Minneapolis

After the best of times this morning at the Pride festival, tonight I got a taste of the worst of times – a vigil for Thurman Blevins. Here’s an account of what happened from the Police (via Minneapolis Star Tribune)…

According to police, just before 5:30 p.m., at least two people called 911 to report that a man walking in the 4700 block of Bryant Avenue N. was firing a silver 9mm handgun into the air and ground. The callers provided a detailed description of the suspect.

Officers confronted the man and a “foot chase ensued that ended in shots being fired,” a police statement said. The man died at the spot where he was shot behind a garage in the alley between Aldrich and Bryant avenues N.

It doesn’t exactly gel with what I heard tonight. The story I heard was that Thurman was sitting on the curb with his girlfriend and a baby. The cops found him told him to stand up. He put his arms up. They yelled at him. He did run. (As half the vigil said – who wouldn’t?) They shot him. No one there saw a gun. (I have video of one account below.)

I don’t know which account is true. I know that this is a problem. I know my heart is sick.

The vigil was hard. We heard from family. We heard from people who have been through this before. We heard from people who were very angry. We heard from people who drew solace from God. Here are the snippets that caught me

  • The woman who pointed out that if these police are too afraid to talk to people without brandishing a gun – they should not be police. AND you need police from the community. People who know the people they are protecting and serving.
  • I saw a boy about 3-4 years old holding a poster for the Thurman Blevins – or Junior. That should not be a regular summer memory for anyone but especially not for someone so young.
  • The young man who was angry was angry and looking to fight. Just as my friend’s brothers were angry when she died – of cancer.  It’s a natural response for some. BUT that need to fight is dangerous unless it’s well channeled. The knowledge and the drive are powerful.
  • Every man killed is someone to someone. And probably someone to a lot of people.
  • People are gracious. They thanked everyone who came out. They recognize that being a cop is hard. They reach for scripture to say that they can withstand this and God is watching. I don’t know that I could feel that way if that shooting was in my zip code, if that person killed was someone to me personally.
  • Everyone has something to give – like the people who opened up their house for a public bathroom and charging station.


Best of Times: Pride makes us proud and happy by Ann Treacy
June 25, 2018, 2:51 am
Filed under: Minneapolis

Annual pilgrimage to the Pride festival today. I went with Aine and a friend. Special treat today – we had a purpose. I Tweeted for the Women’s March. Aine did SnapChat.

The festival spirit was dampened by the fact that Minneapolis police shot and killed a black man last night. So heartbreaking. (Will post on that vigil next.) And yet in some way all the more reason to celebrate progress made – unfortunately that progress has not been evenly distributed to all people. Black Lives Matter did protest at the parade they held it up because they were unhappy with officers participating in the parade. (One video highlight – we caught the start of the parade – and it starts with motorcycles – so much fun!)

They held it up for about an hour. We watched for a while on the way to march in the parade with the Women’s March. I think the shooting last night speaks to the need stand up – just as we all stood up a few years ago before Gay Marriage was legal. So while we waited, we didn’t mind. We are there to raise all voices.

Then we enjoyed the festival. Aine described it as like St Patrick’s Day will less beer and fewer body image issues. You do see a lot more skin. And I think last night there may have been more beer – but it is the same feeling of joy and fun.



33rd Annual Homeless Memorial Walk in Minneapolis by Ann Treacy
December 22, 2017, 3:59 am
Filed under: Minneapolis, Minnesota

You just never know what you’re going to find when you go for a walk – especially with Monica. Tonight Aine and I met up with Monica for the 33rd Annual Homeless Memorial.

The walk starts at the Hennepin Government Center and ends with a service at St Stephen’s Church and Shelter. It is in honor of the folks in the homeless community who have passed away in the last year; for the people and the families and friends of people who didn’t have enough money for a service or even an obituary and for the people who have served those people through their jobs and/or avocation.

Sadly 180 people in the homeless community died in Minnesota. People at St Stephen’s created placards with the name, age and location of each people. We each carried a sign. Aine walked for Donovan, Monica for Betty and I walked for Robert.

It’s about a 2 mile walk. It was cold. We saw some carolers and hot chocolate along the way. We met a lot of people on the walk, especially since Monica knows everyone. We walked with one person who recently found permanent housing through the VA. Aine told me later that she found him very interesting. He was walking with his dog. He had recently been reunited with the dog; thanks to the permanent housing placement. He had some ill health. He talked about how hard it had been finding housing. Dealing with safe shelters closing, living on the streets and who he trusted and didn’t trust when living outside. Then he mentioned that his dog had been sick and he was now in debt more than $900 for vet bills. And even with the vet visits, he didn’t expect his dog (who was older) to survive the winter. So sad.

We walked to the church, left the placards at the altar and then Monica gave us a quick tour of the shelter. Monica stayed for the ceremony, which included songs, stories and reading of the names and lighting of the candles. The ceremony was followed by a free dinner served in the shelter. An opportunity for folks to mingle and meet. Such a nice idea – that being said, it would be nice to see the purpose for it end. As I walked in the cold tonight I appreciated that I was outside because I chose to be out – and I felt for those who don’t have the choice.



Open Street Minneapolis: East Lakes Street by Ann Treacy
July 25, 2016, 4:21 am
Filed under: Minneapolis

Today we nailed out challenge for fun in the Cities it with Open Streets on East Lake Street. Open Streets is an effort to give the streets back to everyone not in a car – for a day. It happens in different parts of Minneapolis on different weekends. I’ve been to a few of them in the last year or two. But I have never been more impressed than I was on Lake Street today.

They closed at least 20 blocks of the street. There was music and tons of food and a lot of fun kid games. We walked about 6 miles. (Aine loves to walk huge amounts in the heat!)

I’m going on a limb to say Aine’s favorite activity was the musical chairs. Big game musical chairs. We didn’t win – but I have to say they did a great job getting us excited for it.

We also tried to pogo. Word to the wise – pencil skirts aren’t the best for a pogo stick. We shot an apple of each other’s heads with a bazooka squirt gun. A soaky fun thing on a hot, hot day. Watched a pie eating contest.

We saw some gorgeous Aztec dancers, some breakdancing and a band that was new to me called Tabah. I just thought the Open Streets people did a great job bringing back every fun thing from being a kid with blocks and blocks of blocks of easy distractions.

 



Steaming in the Cities – so we’re hanging on a boat by Ann Treacy
July 25, 2016, 4:10 am
Filed under: Minneapolis

The older girls have gone to Ireland leaving me and Aine with the challenge of having even more fun in the Cities. The extra challenge on Friday was the insane heat. Luckily Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 Lakes and we have a friend with a boat – so we went swimming off the boat.

I love swimming. Swimming in a lake is a little different for me. First I’m a baby because I always think it’s going to be too cold. I must admit it wasn’t. The water actually felt pretty good.

BUT it turns out lakes have fish – tons of them. And you’d think they’d like to swim away from people. Not true. The swim toward you. Aine loved it – spent half her time trying to catch a fish. Luckily she was not successful or we may have been looking for a new receipt for fish stew!



Twin Cities Street Art: Lakes Street Murals by Ann Treacy
May 26, 2014, 10:40 pm
Filed under: Minneapolis

Got any plans for your summer? We plan to get out to see the street art in the Twin Cities – one street or neighborhood at a time. I’m a fan of street art; I’ve been lucky enough to see Banksy in New York, murals in Belfast and Blu in Berlin. This summer, I’ll be staying home but I figured there must be some sights to see in my home town too with. So my plan for the summer is long walks with a camera.

We started with Lake Street – from the Lake Street Bridge to Lake Calhoun. We started there because my favorite street art is hidden under the Lake Street Bridge on the St Paul side. It honors a soldier; I remember when it went up two years ago around Memorial weekend. My hope this summer it to find more hidden gems like it. (If you know of any art I should check out please let me know atreacy@treacyinfo.com.)

Under the Lake Street Bridge

Under the Lake Street Bridge

The street art in Lake Street is primarily paintings and murals. Some are clearly commercial, some are community-focused and a few might have been unsanctioned. Heading from St Paul, the art starts rolling with the Longfellow Artists in Lake Street (LoLA). They are sponsoring lots of opportunities for artists, such as the utility boxes along Lake Street. (The Minneapolis Public Arts Administration issues permits and supports “wrapped and painted utility boxes” around the city. )

Lake Street Utility Box: Gordon Coons

Lake Street Utility Box: Gordon Coons

As we strolled down the avenue we found that street art increases as languages in the shop windows increase. There were a lot of scenes celebrating different ethnicities Mexican, Native American, African and Scandinavian. Some of these seemed commercial; some seemed like community projects. We saw quite a few between the train station on Minnehaha until S 1st Avenue.

Lake Street near 15th

Lake Street near 15th

There were some store fronts that seemed to sponsor or promote street art such as Urban Ventures, Safari Restaurant and the former Resource Center of the Americas.

Urban Ventures

Urban Ventures

There were also a lot of art that was clever or good or otherwise struck us. We were surprised at the dearth of street art on Lake Street in Uptown. Perhaps that’s because for this trip we stayed on Lake Street. We learned that sometimes the most interesting work happens off the main drag; we’re hoping to get to more of that later.

Lyndale and Lake

Lyndale and Lake

Originally I thought we might spend a day or two traipsing the city to uncover gems but we’ve learned you’ve really got to be walking to get the flavor of a community and it’s going to take all summer to get a decent start. If you see us out in your street, please tell us the story of your local art. (Or feel free to post a comment.)

 




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