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Getty Museum Challenge – Ann does Warhol and Aine does Lichtenstein by Ann Treacy
April 12, 2020, 10:20 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I finally talked Aine into the Getty Museum Challenge, which is a sign that this quarantine has already gone on too long. The challenge is to react a famous work of art from home.

I did Any Warhol’s Self-Portrait in Drag. Aine did Roy Lichtenstein’s M-Maybe.



Peeps in the time of Coronavirus: a Peepademic by Ann Treacy
March 28, 2020, 11:19 pm
Filed under: St Paul

Aine and I finally made our Peeps diorama! It’s too late (by 24 little hours) for the Pioneer Press contest but I’m going to share them here. And apparently I have a history of being too late, which really means maybe the deadline is too early.

I think the title says it all. We’re in lockdown. We’re trying to stay 6 feet apart from everyone else. We have enough time to do a diorama for the first time in probably 9 years.



Gloria Steinem: Democracy 101 our bodies belong to ourselves by Ann Treacy
February 20, 2020, 4:44 am
Filed under: Minneapolis

Thanks to my Women’s March MN buddy Teresa for the invitation to see Gloria Steinem get interviewed by Kerri Miller tonight at the University of Minnesota. What an honor to get a perspective from someone who has been focused on lifting up women for so long and has met so many smart and interesting people along the way. If I were in school Id’ be asking for extra credit from all of the things I learned tonight.

Lesson One: Democracy 101 our bodies belong to ourselves
Inherent in democracy is the idea is that people have agency over their own bodies and their voices. Gloria (yup, I’m going first name here) mentioned this in light of reproductive rights and the #MeToo movement. It seems obvious once you hear it but today women do not have agency over their bodies. Just earlier in the day I attending a Rally for Reproduction Freedom. Abortion is legal in Minnesota but there are a lot of hoops required. If a minor, you need permission from bother parents. Doctors are required to provide nonmedical info to patents, which as info on child support. You need a 24 hours waiting period. There are only 5 clinics in Minnesota that perform abortions and 3 of those are in the Twin Cities. You don’t need permission or a waiting period for a gun. And you don’t need a waiting period for any other medical procedure. Women’s reproduction should be healthcare, not politics.

Lesson Two: Never too young
When asked if there was anything she could change about her life as an activist Gloria said, I would have started earlier. It sounds like she felt the need but lacked the boldness at a younger age. It made me proud of dragging my own three girls to demonstration and rallies at a very young age – certainly stroller age. It’s a different era to be sure and I think that shift in personal and community boldness has helped us raise girls who are more comfortable participating and leading social change at young ages – including the Youth Strikes for Climate Change and Students Demand Action for gun control.

Lesson Three: Christianity is a Patriarchy
Women give birth; as Gloria says, we corner the market on that. The church offers rebirth in baptism. Even better they do it to erase the original sin inherently passed from generation to another to anyone born of woman. Even better than rebirth away from sin, the church promises life after death, a reward that cannot be proved. Instead of celebrating birth, the church denigrates it by trying to one-up the process.

Lesson Four: ERA is good economic stimulus
Equal Rights for women, equal pay for women would put $500 billion into the economy each year. OK, Gloria wasn’t so specific but I looked it up

If all working women in the United States aged 18 and older were paid the same as comparable men, women’s average earnings would increase $6,870, from $38,972 to $45,842 (or 17.6 percent) annually (Table 2). Added up across all working women in the United States, this would amount to an earnings increase of $512.6 billion, or 2.8 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016 (see Figure 2 for state-by-state data).[1] Put another way, U.S. women—who are also consumers, savers, and asset owners—lost $512.6 billion in 2016 due to the gender wage gap.

Lesson Five: Equality won’t be reached until child raising is equal
Historically raising children has fallen to women. To a huge extend that’s still true today. I always thought that issues around that related to unpaid work impacting perceived value of women and just the lack of economic security for women who have stayed home. Gloria brought up another reason: some men regress when admonished by a woman, especially in the workplace and more strongly when that woman is a supervisor or otherwise some power over him. That may be because for some men, the last woman in charge was their mother. They haven’t learned to accept direction or criticism from a woman.

It’s a lot to take in – in an hour-long show. I’ll be taking it all in over the next few days. Plenty to think about.



Prioritizing Joy! Or why I’m helping to open a homeless shelter on Valentine’s Day by Ann Treacy
February 15, 2020, 5:18 am
Filed under: Minneapolis

Years ago, I heard Solofa Batterjee give a TED University talk about things she has learned from her father. The lesson that strikes me most is – if you don’t know the difference between pleasure and joy than you haven’t lived. There are times in my life that I have better understood and times when I questioned it.

When I first heard her speak, my kids were pretty little I was all about spelling tests, eating the crusts of their pizza, giving up my sweater because they were cold – more joy than pleasure. I remember those days fondly. Now my kids are older and I order my own food, I see live music instead of do spelling quizzes and I keep my sweater – so it’s all pleasure. Subsequently the opportunity to feel the joy is welcome so, for Valentine’s Day I helped my friend (and lifelong homeless advocate) Monica Nilsson open a homeless shelter – Elim Strong Tower Shelters in NE Minneapolis. Actually it’s two adjoining shelters; one for women (Elim) and one for men and couples (Strong Tower). The grand opening was tonight.

However that doesn’t mean working with the shelter isn’t pleasurable. It is. People are kind and interesting. It is a reminder of how lucky I am to have so much. I always learn something. I met a man who used to spend summers on a farm in Mississippi. I had a tasty dinner prepared by people who have experienced homelessness in the past. I got to hang with Monica and her brother Dan.

It’s not a traditional Valentine activity. But I have enjoyed Valentine’s Day more this year than I have – maybe ever. A heart shaped box of chocolates have never made me happier than watching guests enjoy the ones they received.

It makes me think that the focus of Valentine’s day should stretch beyond romance. Maybe we need to focus on joy!

The shelter will be open for at least the next three months. We expect it will be filled soon, but it’s not yet. So now is a good time to get in. Guests can call us in advance to reserve a bed and once in, they can hold their space while they need it. One of my favorite moments of the night was hearing Monica call the Minneapolis street outreach teams so let them know that there were new beds in the city – send people down. Word needs to get out but it’s so nice to know that more people will have a place to rest. If you know of someone in need, please send them our way:
Elim shelter phone number: 612.814.2490 (women only)
Strong Tower shelter phone number: 612.756.6606 (men and couples)



Governor Walz joins us on the biannual survey of homelessness by Ann Treacy
January 23, 2020, 11:27 pm
Filed under: Minneapolis

Twice a year Minnesota conducts a biannual point-in-time (PIT) counts (surveys) of people experiencing homelessness. Last year, I helped administer surveys with my friend Monica Nilsson. This year there was a special guest– Governor Walz. (Careful readers will remember that I spent some time touring shelters and under a bridge with Monica, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor last summer.)

Apparently when he heard about the survey, he wanted to make sure it was on his calendar. People spread out around the state to do surveys; we were stationed at the transit center at the Mall of America.

There was no press. No one to impress except people experiencing homelessness and a bunch of us volunteers. So when he told one gentleman that, “There are a lot of people who care” it felt like it meant something.

I saw him talk to about five people. He asks good questions. He listens. He gives them full attention. He blends in. And he’s the one (or part of the team of people) who found funding for shelters at the end of 2019. In fact, Monica is involved with shelters that are getting funding. (More on that later I’m sure.)

What impresses me is down playing the photo op, (Although god love him, the Governor is happy to pose with all of us!) the critical listening first and acting later.

The Governor gets some interesting answers and advice. A gentleman in a wheelchair explains that yes, he would be interested in an accessible shelter *if* it were a smaller shelter. A younger man who is bouncing around talking to lots of people in the transit center, says if he had money, he’d open a coed shelter. (He was delighted to hear that such places already exist.) Another women, who is well spoken and admits that she has trouble getting a job because of some felonies suggests that maybe we could repurpose existing spaces for shelter, such as the US Bank Stadium. So critical listening is important; like any topic – everyone is an expert. And expert of not, these are the people on the frontlines.

It was fun and heartening to have the Governor there. I’m sure he’ll read the results of the surveys but being there is so much more meaningful to him and certainly to the people he visited.

Because I was helping in other ways, I only surveyed one gentleman this year. He has been homeless for more than two years; he was 56 years old and this is his first time being homeless. He works part time with no mental (or other) illnesses, no record and no addictions. Very friendly. Ten minutes after talking to me, he settled in to read his Bible.

Just as the Mall of America is a coup for me doing the surveys, it’s also a more attractive place to stay if you’re stuck for a place. There’s a bathroom. It’s well lit (tough for sleeping but good for safety) and it’s warmer than the outside. There was a presence of homeless folks all night until they were shuffled to Metro Transit when the center closed at 2am. There was one woman loudly evangelizing a mantra, “The homeless win the lottery and they won’t give us the money.” She was alluding to public funding and donations for the victims of the Drake Hotel and apparently thought there were millions of dollars made available but kept from the victims. It’s an example of grassroots fake news.

And on a side note – I did talk to Governor Walz a bit about broadband because the day before I sat five feet from him and livestreamed a press conference where he announced the recipients of the 2019 MN Broadband grants. He told me that he thinks we have a good chance of getting $30 million this year (to add to the $20 million already in the budget) for broadband grants and seemed delighted to be able to say – “broadband now, we’re winning that one!”

Now if only I could think of some ways that broadband could help with homelessness – like job training for better employment and access to online opportunities, remote access to healthcare to make aging in place affordable and possible, remote access to mental health resources to keep people off the streets…



Chicago midweek special – Andy Warhol, Guilty Feminist and so much food by Ann Treacy
January 12, 2020, 7:02 pm
Filed under: Chicago, Uncategorized

Mom and I took a quick trip to Chicago to see Katie and family of course – but also to see the Andy Warhol exhibit before it closes and to check out the Guilty Feminist podcast. Mostly this is a picture post – but there are a few things I should point out:

  • The small plates at Libertad (in Skokie) aren’t really small. But they are delicious.
  • Warhol was always cool. Will always be cool.
  • I need an idea of replication as social commentary like Warhol had. And maybe some artistic skill – but I feel like an idea might be enough.
  • Sometimes I think the Art Institute of Chicago is designed like a grocery store to encourage you to walk down aisles you might not otherwise walk down.
  • They pick the toughest docents/guards to work the modern wing of the Art Institute because that’s where you could have the most fun taking awesome pictures if you weren’t scared of the guards.
  • The Palmer House is always in fashion. (In fact the day I got home I heard The Moth story that took place at the Palmer House -on the 18th floor where we were!!)
  • The Goat and the Girl has amazing food. The waiters are very good and will organize your orders in the way you should be fed. (Like a wine dinner but with food so you don’t have the heavy Cab of food on round one.)
  • The Guilty Feminist is at least as fun to see live. We learned about the importance of reporters and the free press and diversity in reporting. I will include the link to the live show once it’s available.
  • A walk to Millennium Park for a picture with The Bean is always worth it.
  • Flying is no fun.

The hotel & food!

Guilty Feminist & Millennium Park



Art, turkey and art in Milwaukee and Chicago by Ann Treacy
November 30, 2019, 3:41 pm
Filed under: Chicago, Wisconsin

Due to a holiday snowstorm, we spent an extra day in Milwaukee this year with Grandma and Grandpa on the way to Auntie Katie’s for Thanksgiving. (This also means an extra day of uber calories on the eatingest holiday of all time!)

With the extra day, we decided to stay in Milwaukee, instead of Madison. Not to be braggy, but our hotel was famous. For being the spot of an attempted assignation of Teddy Roosevelt. But we felt pretty safe.

 

We had some ambitious plans; we were successful in checking out the Milwaukee Art Museum. It’s very modern. The building itself is gorgeous and it’s right on the lake. It was pretty grey, cold and windy when we were there, but that just reminded us of Dublin so we went with it.

One of our favorite works was Self Portrait in Yellow by Tony Oursler. You can see why below.

The next day we made our way to Katie’s house near Chicago. We had an amazing meal. My favorite is ham and stuffing. Or pumpkin pie with whipped cream. Anyway there’s a ton of food and something for everyone. There were lots of new folks at dinner, which is always fun. It was warm enough for kids to play ghost in the graveyard at night, which beats the heck out of the 8 inches we had back home.

We celebrated Black Friday with a little consignment shopping and going to the WNDR Museum, which is awesome. It’s part art, part technology and all interactive to the point of totally immersive. It’a really an Instagrammer’s dream. So many great photo opportunities. You

There are exhibits or works from several artists. They all play with perspective, movement and dimensions. The most famous, I suspect is the Infinity Mirror Room by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. We also liked the perspective room – you can see above where I tower over Aine and Grandma. Another fun one, less photogenic is the tin cans and the telephone wires. You put the can up to the wires until you hear something. Very cool.



Family Trip to Washington DC for Veteran’s Weekend – Newseum, Capitol, the Mall & Smithsonian by Ann Treacy
November 10, 2019, 10:57 pm
Filed under: Washington DC

This weekend Aine, Auntie Katie, Bridie, Grandma, Grandpa and I all headed to Washington DC for a super quick trip over Veteran’s Weekend. It’s been a whirlwind!

We started yesterday with a walk past the Ruth Bader Ginsburg mural on the way to the Newseum, a museum dedicated to news. It’s funny, sad and informative. Most of all it’s an important reminder of the integral role journalism and the media play in our democracy – for better and for ill. From Washington Post (and several TC newspaper articles) to Twitter, the Newseum recognizes the importance of freedom of information inherent in the five promises in the First Amendment: free of the press, speech, assembly, religion and petition.

In honor of the 30th anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, we got to touch a piece of the wall and see some old school German graffiti. And 50 years after the original Stonewall riots, we got to learn about day the actions that led up to that day and the progress we’ve made as a country is civil rights and sexual preference and identification. (Hopefully we’ll continue to make strides!)

The 911 exhibits were chilling. I shouldn’t admit but I remember little of that day – in part because with two sleeping babies upstairs and my work downstairs, I was oblivious until much later in the morning. We did remember that Grandpa was in DC at the time – heading to the Pentagon. Luckily Grandpa has always had a cell/car phone so we were able to reach him. But it was scary. Juxtapose that with the late night section featuring Jon Stewart, James Cordon, Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah and others. It’s easy to see why we need a filtered view of what’s happening these days.

Pro Tip: The Newseum is slated to close at the end of the year. It’s worth a trip if your in DC.

After the Newseum, some of us headed to the US Capitol. We got there 2 minutes before the last tour stated. We didn’t exactly get an insider’s view of the building but we saw the glitz and glamour. It is a pretty amazing building. We learned that each state gets two statues. We saw a lot of them – but not the ones from Minnesota. Also, a nod to the pretty decent orientation video on “e pluribus unum” – out of many one on the idea of America being/needing to debate together to get to one voice.

Then one of us hiked back to the AirBNB. I love a hustled walk in a city like DC. Such a treat – especially when it seems so much warmer than home.

We ended the day at Bristrot du Coin. I’m just going to say – foie gras, paté, crème brule, salmon, mussels, champagne cocktail… So yummy and we got a quiet table in an otherwise bustling location.

Day two was the family-selfie tour of The Mall.

We picked the perfect day to spend outside. It was almost 60 degrees, in the sun. We started at the WWII Memorial. As we arrived a series of marching bands showed up. So we got to hear some touching songs and a speech recognizing the service of Vets. It was very nice.

Next up – the Lincoln Memorial – with a special stop at the “I have a Dream” memento on the steps where Martin Luther King Jr stood to give that speech. We learned that 37 people fall down the stairs to the Memorial each day. Pleased to report that we weren’t part of that statistic – on this trip. We checked out the Korean War Memorial and Vietnam Memorial. I like how these memorials recognize the personal sacrifice in a way that the WWII doesn’t. I think in the 1940s there may have been greater internal connection between individual and state (or nation), I’m not sure that’s there in the same way. Subsequently, featuring the soldiers coming out of the woods (Korean) or names of the deceased soldiers (Vietnam) is a nice touch back to the soldier as individual.

We took a walk down The Mall to the Smithsonian for American History. We trekked through to see our favorite things – the ruby red slippers, first lady dresses and a few techie things for me. DC is very fun – but it’s hard to be here when we are so divided as a people. For example, hard not to judge the reaction to the First Lady dresses. I love Michelle Obama, I have room for Nancy Reagan, love to hear about how Dolley Madison held parties to bridge hard topics but I wonder about the people swooning over the most current addition. I’m not necessarily proud of that; wish I saw a road to change it.

Our last gasp was the Sculpture Garden. I’m a sucker for a good Sculpture Garden. I walked through it just a month ago when I was in town to present at the First Native Broadband conference but always more fun to tour with family. Even if some of the family is super tired and ready for a rest.

The trip isn’t over quite yet – we’re resting up in Baltimore waiting for a crab-cake forward dinner before we fly out in the morning.



Going deep into the Department of the Interior – and a few obvious stops in Washington DC by Ann Treacy
September 24, 2019, 2:15 pm
Filed under: Washington DC

Day two of my work trip to DC. I survived moderating the first panel of the day. (Again I followed FCC Chair Pai.) Actually it was fun to hear about what folks are doing to build and use broadband on tribal lands. I’m always impressed with the champions of deployment who go from knowing nothing about broadband to knowing every nuance – because they have to. It’s like me learning how to build a car – just so I can drive it.

During a break I checked out the library at the Department of the interior. The had a exhibit on Women’s Suffrage. I’ll share the best and worst of it below. I feel like voter suppression supporters might use the same postcard today. Maybe not publicly – but internally. So scary and a good reminder to protect the rights we have!

Then I saw the weirdest grandfather clock ever. Apparently it was a gift to a former librarian – from her brother. It apparently exemplified her personality. It is shells and that fantastic demon face glued onto a grandfather clock. It almost makes me wish I had time to be crafty. (I;m also including the coolest shoes I’ve seen so far – beaded sneakers.)

Then I had lunchtime and post-conference daylight to catch some usual DC sites. I’m a big fan of Hirshorn – where much of the arty sculpture comes from (as opposed to the government/historical stuff.)

Finally I enjoyed a drink and the view at the W Hotel rooftop bar.



Quick trip to Washington DC – where I present with FCC Chair Pai by Ann Treacy
September 23, 2019, 12:13 am
Filed under: Washington DC

I’m not sure how I got here – but I am giving a couple presentations and moderating a panel at the National Tribal Broadband Summit in Washington DC. I start my day tomorrow moderating a session 20 minutes after FCC Chari Ajit Pai speaks. Mucky muck city.

But today I arrived early afternoon and I had a few hours to walk the streets for about 9 miles. I start with a visit to free festival at John F Kennedy Performance Center. It was fun to get in and check out the place.

Then it was a walk down the Mall. I decided I should try to check out anything that might be closed when I have time to walk around later in the week. So I checked out the Smithsonian. I had to check out the Ruby Reds – of course and the Wonder Woman costume. And I was obliged to check out the technology/phone stuff for work.

After that I started on a hike to find the Ruth Bader Ginsburg mural that popped up last week. It’s weird to be here and have no interest in visiting the White House, despite the fact that I’m staying about 3 blocks away. So it’s nice to have something to replace it – the RBG mural. But on the way to the mural I passed the National Museum of Women in the Arts – or rather, I didn’t pass, I stopped in.

They were showing Judy Chicago’s The End juxtaposed with Live Dangerously a collective with 12 women artists. No photos allowed – but it was a striking look at different views of death.

Live Dangerously shows dozens of photos from all over the world. in which there’s one woman lying as if dead in each one. As patron, I felt removed and even desensitized to the deaths, yet fascinated. Where Chicago has several parts to her exhibit that makes death very personal. There are a series of drawings that asks – how will I die? Asking things like – Will I die screaming in pain, in the arms of a loved one…  From desensitized to worrying about my own demise. Then she used the same process and drawing style to highlight extinct animals.  A heavy show!

From there to the big hike to RBG. It was fun to walk away from the Mall, to get a view of a part of the city I don’t know well. Then when I get there – super treat, there were several murals. Now – if I get any free time in the next couple days I will be tracking down every #DCMural I can find.




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