Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Out and About – Winter 2012

With today being the first day of spring here in the northern hemisphere I thought I'd take some time to look back over the past two months or so and share some of the highlights of my journey as an out gay man, striving to be all about embodying God's compassion and justice in the world.

As most of my readers would know, it's been an incredibly mild winter in Minnesota – especially here in the Twin Cities. Of course, like many others, I've been pretty vocal in my appreciation of the lack of snow, ice and bitter cold. But at the same time I must admit it disturbs me that the unseasonable weather we've been experiencing is the result, no doubt, of humanity's detrimental impact on the environment.

One thing I will say: the mild weather certainly made my end-of-January move from St. Paul to Minneapolis a hassle-free experience. It also helped that I had a number of friends – including my new house-mate Tim – willing to assist me in this move.

Left: My new home in Minneapolis.

The last social event I hosted in my home in St. Paul was my "Reclaim the Tea Party" tea party! Pictured above at this gathering are my friends Catherine, Phil and Kate. Oh, and what tea party would be complete without a hare at (or, in this case, on) the table?!

My January 19 tea party provided me the opportunity to finally use the china tea cups and saucers that I've been gradually collecting since my December 2008-January 2009 visit home to Australia. During that time, while visiting my hometown of Gunnedah, I was inspired by a delightful afternoon tea at the home of Gwen Riordan, a longtime family friend.

Fast forward three years and to my afternoon tea in St. Paul, to which I invited a number of the wise and inspiring women in my life. My good friend Phil was also on hand to help serve the tea and an assortment of delicious sweets – including a truly epic orange cake made by my friend Kathleen (pictured at left with me and our mutual friend Catherine).

Right: Speaking as Executive Coordinator of Catholics for Marriage Equality MN at the January 26, 2012 fundraising event for Minnesotans United for All Families at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.

Above and below: My final moving weekend was January 28-29, and helping me out were a number of my friends. Pictured above from left: Curtis, Tim, Brigid and Jim.

Above: Brent and Lisa, who feature in one of the "video vignettes" that comprise Catholics for Marriage Equality.

Above: Phil, Liana and Curtis.

Although I took a break from blogging at The Wild Reed for most of the past six weeks or so, I was still updating a number of other blogs, including The Progressive Catholic Voice, Sensus Fidelium and A Prince Named Valiant. This last one is my tribute to the Prince Valiant adventure strip which on February 13 celebrated its 75th anniversary.

The image above is a panel from the 75th anniversary installment of Prince Valiant. To view this installment in its entirety, click here.

To read A Prince Named Valiant's two special 75th anniversary posts, visit here and here.

Above and right: Catholics for Marriage Equality MN's weekly Lenten Prayer Vigil in front of the chancery office of the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis.

As one of the organizers of this vigil, I'm happy to report that 80 people gathered on the First Sunday of Lent, and double that number last week on the Fourth Sunday of Lent.

We gather as we want to see Archbishop Nienstedt redirect his energies and the financial resources of the Archdiocese away from the divisive ‘marriage amendment’ and toward actions that reflect Jesus' Gospel call to care for the poor and marginalized.

For images from the First Sunday of Lent, click here.

To read Catholics for Marriage Equality MN's media release about the vigil, click here.

To sign the petition related to the vigil, click here.

To read and sign the Catholic Statement of Support for Marriage Equality, click here.

Above: Friends Phil, Tim and Curtis – Sunday, February 26, 2012.

Left: With my friend Betty – Sunday, March 18, 2012.

Above: A great photo of my friends Mary Lynn, Darlene and Theresa – Sunday, March 18, 2012.

Darlene and her husband Tom also feature in the video series Catholics for Marriage Equality. For Mary Lynn's excellent writings on Occupy Minneapolis, see here and here.

Above: By far one of the most popular signs at the weekly Lenten vigil!

Above: It's become a custom for a group of friends and I to have donuts and coffee at the Donut Cooperative in South Minneapolis before heading over to St. Paul for C4ME-MN's Lenten Vigil at the chancery!

Pictured from left: Liana, Kim, Curtis and Phil – Sunday, March 18, 2012.

Above: With friends Joey, Mary and Kathleen, celebrating Joey's 16th birthday at The Lexington in St. Paul – Saturday, March 3, 2012.

Joey and his mother Kathleen are good friends of mine. As I've documented previously, we've traveled to St. Louis together and shared a Wisconsin adventure!

King Neptune and his bride! Actually, it's my friends Curtis and Liana celebrating the former's birthday with an "Under the Sea"-themed party – Saturday, March 3, 2012.

Right: More denizens of the deep and assorted seafarers!

Left: On Saturday, March 10, 2012, about 1,000 people gathered at the University of St. Thomas Anderson Student Center to celebrate the life of longtime justice and peace activist Marv Davidov. Featured speakers – including Garrison Keillor, Clyde Bellecourt, Tony Bouza, Carol Masters, Larry Long, Bill Tilton and Carol Connolly – recalled and celebrated highlights of Marv's life and legacy.

Marv was a friend and inspiration to me and many others. He led the Honeywell Project in a decades-long campaign to halt the production of anti-personnel weapons by the Honeywell corporation. He was a Freedom Rider during the Civil Rights era of the 1960s, and a participant in the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride of 2003. For over 50 years he was a tireless non-violent revolutionary, dedicated to facilitating positive social transformation through organizing and activism.

For a 25-minute video summary of the two-hour tribute program, click here.

Right: Clyde Bellecourt, co-founder of the American Indian Movement (AIM).

Left: My friends the McDonald Sisters – Jane, Rita, Brigid and Kate – performed a number of good-natured "Marv Parodies" at the March 10 tribute to Marv. I'm sure somewhere he was laughing along with the rest of us!

Above: My friend Eduard, who visited me from Chicago, March 2–7, 2012. We'd not seen one another since April 2008.

Left: One of a series of portraits that I took of Eduard on the afternoon of March 6. For another, click here.

Right: With my friends John and Kathy after a wonderful dinner and a night out to see Theater Latte Da's production of Jonathan Harvey's Beautiful Thing. For a scene from the film version of this play, see this previous Wild Reed post.

Above: Two of John and Kathy's sons, Aaron and Cole – preparing our dessert for the evening! And, yes, it was delicious!

Above: My new home is quite close to Minnehaha Creek and the Minnehaha Parkway – a very beautiful area of South Minneapolis. This photo was taken near Minnehaha Falls at dusk on Friday, March 9, 2012.

Right: With my friend Kathleen at our mutual friend Brigid's annual St. Patrick's Day party, at which I had the honor of being the emcee.

Left and below: A good time was had by young and old alike . . .

. . . and no party would be complete without a singing dog!

Just how mild has this past winter been in Minnesota? Well, pictured above are my friends Brian and Rick – in t-shirts and shorts in mid-March! Earlier that week I was sun bathing in my skivvies on the roof of their apartment building! (I'll spare you any pictures of that spectacle!)

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Out and About – December 2011
Out and About – November 2011
Out and About – October 2011
Out and About – September 2011
Out and About – August 2011
Out and About – July 2011
Out and About – June 2011
Out and About – May 2011
Out and About – March 2011
Out and About – February 2011


Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for sharing these wonderful pictures and commentary. Peace and blessings to you always. Mark

Mai said...

Man, Michael, you haven't aged a bit. You still look like the same guy back from college...you know...like an 80's techno rock band member! Which is a good thing!

Jason said...

Really enjoy reading your blogs.