Friday, March 31, 2017

Out and About – Winter 2016-2017

Last Monday (March 20) was the Spring Equinox, the first day of spring here in the northern hemisphere. . . . High time, then, to review the winter just passed with the latest installment of The Wild Reed's "Out and About" series.

Regular readers will be familiar with this series, one that I began in April 2007 as a way of documenting my life as an “out” gay man, seeking to be all “about” the Spirit-inspired work of embodying God’s justice and compassion in the world. I've continued the series in one form or another every year since – in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 . . . and now into 2017.

So let's get started with this latest installment . . .

Above and left: The Black Snake Resistance March – Minneapolis, January 20, 2017.

"Black Snake" refers to the Dakota Access oil pipeline and pipelines in general, many of which disproportionately threaten the land and well-being of Native communities. This and a number of other protest events on January 20 collectively comprised what was called the Twin Cities Inauguration Day Mega-March, and provided a way for thousands of people to speak out against the agenda and priorities of President Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress. For me and many other people, this agenda and these priorities do not support the lives and struggles of those identified in the poster at left.

For more images and commentary on the Black Snake Resistance March, click here.

For The Wild Reed's February 2017 update on the Dakota Access pipeline resistance click here.

Above The Women's March – St. Paul, January 21, 2017. This event drew an estimated 100,000 people to the Minnesota State Capitol grounds, making it one of the largest protest gatherings in Minnesota history. It was also part of a nationwide surge of massive rallies and marches aimed at both protesting President Donald Trump’s positions and statements on women’s rights, immigration, the environment, and climate change and offering hope and alternatives to Trump's political agenda and to what has been described as his "sordid immorality" – his bigotry, ignorance, misogyny, and vulgarity. Sister marches were held on all seven continents, including Antarctica.

I wanted to carry a sign in the march that shared a positive message from an inspiring woman, and so decided on words of hope and encouragement from legendary singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie. These words are actually lyrics from her song "Getting Started" (from her phenomenal 1992 album Coincidence and Likely Stories), while the image is one I took of Buffy when I saw her in concert last summer in Bayfield, WI.

For more images and commentary on the Women's March in St. Paul, click here.

For more about the making of my sign, along with some of the responses I received to it at the march, click here.

Above and below: Taking it to the streets! . . . Marching and speaking out against the Trump administration's immigration policy, including its "Muslim ban."

For more images and commentary on this issue, click here.

It wasn't all marching and protesting this past winter, although it sometimes felt like it!

. . . On Saturday, February 11, 2017, for instance, I attended with my boyfriend Brent (right) the wedding of his sister Shelley to Josiah. I was honored, as always, to wear my dad's tux! Thanks, Dad!

Above: Brent and I with Sara and Norah, wedding guests all the way from Norway.

Left: With Brent's delightful niece, who was the flower girl at her aunt's wedding.

Above: A view of Minnehaha Creek which is close to my home in south Minneapolis.

For more images of winter beauty, click here, here, and here.

Thursday mornings mean breakfast with my friend Pete!

. . . We're pictured above at Sun Street Bakery and Cafe on February 9, 2017 and, at right, at The Bad Waitress Diner on December 8, 2016. Both restaurants are located in south Minneapolis.

Above and left: At the ever-popular Hi-Lo in Minneapolis, described by City Pages as "a beautiful vintage diner" – March 16, 2017.

About the Hi-Lo, Star Tribune food critic Rick Nelson enthuses:

Taking a seat inside the Hi-Lo Diner is an instant mood-enhancer.

Heck, just driving past this gleaming, painstakingly restored structure — which started life in a New Jersey factory in the late 1950s and arrived in Minneapolis last fall, split down the middle and strapped to a pair of flatbed trucks — is enough to trigger a rush of endorphins.

If you’ve ever wondered what fast food looked like before McDonald’s ran roughshod over the American landscape, the hash-slinging Hi-Lo is a good place to start. And for those questioning the diner’s historic bona fides, just slip into one of the booth’s tight-ish quarters. Yes, American waistlines were smaller in the pre-Big Mac era.

On December 18, 2016 my good friend and housemate Tim and I hosted our annual Winter Solstice/Christmas gathering.

Above (from left): Pete,Omar, me, Raul, and George.

Right: With my friends Brent and Lisa.

For more images and commentary on this and other Christmas 2016 celebrations, click here.

On the evening of January 6, 2017 my friends Javier and Nico hosted a gathering at which El día de Los Reyes – a Hispanic tradition which commemorates the journey of the Magi to the infant Jesus – was celebrated.

Above (from left): Javier, Curtis, Omar, George, and Nico.

Left: Javier, Brent, and Omar.

For more images and commentary on Javier and Nico's party, click here.

On Sunday, January 15, 2017 I hosted a morning tea for friends at my home in south Minneapolis.

Above (from left): Mary Lynn, Omar, Rita, and Pete.

Right: A photo taken of me on the day of my tea party.

For more images and commentary on my tea party, click here.

On January 22, 2017 I traveled to the town of Montevideo to celebrate the 80th birthday of my friend Angie's mother, Elva.

The photo above (as with this image) was taken just outside of the township of Cosmos, MN, located between the Twin Cities and Montevideo.

Left: With my dear friends Elva and Angie.

Above: With Elva and our mutual friend Kelly – January 22, 2017.

Right: With Angie.

Above: Elva with Angie, her husband Bryon, and their three lovely daughters. For images of my time with Angie and her family at Pelican Lake last summer, click here.

Left: With Adam, Elva's grandson and Angie's nephew.

Above: With my good friend and housemate Tim – February 10, 2017.

Above: At right with (from left) friends Jim, Javier, and Omar – Friday, February 10, 2017.

Right: On February 17 Brent and I were the guests of our friends John and Kathy to a performance of Theater Latte Da's Peter and the Starcatcher. It was a fantastic night of musical theater. Thanks, John and Kathy!

Following is an excerpt from Chris Hewitt's Pioneer Press review of the show (with added images by Dan Norman).

I’ve seen preschools full of toddlers that didn’t have as much energy as the cast of Peter and the Starcatcher at Theater Latte Da.

The nine actors in the cast whiz from role to role in the show, which doesn’t have quite enough songs to be called a musical but has too many to be called a straight play.

Actually, Peter takes the form of an English music-hall show that makes lowbrow humor highly entertaining, deftly blending bawdy digressions, raucous jokes, outrageous anachronisms and relentless puns (“You made your bed, Pan”) into an evening of frothy fun.

. . . An origins story, Peter and the Starcatcher is to Peter Pan as Wicked is to The Wizard of Oz, a fairy tale that purports to show us how another fairy tale — and beloved characters such as Peter Pan, Wendy and Captain Hook — came into being. It’s meant to be imaginative and homespun, which means Peter and the Starcatcher fits perfectly in Latte Da’s cozy Ritz Theater.

Director/designer Joel Sass greets us with a gorgeously organic-looking false proscenium over a set that will be used to suggest many different places but always reveals its humble origins in ropes, wooden planks, ladders, hunks of vine and pieces of picture frames. The props, too, are imaginative, with the cast using nothing more elaborate than a whistle to suggest various animals, waves and foreign tongues.

There is wonder and magic in Peter and the Starcatcher. Befitting the broad material, Sass seems to have encouraged the actors to make their performances as out-sized as possible and that mostly works, with Tyler Michaels’ sweet-natured boy as the grave center of the piece.

To read review of Peter and the Starcatcher in its entirety, click here.

Left: On the evening of Friday, February 3 I experienced a wonderful evening of music when my good friend Brian treated me to the 2017 performance of the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute. Thanks, Brian!

Held at Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis, this event showcased seven young composersKatherine Balch, Michael Boyman, Judy Bozone, Michael-Thomas Foumai, Tonia Ko, Phil Taylor, and Conrad Winslow.

Above: On the evening of Sunday, February 26 I watched the broadcast of the 89th Academy Awards with Brent, Pete, and Omar. I'm pictured here with Omar who's working on his Oscars ballot spreadsheet on his laptop. He had 31 people competing – and he ended up being one of the winners. . . . Yeah, we all joked it was rigged.

Above: Oscars night with Brent, Omar, and Pete. . . . And, yes, we were all happy that Moonlight won Best Picture.

Above, left, and below: Inside my home in south Minneapolis.

For more images taken both inside and outside my home, see the previous Wild Reed post, Winter . . . Within and Beyond.

Winter 2016-2017 Wild Reed posts of note:
Christmas 2016: Reflections and Celebrations
John, the Beloved Disciple
Resisting the Hand of the Empire
Andrew Harvey on Radical, Divine Passion in Action
Move Us, Loving God
Winter Beauty
To Dance . . .
Progressives and Obama (Part 7)
Something to Think About – January 20, 2017
"It Is All Connected"
Anyone for Tea?
"The Movement of Love and Inclusion Has Just Been Unleashed"
Happy Birthday, Vanessa!
A Prayer for Refugees
Like a Sure Thing
Aristotle Papanikolaou on How Being Religious is Like Being a Dancer
He Persists, Too!
2000+ Take to the Streets of Minneapolis to Express Solidarity with Immigrants and Refugees
A Profoundly Troubling and Tragic Indictment
Two Exceptional Singers Take a Chance on the "Spirit of the Wind"
Lent: A Summons to Live Anew
For Acclaimed Songwriter, Activist and Humanitarian Buffy Sainte-Marie, the World is Always Ripening
Interfaith Chaplaincy: Meeting People Where They're At
Stephen A. Russell on Moonlight, "the Most Beautiful Gift to Cinema in Countless Years"
Winter . . . Within and Beyond

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Out and About – Autumn 2016
Out and About – Summer 2016
Out and About – Spring 2016
Out and About – Winter 2015-2016

Images: Michael J. Bayly.

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