Friday, June 30, 2017

Petula Clark: Singing for Us, Not at Us

For "music night" this evening at The Wild Reed, something very special: the legendary Petula Clark performing an interpretation of the Steve Winwood/Will Jennings classic "While You See a Chance."

Petula recorded a studio version of this song for her most recent album, 2016's From Now On, an album which, says, sounds "mature but not dated or stiff, and reminds us [Petula's] still one of the most thoughtful and capable pop vocalists at work today."

That all being said, there's something very special about seeing Petula Clark as she sings with wisdom and grace the poignant lyrics of "When You See a Chance." And as I'm sure you'll agree, she sounds simply incredible at age 84!

A number of the tracks on From Now On, including "When You See a Chance," are all about looking forward and seizing the moment. Reviewing the album last year for Just Listen to This, Pete Sargeant noted that it "contains a number of new compositions by Clark as well as some interpretations." I like what Sargeant goes on to say about his use of the word "interpretations" in relation to Petula.

I use that word because "cover" is not what Petula Clark does, any more than Tony Bennett or Miles Davis ever do or did. To get inside a song and do something fresh with it is a skill a relative few artists evolve to. Hendrix did at a young age with Drifter’s "Escape" and "All Along The WatchTower," of course.

What marks Petula Clark out as a creator is the international element to her work and moreover her style. She can make you believe in a dilemma or share a happy notion, much as a fine actor will do. Acting in films and on stage has clearly helped hone her art and subtle delivery. She sings for us, not at us.


For more of Petula Clark at The Wild Reed, see:
"Pure Class": Petula Clark's Latest Offering Captivates
Happy Birthday, Petula
Pet Sounds
Well, Look Who's Coming to Port Macquarie . . .
Petula Clark: Still Colouring Our World (which includes my mum's review of Petula's 2014 concert in Port Macquarie, Australia)

Related Off-site Links:
Petula Clark Delivers an Absorbing Slice of Pop History – James Hall (The Telegraph, October 16, 2016).
Petula Clark: Pop Icon Looks Back to the Future – Dustin Fitzharris (The Huffington Post, September 3, 2016).
"Being In Love at 83 is Crazy, Fantastic": Petula Clark on How She's Relishing Another Chance at Romance – Rebecca Hardy (The Daily Mail, September 2, 2016).
Petula Clark Exclusive: An Unprecedented Musical Journey Spanning Seven Decades – Ray Shasho (Classic Rock Here & Now, February 17, 2014).
Petula Clark’s Pop Comeback, at Age EightyThe New Yorker, April 2, 2013).

Previous featured artists at The Wild Reed:
Dusty Springfield | David Bowie | Kate Bush | Maxwell | Buffy Sainte-Marie | Prince | Frank Ocean | Maria Callas | Loreena McKennitt | Rosanne Cash | Petula Clark | Wendy Matthews | Darren Hayes | Jenny Morris | Gil Scott-Heron | Shirley Bassey | Rufus Wainwright | Kiki Dee | Suede | Marianne Faithfull | Dionne Warwick | Sam Sparro | Wanda Jackson | Engelbert Humperdinck | Pink Floyd | The Church | Enrique Iglesias | Yvonne Elliman | Lenny Kravitz | Helen Reddy | Stephen Gately | Judith Durham | Nat King Cole | Emmylou Harris | Bobbie Gentry | Russell Elliot | BØRNS | Hozier | Enigma | Moby (featuring the Banks Brothers) | Cat Stevens | Chrissy Amphlett | Jon Stevens | Nada Surf | Tom Goss (featuring Matt Alber) | Autoheart | Scissor Sisters | Mavis Staples | Claude Chalhoub | Cass Elliot | Duffy | The Cruel Sea | Wall of Voodoo | Loretta Lynn and Jack White | Foo Fighters | 1927 | Kate Ceberano | Tee Set | Joan Baez | Wet, Wet, Wet | Stephen “Tin Tin” Duffy | Fleetwood Mac | Jane Clifton | Australian Crawl | Pet Shop Boys | Marty Rhone | Josef Salvat | Kiki Dee and Carmelo Luggeri | Aquilo | Tony Enos

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


Images: Michael J. Bayly.

Quote of the Day

When a country is willing to sacrifice the health of its own citizens for the sake of a tax cut for its wealthiest citizens, the damage done is to more than just our physical health: it is damage done to a nation's soul.‬ It is a choice for mean-spiritedness and greed as opposed to love and justice; but in my heart, I don't believe that it will stand. We are a better people than this, and all of us are getting the chance to think deeply about what "goodness" and "decency" mean when applied to our collective experience. To me, our national goals should reflect our personal principles: that we wish to succeed, of course, but never ever at the expense of someone else's good. In the words of John F. Kennedy, "We cannot afford to be materially rich but spiritually poor." We must be more than a rich nation; we must be a good nation, and that means good to one another. Wealth created on the backs of the old, the disadvantaged and the poor is not righteous money, and it is a corrupting influence not only on our nation's politics but on our national psyche. It is, quite simply, wrong. And we must do everything we can to make it right. That is the task of citizenship: to extend our love and determination beyond the self, in concern for our common good.

– Marianne Williamson
via Facebook
June 27, 2017

Related Off-site Links:
GOP "Health" Bill: Death, Disaster and Gilded Age Greed – Richard Eskow (, June 26, 2017).
Senate Health Bill Slashes Medicaid to Cut Millionaires’ Taxes – Frank Clemente (Common Dreams, June 28, 2017).
GOP Health Care Bill Would Cut Medicaid by 35 Percent Over Next 20 Years – Nathaniel Weixel (The Hill, June 29, 2017).
Twenty-two Million Americans Would Lose Health Coverage Under Senate Bill – Susan Heavey and Tim Ahmann (Reuters, June 26, 2017).
208,500 Additional Deaths Could Occur by 2026 Under the Senate Health Plan – Ann Crawford-Roberts, Nichole Roxas, and Ichiro Kawachi (Vox, June 28, 2017).
Senate GOP's Proposed Medicaid Cuts Would Slash Aid for Special Needs Kids – Darla Mercado (CNBC, June 27, 2017).
This Is What Oligarchy Looks Like: Koch Brothers’ Groups Criticize GOP Senate Health Care Bill for Not Being Conservative Enough – Marina Fang (The Huffington Post, June 25, 2017).
Republicans Call Obamacare a "Failure." These Seven Charts Show They Couldn't Be More Wrong – Michael Hiltzik (Los Angeles Times, January 4, 2017).
Republican Blurts Out That Sick People Don’t Deserve Affordable Care – Jonathan Chait (New York Magazine, May 1, 2017).
Poll: Only 12% of Americans Support the Senate Health Care Plan – Susan Page and Emma Kinery (USA Today, June 28, 2017).
"Resistance Is Working": McConnell Forced to Delay Trumpcare Vote – Jake Johnson (Common Dreams, June 27, 2017).
Despite Delay, Resistance Doubles Down Against Deeply Unpopular Trumpcare Bill – Julia Conley (Common Dreams, June 28, 2017).
I Was Pulled Out of My Wheelchair by Police. It Could Be Worse. Trumpcare Could Pass – Stephanie Woodward (Vox, June 28, 2017).
Urging Democrats to Go Bold, Elizabeth Warren Says "The Next Step Is Single Payer" – Julia Conley (Common Dreams, June 27, 2017).
These Three Movies Will Help You Understand the Republican Health Care Bill – Matthew Dessem (Slate, June 29, 2017).
Understanding Republican Cruelty – Paul Krugman (New York Times, June 30, 2017).
Caring for the Common Good Is What We Should All Have In Common – Leonard Pitts (Press Herald, June 28, 2017).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Quote of the Day – May 4, 2017
Quote of the Day – March 16, 2017
A Profoundly Troubling and Tragic Indictment
On International Human Rights Day, Saying "No" to Donald Trump and His Fascist Agenda
Trump's Playbook

Image: Molly Adams/Flickr.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Making the Connections

. . . then and now

The Wild Reed's 2017 Queer Appreciation series continues with the sharing of a piece I originally wrote in 2003 for an online progressive LGBT community forum that's long since gone. At the time I wrote this particular piece the U.S. (along with its coalition of "the bought and bullied," in the words of Indian author Arundhati Roy) was preparing to invade Iraq – a disastrous endeavor that would lead to the rise of ISIS and contribute to the worst refugee crisis since World War II. We live with these consequences to this day.

In 2003 I was 36 and working as the director of a justice education program at a UCC church in south Minneapolis. I was also the founder and lead organizer of a Twin Cities-based activist group called Queers United for Radical Action (QURA). The members of QURA (and, truth be told, there were never more that a dozen or so of us) described ourselves as a "network of LGBT activists dedicated to educating ourselves and the wider LGBT community on the threats to democracy, human life, and the environment posed by the nexus of corporate globalization, militarism, and environmental degradation." We also sought to organize and participate in educational and non-violent direct action events in order to facilitate positive and radical social and economic change, and to facilitate and share a uniquely queer spirit of resistance to all forms of oppression. In 2002, one of the events we co-sponsored examined the connections between corporate power, racism, and public policy-making. (This particular event is discussed further midway in this previous Wild Reed post).

Left: With my friend and fellow queer activist Mick Schommer in 2002. Yes, I'm wearing my homemade QURA t-shirt.

Why dig up and share today this piece from 2003? Well, because I believe its message is just as important now as it was 14 years ago – maybe even more so. The good news is that as the accompanying images and related off-site links listed at the end of this post show, there are many LGBTQI+ people "making the connections" in the Trump era of today and who are, accordingly, opting to protest rather than parade. This gives me hope.

Of course, today, the work of connection-making and coalition-building is understood to be a key aspect of the theory and practice of intersectionality, a term coined by American civil rights advocate Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw to describe overlapping or intersecting social identities and related systems of oppression, domination, or discrimination.

One last thing: the only change I've made in reprinting my commentary from 2003 is the replacing of "LGBT" with the more inclusive LGBTQI+. Oh, and truth be told, I tend to refer to myself now as queer rather than "gay." Perhaps more about that in a future post. For now, here's my commentary from 2003 . . .

Why are you talking about these other issues? What have they got to do with the LGBTQI+ community? With talk of U.S. military strikes against Iraq and an increase in anti-war activism around the country and the world, questions such as these are often asked within the LGBTQI+ community whenever issues such as U.S. foreign policy, war, and global justice are raised.

As a gay man working for global justice and peace, my response to such questions is to quietly insist that such issues are indeed relevant to the LGBTQI+ community as ultimately we are more than our sexual orientation. This doesn't deny or reduce the significance of one's sexual orientation, but instead recognizes it as one of a number of interrelated aspects contributing to an authentic and whole human life.

I don't believe that being gay automatically makes one more humanitarian, sophisticated, politically savvy, or concerned about the world. I agree with black feminist lesbian Audre Lorde who wrote that "oppression and the intolerance of difference come in all shapes and sizes and colors and sexualities." Still, I am convinced that the experiences of LGBTQI+ people in an often anti-LGBTQI+ world do have the potential to attune us to the oppression of others.

As LGBTQI+ people struggling to live authentic lives within a heterosexist society, we often encounter destructive realities – prejudice, narrow-mindedness, discrimination, and violence. Knowing how such things feel I do not wish to subject others to them. Yet we live within an economic system that demands the exploitation of others – mostly notably the poor of other countries and people of color. It's also an economic system that requires domination and violence for its protection and expansion. For decades the U.S. government has provided this violence – either directly through military "interventions" or indirectly through its support of brutally repressive dictatorships in other countries.

There came a point in my development as a human being when I had to speak out against such an oppressive and exploitive economic system – just as there had come a time in my life as a gay man when I knew I had to speak out against the oppressive realities of heterosexism and homophobia. My life as a global justice and anti-war activist is very much an extension of my life as an out gay man. I see the two intrinsically connected.

I also think that LGBTQI+ folks know very well the oppressive and destructive nature of secrets. Many of us have and/or continue to live in such a way that our true identity is kept secret from others, even those we love.

Secrets are ultimately life-denying. In the U.S. the corporate media colludes – often unconsciously – with corporate interests to keep secret a very disturbing fact: although we're told that it is our love of freedom and democracy that undergirds, shapes, and directs U.S. foreign and economic policy, more often than not it is greed, domination, and violence. And although policy fueled by such realities may provide us with cheap clothes and oil, it also implicates us in the exploitation of workers in other countries and of the environment. Such policy also puts our nation in great danger, ranging from "blowback" terrorist attacks to world-wide ecological disaster.

Why are such realities ignored by our elected representatives and by the media?

Why are so few people aware that the media is owned and in many ways controlled by corporations heavily invested in the making of military weapons, and thus supportive of war?

Why do we allow ourselves to be distracted by trivial pursuits and mindless consumerism?

Why do we tolerate being lied to?

As a gay man I resist and speak out against the oppressive realities of heterosexism and homophobia. By not speaking out against other types of oppression and domination I am complicit in the oppression of others.

Ultimately, I can only take pride in myself as a gay man if I take pride in myself as a human being. This means becoming aware of my place in all forms of oppressive societal systems. It also means acknowledging that such systems are pervasive to the extent that we all live compromised lives. Nevertheless, we can work with others to dismantle and transform such systems into ones to which we can be proud to belong – as LGBTQI+ people, as human beings.

– Michael J. Bayly
January 28, 2003

For previous instalments in the The Wild Reed 2017 Queer Appreciation series, see:
Our Lives as LGBTQI People: "Garments Grown in Love"
On the First Anniversary of the Pulse Gay Nightclub Massacre, Orlando Martyrs Commemorated in Artist Tony O'Connell's “Triptych for the 49”
Tony Enos on Understanding the Two Spirit Community

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Reclaiming and Re-Queering Pride
A Lose/Lose Situation
A Letter to "Dear Abby" re. Responding to 9/11
Praying for George W. Bush
The Tenth Anniversary of the U.S. Invasion of Iraq
Let’s Also Honor the “Expendables”
Letting Them Sit By Me
"It Is All Connected"
At the Mall of America, a Necessary Disruption to "Business as Usual"

Related Off-site Links:
No Justice, No Pride Is the Revolutionary Spirit of the Stonewall Uprising – Aaron Barksdale (Vice Impact, June 19, 2017).
Why I’m Skipping the Pride Parade and Going to the Dyke March – Claire Landsbaum (New York Magazine, June 22, 2017).
Is Pride Still for Queer People Like Me? – Krista Burton (The New York Times, June 17, 2017).
No Justice, No Pride: Coalitions Shut Down Pride Parades – Wakíƞyaƞ Waánataƞ (Last Real Indians, June 26, 2017).
LGBTQ Pride Marches Marked by Protests Across U.S. – Michael Edison Hayden (ABC News, June 25, 2017).

Image 1: Alejandro Alvarez (Washington, D.C. Pride, June 10, 2017).
Image 2: Michael J. Bayly (Twin Cities Pride, June 2003).
Image 3: Michael J. Bayly (Minneapolis, 2002).
Image 4: GetEQUAL (Seattle Pride, June 2017).
Image 5: Fight Back! News (Twin Cities Pride, June 2013).
Image 6:Michael J. Bayly (Minneapolis, 2003).
Image 7: Associated Press (2017).

Quote of the Day

Note: Today's Quote of the Day serves as a follow-up to The Wild Reed's June 24 post, Police, Pride, and Philando Castile.

Echoing social media, Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau called [the Pride parade organizers' decision not to have a large police contingent start the parade] “a decision to exclude officers.” Mainstream media, including the Star Tribune, piled on, calling it a “ban” of police. Reducing the show of police force at the start of the parade is not the same as a ban or exclusion. Exclusion is a powerful word. Gay people should know that – they’ve experienced a lot of genuine exclusion.

Twin Cities Pride knows that the police presence at Pride was celebrated by many members of the community and that it was genuinely painful for others [especially in the wake of the not-guilty verdict in the police killing of Philando Castile], even with Pride’s efforts to tone it down. Pride organizers were not surprised by the protests that slowed the parade on Sunday. The false report of a police “ban” provided a distraction from outrage at laws that protect police from objectively unreasonable conduct.

Should communication have been better? Absolutely – on all sides. Should Pride organizers have thought to call Chief Harteau to let her know about the change to the start of the parade and to reassure her that she and her officers were welcome to march elsewhere, along with firefighters, drag queens and snowplow drivers? Yes.

Should Harteau have picked up the phone to talk with Pride organizers instead of releasing a public letter to Pride and tweeting about police exclusion when there was no such thing? Yes.

Unfortunately for Twin Cities Pride, the story of police exclusion built until it drowned out the truth.

– Eileen A. Scallen
Excerpted from “Pride-Police Controversy
Was a Media Conflagration

Star Tribune
June 26, 2017

See also the related Wild Reed posts:
Police, Pride, and Filando Castile
Making the Connections

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Something to Think About . . .

Related Off-site Links:
We Need to Talk About Racism in the LGBTQ Community – Phillip Henry (Teen Vogue, June 21, 2017).
An Open Letter To Gay, White Men: No, You’re Not Allowed to Have a Racial Preference – Donovan Trott (The Huffington Post, June 19, 2017).
Redesigned Pride Flag Recognizes LGBT People of Color – Nancy Coleman (CNN News, June 13, 2017).
Being Offended by Black and Brown Stripes on the Pride Flag Proves Why They’re Necessary – Dean Eastmond (His Kind, June 14, 2017).
Don’t Dance With Me During Pride Month If You Won’t Stand for Philando Castile – Cami Thomas (The Huffington Post, June 17, 2017).
When a Pride March Means Owning the Shame of Racial and Economic Injustice – Peter Laarman (Religion Dispatches, June 5, 2017).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Reclaiming and Re-Queering Pride
Police, Pride, and Philando Castile

Image: Photographer unknown.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Police, Pride, and Philando Castile

Well, now that Twin Cities Pride has reversed its decision regarding the presence of uniformed police personnel in tomorrow's Pride parade, I appreciate local community leader and businessman Ken Darling's invitation:

Imagine this: What if the uniformed officers, whom the Pride Committee just asked to return to the parade, carried signs that said "We hear you." "We understand your fear." "We will do better." Or maybe just two words: "Philando Castile."

As you may already know, Twin Cities Pride announced this past Tuesday that a planned contingent of police officers and law enforcement officials would not be marching at the head of this year's Ashley Rukes GLBT Pride Parade. Writing in, Andy Birkey reported that "the decision was made in response to a groundswell of opposition both before and after the not-guilty verdict in the police killing of Philando Castile."

And in a Facebook post explaining the decision, Twin Cities Pride executive director Dot Belstler wrote: “With the recent verdict in the Philando Castile case Twin Cities Pride has decided to forgo this part of the police participation in the parade for this year and respect the pain the community is feeling right now. There will just be one lone unmarked police car starting off the parade and there will limited police participation in the parade itself.”

Yesterday, however, the following statement was released by Belstler and the Twin Cities Pride Board of Directors.

Earlier this week Twin Cities Pride made a decision to forego uniformed, off-duty police officers from participating in the beginning of the Twin Cities Pride Parade. We would like to apologize to the law enforcement community for neglecting to communicate and consider input for other possible alternatives prior to releasing the details of this decision.

Following its release, we received input from impacted parties and through this input we recognize this decision has made members of the law enforcement community feel excluded, which is contrary to our mission to foster inclusion. Our intent is and was to respect the pain that the people of color and transgender communities have experienced as of late, but our original approach fell short of our mission.

As of yesterday afternoon, we productively met with representatives of these parties, including Chief Harteau of the Minneapolis Police Department and Roxanne Anderson, Executive Director of the Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition, in an effort to create a cohesive, unifying alternative which is inclusive of each perspective on this issue.

One unmarked police car will clear the way as originally stated, and we would like to invite members of the law enforcement community to participate in the parade by holding the Unity flag or marching alongside the Rainbow, Bisexual, or Transgender flags.

To our transgender and people of color communities, we will continue to respect your pain and angst by bridging the divide and continuing conversations on both sides of this issue to ensure we consider alternatives that make each group feel comfortable and safe.

Twin Cities Pride will also continue to keep communication channels open with all community members to ensure our events and activities that provide a place to foster inclusion, educate and create awareness of issues, and to celebrate our achievements.

– Dot Belstler and Twin Cities Pride Board of Directors
June 23, 2017

I've read numerous responses to the above statement. One of the most powerful is the following by Erica Mauter, LGBTQI community leader, executive director for Twin Cities Women's Choir, and candidate for Ward 11 on the Minneapolis City Council.

Just when I had hope that Twin Cities Pride had really listened to queer people of color [QPOC], they reneged, and I'm disappointed again.

TC Pride held a number of listening sessions and made some changes based on feedback. I appreciate and applaud that they did this. One of those changes was to remove the contingent of uniformed police officers with marked squad cars from the front of the parade. The parade will begin with one unmarked car to clear the route, per the law.

Police officers – in uniform – are not entitled to space in the Pride parade. The irony here is SO THICK. Pride was born when queer and trans women of color revolted against police brutality. I implore everyone to understand the difference between INTENTION by marching in uniform in the parade and the IMPACT that that presence has on QPOC.

Police officers are more than welcome to participate in any/all aspects of Pride just like the rest of us do. In plain clothes. Yes, all sorts of organizations show support for the LGBTQ community by participating in the Pride festival and parade. Yes, there are police officers who are LGBT and/or people of color. Yes, they want to feel like a part of the community, too. But MPD and Twin Cities Pride have to understand the impact that UNIFORMED officers have on people of color attending the festival. QPOC have, in fact, been saying so for years. I'm not even opposed to MPD having a unit in the parade. Carry a banner. Throw some candy. Just don't wear the uniform.

I'm grateful to Roxanne Anderson for her participation in yesterday's conversations, and helping to navigate to a compromise wherein uniformed officers will not march as a unit but will help carry the flags. In fact, that's a better default for future years.

As an OutFront Minnesota Action endorsed candidate, I will be marching in the Parade with the OutFront contingent. But make no mistake, I'm incredibly disappointed. I encourage all of you who are going to the parade to talk about this with fellow parade-watchers, and let Twin Cities Pride know that you do not agree with their choices.

– Erica Mauter
via Facebook
June 23, 2017

And since I began this post with words from local LGBTQI community leader Ken Darling, I'll conclude with another quote from him, one that was originally shared yesterday on Facebook, before it was announced that Twin Cities Pride had reversed its decision regarding limiting the presence of uniformed police in tomorrow's parade.

I have a long history with the police, as a former police reporter and community activist. I've been on numerous ride alongs. I've had good and bad personal experiences with cops. I've been in the media dozens of times discussing their actions. I praised the officers who ran into the Pulse nightclub on a national radio program. I successfully called for a Minneapolis chief to be sidelined in the 1990s. I helped the first cop in Minneapolis announce she was gay on the cover of the Star Tribune, back when that was a big deal. I was even on a commission that chose a Minneapolis police chief after a decade of poor community-police relations. I know cops. I respect cops. But I also I support the Pride committee's thoughtful and necessary actions to limit police presence at Pride this year. Communities of color are hurting and are understandably angry. We all know the police protect us, that most officers are public servants who give much and receive little. But – and this is a big but – police unions, police leaders and the entire cadre of police officers must do more to weed out those cops who can't handle the job, who fear people based on the color of their skin, who overreact with deadly consequences, who can't handle even the routine pressures of the job, who justify the history of racism that permeates police culture. Yes, you have a tough job. Yes, you deserve our respect. But another young man is dead, his life wasted for no good reason, and no one is being held accountable. Again. You must do more.

– Ken Darling
via Facebook
June 23, 2017

Related Off-site Links:
Some Police Complain After Being Told They Can't March in Twin Cities Pride Parade – Karen Zamora (Star Tribune, June 22, 2017).
Twin Cities Pride Officials Reverse Course, Invite Police to March In Parade – Liz Sawyer (Star Tribune, June 23, 2017).
We Need to Get Corporate America and Police Units Out of Pride Marches – Steven W Thrasher (The Guardian, June 12, 2017).
We Mourn for Philando Castile. This Violence Must End – OutFront Minnesota (July 6, 2016).
7 Seconds. That's How Long It Took to Kill a Compliant Black Man Carrying a Legal Gun – Will Bunch (Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, June 21, 2017).
Our Fear of Black Men Is Racist, and It Killed Philando Castile – John Halstead (The Huffington Post, June 22, 2017).
“Fear” Was a Viable Defense for Killing Philando Castile. With Police and Black Victims, It Always Is – Jamelle Bouie (Slate, June 23, 2017).
Cleveland Police Officer Bravely Cracks the “Blue Wall Of Silence” – Rickey L. Hampton Sr. (The African American Athlete, June 22, 2017).
2017 Is the Year of Black Fear – Ciarra Jones (The Huffington Post, June 22, 2017).

6/25/17 UPDATE:
Advocates for Black Lives Disrupt Twin Cities Pride Parade;
Demand "Justice for Philando"

Related Off-site Links:
Protesters Block Pride Parade, Demand Police Be RemovedWCCO News (June 25, 2017).
Protest Briefly Halts Twin Cities Pride Parade on Hennepin Avenue – Pat Pheifer (Star Tribune, June 25, 2017).
Black Lives Matter Protesters Stall Twin Cities Pride ParadeFox 9 News (June 25, 2017).
Protesters Briefly Halt Pride Parade – Doualy Xaykaothao (MPR News, June 25, 2017).
No Justice, No Pride Is the Revolutionary Spirit of the Stonewall Uprising – Aaron Barksdale (Vice Impact, June 19, 2017).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Remembering Philando Castile and Demanding Abolition of the System That Targets and Kills People of Color
Quote of the Day – June 20, 2017
A Lose/Lose Situation
Reclaiming and Re-Queering Pride

Friday, June 23, 2017

A Visit to Grand Marais

This time last week my friend Kathleen and I were in Grand Marais, a town on Minnesota's North Shore of Lake Superior. It's a beautiful area of the state, and one which I had not visited since 2004.

The area is renowned for its alternating rocky cliffs and cobblestone beaches, with forested hills and ridges through which rivers and waterfalls descend as they flow to Lake Superior.

Above: With Judy, a friend of both Kathleen and I. Judy lives in the woods outside of the town of Finlayson, MN. We stayed with her on Thursday night, June 15, on our way to the North Shore. We greatly enjoyed and appreciated Judy's hospitality. Thanks, Judy!

About the history of the North Shore's indigenous populations, Wikipedia notes the following:

Lake Superior was settled by Native Americans about 8000 BCE when the Wisconsin Glaciers began to retreat. By 500 BCE the Laurel people had established settlements in the area and had begun to trade metal with other native peoples. The Laurel people were animists and probably created many of the pictographs present on rock faces along the North Shore and other Canadian rock faces in order to communicate with spirits.

In the 12th century, on the easternmost portion of the North Shore, the ancestors of the Ojibwa migrated into the area. These people left behind small pits dug in the ground which archaeologists now call Pukaskwa Pits. On the Minnesotan portion of the North Shore there are only three archaeological sites, so it cannot be determined who lived there at the time.

By the 18th century the Ojibwa had settled the length of the North Shore approximately as far as the modern Canadian–Minnesotan Border. The Minnesota portion of the North Shore was settled mostly by the Cree, while the Dakota lived to the south.

Whenever I visit an area I try to support the local artist community, and Grand Marais is quite the art colony. Accordingly, when in Grand Marais last weekend, I purchased a print of Howard Sivertson's artwork entitled "Solitude" (right).

Raised as a third generation commercial fisherman in Washington Harbor on Isle Royale, Sivertson works primarily in watercolor and oils either on location or in his Grand Marais studio. He is well known for painting the scenes and historical events of the North Shore, Isle Royale, and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. His artwork, combined with text, features in a number of books focusing on the area's history. These books include Once Upon an Isles (1992), The Illustrated Voyageur (1994), Tales of the Old North Shore (1996), Schooners, Skiffs & Steamships: Stories Along Lake Superior Water Trails, and Driftwood: Stories Picked Up Along the Shore (2008).

Above: Grand Marais Harbor – Friday, June 16, 2017.

Grand Marais, population approx. 1,400, is French for "Great Marsh," a reference to a marsh that, in early fur-trading times, was situated at the head of the town's harbor. The Ojibwe name for the area is Gichi-biitoobiig, which means "great duplicate water," "parallel body of water" or "double body of water" (like a bayou), a reference to the two bays which form the large harbor off Lake Superior.

Some more interesting details about Grand Marais, courtesy of Wikipedia:

The land surrounding Grand Marais slopes up to form the Sawtooth Bluff, a dramatic rock face visible from nearly any vantage point in the city. Adjacent to the bluff is Pincushion Mountain, a large bald monolith with dramatic views of Lake Superior and the inland wilderness.

Grand Marais Harbor is protected by Artist's Point, a barrier island formed by lava that was connected to the mainland by gravel deposited by lake currents, forming a tombolo. An Arctic–alpine disjunct community survives there.

Road access to Grand Marais is by Minnesota Highway 61, which heads northeast, following the shore of Lake Superior, and is known as the North Shore Scenic Drive. The Gunflint Trail (Cook County Road 12) begins in Grand Marais and heads northwest, away from the lake and into the Boundary Waters region.

Grand Marais is located 110 miles northeast of Duluth and 40 miles southwest of the Canada–US border.

Above: Grand Marais Harbor – Friday, June 16, 2017.

Above: The Shoreline Inn, our lodgings in Grand Marais.

Above and below: Views of Grand Marais – June 16-17, 2017.

Above and below: Kathleen and I at Cascade Falls State Park – Friday, June 16, 2017.


See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Days of Summer on the Bayfield Peninsula (2013)
Sunday in Duluth (2010)
Trempealeau (2009)
Northwoods (2008)

Related Off-site Links:
Walking the Old Road: The Story of Chippewa City and the Grand Marais (2010-2011).
Anishinaabe Way: Lives, Words and Stories of Ojibwe
The Sivertson Gallery: Art of the North.
Things to Do On the North Shore, Mile by MileNorth Shore Visitor (2017).

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Quote of the Day

I go out of my way to avoid police, because I don’t know how to physically act around them. Do I hold my hands in the air and get shot, Do I kneel and get shot? Do I reach for my ID and get shot? Do I say I’m an English teacher and get shot? Do I tell them everything I am about to do, and get shot? Do I assume that seven of them will still feel threatened by one of me, and get shot? Do I simply stand and be big black guy and get shot? Do I fold my arms and squeeze myself into smaller and get shot? Do I be a smartass and get shot? Do I leave my iPhone on a clip of me on Seth Meyers, so I can play it and say, see, that’s me. I’m one of the approved black guys. And still get shot?

And when I do get shot and killed, do black and brown people take it as a given that the cop will get off, tune out of the story from this point, and leave the outrage at the inevitable verdict to white people? Because white people still look at fear of black skin as one of their rights, and god help you if that skin moves. Because cops, the lethal arm of this society, along with neighborhood watchdogs, and white neighbors with phones, get the privilege to always act on any fear, no matter how ridiculous, and society always gives them the benefit of the doubt and the not guilty verdict. Because brewing fresh outrage every morning is not a privilege people of colour get to have. The situations that cause outrage never go away for us. It never stuns us, never comes out of the blue. We don’t get to be appalled because only people expecting better get appalled.

Marlon James
Excerpted from "Smaller, and Smaller, and Smaller"
via Facebook
June 17, 2017

Related Off-site Links:
Author Marlon James Offers Biting Critique of Minnesota Racism After Philando Castile Case – Susan Hoga (The Washington Post, June 20, 2017).
Marlon James Writes About Being "Big," Black and Minnesotan In the Age of Philando Castile – Mike Mullen (City Pages, June 19, 2017).
Dashcam Footage of Philando Castile Shooting Released – Breanna Edwards (The Root, June 20, 2017).
Philando Castile and the Terror of an Ordinary Day – Elise C. Boddie (The New York Times, June 20, 2017).
Interviews Contradict Jeronimo Yanez Trial Testimony He Saw Philando Castile’s Gun – Susan Du (City Pages, June 20, 2017).
The Acquittal Verdict In the Philando Castile Case Is an Abomination – Daniel Payne (The Federalist, June 19, 2017).
White People, the Philando Castile Acquittal Should Make You Mad as Hell – Zenobia Jeffries (Yes!, June 19, 2017).
The White Parallel Universe of a Traffic Stop – Samuel G. Freedman (The Chicago Tribune, June 19, 2017).
“Minnesota Nice” and Minnesota’s Racism – Andrea Plaid (Twin Cities Daily Planet, November 5, 2015).
The Stages of What Happens When There’s Injustice Against Black PeopleAwesomely Luvvie (December 4, 2014).
The Body Count Rises In the U.S. War Against Black People – Ajamu Baraka (Counter Punch, June 20, 2017).

UPDATES: 7 Seconds. That's How Long It Took to Kill a Compliant Black Man Carrying a Legal Gun – Will Bunch (Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, June 21, 2017).
On Philando Castile, Terror and the Trauma That Remains – Allyson Hobbs (The Root, June 21, 2017).
Police Shooting of Castile: In Falcon Heights, We Were Jolted Into Knowing We Needed Change – Christine Baeumler, et al (Star Tribune, June 21, 2017).
"It Broke Me": The Daily Show Host Trevor Noah’s Emotional Reaction to Philando Castile Dashcam Video – Marlow Stearn (The Daily Beast, June 22, 2017).
After Cop Shot Castile, 4-Year-Old Worried Her Mom Would Be Next – Madison Park (CNN, June 22, 2017).
After Philando Castile's Death, Investigators Tried to Secretly Get Access to Diamond Reynolds' Facebook and Phone Records – Kate Conger (Gizmodo, June 22, 2017).
Our Fear of Black Men Is Racist, and It Killed Philando Castile – John Halstead (The Huffington Post, June 22, 2017).
The Philando Castile Jury Was Stacked with Pro-gun, Pro-cop, Middle-aged White People – Kali Holloway (AlterNet via Salon, June 23, 2017).
Yanez Juror: "Nobody Was OK with It" – Tom Weber (MPR News, June 23, 2017).
Minneapolis Cops Retreat From Stricter Deadly-force Policy – Libor Jany (Star Tribune, June 26, 2017).
"All the Police Have to Do Is Utter Those Five Magic Words" – Janine Jackson (FAIR, June 26, 2017).
What Will It Take to Hold Police Officers Accountable? – Areva Martin (The Huffington Post, June 27, 2017).
"America is on Trial": Historian Ibram X. Kendi on the Failure to Convict Cops Who Kill Black PeopleDemocracy Now! (June 28, 2017).
Philando Castile Settlement Shows White America Willingly Pays for White Supremacy – Jason Johnson (The Root, June 28, 2017).
Militarizing the Minds of Police Officers – Jelani Cobb (The New Yorker, June 29, 2017).
The NRA: No support for Philando Castile, But An Apocalyptic View of America – Tigger Lunney (City Pages, June 30, 2017).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Quote of the Day – June 17, 2017
"This Doesn't Happen to White People"
Remembering Philando Castile and Demanding Abolition of the System That Targets and Kills People of Color
Quote of the Day – March 31, 2016
Something to Think About – December 29, 2015
Quote of the Day – November 25, 2015
"We Are All One" – #Justice4Jamar and the 4th Precinct Occupation: Photos, Reflections and Links
An Update on #Justice4Jamar and the 4th Precinct Occupation
Rallying in Solidarity with Eric Garner and Other Victims of Police Brutality
"Say Her Name" Solidarity Action for Sandra Bland
In Minneapolis, Rallying in Solidarity with Black Lives in Baltimore
Thoughts on Prayer in a "Summer of Strife"

Image: Marlon James photographed by Jeffrey Skemp.