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Posts Tagged ‘Minneapolis

Tourist Trap

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Who can resist a solid bridge or two?




Image Credit: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

February 11, 2015 at 8:36 am

Little Known Fact: Minnesota’s Blue Bridges

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Deep in the winter, just before sunrise, bridges turn blue.


It must have to do with the bitter cold.

And you can also see the headlamps of the troll family making their way back to their cave after a night’s mischief.

So glad I caught all this action.

Minnesota! Weird, right?


Written by kirkistan

February 4, 2015 at 8:08 am

Charles Chamblis: Photographer’s Notes

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Story told by numbers

Charles Chamblis didn’t take too many days off from photography. With his camera he captured slices of life in the African-American community around Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota in the 1970s and 1980s.


Go see his collection of Minneapolis-Saint Paul photos at the Minnesota History Center.

More on numbers here.


Image credit: Kirk Livingston

Let’s Get Liminal: How to be a Co–Laborer/Co-Thinker/Co-Contributor

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Show up to explore the space between

My friend helps researchers at his Midwestern university organize their thoughts for publication. He also helps them apply for grants to fund their research—a function many universities are increasingly focused on.

To do this work, my friend has found ways to walk alongside new professors as they form their research interests. By staying beside them over time (years, even), he is able to help identify places where the work can go forward and also begin to locate potential funding sources. That’s when the hard work begins of explaining the research to a funding committee.

Approaches to Minneapolis

Approaches to Minneapolis

This space between—where the research shows particular promise but is still unformed—this is where a conversation can bear fruit. Maybe even the goal itself is starting to take shape, along with possible routes to that desired end. Sometimes it is the conversations surrounding the goal and routes to the goal that open it for exploration.

Michael Banning is an observer and painter of liminal spaces—those spaces and places that we typically don’t even see:

I am interested in the liminal spaces found at the edges of the inner city. Amid the trucks, weeds and railroad tracks of those often post-industrial surroundings, one can find compelling views of the distant skyline as well as a sense of peace and quiet uncommon in the urban experience.

–“Parking Lot near Train Tracks,” by Michael Banning, label from James J. Hill House Gallery

Parking Lot near Train Tracks (Photo courtesy Michael Banning)

Parking Lot near Train Tracks (Photo courtesy Michael Banning)

See Michael Banning’s work here.

When we are lucky enough to find ourselves talking about these liminal spaces with each other, we might be collaborating in a particularly effective way. Typically we don’t have a clue when we’ve entered such a verbal space. Years later we might identify a conversation that was a turning point. Perhaps the best we can do is to remain open to entertaining each other’s unformed thoughts.

Who knows what might result?


Image credit: Kirk Livingston

Could Your Organization Grow Your Spirit?

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LEED-like certification for human-spirit-sustainable workplaces

LEED certification is a rating system that recognizes a building’s sustainability. LEED or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, rates a new building project using five different categories:

  1. Site location
  2. Water conservation
  3. Energy efficiency
  4. Materials
  5. Indoor air quality

Businesses and organizations with the highest ratings display them as a sort of badge of honor for the public to see.

What if there were some system to measure and rate the culture within a company or organization? Since we worry about bullying at school and we’re starting to recognize bullies in the office and toxic corporate cultures, does it make sense to start thinking about organizations that sustain people rather than beat them?


For instance, what if any organization was judged by these four categories:

  1. Bias toward collaboration
  2. Employee engagement indicators
  3. Mix of top-down messaging with true conversation
  4. Ratio of CEO-pay to rank-and-file pay

Seem ridiculous?

It would be difficult to measure many of these, especially since most of the categories seem so subjective. And yet, would it be impossible to measure? Would it be worthwhile to measure? Are we already moving in that direction?

In Minneapolis/St. Paul—like any set of cities—insider talk has long identified those cut-throat corporate and institutional cultures that routinely toss human capital to the side. Insider talk also identifies those bosses, managers and C-suite people without empathy and/or ethical moorings. New employees are generally forewarned when they sign up.

Of course, business is still about earning a living for the people involved even as the organization serves some human need. So don’t think I’m championing some communistic collective. Profits will and must be made to help society move forward.

But as we move toward fuller employment, workers will become more choosy about where they spend their days. And those cultures that have a less sustainable ethos will not be the winners.

I’m not convinced I’ve identified the right categories to measure. What categories would you include?


Image credit: Kirk Livingston

Northern Spark 2014: Don’t Freak

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Go, by all means. Just don’t freak out…


…at the…


weird stuff.


Northern Spark: June 14 9:01pm – 5:26am, Minneapolis

Worth every minute.


Image Credit: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

June 14, 2014 at 5:00 am


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Bisect The CityCity-2-06012014


Written by kirkistan

June 1, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Northeast Minneapolis Art-A-Whirl

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Wandering through the artist’s workspace is at least 50% of the fun

Urban Garden in Mill City

Urban Garden in Mill City

Six floors of art studios in the California Building

Six floors of art studios in the California Building

The top photo shows how Minneapolis begins to blossom in the spring.


Photo credit: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

May 18, 2014 at 10:03 am

“Nothing Cheers Me…Like a Great Pair of Ears”

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I like reading blogs because…detail02072014-6a01053560de5d970b01a51161bf2d970c-250wi

In regular life you might never hear the word combinations that people reveal in blogs. Bloggers can answer questions you’d never dream to ask—and suddenly you are enriched by some comment outta nowhere.

Like this quote (above) from Roz Wound Up.

I recently started following Roz Wound Up, a Minneapolis artist/sketcher/writer (designer/illustrator/teacher at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts) because of the detail she includes about how she practices her craft. A few days back she wrote a fascinating post about the ethics of sketching people in public. Hint: wear a large duck-billed hat so people cannot see your eyes. Today’s delightful post fixates on ears:

I’ve been watching tattoo shows again—Best Ink is the one that’s on right now. It was late, the day had been a complete wash up. Then this kid was standing there being judged on the show and I simple fell in love with his ears.

Read any of her posts and you’ll find in yourself a growing affection for pens and paper and seeing. Specifically:

  • Pentel Pocket Brush Pen
  • Fabriano Tiziano (8.5 x 11 inch sheet of cream)
  • And this: the way the pen feels going across the paper. Especially that.

I once thought a pen was a pen and paper was just something you grabbed from the drawer on the copier (and money’s just something you throw off the back of a train—thanks for sticking that in my brain, Tom Waits).

No longer. Sketching is a sensual art. Maybe seeing is too. The focus of Roz Wound Up has piqued my interest. And with the little sketching I’ve done I’ve started to have a sense of the way my pencil graphite feels across the fine tooth surface of my sketch pad. Now seeing has a sensual element—it’s something I do with a pencil and paper in hand.


Seeing rocks. I hope to do more of it.


Image credit: Roz Wound Up, Kirk Livingston

Now is the Perfect Time to Bike Minneapolis

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“Minneapolis ranks second in bike commuting, with our old nemesis taking top honors”


Aaron Rupar at City Pages recently pointed out that 6.1 percent of Portlandians bike to work, compared to 4.5 percent in Minneapolis. While that puts Portland ahead in commuters, Minneapolis is a biking paradise that continues to climb in bicycle usage.20130808_182224

If you’ve not spent much time on your bike, these waning days of summer are spectacular—especially as the leaves change. You’ll see all sorts of things you never noticed from the surface roads.

Do yourself a favor and take a spin this weekend.



Image Credits: Kirk Livingston


Written by kirkistan

September 25, 2013 at 9:45 am

Posted in curiosities

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