Life is a Mystery

15 June 2012 . Comments Off on It’s a mystery

It’s a mystery

Tonight will be opening night for Nate in his school production of Hairspray. He is playing Edna, mom of the heroine Tracy. Last night we say their first run-through as the cast and crew put the show on for families. It was wonderful.

I thought it was pretty gutsy of Nate to take on this role. He’s never been in a play before, he does not even like to sing in church, and he has to appear on stage night after night in a dress and curlers. And yet, on top of all the other things he does at his school, he took on this challenge. I couldn’t be more proud and impressed! That smudge in the spotlight of the picture below is Nate as Edna in the opening scene last night.

Over the past few days I’ve been arriving early and remembering why I love theater. The chaos reminded me of nothing more than this exchange in Shakespeare In Love:

Philip Henslowe
Mr. Fennyman, allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster.

Hugh Fennyman
So what do we do?

Nothing. Strangely enough, it all turns out well.


I don’t know. It’s a mystery.

It is, indeed, a mystery. But the kids of Crosswinds are sure pulling off the miracle of theater tonight. If you are in town, join us for opening night or for one of the other performances over the next two weeks.

Crosswinds Arts & Science School
600 Weir Drive, Woodbury, MN 55125

Friday, 6/15, 7:30pm
Saturday, 6/16, 7:30pm
Sunday, 6/17, 2pm
Thursday, 6/21, 7:30pm
Friday, 6/22, 7:30pm
Saturday, 6/23, 7:30pm
Sunday, 6/24, 2pm

Tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for students.

Hairspray at Crosswinds

6 March 2011 . Comments Off on Born this way

Born this way

I’ve got to say, I fell off the pop bandwagon long before Lady Gaga came along. I find it hard not to see her as a derivative of Madonna, and when I first hear the song “Born this way” that’s exactly how I responded. The video is even stranger than that, another stage beyond the shock of Madonna, for sure.

In fact, I never would have seen the video except for the story of Maria Aragon, a 10-year-old who put her cover of the song up on YouTube. I’m used to stories of studios hounding this kind of video off the site for copyright violations, but this story turned out very differently. Instead of getting a take down notice it got a thank you from someone having a very bad day: Lady Gaga herself.

You can imagine the reaction to the video above, and the pressure that puts on an artist like Lady Gaga. For her the antidote was watching this video.

Lady Gaga even found Maria on a Toronto radio talk show and shared this:

I want to tell you something Maria, because not only do you have such a beautiful voice, and you are so joyful to watch, but … every once in a while, whether people believe it or not, I have a very bad day. I was not having such a good day, and when Perez sent me the video of you singing ‘Born This Way,’ I was so overjoyed that I began to cry. This industry is very difficult for women sometimes and they want to tear us down and tear us apart. … Thank you so much for making my day better.

I watch Maria and can’t help but marvel at a world that lets a 10-year-old reach out and console a superstar with her own music. This is the kind of creativity and feedback possible today, not just for pop stars, but for politicians, corporations, educators, anyone ready to open their heart to the voices around them, ready to share their creative flame and warm themselves in the rebounding creative light of others. Oh, how I pray this networked world of ours is a force of opening and sharing, sometimes we seem so intent on making it one of ownership and bombast.

I know which version of this song I prefer!

26 May 2010 . Comments Off on Fashion’s dirty little secret

Fashion’s dirty little secret

A Slashdot post brought this wonderful TED Talk to my attention. Johanna Blakely describes how creativity in fashion thrives despite the virtual absence of intellectual property protections. This really calls into question the argument that we need copyright to encourage innovation. Check it out, and also take a look at her website at I love the Dali quote on her website: “Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.”

21 February 2010 . Comments Off on Wherein I figure out the iPad

Wherein I figure out the iPad

I have not been alone in musing about the iPad for the past few weeks. Just what is it? What will it do? Why would I want one? What is it for? Today I stumbled upon an answer. The iPad is not a device to read electronic books, the iPad will help us invent electronic books. More “below the fold”…

Read the rest of this entry »

9 February 2010 . Comments Off on FFR: Color

FFR: Color

I love color. One of my favorite college courses was a class on color theory where I learned that color was a lively thing, capable of surprise and even deceit. I enjoyed this article on The Meaning of Color today. I also want to recall this nice color theory tutorial.

The course was taught by Richard Lytle and was, I think, largely based on the plan set out by Josef Albers in his book Interaction of Color. I wish more art departments had such welcoming courses, so many jump right into drawing and never look back.


5 February 2010 . Comments Off on MPR goes off the rails

MPR goes off the rails

Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) just announced that it is suing the Central Corridor project. That is a line I am not willing to cross, so Mary and I have suspsended our membership. I love MPR, but this is a boneheaded move! Here’s the note I sent them:

Please suspend our sustaining membership of MPR.

We are not willing to support an organization that is hindering as important a civic project as the Central Corridor rail line. We have been uncomfortable with your position for years because the Central Corridor plans were well known long before MPR renovated its space. As far as we are concerned, it is wholly MPR’s responsibility that it built studios as close to a known future rail line as it did. You should not be suing the state, but rather asking funders like us to up our contributions a bit to help you make necessary remediations.

Now that you have decided to sue the Central Corridor project we can no longer in good conscience support MPR. Maybe once this suit is over we will consider rejoining, we will see what the consequences of your action are. If this in any way leads to the demise or diminishment of the Central Corridor project, though, then you have lost us as member for good.


2 February 2010 . Comments Off on Mosaic on a Stick

Mosaic on a Stick

Years ago when we were renovating our attic I made the naive choice to do the tile in the bathroom myself. I was inspired by Hundertwasser, but really knew nothing about tile. Many calls around town revealed a new little shop near the fairgrounds, Mosaic on a Stick. Lori Green and Maria founded the Stick as not only a source for the materials that mosaic artists need, but also as an open studio and learning space to invite people to discover the artform and fall in love with building a world from broken pieces. Today I read this wonderful article about Mosaic on a Stick.

I enjoyed it immensely. The broken plate had been sitting on my dresser for months, and every time I looked at it, I had a twinge of sadness, remembering the whole plate it had once been. But once I started breaking it up into half-inch pieces, it turned into something else entirely. Raw bits ready to be reassembled into something new. Possibilities.

I enjoyed arranging the pieces onto the wood picture frame, like pieces in a puzzle. It required a quiet concentration that was soothing, and I soon lost track of time.

If you live in the Twin Cities, you should really stop by some time. It is a healing experience!


29 January 2010 . Comments Off on FFR:


The boys and I are thinking of escaping to a movie this evening and Nathaniel suggested going to see The Lovely Bones. As I was trying to assess it I stumbled upon expecting a right-wing take down of a scary movie. Instead I found a thoughtful and well put-together review of the movie with great questions to think about with your kids and even reviews by parents and kids themselves. I found it very helpful and want to remember to come back and participate in this community down the road. Does anyone have other resources to suggest when evaluating media and talking about it with kids?


26 January 2010 . Comments Off on 51 is a majority, use it or lose it

51 is a majority, use it or lose it

Are you as frustrated as I am at the timidity of Democrats in Washington? We act as if it takes 60 votes in the Senate to do anything. The Senate! Already an undemocratic institution (Wyoming == California, I don’t think so), has been made even more ineffective by our readiness to cave to filibusters that don’t even happen.

51 is a majority! And we have way more than 51 votes in the Senate. Let the Republicans talk for days on end if they want to block legislation. We should be making law! We have the votes. If someone wants to filibuster, make them get up and do the deed.

So I say, 51 is a majority, use it or lose it. If we stay timid, we will get what we deserve come November. Democrats have to be ready to make sausage, to compromise, but we must also get things done.

I’ve set up a little shop at CafePress with the message: 51 is a majority, use it or lose it.

Pick something up there if you agree. Pass it along. Tweet, blog, talk to your friends, call your Congresspeople, and call your Senators or Senator-wanna-bees. Make sure they know you expect courage and progress.


17 September 2009 . Comments Off on Designing Obama

Designing Obama

Sigh. This is one I can’t pass up.

The Design Director of the Obama campaign, Scott Thomas, has collaborated with artists and designers to create Designing Obama, a chronicle of the art from the historic campaign. Get the inside story on how design was used by the campaign, and scope out the pieces, created unofficially, by grassroots supporters.

Eric Celeste / Saint Paul, Minnesota / 651.323.2009 /