Jimmy Lovrien, For the News Tribune
Minnesota-based hip-hop artist Dessa drew in a sold-out crowd to Pizza Luce on Wednesday night. Dessa described her show Wednesday as "literary," and her solo work includes published poems, essays and arrangements with the Minnesota Orchestra. Her versatility as an artist was on display Wednesday night. While some songs were heavily rap, she would make a quick switch to a ballad with influences of several genres. She told the audience her wide variety of music is possible thanks to her independence as an artist.
Standing above a black storage container, Katie Hanson slowly lifts its yellow lid with several holes dotting the top and changes into a narrator-like voice. She hangs on to each word: "This is the worm bin." A group of six children — all residents of the American Indian Community Housing Organization — peer over the bin with excitement.
On almost any given summer weekend in Duluth's Bayfront Festival Park, you can count on finding some sort of live entertainment, usually a concert. And this Saturday is no exception, though it will include an extra element. "You can expect a variety of genres from the bands and a whole heck of a lot of drag queens," Brittany Sanford of Ellipsis said by email. Sanford is a voting member of the Duluth Superior Pride Festival committee and was brought in as an outside contractor to help organize the weekend-long event.
When Connie Wanek lived on Winona Street in Duluth, she would walk through Hartley Nature Center every morning with her infant daughter in a baby carrier on her back. In the winter, she swapped shoes for cross-country skis and coasted along the snow so light she once described it as skiing in clouds. Her happiest moments were spent in the park, she said. So when she heard the news a trail through Hartley would be named in her honor and feature her poems, she teared up. "There's no place that ever meant so much to me as Hartley Field," Wanek said.
Emily Ford walks between several of the Glensheen Historic Estate's 46 garden beds. As her boots drag along the grass, wet from the morning rain, she pauses in front of the roses. She loves picking flowers for her coworkers, she says. She pulls a freshly picked tomato from her rain jacket pocket, rubs it between her fingers and pops it into her mouth. From her small office inside the gardener's cottage, Ford describes how excited she is to blend her lifelong passions into a career she loves.
Just outside the front doors of First United Methodist Church, the Rev. Jeanine Alexander stands ready to hug and chat with each person on their way in. Inside, church members and guests stop at a table to take a white name tag and scribble on it with a black Sharpie. It's Alexander's fourth Sunday at FUMC, but she's determined to learn names. After a quick set of announcements, she invites the congregation to stand for the "passing of the peace" with a reminder "to find someone you don't know well to greet first."
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