Christa Lawler / Forum News Service
DULUTH — At a cozy loft-style Airbnb in the Spirit Valley neighborhood, not only can you enjoy the reclaimed wood art above the queen-sized bed — for $400, you can take it home with you.
DULUTH — The star piece of Monday, Jan. 13's exhibition opening was scheduled to arrive at 5 p.m. and leave at 7 p.m. Until then, there was an empty easel among the featured drawings, paintings and sculptures featured in the Transformative Power of Public Television Art Show at the Zeitgeist Arts building. Ultimately, it arrived a little early. The small painting (year, date, circumstances unknown) was propped in a place of prominence with, fittingly, artist Mary Plaster’s larger-than-life Mr. Rogers puppet looming behind it. There was much buzz about this rare sighting.
DULUTH -- Earlier this month, local bread heads-in-the-know received a boxload of off-menu goods from Duluth’s Best Bread: sprouted bi-color quinoa bread, farro porridge bread, lemon ginger scones, granola bars and morning buns. The Fresh Start Boxes, packed into cardboard designed with the kind of cute and corny one-liners the bakery’s Lillegard brothers favor, kicked off a new venture — a monthly subscription box service. “We thought this would be a cool idea,” said Robert Lillegard, the older one who wanted to own a business but not be charged with making the product.
DULUTH — In 2014, two young Dutch women went on what was supposed to be a day hike in a forest near a mountain town in Panama. Their bodies were found months later — after the discovery of a backpack with their supplies packed neatly inside. Maybe they fell from a cliff or a tricky rope bridge, as it was ruled by the local government, or maybe that just doesn’t make sense.
DULUTH — Portrait of Kelly Florence, the child: drawn to scary movies, rooting for King Kong, wonders why everyone is being so mean to Frankenstein’s monster. In first grade, she wondered why Halloween couldn’t have the heft of other holidays — one day only of zombies roaming the streets. “Christmas is real ... why can’t Halloween be real,” she recalled thinking. “I wanted zombies to be real. I like that feeling of being scared, a safe way to be scared. I’m not actually in peril.”
DULUTH — Evelyn is a terrible person. She works at the Fry Weenie at the Minnesota State Fair, but she wants more than the seasonal food stand. She wants to be Princess Kay of the Milky Way, the winner of the annual Dairy Princess competition. Princess Kay, famously, gets her likeness sculpted in butter — which is then exhibited at the state fair. For Evelyn, this is not an attainable goal. “Nobody loves the state fair more than me,” said writer Jean Sramek, then reconsidered. “I’m in the Top 100, I’d say.”
CARLTON COUNTY, Minn. — Austin Nastrom, according to his friends, hit the southern terminus of the Superior Hiking Trail with a big grin at about mid-afternoon Tuesday. The 24-year-old, who lives in La Crosse, Wis., and works for a company that coaches injured runners back to health, had spent the past 6 days, 8 hours and 30 minutes cruising the 310-mile route from the Canadian border to this deeply wooded spot off a single-lane muddy gravel road at the Minnesota-Wisconsin border.
At some point in your visit to the Minnesota State Fair, it will feel like you are always walking against the crowd. Sweat will pool in places you didn’t know you had ravines. You won’t have to go to the bathroom, but you won’t not have to go the bathroom. You will swear that a single ray of sunlight is burning a nickel-sized hole in your brain. This is just a tiny little tater tot of discomfort in what has been a hotdish of pleasure.
FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. — We pored over the Minnesota State Fair’s new food listings. We picked things that looked pretty, outrageous, or served on a stick. Then we ate our way from end-to-end. This year, long after the photographer left, we were off the clock and Belinda Carlisle had performed a free concert on the Leinenkugel's Stage, we realized we were hungry-hungry — not for fried pickles or funnel cake, but for just, like, food. We bought the menu at the Blue Barn.
Among the lesser-known stories from the Dylan and Duluth mythology is the Rolling Thunder Revue group vacation, as Louie Kemp describes it in his memoir “Dylan and Me: 50 Years of Adventures.” Dylan and friends, fresh from the mid-1970s carnival-esque pop-up cross-continent small-venue road cruise, holed up at Spirit Mountain for a bit: Joan Baez, Roger McGuinn of the Byrds, promoter Barry Imhoff and more.