Les Trois Soeurs


Fire video

At the edge of the highway on 5th Ave South near Franklin Avenue South. I’ve seen these three houses for many years and thought of them as the “Three Sisters.” Probably all built around the same time possibly by the same architects or builders. Once they did not overlook a highway, although Franklin and nearby Portland must always have been busy streets. Reports said 8 then 20 people were misplaced by the fire on December 11, 2015. The usual practice of opening up the roof to sacrifice a house to save neighboring houses applied. That acrid aroma that always reminds me of…

The one that of the three (at least its exterior)was the most original and least altered experienced the fire.

Will it be saved or demolished?

Looking at it the next day, I saw an older fellow who was likely the owner probably living far from the home his family may once have owned, probably unable or unwilling to repair it. Still he and a helper worked to clean up the pieces of burnt wood, shingles and broken glass from the sidewalks and grass. And the men from the Latino families that lived there in each side of the duplex, stood on the sidewalk in silence waiting to be allowed in to save what items they could, two weeks before Christmas.

Theater of Ghosts 2


Flying Letters

pillseLate October, the sign atop the red tile mill was restored.  The enormous letters were lifted aloft by a crane.  It was so exciting that I forgot to press the record button as the Pillsbury “P” flew from the ground to the crew on the roof of the mill waiting to place it on its iron structure.

That hovering critter near the E iz a Drone! Boyz n Toyz!

So here’s a compendium of stuff about the event of restoring the Pillsbury’s Best Flour Sign atop the red tile mill, part of the Pillsbury A Mill complex.
If anyone has more, let me know.

Yes, I’ve included images I did not make, if anyone needs a more formal acknowledgement or credit, e me.

I have some videos which I will post eventually.







































A Halloween Potpourri

Behold the spooky delights of the Flamingo Ingham Halloween pageant of the Nightmare Before Christmas joining grinning sawtoothed pumpkins, floating skeletons, spiders, and glowing hot eyed ghouls. Bravo once again O’ creative soul!

And then as I waited to cross Portland as the traffic rushed by and twilight bloomed,
I saw a table at the edge of my vision, a flicker of candles, a lacy bridal veil…
I thought, a “Dia de Los Muertos” table! I went and looked…and so it was…photos and handwritten memories…so unexpected…so profound and moving. It was a “Phillips Neighborhood Shrine”…the artists, in a nearby house may have observed me from a distance wisely staying inside sensing an overly chatty odd individual they did not want to interact with or thought that shrine visitors might want a moment of private reminiscence.`

The Flamingo Ingham and the Shrine…The Profane and the Sacred…

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And the embodiment of both…earlier in the day…during a moment of bored Friday goof off freedom, I searched for a photo of a broom to make my usual comment about getting the old broom ready for my evening of Halloween flight…when one of those images appeared which stopped my breath and time and suddenly a THOUSAND stories stormed.
Of which I’ll only share a little…I thought four sisters…the tall, well dressed, aristocratic eldest holding a maid’s dust mop and pan as if they were alien things she would never touch…the two twins, fraternal not identical with the extra ordinary hats, holding a dead falcon perhaps brother or papa had shot…or perhaps the deceased raptor was a discovery of their own botanical expedition in the woods…hence the flowers…their feet energetically entwined…their secret bond of identical perceptions…then the youngest…in a smoky cloud, holding the broom with determined fingers, an outsider, a bit wild, an intense gaze of intelligence or artistry or rebellion.
Who were these women? What were their lives like? What one might imagine could be more fascinating than the reality. Click on the image twice to see a large image!


Lowry Hill East Walking Tour 10/3/2015

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Dear Ernest …


Dear Ernest…
It was only recently that I discovered a place that I knew….was yours!
Today I went to surround myself in it. I prayed that another place where you
created and taught would survive…

More soon…until then Our Lady of Victory is so transcendently glorious, this WILL survive.

The War of Light against Darkness

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I went to the river today. An experience of layers. Enlightenment and the power of nature…where the presence of heritage and history are strongest and then the distractions of human behavior fueled by liquor and language, the constant traffic indistinquishable from the sounds of the river. The presence of ugly monoliths, whose residents enter and leave by cars driven to underground parking ramps. They are completely isolated from nature.

Being in this place requires rejecting the layers of distraction and a choice to focus on the layers of nature and enlightenment.

Saint Anthony Falls, the birthplace of Minneapolis, turbulent and wild, a place that man exploited but could never entirely control or tame, even now. Closest to the river, its voice is strongest, the rapids leapt and frothed in vigorously beautiful triumphant violence. The trunks of the sacred oaks inclined away from the restless roads, raucous bar patrons and apartments and extended their arms towards the river. Their leaves shook like a shaman’s rattle directing its sound southeast and heavenward toward a flight of granite stairs. At the top of the stairs is the oldest church in our city, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church.

I’ve always wondered about those stairs. Were they the concept of an architect, approved by Riverplace developer Robert Boisclair, in his mind a way to provide the bar and restaurant patrons a rather challenging ascent to the apartment towers and townhouses, or was the staircase also some unspoken acknowledgement of his mortality, the radiant presence of the church too powerful to ignore, even as his structures towered over it and the construction from the Riverplace parking garage cracked the church’s foundations.

Our Lady of Lourdes Church’s website has this narrative of their history:

Earlier this year, the owners of the old buildings that have housed Nye’s Polonaise; a supper club and home to polka culture announced that they were going to close. Developer Schaeffer Richardson had a plan to demolish the orange brick buildings so full of historic character and kitsch and replace them with yet another glass and steel apartment building even more enormous and taller that their other building nearby.

The demolitions would destroy two unique neighborhood landmarks. The construction would threaten the structural integrity of the church and conceal it from view and cast a shadow of darkness over her.

Saint Anthony Falls, perhaps one of the first and most important historic districts in our City which inspired the hopeful protections of Local and National historic districts and stringent design guidelines, which were ignored in the 1980s and effective for awhile during economic recession until today, as glass and steel apartments rise again.

Add to this the City’s newest director of Developer Relations in CPED, a former employee of the developer and someone who alternately feuded or flattered “the historic preservation people” back in the day when we still had the power to stop some of the destruction.

Farkitecture Follies award #6
The battle of the archangels of light: Michael and Gabriel to protect Our Lady of Lourdes church from the  destruction and greed of fallen angels Azrael and Satani of evil and darkness, and their corrupt accomplices at Minneapolis City Hall