Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Workshop #4: Focusing the Walks

We met on a very rainy night for the fourth Audio-Guided Walking Tour Workshop...all wishing for Spring.
We started the evening with Announcements. A chance for everyone to share things they've heard about in the NE community that may dovetail with, or hold interest for the ArtShare Walking Tour group. We'll post links to some of the events that are brought up in Announcements (such as art openings, other projects, or specific events). Here's a few of the Announcements that were made this week:

Altered Aesthetics - an artist-run gallery at 1224 Quincy St. NE has a call for artwork out (due March 31). They are looking for photography-based work about NE Minneapolis - past, present, or presumably, future. We hope to show up at the opening reception in May to check it out and get some audio recordings of the opening, artists talking about their work, etc...

Pillsbury Elementary School is starting an Archeology Unit for their 4th and 5th graders. They're interested in studying local and regional history and archeology and may be interested in what we're doing also.

There will be an exhibition for the catchy-named SPARGEX (Spiritual Art Guild Exchange) Show, March 29 - April 3. It is the 9th Annual NE Mpls. Juried Spiritual Art Show and will be on view at the Kolbe Center of Pope John Paul II School, 1630 4th St NE Minneapolis (1block east of University Ave and 17th Ave).

We then did a short writing exercise where everyone wrote, and then shared, about an experience they've personally had at, or near, Edison School or Holy Land Restaurant. We ended up with some great fodder for audio tours, good stories, and seeing that every person and place is filled with different stories, perspectives, and ways of being seen and of seeing.

The rest of our workshop evening was spent in the three groups that will soon be creating the actual Audio-Guided Walking Tours.
We'll post some specifics about each group's walk and what they talked about by tomorrow evening (Thursday, 3/26).
If anyone from the groups wants to add in what you talked about or things you're excited about for the project...go ahead and comment, we'll add it in.

E2 (Eccentric/Eclectic) Walk - Group #1 (Macy, Darius, Mary, Pete, Sienna, Abby, Monica, Jonathan)

We were all still very excited about the general area of NE we had begun to focus on last time we all met together (Central/Broadway intersection going up Central as far as feasible and including a block to each side of Central in some areas...with at least a view of the Beltrami area). Macy and Monica had some images from Google Maps and from the MN. Historical Society website. These were great for getting us going about places we'd want to include and some places we already had stories about. We had some great suggestions flying around the table for audio recordings we could incorporate (a few fun ones were: boxing sounds from Uppercut Gym on Quincy, diner sounds and patron interviews from the Ideal Diner on Central, wood-saws from Aaron Carlson and Sons Woodworking mill, interviews and crowd sounds from the May Altered Aesthetics opening reception, trains, baristas and motorcycle folks from Diamonds Coffee Shop, and there were tons more ideas...).

We also talked about how we might want to narrate the Audio Walk...whether there should be one consistent person guiding the listener/walker or several guides who 'pass the audio baton' as people walk from one part of the walk to the next. This led us to think about acknowledging the accents and cultures of some of the people who live in this area and who used to live here as well as how to show the listeners when they are hearing something from the past vs. present (an echoey sound to the voices and noises, scratchiness, etc.). We really had a good time brainstorming and have a great focused direction for continuing with the project.

Bottineau Walk - Group #2

We started our discussion about the walk with coming to grips that we have too much on our walk (but we also have time to work that out). We also had an initial discussion about Marshall Street’s walk-ability. Marshall has sooooo much on it, but it is a straight walk and one member of the team thought it a heavy trafficked street and therefore a bit dicey for an audio work. There was strong opposition to this idea! Perhaps weaving in and out of Marshall and the near-by streets might be a good option for breaking up the walk.

Last night we just concentrated on the intersection of Marshall and Lowry (the alleged “top” of the walk). We looked at the Lowry Bridge and looking up towards Siwek’s and Psycho Suzie’s. We talked about the Edgewater Inn and using recorded sound from the Edgewater 8 (if there is any). Then we thought we could walk to the California building and look at the community Garden, the Silos and talk about Art-A-Whirl (and use sound from the event). There is also Gluek Park and the Super Fund Story. And is there or was there really a tunnel from the Sample Room (Formally the Polish Palace) to the old Gluek Brewery? We also thought about Meat Raffles and the best way to view the river on the walk. We are now thinking about people to interview regarding these sites.

More ideas, wrestling, pairing-down and expanded thinking to come!

Trolley Tour-Group #3 (Dawn, Kris, Zhara, Misty, Mary, Eden, Bee, Sara)

We decided first that we had a big list of tour topics/places and a large area to cover on the map. Since most of the sites the group is interested in are on 13th, we eliminated some of the other sites that are too far from there. (Boom Island and Elsies). We realized that we could reference those places on the tour with out actually going there.
The walk is taking shape to go up on down 13th-from Monroe (4 churches) to 2nd-(2 Barber Shops). This is a dense area with much to cover. We will meet on Sunday to take the walk to check out sites and the pace/timing of the tour, and think about sounds.

Places, People and Ideas so far:
4 Churches on Monroe, Logan Park, Art-A-Whirl, Architecture on Adams, Trolley History, Auto Repair Shop, Ritz Theater, House with metal sphere sculptures in yard, Easel Street Gallery, Slim Whitman Gallery, Rogue Buddah Gallery, previous EuroPol-now Northeast Society and that building, Mayslacks, Modern Cafe, 331 Club, Eyewear Store, Children and Family Service Center, New City School, Erte' and Business Bldg, St. Cerils Church, Matchbox, Behind Bars, Art of Chiropractic, Frank Stone Gallery, new furniture shop, Barber Shop, Becky's Beauty Salon.

What we already know:
Our group has visited, patronized, driven by, heard of, or have close connections with the people and places on our list. Northeast is known for industry and immigrant heritage. There are many churches (and bars). Diversity of culture, race and religion. Retail space has turned over on 13th and storefronts are used as commercial and residential space. 13th is full of history and current activity.

What do we want to know:
What people have experienced with the changes in the neighborhood?
What are some experiences from the churches that have been here for a long time?
What is the trolley history on 13th?
How do people feel about the change over of corner stores-commercial and residential? (EuroPol-Northeast Society Restaurant, etc.)
What is the art history of area?
Why did eye shop move 3 blocks up 13th?

Together, we look forward to researching these questions and asking more.

It was a fun night and felt like we got a lot accomplished during the workshop session. Thanks for checking out the blog and for commenting below!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Workshop #3-Listening To Other Audio Walks

Walking in Jackson Square Park and listening to the Janet Cardiff Audio Tour on St. Paddy's Day evening.

Thank you Andy Dayton for the photo!

Thank you collaborators for another workshop full of
engaging discussion and challenging, brilliant ideas!

We realize that it may have been difficult to put the development of our audio tours on hold to listen to the
examples we experienced this week... The inspiration they seemed to provide and provoke was evident as we discussed and critiqued them after listening. How did these examples influence your ideas or shape your visions for our own walking tours?

Our St. Patrick's evening went a little like this.......

We listened to two audio-guided walks, had a writing exercise, and some great discussion.

The Chinatown Tour:
What did we see just by listening to sound? (Some feedback from our workshop):

Overstimulated by all of the sounds. Could be difficult to actually experience and see.
-Softer ambient sounds may be more effective.
-It is confusing to envision people in a place where they are not.
-The sound of the gongs are unbelievable and unrealistic...sort of cheesy and over the top.
-"I could smell Chinatown."
-The woman's voice moves all around me-confusing and unrealistic.
-Afraid this much sound would be confusing on a real walk...especially combined with all the real-time, actual sounds.
-This felt more like an armchair walk...a way to experience a place you may not actually visit.
-The use of different voices is effective.
-Used the listener's imagination to provide a historic perspective and experience.

The Janet Cardiff Walk:
How did you like the sound? What did you experience? (some workshop feedback):

The sound and background noise are very realistic - beautifully recorded and edited.
-This sound had punctuation - one sound of water bubbling vs. the over-all wash of sounds. It wasn't ambient like the Chinatown walk and the unexpectedness of, for example - dogs barking or kids laughing - made the sounds more effective and 'noticed'.
-Sound to create the past (ex. the Carriage Wheel sounds brought us back in history).
-Ques, auditory clues, and beeps helped to signify a transition - a shift of time and space - and made it easier to follow along with spatial, geographic, and historical shifts that happened in the recording.
-Some thought it was boring and they lost interest, esp. about the more personal or self-referential parts.
-Music was really effective in setting the mood.
-Some folks found themselves unconsciously walking while listening...not really paying attention to where they were going but taking an 'in-your-head' journey.
-As we walked outside through the park and along the streets, most noticed that physically being outside can really effect the experience in many ways.
-Some thought she was 'too cool for school'. I'd prefer just the facts.

Check out these websites for more works by audio makers:

Each week, we suggest an Exploration for the upcoming week - something to do or think about that may enhance the workshop for you and those with whom you are working.

Collect images of places on your potential walk, either historical or present day. Drawings, photos, journal entries of your own are good to explore. We will share these next week.

Please contribute your comments to this blog!
(just click on Comments directly need to register if you don't want, or you can...Thanks!)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Audio Tour Workshop #2-Developing Tour Topics and Routes!

It was exciting to meet again and share views and ideas about Northeast and this project. We discovered that the beginning stages of the collaborative process can be difficult. Big progress was made however, as we found our way to establish the 3 Walking Tour groups. The 3 groups discussed their selected topics and places and began to map out their tour.

The evening's happenings and progress...

Jennifer started our workshop with a brief talk about the collaborative process. She reminded us of issues like gaining trust, the strength of the entire group, individual strengths, the development of each person's role, patience, engagement, etc.

Some of our group discussion meanderings:

-History and Now: "new, cool and interesting now in NE", "now is gone", "3 weeks from now is history"
-What really stays here in NE? What moves on? How do we hold onto history and memories?
-Nobody knows about "Now" in is always now: changing and being created as we go.
-An objective of the tours is to engage people...

We reviewed the week's
Exploration* and shared our thoughts, ideas and additional tour topics/places.
*look at NE through the 'eyes' of the potential Tour topics - journal about what you see. You can share on the blog, discuss with friends, or bring it to next week's meeting.

Additional Places, Concepts and Tour Topics we brainstormed:

-Edgewater Inn (by Super America on Marshall) - a hotbed of NE culture 'back in the day' gone.
- There was a group of musicians/dancers called the Edgewater Eight. Maybe we could get some of the music for a tour (there's some available on YouTube). Kirstin's mom was in the group.
-Scandals of Northeast- the underbelly
-Central Avenue Tour- Start on Broadway/Central intersection by the International Symbols. Could include industrial history, art buildings, warehouses, etc.
-13th Avenue Tour- Art, Ritz Theater, churches
- Architecture- Include the history of the late 1800's homes (Victorian Style with maroon and gold trim).
-What is new and cool? Interesting now? Stella Salon on Lowry near University Avenue. This is another old building that has turned over many businesses through the years. Why do some businesses make it? What does this say about NEasters and the culture here?
-Tattoo Shop on Lowry near Central Avenue-This is a new business that replaced, most recently, the Aardvark Record Store. Will it still be there when we go on the Tour? Is it ok if it is gone? This highlights questions about business turnover in NE. We discussed the concept of history and talked about how history is now, that this project is history in the making.
We also noted that it is interesting to combine history with what is happening now in northeast.
-Small Business Tour - How history and Now intersect.

-Shopping Tour


We established 3 groups who shared similar interests and met at tables with large maps, markers and our notes of tour topics and locations.

Group #1:

Broadway/Central intersection N. to 18th (& possibly further up). Going E. and W. off Central to include areas of interest (such as, possibly, view of Beltrami Park and the old cemetery there (Ghost Story possibilities), Train under/over-passes, the old cobblestone road of Quincy St. by Architectural Antiques, Industrial areas historically vs. now? ala' the Thorpe Building (Diamond's Coffee Shop, etc.), Aaron Carlson, General Mills, etc.
-Ideal Diner (and tons of other small, local businesses along Central Ave. corridor).
-The 'Eccentric NE' Tour
-Immigration/multi-cultural issues can be accessed many ways inc. through the international symbols art project (Central/Broadway intersection).

Group #2:
West Coast Area-roughly in between 2nd St. NE and the river- from 13th Ave. NE to Lowry Ave.

-Big sculptures by Zoran (metal and stone) by river
-Hobos and trains-interview Jewel (3-time National Queen of the Hobos who lives in this area).

and Senterz Grocery & Liquor (uniquely grandfathered-in to combine liquor sales in a grocery store).
-strong Somali-presence in this neighborhood
-Buddhist Temple-used to be Knewski's

-Eastside Neighborhood Services

-Skateboard Park

-'Asbestos' Park

-House boats on river

-Edgewater Inn (no longer there)
-Lowry bridge- still closed...

-Jax and Gasthaus

Group #3:
13th Avenue Tour- roughly from Monroe St. NE to the river.
-Churches, Art, Street-Car trolley route, historically and currently vibrant area.
- 4-5 churches on Monroe St., Holy Cross, Mosque, St. Cyril, Meditation Center
-Great area to demonstrate the variety of churches and diversity in NE.
-Catholic history...
-Large and thriving representation of the arts and small business on 13th
-small business turnover...

Exploration for next workshop:
What do others in the community know about the sites on the walk? Does a plain street have a story we didn't know? What are you curious about?

Apologies if these notes have neglected or misrepresented anything.
Please add your comments to blog below! Click on Comments.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Audio Tour Workshop #1 !!


We had the first workshop for the Audio-Guided Walking Tours on March 3rd. We talked about how we came to NE and what we were excited about for this project. By the end of next weeks workshop (Tues. March 10), we plan on having three themes for the three walks we'll be creating.

Here's a brainstormed list of some of our favorite/fascinating places or things about NE Minneapolis:

*Empty storefronts: lived in, old businesses? What used to be here and how do people use the space now?
*Replaced/converted spaces - ie. the warehouses that are now businesses or art studios. Vacant lots...what used to be here? Is there documentation and photos of the original spaces?
*Architecture - Grain Belt building, oldest houses in the area, churches
*St. Anthony Cemetery on Central Ave.
*Art buildings/warehouses - Casket Arts building - histories of these buildings
*Basin by Edison High School- there used to be homes in this area (spirit/soul of the missing homes, memories of those who lived there...), Used now to play in, show films and concerts in the summer
*Flood story...there was a big flood in this area and we want to know about it
*Churches - one block of Monroe Street has 5 churches: world record for most churches on a block?! Tons of beautiful churches all over NE for many different faiths
*Religions - lots of variety - Holy Cross offers a service in Polish! Tibetan temple in NE.
*Hollywood Theater - how was it when it was operating? What could it be like today?
*Restaurants - variety is amazing. Some are 'institutions', some come and go...
*Indian restaurants on Central
*Trains - sounds, hobos, the spans over the roads and the switching yard by Columbia Golf Course with the great view.
*Julianna Ray, 3x crowned the National Queen of Hobos lives in NE!
*Art-A-Whirl - get to see into artist's studio spaces, eat their snacks, buy their art
*Free crepes on Thursdays (donations appreciated). Yum!...where was this again?
*Bridges - esp. Hennepin Ave. (wonder how aerial photos of NE and the bridges look?)
*Grainbelt Bottlecap sign
*Elsie's Bowling - Supreme Omelet is the best ever! a NE institution
*Nicollet Island - land rights? (are the homes all leased, not owned? How come?)
*Boom Island - is it even an island? Was a RR switching station 40 years ago.
*NE had one of Minnesota's 10,000 lakes but the South-side stole it (Sandy Lake)! Some NEasters are still bitter about it. Aarrgh!
*B-Sharp (ever resilient)
*RR transfer station in Columbia Heights
*Bike paths - 7 ways to get to one place, short cuts and alleys. Great area to explore on bike and foot
*People just seem to end up here in NE...drawn here
*Howard Street - 1 house wide block- why?
*Zoning histories - streets that were trolley routes, how the blocks were designed, long alleys, residential vs. industrial/business
*Logan Park - history, sports, lots of varied use through the years
*Emily's Lebanese Restaurant
*Small business/shops (ie. a women' salon right next to a men's barber shop...his and hers by Matchbox Coffee).
*Northeast - northeast of where?
*150 years immigration history

We broke into three smaller groups to look over maps and discuss potential tour topics and areas that could become a Walk:

*The river area - bluffs, brewery, flour mills
(maybe incorporating a walk out onto a bridge and back into towards the Broadway Pizza train)
*Restaurants/business turnover and changes, histories of the businesses and buildings
*Basin (by Edison), the Firehall Museum, story of the flood that happened here
*Ethnic/cultural growth and diversity of NE...seems unique in NE.
*Churches - inroad to cultural influences, Ukranian Orthodox history, architecture.
*Little Italy/Beltrami/Dog Town area - built on a cemetery. Cemetary Street/Oak Cemetery, Delmonico's, RR exchange, Hwy. 35
*Ghost Stories
*Hwy. 35 NE ramp was stopped by big demonstrations and community activism. How has
*Quarry shopping area (built on a quarry? - geological history)
*Mysteries of histories - what we don't know about where we live.
*Churches and Bars - culture that made us have so many churches and bars, regions in NE
*Factories, industrial-ness
*NE from the perspective of neighborhood kids, skateboarding("am i bothering anyone with my skateboarding?"), summers in NE when there's no school...
*Fire in lumberyard
*P.Bottineau (owned tons of properties, library named after him), and other famous/infamous NEasters
*St. Anthony - Norwegian Hill
*1930's Windom Park - people, whole families slept outside in the park in the summer (to stay cool? community activity?). We hear there's a local woman still alive to talk about it?

EXPLORATION for the week:

Look at NE through the eyes of the tour topics ideas - journal about what you see. Share on the blog or wait 'til next week and discuss this with friends (they can also add to the blog).

Thanks for checking out
...please pass this along to family, friends, even 'frienimies' (if they might have something to add)...we hope this can be an open dialogue space for anything about NE and the Audio Walking Tours we are creating.