Thursday, December 14, 2023

For Your Oscar Consideration - UNZIPPED: An Autopsy of American Inequality

 UNZIPPED: An Autopsy of American Inequality is in consideration for the Academy Awards and the deep consideration starts TODAY! Please pass this along to any and all Academy members that you know, as I really can't think of many more important topics than making sure our fellow humans are housed. It's THE most basic human right, yet we allow so many of our citizens to sleep out on the streets in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. It's just not right. And we all need to be talking about it until we can really be called a decent civilization, by providing the very least anyone can ask for - shelter. It was an honor and a privilege to help produce this film, and our team, led by director Colin Gray, is all in on doing whatever we can to help make it a world where the most basic needs are being met ... by raising the roof!


Many, if not most, Academy members live in Los Angeles and can see the massive and outrageous problem of people living on the streets every day. One can complain about it, or one can do something about it. We chose the latter by making this film. The intent we set out with was to at least start the conversation to find solutions, rather than look the other way, as so many do when faced with this situation. 

A good starting point with any tough subject is always EMPATHY. The NIMBY people who don't care what happens as long as they don't have to see houseless HUMANS in their neighborhood don't seem to realize how quickly it could be them. You lose a job, a family member gets an illness, your rent gets raised, and BOOM.  I've seen it happen to more than one person I know, and no one is as stable as they think they are. We have to start CARING more, because we truly are all in this together. 



We held a screening at Beyond Baroque on Monday night for Oscar voters to consider UNZIPPED: An Autopsy of American Inequality as a worthy competitor for the Academy Awards, and to raise awareness for our #RaiseTheRoof Impact Hub.  This is a resource that goes beyond the film to help people find help and resources in their area, as well as for those who want TO help and OFFER resources. It was clear that this topic truly affects us all, and it's high time we all did something about it. That is why we're pushing hard for an Oscar nomination. It's not about any personal glory for any of us. but a means to get the word out on a much larger scale, not only about the film, but the ISSUE - and the ways we can all work together to ENSURE that Housing is enshrined as a basic human right. Because it is. 

UNZIPPED is also a finalist for the Anthem Awards in the Awareness and Media category, and we'd be so honored if you would help this project by voting for us there too (anyone can, no need to be in the Academy!). It's nice that we're in the Awareness category, because that's exactly what we're trying to raise - along with roofs. Please vote here - Thank you!

I know there are a lot of qualified documentaries, and a lot of very deeply important topics covered, but I really wonder which affect Los Angeles more than our homeless pandemic? Or the world, for that matter. I think about the Olympics coming up in L.A. in 2028, and wonder how they'll erase the inescapable sadness that is the homeless situation all over town? How they'll justify housing an entire Olympic Village for the athletes when they can't find affordable housing for our full time citizens? It's pretty heavy.  I'm currently in Minneapolis taking care of family, where it is starting to get cold. There are major homeless encampments in the city, and people with signs for help at freeway exits and busy intersections all around the Twin Cities and their suburbs. It's the holiday season, and I just don't know how any of us can feel good about any of us sleeping out in the cold. It's truly time to RAISE THE ROOF (that is a hot link for you to follow and get involved!!) for everyone, and I hope so much that you can all help us make it a reality where everyone has safe shelter and enough to eat. This is America, and we need to do far better by our People. We CAN. And we MUST.

UNZIPPED is available to watch now on Amazon Prime and Vimeo, and eligible for you to consider it for the Academy Awards right NOW! Thank you so much for helping us to #RaiseTheRoof!!! We truly appreciate it, and so will all the people we can help together. 

Season's Greetings to All! I miss you, Venice!

Friday, March 31, 2023

The Venice Premiere of UNZIPPED: An Autopsy of American Inequality - A True Venice Reunion!

The Venice Premiere of UNZIPPED: An Autopsy of American Inequality was held last weekend at the Mishkon Temple on Main Street, on a beautiful night in a historic building filled with friends. 


I had never been inside the Temple, and you would never know how big it is inside ... and how full it would soon be with all of our Venice loved ones. A long line formed outside, and the buzz was building as friends happily greeted each other and caught up as fast as they could before the movie was to begin.


The long road to getting this film out into the world began in Venice, and was made for and by Venetians. To finally get to see it in a room jam-packed with people that also care deeply about our chosen home was both very exciting and very moving. I was close to tears the entire evening. 

As I'm still deep in caregiver mode for my family in Minnesota, I had to just zoom in for the event. That made it even more special and emotional, because I had to soak it all in for just one night, and try to get to see and talk to everyone at once who I miss so dearly. Of course, that was impossible, so please consider this both my thank you note and my love letter to all of you who were there to support us and our Venice movie. 

All of the happy reunions and catching up of course meant that the film had to start on "Venice Standard Time" - which is always a little later than stated. Once we got everyone seated, there was a land acknowledgement and welcome from Carol Levy, the Mishkon President, as well as an update and welcome from Kristina von Hoffman, President of the Venice Heritage Museum. The VHM was one of our chosen beneficiaries of the evening, as well as a valuable resource throughout the making of our film. We all learned that it looks like the VHM will have a home as soon as this year! Great news! It will be a wonderful place for people to learn all about our beloved town that has given so much to the American culture. Venice Family Clinic was also there as a beneficiary and partner, and the good they do for our community is on full display in our film. THANK YOU, VFC!

UNZIPPED is not a documentary trying to tell you how things should be. It is a vehicle to get a conversation started about how we can all find solutions together for the unhoused situation that has gotten out of control in Los Angeles in recent years. And get a conversation started it definitely did - even DURING the film! In true Venetian fashion, audience members were shouting back to the screen, cheering for faces they know and love, jeering at others who maybe are missing that empathy chip that is so crucial to any hope of harmony in our world. It was awesome. 

Cheers rang out as Run The Jewels kicked in and the credits ran, and then it was time for more socializing and catching up. As hoped, there was much discussion about the homeless issue, and what everyone thinks is best for Venice. PERFECT. Keep it up! We need to not look away, and we need to look out for each other - whether we have housing or not. It's a very complicated issue (as the audience let us know), but we don't have the option of looking away. We can all do better. We all MUST do better. And we don't want it to stop with seeing the film and having discussion about it. There are SO many ways to get involved in our #RaiseTheRoof campaign ... there are so many ways to help in the world - just pick ONE. 

It was all over way too soon, and I didn't even nearly get to talk to everyone I wanted to, but I saw your faces and felt your love, and carried it all back with me the next day (after the crucial and glorious beach afternoon, followed by Hinano's!) with a smile on my face and in my heart. 

If you weren't able to join us at the Venice screening, you're still in luck! The Oscar qualifying run of UNZIPPED begins TODAY at the Santa Monica Laemmle for one week. There will be a Q and A with our director, Colin Gray, after the Tuesday screening (that I will HATE to not be at), and I hope you can get there to see it in a proper theater. There will also be a New York premiere in May, and a big Hollywood red carpet whole deal premiere on June 1st, and a streaming release that will make it available in 192 countries right on your own tvs. Please stay tuned for all of the developments regarding the film, and please try to get involved in your own way. 


Affordable housing needs to be enshrined as a HUMAN RIGHT. It is unconscionable that there is even one person living on the street in a country this wealthy, never mind whole tent cities. It's really embarrassing, and as one of our interview subjects in the film says, other countries in developing parts of the world look at US as backwards. As they should. And we all know we can do better. 

There was a lot of work and heart and emotion put into this film, and our whole team has a deep love for Venice that is up on the screen for all to see. I miss our groovy old Venice, and anyone who lived there in those times knows what I mean. The magic is still there in Venice, it's just maybe a little harder to find than it was back in the day ... unless you know where to look. And all you had to do last Saturday was sit down in a darkened theater among your COMMUNITY gathered together to know that you were surrounded by that only in Venice vibe that will always be kept alive in each one of us, wherever we may go. 

THANK YOU, VENICE!! I LOVE YOU! Now go see UNZIPPED, let us know what you think, and let's roll up our sleeves together to make our Community - and the WORLD - a better, even MORE magical place. 

#RaiseTheRoof !!!!

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Happy International Women's Day!

 Hi Friends and Readers I haven't yet met ...  !

Blogtown has been on a little hiatus while I work on bigger writing projects and care for my family in Minnesota ... but it will all be worth it one of these days when I can share the work with you. In the meantime, read some golden oldies and be sure to join us for the VENICE premiere of our VENICE film, UNZIPPED: An Autopsy of American Inequality on March 25, 2023 at the Mishkon Temple on Rose. 


Information below - Please come! I can't wait to catch up with all of you! LOVE! VIVA VENICE!!!

Monday, July 11, 2022

Rage Against The Machine Kicks Off The Public Service Announcement Tour at Alpine Valley!

Rage Against The Machine is BACK, People! Just as the world could not need this iconic band more, they returned Saturday night to launch their Public Service Announcement Tour at Alpine Valley in East Troy, Wisconsin in what was their first show together since 2011's LA Rising show in Los Angeles. I was at that show too, and I can tell you that they have not missed a beat since then. WOW. 


People were tailgating in the massive parking lot for hours before the show began, and the anticipation level was HIGH. The merch lines stretched to the horizon, as everyone wanted a piece of this moment to last - and to show that they were THERE. The majority of the crowd were wearing Rage shirts from concerts past, though I was encouraged to see several statement tees in the crowd, like "Get a Vasectomy", "Fuck the Supreme Court!", and more of that ilk. This was a crowd of like minded folks, that's for sure - at least for this show. 

Alpine Valley really is a valley, with steep grassy hills leading down to the stage. The bad news about this is that there is absolutely ZERO cell service, making meeting up with friends and colleagues impossible. That was a huge drag, especially as my brother, Paul, had just flown in to road trip to this show with me, and was going to shoot the bands, but we were never able to connect ... so you'll have to settle for the old Iphone shots, sorry. But whatever, the show more than made up for any drags we encountered (we'll get to that more later). After grabbing some overpriced, mediocre concert food, we made our way down to our seats near the stage. I saw guys stretching, warming up for what was going to be maybe the most long awaited mosh pit ever - as this show was originally scheduled for over two years ago. It was about to go OFF. 

As weed smoke swirled above the crowd, more and more alcoholic beverages were being consumed while the excitement built. You could feel that it was going to be ROWDY. Opening act, the excellent Run The Jewels had their big inflatable fists hanging above the stage, and all of a sudden we heard Lionel Richie singing the opening line of "We Are The World", as Killer Mike and El-P took the stage. Everyone sang along until Killer Mike said, "Nah, I hate that song", and they launched into their song, "Run The Jewels" from their first album. They had the crowd in their big hands the entire set, even though I lost a shred of respect for Killer Mike when he admitted to being a Packers fan while shouting out Wisconsin. Boo. 

"We're so moved to be here, our friends Rage Against The Machine believed in us to bring us out, and we're here to see them too! Like, what would happen if Zak gained a lot of weight, and smoked a lot of weed - it would be us!", said El-P, with Killer Mike adding, "We are the scrappy opener though " ... and they hit us with their great, "Ooh La La" jam. "Nobody Speak" with the Wisconsin-born DJ Trackstar filling in on the DJ Shadow track was next, and they wrapped up their high-octane set with one dedicated to "People who died at the hands of the people paid to protect them!", the powerful "Walking In The Snow". It was great, and I thought they'd close with their "Ju$t" that features Zack de la Rocha on its chorus, but nope. Maybe later on in the tour? I love Run The Jewels, Man. They are the perfect openers for this tour of top shelf rock and rap."We love you! We're Run The Jewels!" - and Killer Mike urged everyone to remember "It's ALWAYS us versus them! That's right.

That was a perfect lob pass to Rage, as their message has always been that the People have the Power. The RTJ set began to disassemble, and the spare set for RATM was put together. It was getting dark now, and the excitement built more by the second. A drunk guy behind us was yelling, "You have no clue how excited I am!" - but I'm pretty sure everyone there got it. As Rage hasn't played live since 2011, many in attendance had never had the chance to see them before, so they were losing it. And were about to be richly rewarded with a show for the ages. 

Now, there have been performances of Rage songs in the last decade, with Chuck D. and B Real filling in for Zack de la Rocha ... but there's nothing like the real thing, and when the lights went down and a P.S.A. came over the P.A. with Zack's voice repeating a phrase that was impossible to understand with the incredibly loud yelling for Rage - and then lights came on, and there was everyone's favorite band, BACK with a "BOMBTRACK"!!!  The energy in that space was off the charts, and the pit immediately erupted in a sea of bodies flying, heads banging, and fists pumping in the air. It was so exciting, I felt emotional. I got all choked up, thinking about how long it's been since I'd been at a show like this, ROCKING my face off with a huge crowd, and all that has happened since. I was also so, SO happy for my friends rocking out on stage, with their wide smiles, it was clear that they too were extra happy to be back. It was also very moving, as my friend Tom's wife and young sons were there on the side of the stage, and it was the boys' first time seeing their dad rock the fuck out with Rage! How cool is that?! Super special, and I'm just so glad I was there. Again. 


"People Of The Sun" and "Bulls on Parade" were the one-two punch that came next, and a huge screen behind the band showed both them in close up, and real serious video content about the state of the world right now. For "Bullet In The Head", Tom Morello ripped out his famous solo, adding a riff with his teeth that had the bros in the pit losing their ever-loving shit. Every word of every song was being shouted along with the band, and there was not an ass in a seat in the whole place. You are on your feet at a Rage show the whole time - unless you're off them in the air (They say jump, you say how high?!). All of these songs were written in the 1990's, but all are even more relevant today. What an incredible feat that is for any music group, but for one that is so passionate about what they're saying (and walking the talk, by the way, with major proceeds from every show goes to charities that fight the power, they do more than any other band in that way), it really is incredible, and very moving. 

These guys are all in their 50's now, but they way they were jumping around the entire show, you'd think they were a college band getting their first big break. The energy was relentless, and they took a quick break as a video of a police van burning took over the large screen. It felt - and was - HEAVY. Tim Commerford's bass and Brad Wilk's drumming bore down like a rock freight train all night, and I found myself grateful for the ear plugs a man gave me, because I could feel the weight of it all in my heart. "Testify", "Tire Me", and "Wake Up" riled everyone up even more, if possible. "Wake Up" was SO forceful, I feared Zack might have ripped out his vocal chords, but nope. With its admonition that What you reap is what you sow! more prescient in today's world than maybe ever before. There is a global reckoning happening ... and we're here for it. 

They were right back with "Guerilla Radio" and "Without A Face" and then "Know Your Enemy", which had the audience screaming along with Zack, "All of which are American Dreams!" "Calm Like A Bomb" and "Sleep Now In The Fire" were next, and the force of it all was relentless, if maybe a little slowed down, as Zack went into his what I call Teacher Mode. He is so wise with those lyrics, and he was making points. Points that he made real sure were listened to, and as every fist in the valley went up, that was confirmed. "War Within A Breath" was sheer musical firepower, and then it was brought down just a little for the Springsteen cover of "The Ghost of Tom Joad", but bodies were still flying, even for that story song. 

"Freedom" merging into "Township Rebellion" was about to be the heaviest jam of the night, as we all know our freedoms are in true peril here in the United States. The screen behind the band lit up with various phrases and facts about forced birth, ending with a big "ABORT THE SUPREME COURT" as the crowd roared its approval, and the pit exploded at the same time as the band did, with Zack screaming, "YOUR ANGER IS A GIFT!!!" Phew. 

Then it was time for "Sleep Now In The Fire" and its chorus of "Some of those who work forces/hold office, are the same who burn crosses!" was to be the last song of the show, and zero punches were pulled. I mean, a video showed little kids swatting at a pinata of a cop - the point was well made. The music kept building, and building, and building, until the place absolutely BLEW UP with all the middle fingers in the air and every single ticket holder screaming, "FUCK YOU, I WON'T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME!" at the top of their lungs, in total solidarity with Rage, and with each other. That is POWER, People. Let's use it. For GOOD. What better place than here? What better time than NOW? Right?

The last chord rang out, and the screams for more began, but that was it. The band embraced, and it was a beautiful thing. They soaked it all in, and left the stage with fists raised, reflecting the crowd. People stayed put, screaming for more, but soon Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy" played over the P.A., and the exhausted. beat up crowd realized that was it, and began to file out, all effusive about how that was maybe the best show they'd every seen. It really was something else, and I'm so grateful I got to be there to see this band answer the call that the fans have been clamoring for for YEARS. Let's hope this tour fires us all up to band together and make some positive change here, and maybe the band will give us some new music that reflects it all. The 16 epic songs we got were all fresh as if they'd been written the day before, but also so much has happened since they last toured, that there should be ample inspiration for even more powerful music. I can't wait. 

THANK YOU, RAGE!!! WE NEED YOU! WELCOME BACK!!!  Have fun tonight, Chicago. You're in for one hell of a show. 

*A note to future show attendees: We waited for nearly THREE HOURS to get out of the parking lot after the show. Not a single car had moved two hours after the show ended. And don't forget there was no cell service, so no one could find anything out. There seemed to be no one in charge, or even working, with just a few Sheriffs to be seen as we left, and they were laughing about it. People were PISSED. They had been partying since the gates opened at 3 pm, and they were tired. But now they were drinking more in the parking lot while we waited, getting even more hammered, as they were about to drive on roads at 3 A.M. A complete shit show. The rumor began that the Sheriffs did it on purpose, closing it down to one road to get out, perhaps in retaliation for all the very well deserved Anti-Cop propaganda on screen during the show. Well, if that's true, they're not helping out their cause at all, because it only made everyone like them even less, if possible. So ... beware of Cops when you're leaving these shows. In other words, Know your enemy. And have a complete BLAST right in front of them. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

The Hendrickson Foundation Hockey Festival - Every Smile Tells A Story

This past weekend was the annual Hendrickson Foundation Hockey Festival held at the National Sports Center Super Rink in Blaine, and it was the best one yet! Over 1,000 athletes and their families and supporters from around the country gathered again to prove that the HF's motto of "Hockey Changes Lives" is profoundly accurate, and movingly so. 

Everyone in attendance was all smiles all weekend, and behind every smile was a story worthy of an entire article unto itself. I was running around being a volunteer (volunteers keep it all beautifully afloat), but every person I met had a great tale to tell, and I would have loved to have been able to hear them ALL. 

There are hockey games going on all weekend, with players from Special Hockey, Blind Hockey, Sled Hockey, and Warriors Hockey (Military Veterans) all vying for the Championship games held on Sunday. Just sitting there and watching all of these incredible, determined athletes playing and interacting with each other is inspirational enough ... but then you get to know some of them a little bit, and it leaves you with the feeling that anything is possible ... with enough support - and that is what the Hendrickson Foundation is giving to this community. It's a truly beautiful thing to behold. 

Once you see it all in action, the pull to be involved is pretty strong. Volunteers all really go the extra mile, but how about super volunteer Mae Ricci and her brand new husband, Dan Casazza?! They were just married about a week ago, and asked for no gifts, but instead asked that people donate to the Hendrickson Foundation! And then spent the whole Festival weekend volunteering instead of honeymooning! How absolutely benevolent of them, with such a lovely gesture you could cry. 

Then I got to meet the fireball that is Maggie Schuneman (#11!) there to play with her Maple Grove Special Hockey team, who told me she was about to take on Edina with her team. She was a complete delight, and then I later learned that she is the sister of the young man, Sam Schuneman, that was killed last summer in an outrageous drunk driving accident that also killed Max Motzko, the son of the Minnesota Gophers hockey coach. It was a story that deeply touched all Minnesotans.

I later met Maggie's parents, Tom and Yvonne Shuneman. It was clear that the pain they will always feel over the senseless loss of their son is very present, but this special weekend allowed them to watch their darling daughter absolutely beaming, loving being there to play and enjoy her teammates and the friendly competition, as well as to be surrounded by the circle of love that is tangibly felt throughout the festival. 


A lot of the competition was happening while we were setting up for the Saturday evening reception, but we were ready in time to check out the Celebrity Game, which was packed to the rafters with participants and fans from the whole range of teams.

This all takes place in the "State of Hockey", so of course the Minnesota Wild was well represented at the Festival by Coach Dean Evason, GM Bill Guerin, Assistant Coach Darby Hendrickson (of course!), Nordy, and The Moose himself, Marcus Foligno.

The teams were formed from several former Wild players and hockey All Stars from all over Minnesota, and the high scoring game was a blast to watch ... but my favorite part of it was getting to know Sevanna and Shane. 


Sevanna appeared to be among the biggest celebrities there, as everyone stopped to greet her and get their photo with her during the game. It didn't take long to find out that Sevanna and the young man, Shane, sitting next to her were a new couple, brought together through their playing in the Sled Hockey program. They've only been dating a few weeks, but they were both adorably excited about it, and determined to not let their geographical differences (he's from Wisconsin, she's from Bloomington) get in their way. She was dying to meet former Wild goalie, Alex Staylock, as he was the only person left on her list to meet - I so hope that she did. 

There was a Sled Hockey demo race in between periods of the Celebrity Game, and I am very happy to report that Wild /Twins announcer and our lovely friend, Audra Martin, redeemed herself from last Festival impressively, winning the race by a long shot. 

While being congratulated for her victory, she explained how this is one of her favorite events of the year, and wouldn't dream of missing it. And that's how everyone felt. 

Everyone heads to the reception after the game, and the hall was full of Festival folks celebrating a great day while enjoying food donated by Famous Dave's and drinks donated by Invictus Brewery. 

A vast Silent Auction was set up with a slew of items to bid on to benefit HF, and keep this joy going on long into the future. 

The party spilled outside where there was a mobile Polar Plunge to raise even more for the HF mission of bringing hockey to everyone who wants to play. 

People mingled around playing bean bags, games, dancing around to the D.J., and there was even a makeshift ice rink outside for kids to play on in the sunshine. 

This is the rare event where people actually enjoy listening to some speeches and acknowledgements, and there were special awards being given out from Yontz Valor, another huge sponsor of the Festival. The "Valor Salute" goes to individuals who exemplify the values of the Yontz Foundation of leadership, kindness, work ethic, and giving others hope in adversity. This year the recipients were led by the HF's own Kristin Hendrickson, who somehow manages to keep all of these teams straight. Well deserved! 

Of course, none of this happens without the huge help of super generous sponsors. Yontz Valor, Hydrite, Milk Specialties Global, Cambria, and The Humble Goat (the MOST delicious goat cheese, People!) are the leading sponsors (in addition to loads more you can see on the HF website), and our excellent friends Carole Olson (Cambria) and Frankie and Dave Lenzmeier (Milk Specialties and The Humble Goat) were all there to represent and volunteer and host and enjoy all the fruits of their extensive labor. 


HF Executive Director, Danny Hendrickson, was probably the biggest celebrity there, if you were asking the players. They all wanted to meet him, and they all love him, because he is the front man for this entire experience, taking over where their dad, Larry Hendrickson, left off with this wonderful endeavor that he would be so, SO proud of.

It's really hard to get a photo of all the Hendricksons and their families together at the Festival, as they are so involved in so many ways, but I'll take this opportunity to thank them all on behalf of everyone involved in the HF Hockey Festival. What they're doing is special, and important. You can see the evidence of this after being in attendance for 5 minutes. They've helped so many people through their family foundation, and it chokes me up to think about, never mind write about. As the eldest child of Larry and Jane Hendrickson, Christine is not only my BFF, but the one who steers me around to introduce me to all these overwhelmingly touching stories. We're all Richfield Spartans, so the weekend also ends up being one big blast of a reunion every year too. Bonus! 


The Festival ends on Sunday with the championship games, and I know it means a LOT to the teams to get their special HF trophies (this year a Game of Thrones looking sword cool one!) for winning their games, but to be real honest ... it's very clear that everyone won - just for being there.

You cannot leave this event without being a little changed, and a lot inspired. Watching these athletes in action, and having seen this foundation grow from just an idea talked about in Larry's basement to what this Festival has become, let's you know that truly anything is possible, with a little help from your friends. And your family, because this is absolutely one giant family now.

I can't wait to hear more stories in the coming years ... because there needs to be a movie now too, right?

Long live the Hendy Foundation!  

*Stay tuned to their website linked above to participate in future events, donate, learn, and shop! 

**Additional photos courtesy of Julie Hendrickson Oss

Friday, April 29, 2022

Art In Bloom at the Minneapolis Institute of Art - Blooming Spectacular!

Art In Bloom has been happening annually at the Minneapolis Institute of Art since 1984, but this was the first year I've been able to attend (these are the silver linings of my missing my Venice life dearly as I'm here taking care of my family). I took my Mom for opening day, and it was nothing short of breathtaking. Spectacular! *(I've been so busy lately between caregiving and other writing that I haven't been able to share many stories here, apologies. THIS demanded its own spotlight for sure though).

Floral artists make arrangements to accompany many of the works of art in the permanent collection at MIA, and there were MANY to see.  We were determined to see them all - and did - over a full afternoon of discovering the flowers scattered throughout the entire museum. 

Each was more gorgeous than the next, and it was very hard to choose a favorite ... so I'm going to share many of them with you. 

As flowers perish, the exhibit is on only this weekend, through Sunday, so I encourage all in Minnesota this weekend to get there, and all the rest of you get to see them virtually, because I know you'd love it too. 

The only thing I can't share is the marvelous aroma enveloping the museum ... ahhhh. 

It sounded like the process for choosing artworks to honor was a little haphazard, as each artist I spoke to had a different experience of how they wound up with the one they got. One guy just decided to make a floral replica of the Notre Dame football stadium, and find an artwork to match later! He also got extra credit because his glass vases were hand-blown! Wow.


I was amazed to learn that many of the pieces were done by amateur flower arrangers! One lady was a lawyer that likes to arrange flowers, several were retired and fill their days with flowers, and some were from real deal florists from all around the Twin Cities. ALL were glorious. 

MIA has such a vast and diverse collection that each room is different than the last, and the flowers followed suit. Materials from nature, and the creativity that resulted in these fantastic creations was truly moving. There is so so so much talent in this world! 

There were tours going on, but we opted to go it alone ourselves and revel in the magic of discovery. Several of the artists were on hand, often seen watering or adding flowers and making sure their work was perfect. 


That was nice because you could ask questions and hear all about their process ... to the point where now we kind of want to try our hand at it ourselves next year - anyone can! 

It was fun to see some of my favorite permanent pieces so honored, like the Native American costume with its top hat and photographic lining beautifully replicated in flowers. 

Some artists played it very literal with their recreations ... 


 While others did more of an abstract representation ... 


 No matter what they chose to do, we loved every one of them and hoped that they all go to good homes when the show wraps on Sunday. They should auction them off to a good cause, I know I'd be bidding on several just to cheer up the home for a few days. I'm really not sure what happens to them when it's over. 


I learned a lot yesterday listening to the artists, about technique, brush strokes, post-Impressionism, realism, structure, all kinds of stuff that came just from asking about flowers. You truly could spend the whole weekend there and still have more to listen and learn from. 


It was so packed yesterday that we didn't really linger with any one piece, and that would be fun to do, but there's just so much ground to cover, and people to dodge.


We'd wait our turn to get in close for a second, then scoot away to let someone else in. This would be the one to get locked in for a night at the museum!



I LOVED this one, florally ...

... and then seeing what it represented just felt so joyous. 

In these rather bleak times - both weather and world-wise - flowers bursting out everywhere and the good feeling it gave everyone was very heartwarming. 

It would be very hard to maintain a bad mood with all this beauty around. Beauty, Art, and Nature truly SAVE. It gives us HOPE. 

 Look at these whimsical pink shoes! 

Look at the Frank Lloyd Wright hallway piece! 


Look how they did her black stockings! 

Look how good this coat is!

Oh wow, look how they represented this nude woman!

Mom, check out this chair one! 

Look how this one is exactly the painting! 


I love how the flowers match his jacket!

Oh, I want to crawl inside this one and live here forever! 

The above was pretty much a verbatim recording of me enthusing about everything yesterday. We truly enjoyed it so much, and hope that as many people as possible will be able to get to MIA this weekend. It's supposed to rain all weekend, so I can't think of a more perfect way to go cheer yourself up and give the gift of this beauty to your soul. 


Thank you to MIA and all of the artists involved, both with their work in the museum collection and the artists who worked with flowers. You truly lifted our spirits ... and what is better than that? I'm going to bring in Yeats (snippets from Ode on a Grecian Urn) to explain the feeling of this beautiful show ...

 "Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
         Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unwearied,
         For ever piping songs for ever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
         For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd
For every (painting), and for ever young; 

"Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
                Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."
 Art in Bloom is on now through this Sunday at MIA.