DAVE VORLAND: Photo Gallery — Sights Of Spring

Spring has finally sprung in the Midwest, as Bloomington, Minn., photographer Dave Vorland’s most recent images show. But it hasn’t been like that since its start March 20, when the landscape was snow-filled and trees were bare.

DAVE VORLAND: Photo Gallery — Spring Sights

Bloomington, Minn., photographer Dave Vorland captured these images in the Twin Cities the past couple of months, ranging from wildlife to landscape and celestial sights.

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — Films Galore!

The Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival is under way, with more than 350 movies being shown over 16 days at several venues. If I could do it over, I’d work in the movie industry as a writer or technical professional.

I still recall a movie I saw as a North Dakota farm kid, “The Bridges at Toko-Ri,” starring William Holden and Grace Kelly. I’d seen Life magazine’s spread about James Michener’s novel being made into a movie and convinced my dad to take me to town to see it.

Most important, I now realize, it was just the two of us. The experience is one of my most cherished memories.

I shot this iPhone pic (above) as Dorette and I were on our way to the St. Anthony Main Theater to see “Desperately Seeking Susan,” starring Madonna and Rosanna Arquette.

It’s a 1985 movie, but seeing it again made me laugh until I had tears in my eyes. Afterward, the co-producer Sarah Pillsbury interacted with the audience, providing insight into how this film came to be made with a mostly female executive team, rare back then.

We also saw a double-feature: a remastered 1927 silent film “Wings,” complete with a new score played live by the Prima Vista Quartet; followed at another venue by a brand new film, “A Quiet Passion” about the life of the poet Emily Dickinson. Reaction has been mixed. The New Yorker was very hard on it — the review even included some nonsense verse written in the Dickinsonian style.

Anyway, we hope to see a couple of more flicks before the Festival ends Saturday. I’m looking forward to “Crazy Horse,” a French documentary with English subtitles about the legendary Parisian strip club.

Dorette is passing on that one.

DAVE VORLAND: Photo Gallery — December Snapshots

Here are some of the images caught the eye of Bloomington, Minn., photographer Dave Vorland in the last month of 2016.

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — Martin Luther At MIA

Garrison Keillor often said there are two kinds of Lutherans — those who take their religion very seriously and those who mostly don’t.

I’ve been accused of being in the second group, although my Norwegian grandfather, Hans Vorland, helped build the Bethany Lutheran Church near Wellsburg, N.D. Some Facebook friends know I recently had my grave marker placed in the cemetery there.

Be that as it may.

This post is about the magnificent Martin Luther exhibit being hosted by the Minneapolis Institute of Art, consisting of artwork, documents, objects and other materials connected to Luther that have never before been displayed in one location. Dorette and I stopped in today.

I shot the above iPhone photo of twin paintings by Lucas Cranach of Luther, a former Augustinian monk, and his wife, Katharina von Born, a former nun, shortly after they were married in 1525.

But my favorite artifact was a large open Bible.

Written on the pages in black ink in Luther’s hand are notes he made to himself as he wrestled with interpreting scripture from a Protestant point of view.

Take my word for it: this exhibit is worth a special trip to the Twin Cities.

LA VALLEUR COMMUNICATES: Musings By Barbara La Valleur — Minnehaha Falls And Park

A perfect autumn afternoon presented an opportunity to explore Minnehaha Falls and Park, while close by, is a place we’ve not visited for several years.

We had a picnic, a walk and I had a chance to take photos of the beautiful park. Enjoy! We sure did.

At the end, we stopped for a glass of wine at the pavilion at the Se Salt Eatery and had a delightful conversation with a couple — Missi and David — whose table we asked to join. They were gracious and accepted our request, which resulted in the end to a delightful afternoon.

LA VALLEUR COMMUNICATES: Musings By Barbara La Valleur — Fun Sun Day

On a rare day in which neither of us had calendars full of commitments, my husband and I went for a spontaneous bike ride today taking advantage of the brilliant sunshine and mild breeze.

A native of Minneapolis who spends more time than me on his bike, Arnie would have been fine biking from our Edina condo. Me, not so much.

After we each packed a quick picnic lunch, he loaded our bikes on the back of his car and we drove the eight miles to Lake Nokomis with plans to bike to nearby Minnehaha Falls after going around the lake.

Thankfully, after more than 10 years of marriage, Arnie is used to me making frequent stops for photo ops. It was a fun trip around the lake and by the time I found the perfect spot for our picnic with a comfortable place to sit and a fabulous water view, we had actually cycled the entire 2.7 miles around Lake Nokomis.

We enjoyed a healthy lunch and conversation with a young Minnesota man who was spending quality time with his adorable 18-month-old daughter while his wife was at the hairdresser. His British Virgin Island T-shirt had got my attention. He said he was originally from Minnesota but had lived the past 18 years in the BVI.

I shared that I had lived in the U.S. Virgin Islands where I edited a newspaper 45 years ago. When he said he has a sterling silver jewelry business [islandgemcreations.com] that led to a conversation about various local art fairs. I encouraged him to check out Edina’s Fall Into the Arts and the Uptown Art Fair.

With our picnic finished, we hopped back on our bikes and headed to Minnehaha Falls.  After about 20 minutes, I started running out of steam. The temperature had risen to over 80, and a weather front was moving in so we decided to head back to the car.

Minnehaha Falls will have to wait for another day.


DAVE VORLAND: Photo Gallery — April Snapshots

Here are some nice shots from Dave Vorland, taken this past month in the Twin Cities and New York City.

LA VALLEUR COMMUNICATES: Musings By Barbara La Valleur — Prince Passing

I’m compelled to confess that I skipped church Sunday. A friend called Saturday evening and wanted to go to First Avenue and Paisley Park to mark Prince’s passing and leave some purple mementoes.

It was surprising even to me that both my husband and I said yes to the spontaneous plan. We were curious. We’ve listened to more Prince music in four days than I’m sure I’ve heard in my entire life. I have never seen the movie “Purple Rain.”

Saturday night, we stayed up to watch “Saturday Night Live,” which featured Jimmy Fallon hosting nonstop (well, except for the ubiquitous commercials) clips of Prince’s past performances on “SNL.” “Styles have changed. People have come and gone. But Prince has never not been cool,” Fallon said.

When I woke up in the middle of the night, all I could think about was, “What purple items do I have that I can bring and leave?”

It was raining pretty hard when we picked up our friend at the Green Line Stadium Village stop on University Avenue near the University of Minnesota. We headed to First Avenue after swinging by Byerly’s to pick up purple flowers and purple balloons.

There were only about 20 people, most carrying umbrellas, gathered quietly at the cordoned off area on First Avenue, where Prince filmed “Purple Rain” and his star has the prime spot on the nightclub’s exterior black wall. The pile of flowers and memorabilia underneath his star ― including a guitar and a ukulele ― was almost 4 feet deep and tall.

I took a few photos of Prince’s star, the building, my friend, Amanda, and Gigi, her adorable teacup-sized terrier appropriately “dressed” in pink and purple.  Then we headed to Uptown.

Last week, I had met with Rock Cyfi Martinez, an amazing budding new graffiti and mural artist in the Twin Cities, originally from Tucson, Ariz., about a public art project in Edina. I was delighted to wake up to see a photograph of his Prince mural on the side of an Uptown building on the front page of Sunday’s Star Tribune and I wanted to be sure to take my own photos.

It was really pouring by the time we arrived, but I threw my purple-and-white Native American blanket over my head ― and camera ― and made a dash to take a few photos. I was delighted to see Rock in front of his artwork talking to numerous people ― all with cameras and the same idea I’d had. He had painted the mural in about seven hours as a gift to Minneapolis, he said. After a brief chat, I took my photos and made a quick exit back to the car.

We were off to Chanhassen and Prince’s Paisley Park. Admittedly, I had no expectations. I’ve driven by the large white complex a few times before but never knew its famous history.

Signs and traffic tape pointed the way to the expanded parking area about three-fourths of a mile away from Paisley Park. Arnie dropped Amanda, Gigi and me off closer to the complex and joined us later. Luckily, the rain had stopped, but the area near the sidewalks were pretty muddy.

I was totally unprepared for what awaited us after we walked under a couple of road bridges to the long chain-linked fence around the Paisley Park perimeter.

Hundreds of purple balloons tied to the fences were being blown by the wind. In addition, there were hundreds of bouquets of purple flowers, purple necklaces, purple scarves, purple signs, purple ribbons, purple clothes, purple pillows, purple stuffed animals, purple posters, purple candles, purple crosses, even a purple potholder with the symbol Prince used for his name sewn into it. He used the symbol for a few years as a political statement against the music industry, which tried unsuccessfully to control distribution of his music.

The experience was quite overwhelming. Yet people were polite, quiet, some somber, some celebratory, respectful, peaceful. I was not surprised to run into a couple of friends walking along the purple-filled path. They said they live very close by and it was the fifth time they’d come. They, too, were amazed at how big the memorial had grown.

All sorts of people, businesses and communities, local and worldwide are marking the death of Minnesota’s magical, mysterious musician. The Minneapolis City Hall carillon bells Sunday played Prince songs “Kiss,” “1999,” “Nothing Compares 2 U” and “When You Were Mine.” Sports teams are marking his passing with large photos and moments of silence before the start of games. The young British woman who introduced President Obama at a town hall in England for diverse young leaders mentioned Prince. All top 10 songs on iTunes are Prince songs.

As I left my small mementos ― my favorite purple thistle flowers, a purple paper crown and a huge purple stone from a ring ― I reflected on the incredible impact the 57-year-old musician has made on the world. I’m so glad I went.

He left an immeasurable number of fans around the world who appreciated his many musical gifts, were grateful for his generosity and will mourn and remember him for a very long time.