Dead Serious

The largest public execution in U.S. history took place in 1862, down in Mankato. Since the hanging of thirty-eight Dakota Indians, public sentiment against the death penalty had been building in Minnesota. Nineteenth-century politicians tried to pacify the public outrage not by banning the death penalty, but by carrying it out in relative secrecy. An […]

The Botched Hanging of William Williams

A couple of months after President Theodore Roosevelt had given the inaugural address for his second term of office, an itinerant named William Williams was convicted of first-degree murder. In one of Minnesota’s most infamous crimes, Williams had killed a teenage boy, Johnny Keller, and his mother. An English laborer, Williams had worked as a […]

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Osiris

As our Chooka boots slog into winter’s home stretch, it’s good to be reminded that this too—the bottomless mud puddles, the salt stains, the never-ending blur of flurries—will pass. Pangea World Theater and The Playwrights’ Center help lift our spirits as they resurrect Osiris, the ancient Egyptian god of the underworld who was often associated […]

Far Away

As would be expected from a theater that shares a building with the Powderhorn neighborhood community center, the Pillsbury House Theatre can always be counted on for politically engaged and socially responsible performances. The area premiere of the great English surrealist Caryl Churchill’s Far Away is no exception. Timely and powerful, it is the story […]

Coffee and Tea, Ltd.

Located 1,200 miles off the coast of west Africa, St. Helena is mostly known for exporting dead French Emperors, i.e. Napoleon Bonaparte, whose remains went back to France in 1840 after his death nineteen years earlier. The island’s second-most-famous export is its coffee, which the diminutive warmonger reportedly adored—and if you’re willing to shell out […]

Air-Ride Equipped: New Paintings by Jim Zellinger

Not content merely to be an ambitious new downtown art gallery, One on One doubles as a bicycle shop, and once a little remodeling is done it’ll triple as a coffee bar. Its second-ever exhibit features a painter with a similar bent toward combining art and transportation, New-York-by-way-of-Iowa’s Jim Zellinger. His boldly colored acrylics are […]

Beauty, Honor, and Tradition: The Legacy of Plains Indian Shirts

What sartorial item is more exclusive than haute couture, more status-laden than the perennially wait-listed Hermès Kelly bag? Why, the plains Indian shirt, of course: an animal-hide garment festooned with all manner of beading, colorful symbols and battle scenes, leather, horse- or human-hair fringe, and porcupine-quill embroidery. As stereotypically “Native” as a tomahawk or teepee, […]

Al Green

Contrary to the spray-painted testimonials of East Greenwich Village graffiti artists, God is neither Mingus nor Bird, not even Coltrane. My vote goes to the Reverend Al Green, who for decades has explained it all to us in lyrics and music, crying out—whether in times of sensuous, heaven-sent good or heart-wrenching, heart-broken bad—“Lord, what have […]

Cassandra Wilson

Since her father’s vitae includes playing bass for Sonny Boy Williamson and Ray Charles, no one would have blamed Cassandra Wilson if she’d gone to dental school and simply avoided the pressures and comparisons inherent in going into dad’s business (just ask Pete Rose, Jr. what the unhappy results can be). Luckily, Wilson picked up […]

Bob Dylan

The recent flurry of interest in Bobby Z’s greatest studio work (see Straight Talk, page 21), shouldn’t let you forget his live show. Dylan’s late-nineties renaissance extended to the stage as well as the studio, and concerts over the past few years have approached the mark set by his incendiary 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue. (A […]