Duluth, Hibbing ready for 2018 Dylan celebrations

This May 24, Bob Dylan turns 77. His twin hometowns of Duluth and Hibbing, Minnesota, prepare to celebrate with live music, tours and cultural activities. From May 19-27, the Duluth Dylan Festival brings something for fans of Dylan and the arts every day. The Hibbing Dylan Project also offers activities on May 19. Some of… Read More →

Remembering Ray Szmanda, the ‘Menards Guy’

Ray Szmanda, known to TV viewers of the Upper Midwest as “The Menards Guy,” died Sunday according to his son. He was 91. Growing up in the Duluth, Minnesota, TV market during the 1980s and ’90s meant watching this man sell home improvement tools and materials during nearly every local TV break. It wasn’t just… Read More →

Notable Iron Range mutant making whiskey now

In so many ways, Bob Dylan is a Northern Minnesota mutant. And I say that with respect, in the evolutionary sense. Born in Duluth, raised on the Mesabi Iron Range, Dylan shot out of this place like a rocket almost 60 years ago. You know the rest. Dylan might never be like the kids he… Read More →

2018 Homegrown Music Festival runs April 29-May 6

This Sunday, April 29, the Homegrown Music Festival opens in Duluth, Minnesota. This year marks 20 years of original music in the Zenith City of the Unsalted Seas. The Duluth sound, if you believe such a thing exists, was either created at or amplified by Homegrown. Duluth manages to support hundreds of acts. Full time… Read More →

Sportsball provides bright light in dreary MN spring

Northern Minnesota doesn’t know what to do with success. Frankly, it’s an occurrence that seems rare enough these days to ignore outright. But one can’t help but notice that this year, at least as far as local sportsball is concerned,¬†everything is coming up Milhouse. Gold medal U.S. curling team staffed by Iron Range and Duluth… Read More →

Hear the latest Great Northern Radio Show from Bemidji

Last month I brought my Great Northern Radio Show to Bemidji State University for our latest blend of Northern Minnesota-themed variety programming. I think it turned out well, with plenty of funny bits and good music. The program aired live on Northern Community Radio and featured a sold out venue at the Thompson Recital Hall… Read More →

Hibbing film scores box office success

Last week I wrote about Karl Jacob’s movie “Cold November,” a quality indy film that tells a beautiful story set right here in Northern Minnesota. In the scheduled run last week, “Cold November” ended up being the highest grossing film at the Mann’s Cinema 8 in Hibbing. As a result, the theater added an additional… Read More →

Immigrant stories bring fresh energy to the Iron Range

With St. Urho’s Day honoring Finnish heritage today and the Irish fete of St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, we may reflect on the roots of many who live in Northern Minnesota. It’s been a long time, but not that long, since the Mesabi Iron Range was majority foreign born. Nevertheless, that happened. The melding of immigrant… Read More →

2018 Minnesota High School All Hockey Hair Team

Nothing quite takes over the state of Minnesota like the annual high school hockey tournament. The quality of play resembles the Olympics. They sell out the arena for a week. And the hair flows free. That’s right, the Minnesota hockey tournament has its own spinoff sensations, including the Minnesota State High School All Hockey Hair… Read More →

Great Northern Radio Show hits BSU this Saturday

The dawn of March in Northern Minnesota is like those sample stations at your local¬†grocery store. Try this sausage on a toothpick. Here’s a tiny pie on a tiny plate. Tastes pretty good. But do you live in a world where you can just buy a box of those special foods? Are these rare creamy… Read More →