Hot times at the Great Northern Radio Show

We’ll be live with a summertime edition of the Great Northern Radio Show Saturday evening at 5 p.m. The show features music from the Holy Hootenanners and The Don’t Tell Darlings. Our all-star house band led by Katie Houg plans some great surprises. Beyond that, we do comedy and storytelling centered in Northern Minnesota but… Read More →

German TV station explores Bob Dylan’s Hibbing roots

Last fall the German/French art network ARTE-TV visited Hibbing, Minnesota, as part of a “Bob Dylan’s America” series exploring the roots of the erstwhile Robert Zimmerman, Hibbing Class of 1959. Host Wolfgang Niedecken interviewed me for local color up at the former Hull Rust Mahoning Mine View in North Hibbing. You can view the episode… Read More →

Iron Range parades, street dances and fireworks

As a young kid I marched in the Keewatin Fourth of July parade as a patriotic penguin, Donald Duck, and other flag-festooned creatures. As an older kid I remember piling into a car with my friends, touring Range towns for street dances and fireworks. Before cell phones we would often try to anticipate where we… Read More →

Great Northern Radio Show in Grand Rapids June 23

On Saturday, June 23 we’re bringing the Great Northern Radio Show back to the Reif Center in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. If you’ve followed this blog, you know that every few months I fire up this massive, sputtering contraption and have some fun with live radio somewhere in Northern Minnesota. And I’d love it if you… Read More →

Summer brings 2018 Duluth-Superior Film Fest

The Duluth-Superior Film Festival opens Wednesday with a movie called “Virginia, Minnesota.” The film’s title refers to a character, not the Iron Range town. Nevertheless, this Minnesota-made film represents the creative spirit of this annual celebration of cinema here at the head of the Great Lakes. First, “Virginia, Minnesota” opens the festival with a special… Read More →

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 →