R-O-C-K in the Co-op, eh?

The Mesaba Co-Op Park sits on the border between Cherry and Hibbing. You can’t escape this place as a key setting for Iron Range history. This refuge for mostly socialist Finnish immigrants became a playground and a proving ground for 20th Century leftist politics in Northern Minnesota. And it’s still here! While the place continues… Read More →

Finland’s whitetail deer have Iron Range roots

Finnish-Americans gave Northern Minnesota saunas, labor activism and light switches that are on the outside of the room for some reason. But few here know they also gave the “old country” more whitetail deer than they can shoot. Right now about 100,000 whitetail deer roam the Finnish countryside. In 1934, that number was a cold,… Read More →

Northern Lights brings Barber of Seville to Iron Range

Each summer the Northern Lights Music Festival brings a fully staged classical opera to stages across Northern Minnesota’s Iron Range. This summer, festival founder Veda Zupancic and her company bring Rossini’s Italian comic opera “The Barber of Seville.” The festival also backs chamber orchestra, instrumental trios and kids programming across the region. Events kick off… Read More →

U rejects, rejoice! Rural Minnesota is probably fine

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that the University of Minnesota system is exploring strategies to build enrollment statewide. The main University of Minnesota campus in the Twin Cities remains popular, constituting 71 percent of the system’s enrollment. They even have to turn away students from elite programs. But to reach its goals, the Board… Read More →

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 →