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What a fantastic weekend we had in Duluth!  We headed over to hit the Honor the Earth 5th Annual Love Water Not Oil Tour featuring Nahko Bear and Annie Humphrey among others.  We decided to go over Saturday and get oriented and see town before the Sunday concert.

We arrived in the afternoon and headed to the AirBnB in Hermantown.  When we arrived, Josh, our host, was building a pergola on the large patio deck.  They have a private entrance space with a living room, dining area with refrigerator, coffee maker and microwave, bathroom and three bedrooms each with a queen bed.  It’s a lovely and simple space with a nice bed and enough pillows.  Super clean and quiet.  We really enjoyed relaxing in this space late in the evening but first, we headed to the Canal Walk.

We found tremendous traffic at the Canal Park.  We finally found a parking space under the solar panels near Sister Cities Park and the Lakewalk.  We enjoyed rock spotting and seeing the wide open Lake Superior as we walked the shore but it was dirtier than the North Shore – a little too industrial for me.  There were a bunch of young men enjoying The CRIBS, also referred to as Uncle Harvey’s Mortuary, a large concrete structure of varied legend.  Like little crabs, the boys scuttled along the thin walls of the structure, occasionally jumping from the heights.

We headed inland toward the Dewitt-Seitz Marketplace, recommended by friend Anne Paulson who once lived in Duluth.  We found the Blue Heron, like a compact Crate and Barrel, to be full of lovely spices, sauces, cookware, tools and table coverings. A really fun space to explore.  Just across the way is the Art Dock, full of fun treasures.  We didn’t have time to head up to J. Skylark  but their lower level window display looked really enticing.  We were out of time and had to head to our parking space.  From there we headed up to Downtown and stopped after finding a back alley parking spot (free!) to the Electric Fetus.   It was like going back in time and I took some time to listen to the top albums – none of which was familiar and only one of which made an impression.  Sammy Brue might be worth a listen if you’re into young upcomers.

We decided to head to the neighborhood with the Co-op grocery on 4th Street – neighborhoods with co-op groceries are usually pretty great.  We found some good stuff – raw cashews for more Ambrosia, some quick packs of Indian food for dinner, cheese curds (hey we are super close to Wisconsin here – they gotta be good!), and some organic tortilla chips (not very good but cheap).  At the checkout, we asked the guy if there was a good place for a little picnic lunch.  He directed us toward Canal Park and we said, “No, no… that’s too People-y.  You know any place less People-y?”  “Ah,” he says, “Lester Park.  There are nice waterfalls.  It’s a little hike in but worth it.”  So we put it in the Google Map and head toward 51st and Juniata.  We get there and it’s a pump house. 😦  Just to the left, there appears to be a small parking area… and we see a Butterfly Garden (sorry no pic as we were super non-plussed) which had a couple benches among some sparse wildflowers.  We found a short trail and hiked over the flora finally stumbling upon a small creek.  We decided this could NOT be the right place – no waterfalls.  So we checked again and Google said we need to be at 61st and Superior.  Lester Park DotAh, yes, this is the place!  We drove up in search of a parking place and find the entrance to The Deeps at the top of the hill. If you go in at the trail at the purple circle, you will hike a mere 20 feet and find yourself at an amazing space in the middle of town.  There are 30’ falls that pour into what is called The Deeps – a deep hole into which the locals cliff dive.  Above this space is a rolling rocky creek with smaller falls where Dan took this photo.


We lounged in the water, climbed the rocks and explored for a bit before heading back to the AirBnB taking the Seven Bridges Road ~ we’ve traveled it now!  We took Skyline road up to the top and saw the Hawk Ridge Reserve though no migrations are scheduled until fall… mid-September looks like prime time, though you’ll want Halloween time for seeing the big Eagles.

We actually watched some TV at the AriBnB – Red Green.  Nothing really worth watching on that black box.  Don’t miss TV a bit.

The next morning, we headed into Superior, Wisconsin to hit the Anchor Bar and Grill – Yep, Sunday is a busy day for this little dive.  Their menu is hilarious!  I highly recommend this super cheap burger joint.  Fresh fries and good burgers.  Dan had the Bacon Cheeseburger and I had the Cashew Burger (cashews and swiss – yum).  There was another couple looking for a quiet table – the Elvis was blasting. Julie Sando Cat Since we’d done the same thing minutes before and had room at our table, we asked them to join us.  They were waiting for their friend, “Crazy Nancy Nelson” (who did turn out to be a HOOT!), and we had room for three so the two sat.  Julie and Joey Sando turned out to be a splendid addition to our party.  She soon mentioned they were seeking driftwood for her art.  Art?  What kind of art does she do?  Stained glass.  And driftwood???  Well, you should check out her stuff – it’s pretty awesome. I forwarded her info to the Rec Lab Creative Activities committee because she’s seems like a lot of fun.  Looking forward to seeing her again sometime.  So glad we invited them all to join us as it made our brunch a super fun time.

After burger breakfast, we headed to the Bayfront Festival Park for the Love Water Not Oil show.  Arriving early again, we walked directly into the venue and found the Honor The Earth organizers who asked if we were volunteers.  So I guess we could have volunteered and got in the show free but we’re happy to send funds to HTE.  We ended up volunteering anyway and were assigned the vendor gate.  This was a happening place and I only got one F-Bomb from a lady who was really pissed she had to walk to the north entrance to enter with her ticket after walking all the way to this vendor gate already (like 100′).  It wasn’t that far a walk (maybe 100 paces further?) and I’m hopeful her day ended up going better.  The rest of the day I thanked the people we kept directing to the ticket entrance for not F-you-ing me and it gave us all lots of laughs… and perspective.  I guess that was payback for all the F-yous I’ve dished out to customer service people on the phone over the years!  I’m better than I used to be but still a work in progress.

So, the big perks of being at the vendor gate?  Got to see:

  • Corey Medina ride out on his motorcycle for some wind in the hair before the show started.
  • Friends Nicolette, Sarah & Keri from HTE coming in to set up tables and Cedar heading in and out for lunch.
  • Greeting Winona LaDuke as she came in to begin the festivities with ceremony.
  • Saying hi to Don again – he remembered me from the Futurists conference where we first met!  {Dan says I’m pretty unforgettable.  Aw, ain’t that sweet?}
  • The arrival of the Teepees.
  • Nahko Bear driving into the venue – AWESOME Groupie Moment. 🙂
  • The adjacent and handy port-o-potties! We let several folks in to pee before they headed to the ticket entrance.  It was a super laid back show and fun to be a part of it all.

I was impressed with the ceremony that opened the show.  There were some prayers and songs and the elder that did ceremony for Winona spoke of the importance of honoring women – how we treat our women is how we treat the Earth.  So true.  It’s time for change.  She challenged us all to bring respect to how we allow others to treat us as women and to protect women assuring safety and respect for them all.  Maybe if we can find love and respect for each other, we can start to heal this planet in a big way.

The teepees were also inspiring.  They had the Keystone XL teepee and the teepee from Standing Rock. teepee Dan got some good shots.  The musical line-up followed:

  • Elizabeth Jaakola & Family – Fond du Lac Musicians who sang great original songs with my favorite probably being Covfefe, which consisted of a bunch of mush mouth, jive talk and a perfectly understood chorus of “Covfefe”.  😉 I’d heard them doing this one at sound check and had chuckled my way to the vendor gate as I listened.  http://www.firstpeoplesfund.org/elizabeth-jaakola/ Nice songs about standing up for Mother Earth, being strong as Indigenous, and having fun too.
  • Thomas X from the Red Lake Tribe – really nice Rez Rap. https://thomasx.bandcamp.com/  His tunes are all available online.  Support him if you can – he had a sweet little baby on the blanket with him when I stopped by to give him props.  Welcome to the Rez is a nice mix and I had my fist in the air for Standing Rock.  TOTALLY love this dude after giving more of his albums a listen today.  Check him out.
  • Two for One – a South Minneapolis hip hop rapper. Couldn’t find him online anywhere but he had some good lyrics and seemed like a nice kid.
  • Maria Isa, a self-described SotaRican, rapped her way through a set. I thought it was a strange sound – kind of all over the place – couldn’t really get into it before it changed into something else.  https://www.facebook.com/pg/iammariaisa/videos/?ref=page_internal
  • Two short stints by the Sunshine Boys and a guy from California – both presented indigenous songs from their traditions – really nice stuff.
  • Annie Humphrey – first time FINALLY getting to see her play live. What a powerful woman!  Here’s a great video perfect for this Love Water Not Oil show which is all about celebrating riding horses against the flow of the proposed pipeline… in case you didn’t know, Horses can Kill Snakes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gd6wsVgWoUI  It’s so interesting to see her perform – she is such a blend of her mother and daughter, both of whom I know better than I know Annie, that it creates a wonderful feeling inside me.  Thomas X mentioned that he first saw Annie perform when he was 13 and her performance brought him to tears.  I can definitely relate.  Beautiful voice, lovely music.  Definitely find your way to listening to some of Annie’s work.  Here’s Edge of America.
  • Corey Medina and Brothers. FANTASTIC.  Great blues/rock sound.  Dan kept watching them thinking they looked really familiar… until we decided Corey reminds us a lot of Alex Crankshaft.  Here’s a Tiny Desk Concert they did (though the two cats with Corey in this one are much younger versions of the two on stage this weekend, Gary Broste & Eric Sundeen).  Ah, here’s one with them playing Want it All at Rail River Folk School.
  • Nahko, AKA Nahko Bear, leader of Medicine for the People. 20170716_164919_1500312296296 This was the artist that brought us to this show.  He spent most of the afternoon hanging out with the crowd… giving bear hugs, taking photos, chatting.  I was astounded at the variety of people coming out to see him.  I expected the hippies, the water protectors, the Indians but not the young white moms, old white ladies, three older white dudes from the Cities.  All ages from toddler to seniors, all colors.  I guess the only ones not represented were oil men and dumbass rednecks.  Dan and I were grateful to be the final photo op before he headed in for some lunch and pre-show preparation. And he remembered me as the one who welcomed him at the gate!

Definitely check out his music.  Here are a few videos: