Banksy fan? You can soon buy his artwork for cheap

Banksy fan? You can soon buy his artwork for cheap

Banksy is something of an enigma in the art world – and not just because no average Joe knows his true identity. His heavy-handed imagery and symbolism, and constant political/cultural commentary, have both thrilled and divided art enthusiasts from London to New York to China. He has a mission. He has a statement he’d like to make and he makes it, loud and clear and easy to understand, again and again. Banksy’s role as a “public” figure But this isn’t meant to be a review, or even a comment, on his art. Nor of his bravado. Nor is it really a discussion about the phenomenon that has led to Banksy’s art pieces selling for millions of dollars, “Save Banksy” campaigns (watch an example in the video below) and his rabid, cult-like following. We just wanted you to know that you will soon be able to own some of Banksy’s latest artwork at a much, much lower price point than the 6+ figures it has recently been selling for. If (and it’s a big “if”) you head to the West Bank, to Bethlehem. This is also where the artist’s controversial hotel stands. “The Walled Off Hotel,” as an apparent commentary on Israel and Palestine’s strained (to put it lightly) relationship, and the wall that splits the holiest of cities into two, offers the “Worst View in the World” (you can buy a t-shirt there that says so). The gift shop will be located at the back of the hotel (not to be confused with the Banksy-themed store that opened up across the street in an attempt to capitalize on the artist’s...
Is the person who makes you miserable happier than you are?

Is the person who makes you miserable happier than you are?

Or, is my optimism misplaced? Smell the lilacs. Kick the leaves. Watch the cat in the window with his lazy paw dangling from the ledge, his ears twitching in the sun. Feel the sun on your face. Smell the air. Nod at the passing parents and their stroller, and the something small and soft and round sleeping inside. Somewhere there is a car accident. Somewhere there are sirens, shrill and strident. But they are worlds and lives away. Here and now we need nothing but simple existence. Because people always want something to happen. Need something to happen. (Simply existing in this world is not enough.) But there is no need to force a plot forward, no need for a catalyst or a deus ex machina. Just the simple beating of an imagination. Just the world around you and all the details that bring it to life. There are people all around, sure. These people have lives – of course things happen to them. (Car crashes and police sirens.) But they can happen naturally, normally, without begging for a result. Without video footage, responses, likes, shares. When something is forced to happen in a world as beautiful as this it cheapens the experience: Like trying to describe/define perfection instead of basking in its glow. Drama so miserable It’s been defined as drama like “omg I’m so done with all this drama” and it’s been defined in reality television like Osbournes and Kardashians and looking for eternal love in an elimination game with a poorly-done soundtrack. It’s watching someone else’s life because it lets you escape from your own. It’s comparing and...
My mom is still stronger than cancer, even though it killed her

My mom is still stronger than cancer, even though it killed her

Cancer is an uninvited guest, a dark shadow on a sunny day, a pointedly mean joke without punchline or retribution. It inspires sympathetic head-shakes and hugs from those who might understand or only think they do. Everyone (or-so-it-seems) knows someone who has battled cancer, or knows someone who knows someone who has battled cancer (win-or-lose). Or someone that is currently in the fight. And what is left behind. On life and death  The room is a warm and steady 72 degrees. It doesn’t change much. In the hallway, the bustle of doctors and nurses in scrubs and white coats. We are at Regions Hospital in downtown St. Paul. The plants are plastic: living things are harmful. But there is still life here, watching my mother dance around the room in a hospital gown to music I play for her. The windows can’t be opened but sunlight is streaming through the pane with warmth as real as the summer outside. But things are different inside, cut off from the melange of cars and people that cris-cross through the downtown streets. From their lives and stories. This is 2004, a decade before the Light Rail first passed in front of the hospital. She would have been excited about that. It’s hard to write a story like this without coming across as sob (or looking for sympathy). As I write this, my neighbor’s dog is chasing a rabbit from the yard, barking, soon to be covered in dirt and mud, blissfully unaware of the emotional trials of humans. The dog does not offer sympathy, only support; companionship, and so when telling stories...
The beautiful people or: Viewing people viewing people

The beautiful people or: Viewing people viewing people

What do we know about people? Or rather, what do we know about ourselves? Because, whether we like it or not, much of what we think we know about others comes from what we think we know about ourselves. We often use other people as a mirror; as a reflection of our best and worst qualities. It’s no wonder, then, that we are either drawn to, or repulsed by, certain personality types/different people. Science says we’re attracted to those with the same DNA as us; that we’re predisposed to like those who look/think/act/live similar to the way we do. This seems like such a small-minded, and limiting way to live in a world where “looks like me” is becoming an increasingly subjective, and polarizing, basis of judgment. But it shapes much of our day-to-day, even (especially) when we don’t realize it. Inclusivity In recent years, the cultural trend seemed to be one of celebration; of differences and similarities alike, of togetherness. After electing Barack Obama as the first black president in U.S. history, same-sex marriage was legalized across the United States (on June 26, 2015, at which point over 1/2 of states were already there). The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that denying the fundamental institution of marriage to same-sex couples violated the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. But perhaps more importantly are the almost intangible gains made during the last eight years, and for many years before that; the general push toward acceptance and progress. We’ve come a long way since the days blatant/accepted discrimination (women’s suffrage, Jim Crow, Japanese internment camps…),...
Trolling is too mainstream

Trolling is too mainstream

People seem to think they’re sparking some sort of revolution by trolling; people who adhere to Milo Yiannoupolouos’ idea that trolls are the “only people that tell the the truth these days,” or  believe that trolling is an art. But you’ve got Time Magazine complaining how trolls are ruining the internet. And there’s even a book out on the subject: This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things. It’s just another tactic to try and exhibit power on the internet. Everyone is doing it now. And very poorly, usually. And, more importantly, as a result the average person is now less willing or able to be trolled. It’s lame. You’re a lame duck if you do it. Like the kid who thinks it’s still cool to pull on girls’ pigtails. Outdated. You and every other twelve year old can try and rile people up online. Lulz. But anyone with half a brain; anyone who knows two things about where the world is headed no longer falls for childish trickery. But that’s not the whole story. And it certainly doesn’t stop there. A trolling era: What now? So where do the 4chan, 8chan, Breitbart trolls go when their caves have been raided? Where can they find darkness after being brought out into the light? To be fair, trolls are often nonpartisan. Like “Thor83” played by Patton Oswalt (amen.) trolling party invites in this Portlandia sketch.   But of course, when it’s not messing with people’s lives, it’s not really worth writing about or reporting on. So, especially on the sites just mentioned, the loudest and most obvious trolls, like Milo, have taken to...
Minnesota vs. Donald Trump: Our shaky relationship with POTUS

Minnesota vs. Donald Trump: Our shaky relationship with POTUS

After Minnesota put Trump in third place on Super Tuesday, it was clear that the relationship between our fair state and the future president wasn’t going to be defined by sunshine and roses. Then Trump, on one of his final campaign stops, criticized our East African community. He made unverifiable claims about Minnesota’s immigrant population from an airport hangar at MSP. He barely set foot in the state, and he certainly didn’t stop to eat at Fasika (which should be enough to change anyone’s mind on the issue). We Minnesotans were none too pleased. Now that Trump is officially President of the United States, it’s clear that things aren’t going to get any better. Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges has defied Trump’s authoritarian order on sanctuary cities, as was reported by MPR 1/25/17. Minneapolis won’t drop its policy that blocks police from reporting immigration violations. And then from St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman across the river, “Not only has our current police chief, but police chiefs past, and police chiefs across the country have made it very clear that they need to be able to build trusting relationships in immigrant communities,” he said. “We have the ability to make those determinations on a local level.” And why do we use the word “authoritarian?” Certainly not to be biased; not to join the ranks of media dismissed by Trump, and certainly not to use something the current administration likes to call “alternative facts.” It comes from another article, written by longtime Minnesota Public Radio correspondent Frank Langfitt, about the anti-information tactics of Donald Trump and co. The “Counselor to the President of the United...