Just as the season is about to end, it finally, finally, finally feels like spring up here — no more last bursts of snow as in April, no more dips near freezing as in May.
I celebrated yesterday at St. Paul’s Grand Old Day and Minneapolis’ Open Streets Lyndale, a pair of festivals that shut down miles of major streets and line them with bands, food tents and other booths, like the fellow above with The Bubble Connection from Wisconsin. I was also trying to push myself a little closer to the street photography style of many old and contemporary masters: wide-angle shots, subtle moments, a little mystery, a little goofiness, less reliance on the big action-reaction-emotion rules of photojournalism. I started in St. Paul.
Cleaners with small brooms and buckets wove through the crowd sweeping up wrappers and other scraps. Most were women, old, about a foot shorter than other attendees, decked in neon safety vests and gregarious sun hats and scarves yet hardly noticed. They periodically scattered and regrouped as they strode down Grand Avenue, pausing to admire a booth’s goods here and there or to watch people throw beanbags into toilets on the street to win free plungers. One told me they were Hmong (with a silent H), immigrants from a southeast Asian ethnic group. Several are old enough for retirement, but he said many just like something to do.
After walking about 5 miles up and down one Twin City, I took two buses and a train to Lyndale Avenue near Uptown in the other. I was about worn out; the street dancers, less so.
I like this place a lot more when it’s warm. Thanks for looking.
Happy Hispanic Heritage Month from here in Fayetteville. The city’s Chamber of Commerce marked the occasion with a two-parter festival. The first part yesterday brought sunshine and Argentinian dance. The second part today was cut off by blustery winds and a strong afternoon downpour, but not before its parade had a chance to circle Fayetteville’s square.
The event was officially apolitical, but celebrating Hispanic heritage almost seems like a political statement in itself these days, given the intense focus on immigration and policy and our president. I wrote up an article for today’s paper about how deferred action for childhood arrivals, the Obama-era protection from deportation given to hundreds of thousands young immigrants, stands a decent chance of becoming a law in Congress now. We’ll see what comes of it.
We’re two-thirds of the way through Hispanic Heritage Month, which in part commemorates the independence of Central America after centuries of Spanish rule that stretched back to the conquest of the Maya. The city marked the celebration with a two-day festival this past weekend near Lake Fayetteville. It wasn’t as colorful as I hoped — apparently I should’ve been there at the very beginning — but the air was filled with good spirits and zestful music, and a few brave people from the U.S., Venezuela, Mexico and other countries ventured out of the shade for some competitive dancing. A day-long fútbol tournament carried on up the hill.
I’ve realized recently I should’ve stuck with the Spanish practice. I studied it for six years, including two semesters in college, but it’s a use it or lose it sort of deal, and I haven’t used it. Plenty of Latino people speak English just fine, but many don’t, and whether I’m trying to write stories about them for work or take their picture for this blog, I’ve wished many times I could explain and have a conversation in the more comfortable tongue. Same goes for the Marshallese around here, though that seems a much steeper challenge. We’ll see if I can get back in the Spanish saddle.
(Edit: All of this is also a good argument for hiring more Latino and Marshallese journalists in the first place.)
Happy Halloween! I know it’s early, and I blame my first freelance photo gig in a while. The married owners of Springfield’s Savoy Ballroom organized 100+ people to dance to Michael Jackson’s zombie-fied “Thriller” this past weekend on Commercial Street, and I got to take some images. There was room only for one in the paper but these regular people went all-out, so I’m glad to be able to put up more photos here.
I’ve also hitched on a few images of an Ozarks autumn in Dogwood Canyon Park south of here. It will fade away to winter before we know it. Fittingly, my search for full-time employment also is reaching its endgame, I think. Lord knows how it’ll turn out.