A Line or Two: Five More from My Top-Ten List
This week I'm completing my (entirely unranked and completely subjective) list of ten offbeat, more or less under-the-radar things that make me love our towns. Last week's list
was dominated by the quirky and arty--Japanese modern dance, carved bowling balls, metaphysical books. My second five strike me as tried-and-true, tradition-minded, old-school.
6) The American Museum of Asmat Art
: The Asmat
are a people, indigenous to Papua/New Guinea, Indonesia, with a brilliant tradition of wood carving, and art-making in other media too. The art history department of the University of Saint Thomas in Saint Paul administers one of the country's best collections
of Asmat art (see photo for a striking example), and it opened to the public on February 13. There's an opening event/lecture
scheduled for the 23rd.
: And for faraway art you can actually buy, there's this amazing 33-year-old antique emporium
in the Warehouse district. Walking into it practically counts as a trip to Africa and Asia. The high cultures of China, Japan, and Korea are richly represented--brushes and ink sticks for calligraphy, beautiful chests of drawers, porcelain--but I've seen Nigerian barber signs too, displaying hip haircuts circa 1970.
8) William Marvy Company
: Who knew that the last, the only, place
in America where barber poles are still manufactured is on Saint Clair Avenue in Saint Paul? High-end barber supplies, including professional scissors, are on sale, but the real reason to go is the historical aura.
9) Old Muskego Church
: This small, severely beautiful old Norwegian church
, moved from rural Wisconsin to the campus of Luther Seminary
, transports you immediately into the world of the strong-minded, austere Scandinavians who put their stamp on much of our local culture.
10) Campbell-Logan Bindery
: In this enormous set of rooms
in an old Warehouse District building, books are bound by artisans, using simple, and mostly very old, machines, hand tools, and skill. It's an awe-inspiring place that makes you grateful for the two-thousand-year history of the book and a little less quick to fire up your Kindle.
Photo: Ajour carving, American Museum of Asmat Art, gift of the Diocese of Agats