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September Arts and Culture: Grand Openings, Helmet Art and Community Gardens

Milkweed Books' new space

A new independent bookstore! A second ReStore store! Plus a community garden celebration and an art exhibit and fashion show featuring motorcycle helmets highlight September arts and culture.
Northstar Science Film Festival
September 15-18
Twin Cities Public Television and Bedlam Lowertown, St. Paul
How did James Burke's Connections transform our understanding of innovation? To what do we owe our continual fascination with the fictional human/Vulcan hybrid Spock? How does risk-taking lead to scientific breakthroughs? And where do we find the science in superheros? All will be revealed during the first annual Northstar Science Film Festival in Lowertown. Created to “celebrate the collision of science and entertainment,” according to the fest’s website, the first Northstar Science Film Festivla explores “the frontiers of life: space, epidemic diseases, popular culture and other exciting areas illuminated by science on film.” Screenings are accompanied by talks by scientists and filmmakers, and/or STEM activities designed to incite further discussion or illuminate pressing questions facing humanity in the 21st century. On hand are Paula Apsell of NOVA, William Gurstelle from Popular Science and Jim Kakalios who wrote The Physics of Superheroes, as well as Shawn Otto, author of The War on Science. Comedy, music and beer from Tin Whiskers are also on hand. A complete schedule is here.
Minneapolis ReStore Grand Opening
September 15-17
2700 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis
The second Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity new ReStore opens this weekend in South Minneapolis, building on the success of Habitat’s first location in New Brighton. The new ReStore will have 23,000 square feet of retail and storeroom space, with a welcoming area at the front with furniture, lighting, cabinets and appliances. Building materials, flooring and plumbing will be located in the back. “The goal was to design a store that gave customers the best shopping experience of any ReStore in the country,” Pete O’Keefe, ReStore’s senior operations manager commented in a Habitat article. Many construction, architectural and design partners donated expertise, time and materials to bring the new store to fruition. Every product in the store has been donated, as well. All proceeds go to support Habitat’s programs.
Community Garden Day 2016
September 17
Various times and locations
Minneapolis City Hall has declared September 17 as Community Garden Day. That means more than 600 community gardens and urban agriculture projects in Minneapolis and in St. Paul will be celebrating the transformative power of planting, cultivating, growing, tending, harvesting and in some cases selling fresh fruits and vegetables. Not only go community gardens change the lives of individuals and their families, but such gardens rejuvenate and nourish neighborhoods. During Community Garden Day, a project of Gardening Matters, 28 gardens across the Twin Cities will be open to the public. Visitors can learn about beehives, growing an herb circle, building a hydroponic salad table or underground Walapini greenhouse, and establishing community orchard. There will also be opportunities to swap recipes, take a bik tour, taste homemade ice cream, sample garden-grown tea and taken in Mixed Precipitation’s Picnic Operetta.  A full directory and an interactive map of garden celebrations are here.
Milkweed Books Grand Opening
September 20
Open Book, Minneapolis
5:30-8 p.m.
Deni Ellis Béchard, author of Into the Sun, headlines the grand opening of Milkweed Books in Open Book. The new, nonprofit, independent bookstore—an offshoot of Milkweed Books—opens with plans for lifetime founding memberships, a national subscription program, local bicycle delivery and other exciting innovations. A Kickstarter campaign is help fund the new bookstore. Architect Christian Dean has been working with Milkweed on the design of the new bookstore.
            As to skepticism about whether opening a new independent bookstore is relevant today, Milkweed replied on it Kickstarter page: “Amidst the many potential extinctions the world is facing, physical (and specifically independent) bookshelves seem like a pretty small loss—until we think about what lives there: Poetry. Translations. Short fiction. Experimental and creative nonfiction. Inventive, breakthrough novels. New voices speaking across cultures, economic divides, and genders. In short, groundbreaking literature relies on bookstores and booksellers to thrive. Algorithms employed in online shopping are only capable of selling us more of what we already know and like. Perusing a bookshelf allows for chance encounters and new discoveries…. So when people doubt the sanity of opening a bookstore, we see only one possible response: There’s no way we could responsibly choose not to! At Milkweed Editions, our mission as an independent publisher is to find and nurture the best literary art, and build an engaged community around it.”  
            Cast in point:  Béchard’s new novel, which centers on a love triangle that existed among three expats who die in a car explosion in Kabul. American imperialism, journalism and human foibles intertwine in a fascinating portrait of life abroad in the post-9/11 era.
MN4MN Blank Canvas 2016
September 23
Public Functionary, Minneapolis
7-10 p.m.
The first year it was PF Flyer sneakers. This year it’s motorcycle helmets. That’s right: MN4MN Blank Canvas is back. The 2016 project is comprised of two stages. First, 10 local visual artists (among them Leslie Barlow, Jennifer Davis and Yuya Negishi) were given a helmet to re-imagine as an art object. The second phase paired 10 photographers (including Wale Agboola, Lauren Krysti and Laney Sheehan) with 10 models to create images in which the art helmets are presented as fashion. During the opening reception the helmet art and photographs will be for sale. Intrepid bon vivant and event impresario IAmMoody has styled and choreographed the evening’s fashion show avec helmets.
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