Throughout Minnesota, from Austin to International Falls, people flock every year to more festivals--county fairs, arts and craft shows, ice-fishing contests, and music festivals--than you can shake a stick at. Most come for the food and fun, but a few festival-goers have more devious intentions in mind. In this diverse collection of short stories, members of Twin Cities Sisters in Crime reveal the chilly underside of dog-sled races, gang rivalries at a Cinco de Mayo festivals, errant ice picks at a winter sculpture park, arson at a North Shore boat show, and a host of other ticklish and terrifying situations. Sometimes humorous and always rich in local color, these mysteries abound in psychopaths and twisted cops, cagey con men and shrewd amateur sleuths. They'll keep you guessing 'til the band stops playing and the final light goes out.
Medieval Europe is known for its sense of ceremony and drama. Knightings, tournaments, coronations, religious processions, and even private celebrations such as baptisms, weddings and funerals were occasions for ritual, feasting and public display. This volume takes a comprehensive look at the many types of city spectacles that entertained the masses and confirmed various messages of power in late medieval Europe. Bringing together leading scholars in history, art history, and literature, this interdisciplinary collection aims to set new standards for the study of medieval popular culture. Drawing examples from Spain, England, France, Italy, and the Netherlands, most of them in the 15th century, the authors explore the uses of ceremony as statements of political power, as pleas for divine intercession, and as expressions of popular culture. Their essays show us spectacles meant to confirm events such as victories, the signing of a city charter, the coronation of a king. In other circumstances, the spectacle acted as a battleground where a struggle for the control of the metaphors of power is played out between factions within cities, or between cities and kings. Yet other ceremonies called upon divine spiritual powers in the hope that their intervention might save the urban inhabitants. We see here a public cognizant of the power of symbols to express its goals and achievements, a society reaching the height of sophistication in its manipulation of popular and elite culture for grand shows.
AS SEEN ON ABC'S THE GREAT CHRISTMAS LIGHT FIGHT! When Marcia Hales persuaded her husband, Alan, that they needed to create a beautiful Christmas light display worthy of competing in the local Holiday Lights contest, she could not have known that the twinkle strings, plastic penguins and cheery outdoor fire would grow into a major draw for people from around the city, the country and beyond into her small beachside back yard. She also couldn't have known that something shining more brightly than electricity could attract and heal those in need.
In 1940 civic leaders in Minneapolis hit upon the idea of sponsoring an annual summer festival, and from the very first, the Minneapolis Aquatennial was a smashing success; so much so that it was featured in Life and Look magazines, and came to be known as America's Summer Festival.
In this book, lavishly illustrated with more than 300 vintage photographs, author Pam Albinson chronicles the festival's history and describes the myriad activities associated with it, including rodeos, celebrity appearances, parades, athletic competitions, aeronautical displays, art fairs, a week-long series of swimming and diving performances called the Aqua Follies, and the ever-popular Queen of the Lakes Coronation.
The book is rich in nostalgic appeal, but it also offers a fascinating perspective on changing times, as choral singing gave way to ''happenings,'' canoe races were dropped in favor of high-powered speedboat racing, and polka events were augmented by dance lines and disco. Essays have been included by the men and women who built the parade floats, those who served as ''royalty'' in various capacities, those who judged the Queen of the Lakes contests, and those who won them.
Dust jacket notes: "America is a laboratory. Its cosmopolitan cities, mosaics of peoples from many lands, offer an unprecedented opportunity for Americans to practice living in an interracial and international world order. When we have learned to live harmoniously and justly in our own country, we shall have learned also to live peaceably with the peoples of the world. Around the World in St. Paul tells the story of progress in this direction in one Midwestern city, where people of more than thirty nationalities have learned to work and play together. The medium used to make its various nationality groups acquainted with one another and with their common, composite heritage, is St. Paul's justly famous Festival of Nations. This Festival is not a commercial venture; its purpose is to bring together the whole community for a weekend of singing, dancing, and eating together, on the basic assumption that when Americans, old and new, become acquainted as individuals, prejudices that infect their thinking will drop away and the barriers that separate them will dwindle."
With a low rate of immigration and a high rate of interracial marriage, Japanese Americans today compose the Asian ethnic group with the largest proportion of mixed-race members. Within Japanese American communities, increased participation by mixed-race members, along with concerns about overassimilation, has led to a search for cultural authenticity, giving new answers to the question, Who is Japanese American? In Pure Beauty, Rebecca Chiyoko King-OâRiain tackles this question by studying a cultural institution: Japanese American community beauty pageants in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Honolulu. King-OâRiain employs rich ethnographic fieldwork to discover how these pageants seek to maintain racial and ethnic purity amid shifting notions of cultural identity. She uses revealing in-depth interviews with candidates, queens, and community members, her experiences as a pageant committee member, and archival researchâincluding Japanese and English newspapers, museum collections, private photo albums, and mementosâto establish both the importance and impossibility of racial purity. King-OâRiain examines racial eligibility rules and tests, which encompass not only ancestry but also residency, community service, and culture, and traces the history of pageants throughout the United States. Pure Beauty shows how racial and gendered meanings are enacted through the pageants, and reveals their impact on Japanese American men, women, and children. King-OâRiain concludes that the mixed-race challenge to racial understandings of Japanese Americanness does not necessarily mean an end to race as we know it and asserts that race is workâcreated and re-created in a social context. Ultimately, she determines that the concept of race, fragile though it may be, is still one of the categories by which Japanese Americans are judged.Rebecca Chiyoko King-OâRiain is lecturer in sociology at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.
Laura's family's first home in Minnesota is made of sod, but Pa builds a clean new house made of sawed lumber beside Plum Creek. The money for materials will come from their first wheat crop. Then, just before the wheat is ready to harvest, a strange glittering cloud fills the sky, blocking out the sun. Soon millions of grasshoppers cover the field and everything on the farm. In a week's time, there is no wheat crop left at all.
On the Banks of Plum Creek is the fourth book in the Laura Years series.
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