Growing Up in Westeros: Breaking the Wheel of Fantasy Expectations

BY MARIA SACHIKO CECIRE The tendency to set up—and then dash—the expectations of fantasy has always been crucial to HBO’s Game of Thrones and its source novels by George R. R. Martin. (I refer to them collectively below as GoT.) From the beheading of Ned Stark to the slaughter at the Red Wedding, much of … More Growing Up in Westeros: Breaking the Wheel of Fantasy Expectations

Sonic Science Fiction: Programming the Thought Synthesizer

BY TRACE REDDELLUniversity of Denver One of the challenges I faced while researching and writing The Sound of Things to Come: An Audible History of the Science Fiction Film concerned the terminology of the “new” and the role of “futurity.” Early drafts of the project emphasized thematic clusters that brought together films from very different … More Sonic Science Fiction: Programming the Thought Synthesizer

#DeleteFacebook: Users always have the option of disconnecting—right?

BY TERO KARPPIAssistant professor, University of Toronto Want to #DeleteFacebook? You can try.Deleting Facebook is easier said than done. These are examples of headlines written after the news about Cambridge Analytica harvesting the data of 50 million Facebook profiles. These suggestions do not speak of getting rid of Facebook, Inc. – the company and its … More #DeleteFacebook: Users always have the option of disconnecting—right?

“Wherever he is! Wherever he is!”: Jim Walsh on the world’s rediscovery of “The Gold Experience” and the funky powerhouse joy that is the New Power Generation

BY JIM WALSH The New Power Generation was on the second encore of its first-ever appearance at First Avenue on September 14, when lead singer MacKenzie and rapper Tony Mosley (a.k.a. Tony M) implored the crowd to pay respects to their fallen leader, Prince. As the crowd and band cheered at the night’s first mention … More “Wherever he is! Wherever he is!”: Jim Walsh on the world’s rediscovery of “The Gold Experience” and the funky powerhouse joy that is the New Power Generation

Lookin’ to get silly in Hibbing: Toby Thompson on Echo Star Helstrom, the "Girl from the North Country."

Image by Toby Thompson. Image by Echo Helstrom. BY TOBY THOMPSON Echo Star Helmstrom, widely thought to have been the inspiration for Bob Dylan’s song “Girl from the North Country,” died on January 15th. She was 75 and had been my friend for nearly 50 years. She had a combination of vulnerability and toughness that … More Lookin’ to get silly in Hibbing: Toby Thompson on Echo Star Helstrom, the "Girl from the North Country."

Remember Soup, Poop, and Climate Change: Veering with Game of Thrones

Image: HBO BY CORD J. WHITAKER Like the plot of Game of Thrones, memory resists standing still. And Game of Thrones is all about memory. The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries based major cultural, political, and scientific strides on the memory of an imagined, idyllic Middle Ages. One that moderns at times resisted as primitive and … More Remember Soup, Poop, and Climate Change: Veering with Game of Thrones

Throwback Valentine’s Day: A bittersweet collection of Prince’s finest love songs

BY JIM WALSH On Valentine’s Day 1996, Prince married Mayte Garcia at Park Avenue Methodist Church in South Minneapolis. In honor of the funky nuptials that day, I took the opportunity to compile a list of Prince’s greatest love songs for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, reprinted in Gold Experience: Following Prince in the ‘90s … More Throwback Valentine’s Day: A bittersweet collection of Prince’s finest love songs

Going Underground: Jim Walsh on his earliest memory of music writing.

BY JIM WALSHExcerpt from the Introduction to Bar Yarns and Manic-Depressive Mixtapes My earliest memory of scribbling in a notebook while listening to music is New Year’s Eve, 1974. I was fourteen and then as now not a big fan of mean girls and boys, so that night I intentionally stayed away from the junior … More Going Underground: Jim Walsh on his earliest memory of music writing.

A quiet life, a remarkable influence: On Bob Dylan’s English teacher, B.J. Rolfzen

Looking ahead to this weekend’s Nobel prize ceremony, in which Bob Dylan, the 2016 laureate in literature, will likely not attend but will provide a speech.BY COLLEEN SHEEHYPresident and executive director, Public Art St. Paul When I looked at my phone in the early morning of Thursday, October 13, I was stunned to discover that … More A quiet life, a remarkable influence: On Bob Dylan’s English teacher, B.J. Rolfzen