|[People walking the Minneapolis sidewalks with the Metropolitan Building looming.]|
I wrote an article about Akre's film in Minnpost a while back, talking about its origins and what I think it says about Minneapolis' urban landscape.
|[Razing buildings in the Gateway, 1953.]|
The plot of Akre’s film traces the story of a nameless Minneapolis sign painter who watched the Gateway’s massive stone buildings being constructed as a child, spent most of his life raising a family in the middle of the neighborhood, and ends his days living in a forgotten house on the edge of a northeast strip mall, dreaming of his lost past. The bulk of the film recounts the decade surrounding the Gateway’s demolition, telling tales of imaginary neighborhood characters like Stomps McGee, the Gateway barber, or Heavy Steve, a popular drifter with a regular room at a skid row flophouse. It’s framed as a flashback, narrated by the maybe-magical daughter of the old sign painter, a young girl who had disappeared into the walls of a condemned building to re-emerge as a modern-day librarian.As Akre explains it, his story is intended to complicate the typical skid row image of the old Gateway.“I’m not a historian, and my story isn’t based on historic research,” Akre said. “But all the stories of that area are the stories of the down and out men. That’s part of the story, but there were whole communities there too, in the rooming houses and the other people who lived there, people who supported that. There were many small businesses there. So I have a down and out itinerant worker who goes out on the rails and comes back, but I also have a barber and a whole family that runs one of those Gateway hotels.”
I'll be joined by a bunch of other Minneapolis urban architecture, planning, and history experts and this should be a great conversation about one of my favorite topics. Plust a rare chance to see a unique and compelling film about a forgotten slice of Minneapolis history.
What: Screening of "Demolition Dreaming" and panel discussion of Minneapolis' Gateway history
When: 11/11 6:30 to 8:30
Who: Anyone! Free of charge
Where: Traffic Zone Art Gallery (in the North Loop)
Why: Because it's not there
Hope to see you there!
|[The Metropolitan Building on the left in the 1940s, and the same site today.]|