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Lake Street Story Circles Project- 2019


Ifrah Mansour- "Chair of Power" is a mobile inter-active Story Circle installation that investigates people of color in their relationship to power. Participants are asked to build or assemble their own power chair and are inspired to imagine themselves as the most powerful person while sitting on this chair.  The power chair will be at bus stops on Lake Street in July and open streets on July 21. Chair of Power will engage people’s personal history on Lake Street as well as their history own of being erased off of this Avenue.

Ifrah Mansour is a Somali, refugee, muslim, multimedia artist and an educator based in Minnesota. Her artwork explores trauma through the eyes of children to uncover the resiliencies of blacks, muslims, and refugees. She interweaves poetry, puppetry, films, and installations. She's been featured in BBC, Vice, Okayafrica, Star Tribune, and City Pages. Her critically-acclaimed, “How to Have Fun in a Civil War” premiered at Guthrie Theatre and toured throughout Minnesota. Her first national museum exhibition; “Can I touch it” premiered at Minneapolis Institute of Arts. "My Aqal, banned and blessed" premiered at Queens Museum in New York. Her visual poem,

“I am a Refugee” is part of PBS’s short Film festival. Learn More:


Beliza Torres Narváez- Cuéntanos tu historia (Tell me your story) Invitamos a vecinxs Latinxs/Hispanxs, de antepasados u origen en países Latinoamericanos, nacidos aquí o allá, que viven o trabajan en Powderhorn Park y Lake Street a compartir sus historias. Puedes trear contigo un objeto que represente para ti lo que es tu hogar de origen, o el hogar que has contruido, o que te recuerda a un ser querido o amistad que por algua razón no tienes contigo, y contarnos qué significan para ti.  Date/time/place for Story Circle August 31, 2019 time/location TBD.

(We invite Latinx neighbors, with ancestors, or origins in Latinamerican countries, born here or there, and who live or spend considerable time in the Powderhorn Park community or near Lake Street to share their stories. You can bring an object that represents the place you call home, whether it is where your origins are, or the home you have build, or something that reminds you of a loved one or a friend who for any reason is not close by.) 


Beliza Torres Narváez is a Puerto Rican artist/scholar/educator. She holds a B.A. in Spanish and Drama from the University of Puerto Rico, and completed actor training certificate at Laborotario Teatral Malayerba (Ecuador).  She has an M.A. in Performance Studies (New York University) and a Ph.D. in Performance as Public Practice (University of Texas). Beliza is currently Assistant Professor at Augsburg University’s Theater Department where she teaches Theater History, Applied Theatre, Latinx Performance, Acting, and Directing. Her more recent work as a director are: Karina Casiano’s Silence is Health (Nobel Peace Prize Forum, 17), Javier Murillo’s solo performance Broken English Mother Tongue (NYC Fringe, 18), Michelle DeRicco's When the Coquís Sing (Write Now Festival, 19), and Arístidez Vargas Pluma and the Tempest (Augsburg University, 2019). 

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Marlina Gonzalez- "Stop. Look. Listen." will revolve around immigrant stories of Livelihood versus Living along Lake Street. How does one immigrant experience connect/impact/influence another? We are indigenous to a place and sojourners to another. In our movements through space and time, our lives have touched, converged, have moved in parallels, have clashed. We are colorful strands in an endless weaving of stories floating along and across the skies and oceans that separate and connect us.  Lake Street is like the blue sky and the blue waters of our woven journeys.  "Stop. Look. Listen." is a series of Story Circles experienced with the people who earn their livelihood along Lake Street, following the #21 bus. The languages used in each story circle will be represented through freestyle weaving with SAORI weaver Chiaki O'Brien. Interpretive artists include playwright Sunny Thao and spoken word artist Trey Porter.


Marlina Gonzalez is a seasoned multidisciplinary arts curator, media arts producer, writer and creative community engager using art as a tool for social change.  She has conceived and produced numerous international film festivals, multidisciplinary art exhibits and performances for Walker Art Center, Intermedia Arts, Ordway Center for Performing Arts, Asian CineVision, among others. Her recent play Isla Tuliro was codirected by Meena Natarajan and co-produced by Pangea World Theater and Teatro Del Pueblo. Marlina's fascination for the power of language informs her original works. She began teaching  theater at Augsburg University in 2019. And is currently Community Relationship and Engagement Manager for Twin Cities PBS Television's recently formed IMPACT Team.

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Lisa Marie Brimmer- love spells for lake street Marking our own crossings can be difficult. We need each other’s eyes. In this moment, we are in the midst of interruption and erasure of remarkable proportion. Queer trans* BIPOC centered spaces are disappearing due to the same intersectional and systemic oppressions that produced the civil rights movement. In this summer of 2019, under harsh and discriminatory leadership, we are confronted with a myriad ANTI-policies, the mounting pressures of gentrification, migration, and nationalism. On a dying planet. On occupied land.  In an intimate story circle, we will anchor around the ways we preserve our cultures, and live in relation with one another. How do we rally against the desecration of the sacred: our bodies, our homes, our space, and sense(s) of belonging? How do we find sanctuary - a place of refuge or safety - in a time of ever militarized nationalism? How do we connect with nature and our histories, in times of over-work and in a culture of distraction? August 13, 2019 6:30-8:30pm Pangea World Theater 711 West Lake Street, Minneapolis MN 55408

Lisa Marie Brimmer is the co-editor of Queer Voices: Poetry, Prose, and Pride  an anthology from Minnesota Historical Society Press (2019). They carry a Master's degree in English Literature from the University of St. Thomas where they were a graduate fellow. As an interdisciplinary cultural worker their work engages with environment, kinship, and culture while plotting intersectional black (/indigenous) queer liberation.  Their work has appeared in Open Rivers Magazine, On The Commons Magazine,Fierce Lament (Red Bird), Walk Towards It (Fierce Shimmer), MnArtists,org, We/Here, Burn Something! Zine and radio stations KFAI, and MPR. Her poem “summer thoughts” is forthcoming in Keno Evol’s A Garden of Black Joy. They are the poetry contributor for the lifestyle quarterly Twin Cities Pride Magazine. A two-time Givens Fellow for African American Literature (who thinks they need to pay their artists, 2009 & 2013), Brimmer also received a 2011 Many Voices fellowship from The Playwrights’ Center.

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Sharon M. Day- "Lake Street: Voices of Resistance!" Union workers , Anti-trafficking, Minnesota Immigrant Rights, Dakota Access, Anti-Trump, Black Lives Matter to the Peace Vigils that continue every Wednesday night. What voices have sounded on this corridor from east to west, from the Mississippi to Bde MaKaska, from the sidewalk/pavement under our feet to the heavens?  What voices still echo between Lake Street storefronts, theaters, community organizations and churches?  What do we want?  Safe Streets!  What do we want?  Peace!  What do we want?  Water is Life! Stop DAPL!  Who's lives Matter?  The people united will never be defeated: No Racism, No Deportations, No Border Wall.  Dump Trump!  Were you one of the thousands who marched, danced, or stood on Lake Street?  Our our voices still resounding in the universe?  Story Circle- August 29th, 2019  5:30-7:30pm

Meet at the patio area outside of Dunn Brothers/Longfellow Grill right at Lake Street/Marshall Bridge in Minneapolis.  We will walk together to green space by rowing club or if you come late or prefer not to walk come directly to green space.  There will be signs and seating as needed. 


Sharon M. Day, Ojibwe* is the Executive Director  and one of the founder’s of the Indigenous Peoples Task Force (IPTF), formerly known as the Minnesota American Indian AIDS Task Force. She leads IPTF’s Ikidowin Youth Theater Ensemble and Ikidowin young artists haves performed several plays written by her. She is an artist, musician, and writer. An environmental activist, she has led 19 Water Walks from 2011, to draw attention to the devastation of natural water resources and to offer prayers for these rivers. These extended ceremonies have happened along The Mississippi, the Ohio River, the St. Louis River, the James River in Virginia,  the Missouri River, Cuyahoga River in Ohio, Seneca Lake in New York and Pokegama Lake in Minnesota.  Sharon's many awards include the Resourceful Woman Award, the Gisela Knopka Award, BIHA’s Women of Color Award, The National Native American AIDS Prevention Resource Center’s Red Ribbon Award, and most recently, the Alston Bannerman Sabbatical Award, and most recently, the Spirit Aligned Leadership Fellowship. She is an editor of the anthology, Sing! Whisper! Shout! Pray!  Feminist Visions for a Just World: Edgework Books, 2000. She is also one of two contributors to Drink of the Winds, Let the Waters Flow Free, Johnson Institute, 1978.


Ellen Marie Hinchcliffe’s “The Most Beautiful Word in the English Language is Resist.” explores my experience as an artist in Minneapolis during the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and what it is like now in the aftermath of the 2016 election.  Ellen will hold two Story Circles for her project- one to look at the history of The Babylon Gallery and Northland Poster Collective both active on East Lake Street during the the early 2000’s June 25, 2019 6:30-8:30pm at Ricardo Levins Morales Art Studio 3260 Minnehaha Ave and a second Story Circle in mid-September at Pangea World Theater (date TBD) to explore what it means to be an artist in such a troubled, beautiful world and looking at both positives and negatives about how art spaces do or do not serve communities, how art spaces fail or succeed at breakdowning racist, sexist, trans and homophobic institutional norms and decenter whiteness. 

Ellen Marie Hinchcliffe is a queer mama, auntie, poet, performer and filmmaker. She has performed widely in the Twin Cities  including: Poetry and Pie, Late Nite Series, Pleasure Rebel, Naked Stages, Patrick’s Cabaret and Bedlam Theater. Recent work includes Queertopia 2018 (a  collaboration with drummer Juma B. Essie) entitled Spell for an End to Whiteness , Editor-Walk Toward It- An anthology of urgent writing, lists to remember, love letters to carry with you by  twenty-two poets/ writers after the 2016 election. Released January 20, 2017.  Invited poet and curator for Split This Rock National Poetry Festival. Brought five poets to D.C. for reading. Washington, D.C.  April 29, 2018.  Her feature length documentary about the writer Paula Gunn Allen entitled Thought Woman came out in 2013.  Her work is about ancestors, spirit, contradictions, humor, confronting white supremacy and always about healing. She lives in Minneapolis two blocks from the Mississippi with her husband Juma B. Essie and their amazing daughter. More at

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