Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Thirza Defoe

Thirza Defoe's website has been updated. It includes new videos, photos and news articles about her current work. (Stone Heart: Everyone Loves A Journey West) Also videos of her Native American dancing styles. Hoop Dance, Fancy Shawl, Traditional, Eagle Dance etc.

Click on Photos/Video

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Nightwatch: The meat raffle is a way of life at Minnesota bars

Tom Horgen
Last update: April 06, 2006 – 6:24 PM
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When it comes to charitable gambling at Twin Cities bars, there's only one prize other than money that gets people jumping out of their seats.
Raw meat.

Yep, raw meat does something to people. Which would explain the peculiar popularity of the meat raffle.

Huh? Well, if you haven't set foot in a neighborhood bar lately, it's exactly what the name suggests. An emcee walks around the bar selling numbered raffle tickets for $1 apiece. After all the tickets are sold, the emcee spins a paddlewheel -- like in roulette.

The person with the winning number gets to choose from various packages of meat. This is repeated for two to three hours. It keeps people's attention, though. At a recent raffle I went to, each meat package was worth about $20, with steak, ham, ribs and shrimp being among the favorites.

At that value, it's easy to see why bar-goers flock to these shindigs like lions to, well, raw meat. It doesn't cost much to play; in this case, 30 tickets were sold, so at 29-to-1 the odds weren't bad -- better than pulltabs, anyway.

Meat raffles can be found all over the Twin Cities, from their traditional hotbeds in the working-class neighborhoods of northeast Minneapolis and east St. Paul to suburban dive bars.
One of the best takes place from 3 to 7 p.m. Sundays at Tin Cup's, a homey old-school bar on Rice Street in St. Paul. Meat raffles can be a tad uneventful; mostly it's just folks staring into their beer until a number is called. Tin Cup's offers a little more.

For one, it's got polka maestro Roger Van Horn, who, um, rocks. He serenades the meat rafflers every Sunday with what he calls "funtime music." After playing polka music for 50 years in Twin Cities bars, Van Horn brings in a hefty following of old-timers looking to boogie to the sounds of his rare Cordovox accordion. Oh, and there's a clown, too.

In between polka tunes, as senior couples twirled on the small dance floor and "JR" the red-nosed clown moved from table to table with his parlor tricks, numbers were yelled out for raw meat. Winners hoisted open the creaking lid of a 4-foot long cooler, rummaging through pounds of cold meat before claiming their prize.

And it wasn't just old-timers sitting among the steaks and hams thawing out next to glasses of beer at Tin Cup's.

Young people get in on the mix, too. Besides a Goth couple in the corner, there was 25-year-old Alison Voyda, who came with her grandparents last Sunday. They played pulltabs and bought meat-raffle tickets all afternoon and into the evening. Both games are run by nearby St. Bernard's, a Catholic church and K-12 school. As with any charitable game, all proceeds go to the sponsoring charity, while the bar gets a leasing fee (and makes money off drinks, of course).
Voyda's family grew up going to St. Bernard's and hanging out at Rice Street joints like Tin Cup's.

"We go to church in the morning and gamble in the afternoon," grandfather Gene Voyda said. "See, it's all for the church."
Rise of the raffle

No one knows exactly how many meat raffles are operating in Twin Cities bars -- not even the Minnesota Gambling Board, which issues the paddle wheels and tip boards needed to play. The board only tallies how many are in use, not what they're being used for. One thing officials do know, however, is that the raffle devices are in high demand.

Minnesota is increasingly notorious for its meat raffles, said Gambling Board compliance officer Gary Danger, who cited a recent New York Times story spotlighting Minnesota's meaty obsession. We love our meat, and we aren't afraid to show it.

Jimmy Luger, a meat raffle connoisseur, was at Tin Cup's with his parents and girlfriend last Sunday. He'll usually drop $20 on a raffle night -- that's 20 plays. He won six times earlier in the week at another meat raffle, but was empty-handed this night. His girlfriend said the meat isn't that important, anyway.

"We come for the social," she said.
"What do you mean?" Luger cut in, almost flabbergasted. "I come to win the meat."

Where: 1220 Rice St., St. Paul. 651-489-7585.
Meat raffles: 3-7 p.m. Sundays, with polka music by Roger Van Horn, plus another 4-8 p.m. Thursdays, but with no music. • 612-673-7909

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Rosemount High School turns to pull-tabs

Rosemount High School turns to pull-tabs:

"Rosemount High School turns to pull-tabs
Updated: 03/07/2006 11:21:29 PM
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A south Metro school is borrowing a technique from the Little League to keep arts and athletics off of the chopping block. Rosemount High School is using profits from pull-tabs to ensure that programs for their kids have sufficient funding.

McDivot�s Pub and Shenanigans Bar in Rosemount don�t seem like the most obvious places to raise money for high school athletes.

'It�s my bad habit, I play them all over the place' said Jeff Meyer.

But it may not be such a bad habit for high school athletes and artists. In recent years, the school has brought in more than $30,000 per year for students.

'We take it and we split it up, 70 percent goes to the athletic department and 30 percent goes to our fine arts department,' said Mike Manning, of Rosemount High School.

Over the last three years, the money has bought band uniforms, sound equipment, and an athletic traininer.

'If you took that money out of the budget, we would really struggle to provide some of the programs that we do,' Manning said.

Others in the community agree.

'I think anything we do to contribute to the school and to the community� is a good thing,' said Michelle Holly, manager of McDivot�s Pub.

Former Rosemount High School student Lacey Thompson was playing pull-tabs at McDivot�s on Tuesday night. She didn�t win any money.

'It�s nice to know that you�re actually gambling for something good,' said Thompson, who was involved in fine arts.

The school has averaged about $36,000 per year from the pull-tab program over the last three years and hopes to make even mor"