Dan Olson Feature Archive

Erwin Farkas was 10 years old when World War II began in 1939. His subsequent Holocaust survival is one of eight that have been woven together in a new Twin Cities theatrical production. (04/24/2013)
A White Bear Lake man has a passion for an activity -- falconry -- that dates back thousands of years. Falconry is the practice of capturing and training raptors to hunt. It's a way of life for Frank Taylor, the man we meet in this installment of our series Minnesota Sounds and Voices. (04/11/2013)
Anthropologist and author Zora Neale Hurston had an ear for the African American dialect of the early 1900s. People would "grab a hot," which means get a meal, or, "collar a nod," get some sleep. Many of the expressions are gone now, but they have new life on stage at the Penumbra Theater's production of "Spunk" in St. Paul. (04/05/2013)
A non-profit founded in 1987 by the 88-year-old Heitzman at a suburban Twin Cities church, Bridging has grown into one of North America's largest furniture stores in which customers too poor to pay can shop for free. (03/27/2013)
"Think about it. We're in Minnesota. It's snowing," Margaret Yeakel-Twum said the other day from the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, next to the Como Zoo in St. Paul. "And you walk in here and it's 75 degrees. It's green." (03/20/2013)
Karen Mueller is one of the country's top dulcimer and autoharp players, classically trained, steeped in Appalachian, Celtic and folk music. But this weekend, the Minneapolis musician tries something new: performing a rarely heard classical work with a chamber group. (03/15/2013)
A pipe organ worth the name should cause dress hems and pant cuffs to flutter just a bit. And the refurbished instrument at the Cathedral of St. Paul ought to do just that when it goes into service on March 30. (03/01/2013)
Minnesota is about 6,000 miles from China, but a 93-year-old Chinese scholar has made the state his home. In the process, he's become one of the University of Minnesota's oldest and most loyal alums and played a supporting role with a new wave of Chinese students flocking to the state. (02/20/2013)
The closest many people in the continental United States come to the Hawaiian Islands and their music is likely from poor interpretations offered by television shows or old movies. Minnesotans who want to hear a more authentic sampling of Hawaii's rich musical heritage can take heart in the work of the Lau Hawaiian Collective. We (02/13/2013)
Rochester resident Mel Dickie, 92, has taught hundreds of kids how to make custom fishing rods in community education classes. And two years ago, at age 90, he became a substitute teacher. (01/31/2013)
Nature is often the subject of Minnesotan Charles Beck's art. Beck, a master woodcut artist, draws on the natural environment in prints that capture his modern views of the surrounding landscape -- with its wooded hills and lakes, and nearby flat farm fields of the Red River valley. Beck is being honored this weekend as he celebrates his 90th birthday. (01/25/2013)
When charter school principal Bondo Nyembwe sees a classroom filled with the children of immigrants, he feels a professional and personal commitment to help them learn to speak English. (01/14/2013)
A Minnesota-based duo called Kaivama is dedicated to preserving and expanding the Finnish folk music tradition. And as we speak, its two members are tuning up for their midwinter tour. (01/02/2013)
Dean McFarlane is a 10th-generation master stone carver. His great-grandfather started the Minneapolis-based family stone carving company in 1916. But the line ends with McFarlane: There are no family members waiting in the wings to become master stone carvers. (12/27/2012)
There is an alternative to mass-produced holiday greeting cards: Those that are printed, one at a time, on a 126-year old letterpress. And this year, Jon Drew is making the cards as a labor of love, for the widow of the high school teacher who taught him the craft. (12/18/2012)