Recording the war at home

The unrest in Minneapolis has hit home. We’ve visited the epicenter — Lake Street — a bunch of times in the last decade.

The photo above is from Hymie’s Vintage Records, one of my favorite digging stops. It’s at Lake and 39th Avenue, about three-quarters of a mile east of the Target store you saw being looted and the Minneapolis Police 3rd Precinct building you saw burning.

“We are well,” the folks from Hymie’s said early Sunday evening on Facebook. But, yes, they did board up the front windows and closed the store.

No word yet on some of our other favorite stops along Lake Street — Time Bomb Vintage and Nostalgia Zone Comic Books, both 3 blocks west at Lake and 36th. Nor the McDonald’s 8 blocks west at Lake and 31st, where Janet goes to grab a Coke while waiting for me to dig through Hymie’s.

Likewise, the unrest in Madison has hit home. We’ve visited its epicenter — State Street — many times in the last 40 years.

The photo above is from B-Side Records, where I bought many LPs when I lived in Madison from 1982 to 1990. It’s smack in the middle of State Street, more or less halfway between the state Capitol and the University of Wisconsin campus. State Street is where Madison has historically turned out to protest peacefully, protest loudly and sometimes protest violently.

B-Side “somehow escaped last night’s mayhem,” it said Sunday morning on Facebook, sharing a photo that showed a smashed and boarded-up window next door at Freedom Skate Shop. But later Sunday, B-Side boarded up its front windows “at least for tonight, as precaution.” On Monday morning, after another night of unrest, B-Side Records said it was “closed for now.”


I fully realize that writing about record stores in the wake of the nationwide unrest that has followed George Floyd’s death under the knee of Minneapolis police seems trivial (or selective, or granular, take your pick) at best and tone deaf at worst.

The unrest, the lawlessness, the police brutality, the systemic racism against blacks and other people of color, the protesters, the agitators, the looters, there’s so much to sort through. I have to start understanding somewhere. I have to start in places I know.

Yet I’ve seen all this before. I watched the news in 1967 and 1968, when America burned. It took years to make sense of it all.

As you watch the news of 2020, remember that media reports have always been the first draft of history. It will again take years to make sense of it all.

“I have no music for that,” my friend Greg — a native Minnesotan — wrote Saturday on his Echoes in The Wind blog.

Neither do I.

[Hymie’s Vintage Records and B Side Records photos are from their Facebook pages.]

1 Comment

Filed under May 2020, Sounds like bull to me

One response to “Recording the war at home

  1. Charlie Ricci

    No, I don’t think it’s wrong to write about record stores. Things we cherish die at times like this and between the virus & the riots & the bad police we need a reminder of what our lives once were and what I hope will be again. EXCELLENT post!

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