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Another Campus Art vs. Religion Fight, This Time at Macalester

Plus expanding MinnesotaCare, another blow to the North Side, and pizzamania in today's Flyover.

Law Warschaw Gallery|

A scene from Taravat Talepasand’s “TARAVAT.”

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Macalester Students Protest Feminist Iranian Art Show   

Iranian-American artist Taravat Talepasand creates drawings, sculpture, and installation pieces that examine the intersection of women’s freedoms and Muslim identity. Her work is often referred to as “provocative,” “revolutionary,” and, in the case of her most recent exhibition at Macalester College, “hurtful.” “I just felt really objectified, to be honest,” junior American studies student Ikran Noor tells the Sahan Journal. “I felt degraded, dehumanized.” In response, Noor started a petition against the show at Law Warschaw Gallery. So far, around 80 students have signed in support. (Macalester enrolls around 2,200 students annually.)

The works in question include a sculpture of a niqabi woman with exposed breasts, and two drawings of niqabi women lifting their robes, exposing lingerie underneath. Last weekend, "TARAVAT" was closed as students and faculty met. This week, the exhibition is back on, though it now comes with a content warning next to Noor’s petition at the entrance. There’s also frosted exterior-facing glass in certain areas to keep students from seeing pieces without consent from outside. While Talepasand, who works in education herself, considers some of these steps to be censorship, she also says this has been a learning experience. This most recent drama around religion, art, and academia follows the ongoing ordeal at Hamline University, which blew up to international proportions.

DFL’s Next Move: Expand MinnesotaCare

The DFL legislative trifecta is moving right along, and next on its agenda is turning MinnesotaCare, the state’s low income health insurance plan, into a public option for all Minnesotans, Grace Deng at the Minnesota Reformer reports. MinnesotaCare is currently available to people who live at 200% or less of the federal poverty limit. (That’s $27,000 a year right now for a single adult.)

A newly introduced bill would allow those who make too much to be currently eligible to pay premiums on a sliding scale. This would help small business owners (like us at Racket!), the self-employed, and other folks who have to self-insure from getting gouged on the private insurance market. Opponents to the bill include the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, the Minnesota Hospital Association, and (lol) the Center of the American Experiment. “Lobbyists for the health care insurance industry and the National Federation of Independent Businesses said they worried the public option would drive private health care insurers out of business,” Deng writes. That would be just too bad.

Another Blow for North Minneapolis

Days after word got out that Aldi is closing its north Minneapolis location, leaving the area with just two grocery stores, Walgreen's has announced that it's closing its north Minneapolis pharmacy, currently one of just two in the community. Fox 9 has a statement from Walgreens, which reads in part, "When faced with the difficult decision to close a particular location, several factors are taken into account, including our existing footprint of stores and dynamics of the local market, and changes in the buying habits of our patients and customers." The pharmacy chain also clarifies that the location is closing almost two weeks earlier than the March 6 date posted on their doors: it's scheduled for February 22, when the Cub Foods pharmacy will remain as the only option in the area.

Let's Talk Pizza

Happy National Pizza Day. To quote Julius Caesar: Pizza! Pizza! The most pressing Twin Cities pizza concern on this, er, holiday is the expanding Slice getting its own state-recognized day, "Slice Pizza Day." Congrats, Slice! The second-most urgent Pizza Day matter is this nice lil profile from Em, who just sang the praises of Mario's Pizza, the St. Paul restaurant that "reliably recreates [the East Coast] experience [better] than any pizza or hoagie shop I’ve been to in Minnesota." (Some behind-the-scenes intrigue: Em was not even aware we'd be publishing the Mario's profile on this, the lord's own Pizza Day.)

Elsewhere, we have local pizza discourse that borders on bedlam. Noted PR guy Blois Olson published his "2023 Authoritative Best Pizza's in Minnesota list" with a trollish wink. WCCO Radio's Jason DeRusha, who subscribes to Racket and we'll therefore side with, complimented and/or dissed the those findings before offering up his own takes via Minnesota Monthly. Olson's list takes a mighty swing at Ann Kim, the metro's high-end pizza queen; DeRusha's fires shots at big-boy chains Pizza Luce and Davanni’s. Not exhausted by pizza pontifications? Revisit Racket's rankings of every major local 'za chain (and also your quibbles with it).

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