We honor the life of our departed friend, brother, teacher, lover and hero, Loren Kellen, who left us on October 2, 2009. Please help honor Loren by sharing a story about our fabulous friend. You can write a comment or a memory of Loren on the comments page.
by Terry McDaniel.
I made a little video with parts from the Memorial for Loren. I thought what the family said was very powerful and the whole memorial was amazing.
Here’s some photos of Loren Kellen used at the November 8 celebration at the Cedar Cultural Center. Thanks to all who sent photos, and to all of the photographers!
A poem by Loren Kellen, from Bruce Blacher
Much has been said about Loren… and all is true and so much more…
This summer I had a birthday and Loren gave me one of his cement faces that are strewn around his yard. This face was broken into many pieces and came to me as a puzzle to put together.
The following is what Loren wrote to accompany the gift:
Life is a Puzzle
Sometimes life is hard
w/ rough edges.
Sometimes the pieces
are all in a jumble.
This way, that.
No direction known
Lay them in your
Let them be over
Plant some seeds.
They’ll meet your
I love you
Video by Terry McDaniel.
Loren at the annual May 1 (actual MayDay) Morris Dance sunrise gathering, Mississippi River. He speaks about the importance of observing holidays on the day they occur.
Photos of a few of Loren Kellen’s creations from his ever-changing garden. Photographed on October 6, 2009 by Liz Welch.
This 1961 poem by Claes Oldenburg and Emmet Williams was found, typewritten and weathered, among Loren’s papers.
I am for an art that is political-erotical-mystical, that does something other than sit on its ass in a museum.
I am for an art that grows up not knowing it is art at all, an art given the chance of having a starting point of zero.
I am for an art that embroils itself with the everyday crap & still comes out on top.
I am for an art that imitates the human, that is comic, if necessary, or violent, or whatever is necessary.
I am for an art that takes its form from the lines of life itself, that twists and extends and accumulates and spits and drips, and is heavy and coarse and blunt and sweet and stupid as life itself. (more…)
by Xena Huff
St. Paul Bike Classic 9/13/09
This was a really nostalgic moment for me. This Flamingo was always the meeker less vibrant flamingo of the bunch. Like an old bird she never seemed strong enough to make it through the event let alone to ride again.Loren kind of scoffed at her at meeker qualities.
He pointed out to me that I could barely see what I was passing and and was always taking out the passerby with my wings. I was stubborn and continued to ride her as she was. I brought her out in September as it seemed like she might make it through the St Paul Bike classic for one last ride. At the end of the day I took this photo, I had just left Loren and Lisa cheering for bikers in the classic as they flew down Pelham in the home stretch. I was headed to the Castigar memorial in Theo Wirth park. I talked briefly with Loren about death and memorials. It was a beautiful afternoon ride home. I caught my flamingo on film smelling the flowers out by the garage and thought that I should take her photo before I took her apart.
I felt confident that I would forever be building puppets and losing wrestling matches to the strong young vibrant Loren… forever like a teenage boy rumbling with energy. How did he slip away so fast? I keep thinking it is some magnificent trick and he’s about to pop up from under the bridge having held his breath for a few weeks.
There is no one like him in this world and probably no one like him in the next. I just wonder who else could come up with names for us like : Jerry Werle and wary girly? He would always refer to us that way…”well, there’s Jerry Werle and wary girly.”
And it is true, I was a wary girly around Loren! It was perfect! His energy and fun loving nature will be greatly missed.
I’ve been living in faraway places for a decade, finding my way to Duluth this past year. Prior to these journeys I spent 16 years in Mpls. I was lucky enough to know Loren, to get to know and spend time with him in work, art, Mayday, and many other things. Loren provided the mascot for our softball team ‘the Squirrelskins’, and his house as everyone knows was filled with the curios of Borges’. I worked for Loren as his assistant for a while, watching how he could figure out ways to fix most anything. Loren and I grew up in the same county of Lac qui Parle and so knew that part of each other well.
One of the many stories I remember of times with Loren is this: in the early 90s, we were having a party out at Pete’s. I was in charge of roasting the goat, which we procured from some farm nearby. We brought the goat home, assembled a crew, and David’s flute music began slowly. We drew straws, though of course it was merely a formality: Loren drew the short straw, the straw of the man who would slit the goat’s throat in preparation for our roasting.
The flute music grew stronger, more staccato, and the goat was agitated, and Loren drew the knife across his neck. We held the goat as his blood and life drained. We processed the goat, and I rubbed it with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, mint leaves and lemon zest, storing it overnight in Pete’s ancient basement in the cabin. Loren took the lead the next day in preparing the firepit, and I stayed by the roasting goat all day.
That late afternoon, the goat was delicious and we fed scores of people. This was one of many things Loren had done for generations. Loren, I never imagined you passing, you seemed so ancient already. You are a leader, a pied piper for children and adults. You are missed, but your stories are emblazoned in us like pathways across the land. Pipe on my man.
I took this photo of Loren working on Pete’s patio. He knew what to do and took charge. Photo by Ernie Gunderson