Friday, November 20, 2015

Save the Wild U.P. to hold Winter Gala Dec. 5, featuring filmmaker Louis V. Galdieri

Save the Wild U.P. will hold a fundraising Winter Gala event in Marquette on Dec. 5, 2015, with keynote speaker Louis V. Galdieri, director of the documentary 1913 Massacre about Italian Hall. (Poster courtesy Save the Wild U.P.)

MARQUETTE -- Grassroots environmental group Save the Wild U.P. (SWUP) will hold their Winter Gala from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, at the Steinhaus Market, 1651 S. Front Street (South U.S. 41), Marquette, just past Huron Mountain Bakery as you leave Marquette on U.S. 41.

SWUP kicks off their 12th year of environmental advocacy by hosting an evening filled with locally sourced cuisine, music, filmmaker Louis V. Galdieri as keynote speaker, and a silent auction. The Winter Gala is an opportunity for SWUP to update the community on their environmental work while celebrating the hard work of their supporters and members of the creative community. Tickets for the event are $50 and are available at both Steinhaus locations (Steinhaus Market or Steinhaus at 102 W. Washington St., at Front St., Marquette) or by calling (906) 235-9251. All proceeds benefit Save the Wild U.P.’s work, defending wild land and clean water.

Save the Wild U.P.’s Winter Gala will feature hearty appetizers and desserts from Steinhaus Market and live music from local jazz combo Soul Pasty. The Silent Auction will feature original work by dozens of U.P. artists, artisans and small business owners.

The evening’s keynote speaker will be Louis V. Galdieri, writer, filmmaker and co-director of the acclaimed 1913 Massacre, a documentary film which "captures the last living witnesses of the 1913 (Italian Hall) tragedy and reconstructs Calumet’s past from individual memories, family legends and songs, tracing the legacy of the tragedy to the present day, when the town -- out of work, out of money, out of luck -- still struggles to come to terms with this painful episode from its past."

Since his visit to the U.P. in October 2013, Galdieri has been blogging regularly about the ethics of mining and the new mining around Lake Superior. Some of his articles have appeared on Keweenaw Now.*

Following the Winter Gala, Galdieri will present his film with a special Q and A session at the Peter White Public Library at 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 7, in the Community Room, as part of the library's "DocuMonday Meets the Filmmaker Series." The event is free of charge and open to the public. The Peter White Public Library is at 217 N. Front St., Marquette. For more information call 906-226-4318.

"I really look forward to seeing our supporters at the Gala," said Kathleen Heideman, SWUP president. "Save the Wild U.P. worked hard all year, reviewing permits and mineral leases, making a federal appeal to the Environmental Protection Agency urging them to require a wastewater discharge permit for Eagle Mine that would actually protect the Salmon Trout River, engaging regulators at Public Hearings, leading well-attended hikes to remote wild places and pristine wetlands, and educating a whole new generation of environmental leaders! Critical work remains to be done, of course -- but there’s much to celebrate as we enter a new year of environmental advocacy."

Alexandra Maxwell, who began her work with Save the Wild U.P. as a grassroots outreach coordinator, running SWUP’s Summer Fellows program, stepped into the role of Interim Director last year and was recently named Executive Director.

"I am honored to serve in this capacity, to take up a torch that so many of our community leaders have carried," Maxwell said. "Environmental issues desperately need our attention in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and I am grateful to contribute whatever I can to the community and the region that I love."

During the Gala, Save the Wild U.P. will announce the Fred Rydholm Sisu Award. Presenting the award will be Fred Rydholm's son, Daniel.

The Fred Rydholm Sisu Award was previously awarded to educator and environmental activist Gail Griffith. Save the Wild U.P. established the award to recognize the dedication and perseverance of community-minded activists and environmental stewards.

"We’ve created this award in honor of the late Fred Rydholm, who wholly embodied SWUP’s environmental values, as well as the yooper term sisu -- perseverance, grit, resilience -- a concept created by Finnish immigrants to the U.P.," Maxwell noted.

Save the Wild U.P. is a grassroots organization dedicated to defending clean water and wild places from the threat of sulfide mining and to preserving the Upper Peninsula’s unique culture. For more information contact or call (906) 662-9987. Get involved with SWUP’s work at, on Facebook at or on Twitter @savethewildup.

* Inset photos courtesy Save the Wild U.P. Read Louis V. Galdieri's articles on his blog, See also our Dec. 24, 2013, interview with Galdieri and his co-filmmaker Ken Ross --  "'1913 Massacre' filmmakers talk about their documentary on Italian Hall disaster."

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