Potluck Supper with Meeting to Follow: Essays

Overview

Keepsake, guidebook, and wunderkammer of enthusiasms, Andy Sturdevant's essays offer a new way of thinking about urban spaces and the contemporary Midwest. Craigslist ads, homemade signs at Target Field, and alleyways all open up with possibilities for measuring cultural time and the resonance, not provincialism, of spaces closely observed. Published to coincide with Sturdevant's solo show at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Potluck Supper with Meeting to Follow reveals the ...

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Overview

Keepsake, guidebook, and wunderkammer of enthusiasms, Andy Sturdevant's essays offer a new way of thinking about urban spaces and the contemporary Midwest. Craigslist ads, homemade signs at Target Field, and alleyways all open up with possibilities for measuring cultural time and the resonance, not provincialism, of spaces closely observed. Published to coincide with Sturdevant's solo show at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Potluck Supper with Meeting to Follow reveals the essayist as pied piper and artist, whose canvas is the city.

Andy Sturdevant is an artist, writer, and arts administrator living in south Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has written about art, history, and culture for a variety of Twin Cities–based publications and websites, including mnartists.org, Rain Taxi, Art Review, Preview!, Mpls.St.Paul, and heavytable.com. His essays have also appeared in publications of the Walker Art Center, and he writes a weekly column on arts and visual culture in Minneapolis–St. Paul for MinnPost. His work has been exhibited at the Minneapolis Institute of Art and The Soap Factory. Andy was born in Ohio, raised in Kentucky, and has lived in Minneapolis since 2005.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
10/14/2013
Artist and writer Sturdevant takes the reader on an oddball tour of the arts and culture of the Twin Cities in this endearing collection. His introductory essay muses on Midwest aesthetics, "alternately disposable, modern, seedy, wholesome, and improvised" and its "cobbled together" melting pot heritage. From there, Sturdevant considers the stylistic differences in gubernatorial portraits and the artistic appeal of a 1986 landscape painting on the wall of a popular bar. He celebrates St. Paul artist Chris Larson's 2008 exhibition Deep North and speaks to Martin Woodrich, artist in resident at the Metrodome Stadium since 1982. He highlights some Minneapolis wall murals including Love Power, a massive smiling Jesus painted on the side of a combination homeless shelter/art and music venue. In a particularly amusing essay, Sturdevant recalls being scolded for elitism by a marketing executive for Buffalo Wild Wings after making remarks about the chain on his blog. He voyages to locations featured in Mary McCarthy's Memories of a Catholic Girlhood, contemplates the origin of the phrase "trust-fund kid," and laments the phasing out of the independent "retail clerk as cultural arbiter." All and all, Sturdevant captures Minneapolis eccentricity, a place "where the drama queens and burnouts and weirdos and misfits of the rural and suburban Upper Midwest wind up" and proves himself a capable and clever writer on many other topics. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

"Potluck Supper With Meeting to Follow feels like a long ambulatory conversation with an exceptionally interesting friend. Sturdevant’s voice — inquisitive, witty and intelligent — invites us in at every turn. The book’s material presence reinforces that invitation; it’s a lovely artifact, beautifully designed and charmingly illustrated. It would make a great gift for anyone interested in visual culture, Minnesota, the Midwest, Minneapolis, art, good writing, offbeat information … oh, heck, why not just say everyone? And get a copy for yourself while you’re at it." Star Tribune

"Artist and writer Sturdevant takes the reader on an oddball tour of the arts and culture of the Twin Cities in this endearing collection. . . . Sturdevant captures Minneapolis eccentricity, a place 'where the drama queens and burnouts and weirdos and misfits of the rural and suburban Upper Midwest wind up' and proves himself a capable and clever writer on many other topics." Publisher's Weekly

"Andy Sturdevant offers up lively essays concerning the contemporary Midwest, Buffalo Wild Wings and futuristic birdhouses, among other curious topics." Barnes & Noble Review

"Sturdevant knows what he's doing. He riffs on everything from being at Matt's Bar in Minneapolis during a blizzard to a secretive art gallery called Farm. . . . [He] comes across as a guy you'd like to get to know." Pioneer Press

"A guidebook to the Twin Cities spaces, art, and culture, Potluck Supper is a smart and quirky read, giving love to many local gems." City Pages, "Year in Review 2013: Literature"

"Whether you’re new to the Twin Cities or you’ve lived here your whole life, Sturdevant always finds a way to pique residents’ curiosity and extract infinite details from a region that deserves a second—and third, and fourth—look." Vita.Mn

"I'd probably anticipated (though would never admit so publicly) that this would be a 'regional' read when I first opened it. I love the Twin Cities, so that wouldn't have been an issue, but Sturdevant's narrative voice challenged my assumptions from the first line of his acknowledgments page: 'This book is named Potluck Supper with Meeting to Follow for an agenda item in a Maoist newsletter published on the West Bank of Minneapolis in the seventies...'" Shelf Awareness, "Robert Gray: Potluck Supper with Author Event to Follow"

“Andy Sturdevant has established himself as the preeminent wit, flaneur and psycho-historian of the Twin Cities.” Modern Midwest

“Andy Sturdevant captures [Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the Midwest] with clear-eyes and a compelling, conversational pen. . . . I dare you to find someone who can’t connect to something in this book.” Hazel & Wren

“Andy’s book both in content and design is my favorite non-fiction book of the past five years.” —Hans Weyandt, Micawber's Books

"It's a book that feels like the first book about my Minnesota—not the Duluth I knew as a child or the St. Paul I knew as a teen and visiting collegiate, but the Minnesota I've lived in since 2007, a Minnesota in which one can make a happy life because it contains multitudes." Twin Cities Daily Planet

"In reading, in criticism, the critic should breathe new life into his subject, put on display his subjectivity, a perspective that is one of a kind. In Potluck Supper with Meeting to Follow, Andy Sturdevant offers just such a unique outlook . . . His subject is Minnesota, and more often than not, the Twin Cities, and over the course of this collection of essays, he deconstructs and recreates them, praising and lampooning them though always with hope for what the place could be." Bookslut

"Coffee House Press has been putting out great books for over 20 years, and its profile has been rising in recent years with books like Ben Lerner’s highly acclaimed Leaving the Atocha Station. Potluck Supper with Meeting to Follow is a collection of essays that contain photographs and drawings in the margins by the author." Buzzfeed

"[Sturdevant's] writings about place are thoughtful, observant, and appreciative, as he explores a landscape defined by interesting old neighborhoods, many-storied buildings, characters that make this place memorable and the artistic legacy Minnesotans have left in many medium." MinnPost

"Sturdevant’s dryly witty writing and spare, charming illustrations combine to make an irresistible riptide of droll entertainment that any lover of humor and/or cultural history will enjoy struggling helplessly against." Heavy Table, "2013 Heavy Table Local Gift Guide"

“[A] superb collection of essays by Minneapolis writer Andy Sturdevant.” Metrotimes

“Hotdish Heaven: The wild, wild Midwest” Minnesota Monthly

"Once you finish reading [Potluck Supper], you can’t help but feel homesick for the Midwest whether you’re from there or not. Sturdevant taps into the magic from in and around Minneapolis, and spins it into gold." Vol.1 Brooklyn

"[F]unny, authentic, and completely original. . . . If you are Minnesotan,this book should be required reading, and if you’re not Minnesotan, well, you should read it anyways because you just might get an idea of why we all choose to live here despite below-zero temperatures half the year!" Em's Bookshelves

"Andy captures the humor in everyday life and questions the spaces and interactions around us." Light Grey Art Lab Podcast

Potluck Supper with Meeting to Follow is a marvel, deftly examining the connections between art and everyday life. Andy Sturdevant's lively, unique inquiries into trust fund kids, co-opted flags, gubernatorial portraits, art in second-tier cities, and Upper Midwestern esoterica, brim with both wit and humor.” —Joe Meno

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566893374
  • Publisher: Coffee House Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2013
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 434,413
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


Andy Sturdevant is an artist, writer and arts administrator living in south Minneapolis. He has written about art, history and culture for a variety of Twin Cities-based publications and websites, including mnartists.org, Rain Taxi, Art Review and Preview!, Mpls. St. Paul, and heavytable.com. His essays have also appeared in publications of the Walker Art Center and the Jerome Foundation, and he writes a weekly column on arts and visual culture in Minneapolis-St. Paul for MinnPost. His work has been exhibited at the Minneapolis Institute of Art and The Soap Factory. Andy was born in Ohio, raised in Kentucky and has lived in Minneapolis since 2005.
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Read an Excerpt

POTLUCK SUPPER with MEETING to FOLLOW


By ANDY STURDEVANT, Carrie Elizabeth Thompson

COFFEE HOUSE PRESS

Copyright © 2013 Andy Sturdevant
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-56689-337-4



CHAPTER 1

YOU'RE NOT NOWHERE!

* * *

An introduction to the area

The Artificial Heart: Visualizing the Midwest Vernacular


The Artificial Heart: Visualizing the Midwest Vernacular

WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THIS MYTHICAL, so-called heartland, wellspring of America's strength, ingenuity, and goodness? If you know one thing about it for sure, you know this: it is flat.

That's the line you generally hear. It's really flat. You can see for miles. The landscape goes on forever. (One also hears, "It's empty," which is a no-less-important and very closely related point we'll touch on momentarily.) The flatness is what people refer to about the Midwest when they drive through from the East, or the South, or the West—from the mountain ranges, or the towering, ancient forests, or the canyons or the cliffs, or the lolling bluegrass hills. Nearly everywhere else in America, the landscape is defined in terms of its verticality. Purple mountain majesties, above the fruited plain. See: the fruited plains are defined in their relation to the purple mountain majesties. There's an x axis (plains), and a y axis (mountains majesty). Not so in the Midwest, goes the story: it's all x axis.

Of course, that's not entirely true. When the Wisconsin Glacial Episode ended ten thousand years ago, it left wide swaths of pancake-flat prairie from the Dakotas all the way to northern Ohio. However, it also carved out the bluffs along the Upper Mississippi, the badlands of South Dakota, the Great Lakes themselves. I mentioned this notion of the Midwest's utter flatness to an artist I know who grew up in Winona, Minnesota. Winona rests in the scenic bluff country that runs along the river through the southeastern part of the state, known for limestone peaks and the towering rock formation known locally as "Sugar Loaf." My friend scoffed and waved his hand. "Winona," he said with great disdain, "is not flat."

Of course it's not, no more than it's empty. But it's the flatness that most people experience, and then tell you about when you meet them and mention you're from one of those mysterious, blocky states between the Great Lakes and the Rockies. This flatness is easily conflated with emptiness. Perhaps this is merely a result of the way the interstates are laid out; as writer Michael Martone has noted, they "skim along a grade of least resistance," bypassing any elevation or charm for grim, straightforward, midcentury efficiency. A trip through the region on the interstate gives the impression of a headlong automotive sprint through a vast, empty space, barely populated except for billboards, grain silos, and garish come-ons for gas, food, or shelter (more on those later). Or perhaps it's the way the region appears from an airplane, all tidy blocks of land, parceled out endlessly in squares, interrupted only very occasionally by a river or highway. Basically, anyway you travel through, over, or past it, you have the impression of a vacuum all around you.

Again, my friend the artist from Winona, or I, or anyone else who lives and works here would scoff and wave our hands at that idea as well. Of course it's not a vacuum. Of course it's not empty. We live here, after all.

On the other hand, it's hard to dismiss this interpretation outright. Over the course of the past few hundred years, the land has been thought of as empty by almost everyone who has passed through it. A space, waiting to be filled.


And what is this empty space filled with? What do you envision? A short list: roadside attractions, summer resorts, rock gardens. Native American burial grounds, caves, mom-and-pop diners. Barns with tobacco advertisements painted on the side, motor lodges proclaiming air conditioners and color television, historic battlegrounds with solemn, bas-relief markers. An oddball amalgamation of timber, faux-leather buckskin, stones, garish paint, fiberglass, vinyl, varnish, concrete, neon lights, and ambiguously ethnic decorative patterns, coexisting in a kaleidoscopic crush of color, texture, and origin that seems a little bit familiar to anyone and a little bit otherworldly to everyone. It seems alternately disposable, modern, seedy, wholesome, and improvised, a strong, overstated reaction to the flatness and barrenness surrounding it. This is the visual language of the American vernacular, the hybrid style that filled the vacuum in the middle of the continent and eventually became shorthand for the whole place. "Americana," right?

Empty is how the people who made the decision to come live here originally thought of it. That mythical idea of the West, where you begin again from scratch, where you build a house, a farm, a town, a region, using only the best elements of what you know from back home, while jettisoning the parts you didn't like—the repression, the poverty, the crowds—and build a new life wherever you've ended up. There's this insistent idea, too, that any attendant culture could be started again. There's no tradition, no heritage—or, at least, not in the same way a European would recognize those concepts. Or, actually, even in the way a Southerner or New Englander would recognize them. Those parts of America are filled with reminders of events long-since past, solemnly preserved and paid constant lip service to.

It's not hard to imagine that's one of the reasons people came to the empty and flat expanses of the middle of the continent in the first place, especially from the East—to get away from all of that goddamn history. For example, plug the phrase "old, Boston MA" into Google Maps. The screen you see subsequently depicts a metropolitan area that seems to be suffering from a severe outbreak of acne. Little red dots highlight the various "old" points of interest: the Old North Church, Old South Church, Old South Meeting House, Old State House, Old Saint Stephen's Church, Old Harbor, Old Colony Avenue, old building this, old road that. Walking around in a colonial city like Boston or Philadelphia or Charleston, the weight of history constantly crushes down around you.

Not so in the Midwest. Whatever "heritage" there may be is handmade from the ground up. It's heritage based not upon longevity and lineage, but instead on sheer force of will: disposable, modern, seedy, wholesome, and improvised. These parts were assembled by a heterogeneous cast of characters, from all over, with wildly different ideas and intentions. This particular strain of Americana is utterly democratic, taking visual cues from anywhere, paying homage to any idea that may seem important at any given moment. A friend recently found himself in a small crossroads village in the Dakotas. Near his motel he found a town square-cum-municipal park decorated with a painted World War II tank, some dinosaur bones, and a statue of an Indian with a dog. The utter sincerity and utterly un-self-conscious strangeness of their arrangement together speaks more honestly about the lives, values and aspirations of the people who live than a forest of neoclassical marble columns would.

With a few critical exceptions, no one has been in the Midwest for all that long. Certainly not in the geologic or historical senses, and not really even in terms of the four-centuries-long lifespan of the American nation. You meet few people in the Midwest who can claim a lineage in this area stretching back past their great-grandparents. Most people, when asked, will give you a variation on the narrative that has defined the region in the popular imagination for several generations—"My parents came here from New York," they'll say. Or: "My grandparents came up from Illinois, where their parents had settled after leaving Ohio." Always in prepositional phrases—up from Tennessee, across from Pennsylvania, over from New England. Or even farther out. "My great-grandfather was from Finland and came here for a mining job on the Iron Range." "Babcia came from Poland." "My dedecek came from Bohemia." Even the old money, the families whose names one finds attached to homegrown multinational corporations and arterial city streets, were canny, opportunistic eastern corporate marauders, arriving only a few generations ago. I, like many of my peers, personally have no claim on my adopted hometown, Minneapolis. No claim, that is, other than the fact that I've lived here just long enough to gesture to certain sites from bus windows and be able to say, "That's the gallery where I met my friend Geoff a few winters ago." Looking at my own family's trajectory, most of the arrows one might draw on a map to mark progression would go left to right, from here back to Kentucky, then Ohio, then up into Pennsylvania and New York state and then at some point back across the ocean to provincial towns in England and Scotland and Holland, and back into that misty, unknowable era of buckled Pilgrim shoes.

As Jonathan Raban suggests in Bad Land, his account of driving through the Dakotas and Montana, to travel east in America is traveling backwards through time. The forward momentum is always westward; to travel west is to travel forward in time. One even sees a variation of this idea of time and distance on a micro level, in the urban centers of the Midwest. You start by the lake or the river on which the city was founded, near the oldest buildings, the warehouses and churches and mills and social halls. You then travel through time outward, until you splat against the modernist blandishments of the first-ring suburbs or the sixties, whichever comes first. I am certain one could break this down into a driving game with a measurement-based mathematic formula of some kind—once you've passed the Alleghenies or Cumberland Gap, you add, say, five years for every mile westward you go starting at 1800, accelerating until you've hit the Continental Divide or the fifties. Whichever comes first.

The only people who could claim any long-term relationship to this land are Natives—the Dakota, the Ojibwa, the Creek, and a hundred others who set up hunting and settlement cycles sometime in the fifth century and thrived until they were pushed out and eliminated by a succession of white Manifest Destiny– crazed colonists and invaders. Before the conquest was even complete, they were blithely absorbed into the popular imagination, "a proud yet primitive people finally giving way to a more accomplished society foredestined to supplant them," as cultural historian Michael Kammen explains it. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's massively popular 1855 poem Song of Hiawatha, set in this mythical midwestern neverland, had already consigned the Plains Indian to dreamy historical myth, even decades before Little Big Horn and Wounded Knee. As the New York Times wrote of the poem at the time, it embalmed "the monstrous traditions of an uninteresting, and, one may almost say, a justly exterminated race." The Midwest was empty, perhaps, because it was consciously emptied.

The names given to these empty spaces mirror the confused, improvisatory jumble of the manmade landscape. They're cribbed from everywhere—French mispronunciations of Indian words, legitimizing Latinate and Greek fragments mashed together, references to religion, the landscape, history, or to other cities entirely. Chicago, Minneapolis, Milwaukee: Wild Onion, City of Water, Good/Pleasant/Beautiful Land. St. Louis, St. Paul, St. Charles, St. Cloud. Omaha, Peoria, Waukegan, Fargo. Madison, Lincoln, Jefferson City. Des Moines, Detroit, Champaign, Fond du Lac. Green Bay, Grand Rapids, Grand Forks, Little Falls, Garden City, Platte City. Some flourish overnight, some dry up and disappear. Some die choking, undignified deaths. Millions and millions of people, spread across thousands of miles of open space, and unless they're Native, nearly no one there for significantly longer than anyone else.

That's why I've always found the idea of "the heartland" as a metaphorical flourish so odd and inappropriate for the Midwest. The heart is the center of the body physically, just as the plains of the Midwest are the geographic center of the country. But think of driving through the exurban interstate corridors in the region's right-wing strongholds and coming across those antiabortion billboards that picture a gurgling baby proclaiming, "My heart was beating at three weeks!" The heart metaphor in "heartland" is getting mixed here, since the heart is also among the earliest organs to develop. The rest of the body grows out from the heart. How could someplace as recently populated and as hastily improvised as the Midwest be the heart of a country at least a century or two older than it is? If the Midwest is the heart of this land, it's an artificial heart, one that's cobbled together from the parts that were lying around.

That very self-conscious, deliberate manufacturing of heritage creates a certain compression of nostalgia. Oftentimes, especially here in the urban parts of Minnesota, you'll hear people talk about the "old Minneapolis," or the "old St. Paul"; they're talking about things that aren't more than forty years old, which almost anywhere east of here is a millisecond, the snap of a finger. They're not delusional. The Minneapolis or St. Paul they knew is in fact gone, paved over or demolished to make way for something else. The next time you're on a Minneapolis junket, find an artist older than forty-five and ask him or her about, say, Rifle Sport Gallery or the New French Café. The painful story you'll hear subsequently happened just twenty short years ago, but it will be told in such a way that it sounds like it might have happened in a Jacques-Louis David painting. It's not just Minneapolis, of course. Go to Fargo and ask someone about Ralph's Corner Bar. Or Madison and ask about Manchester's. Or Milwaukee and ask about the Schlitz Brewery. Or ...

Maybe, come to think of it, the heart isn't a bad metaphor for this place after all. The heart pumps away, billions of times in a lifetime, and new blood rushes through it, replenishing itself every few minutes. So it goes here. An endless, reflexive cycle of renewal, the substantive oxygen-carrying matter replenishing itself every few decades. One has to grab whatever might seem like heritage and hold on to it so that it's not carried away in the next cycle. Driving through the still-empty expanses of the heartland and coming across the crumbling remains of lakeside resorts, railroad towns, motor lodges, and farming homesteads, only a generation or two removed from use, one realizes how swift and merciless this process can be.

One does not associate the Midwest with acts of spontaneous creation in the twenty-first century. It is a closed frontier, a punch line about the wasteland that ambitious kids flee from, away to the excitement and opportunity of the coasts. It is a region that, depending on whom you speak to, has permanently plateaued, or is actively now in bad decline. A laundry list of midwestern dysfunction and decay would include the broken, internally crumbling cities of the Rust Belt, the desiccated and foreclosed farmsteads of the Plains states, or the sprawling exurbs and interstate off-ramps filled with interchangeable fast food restaurants and big box stores that have killed off the mythical mom-and-pop Main Streets.

That said, I sense I am slipping here into mythmaking and idealization, just the sort that I suspect people came to the Midwest to escape. The prairie is not a sentimental place. There is certainly room for regret—and one cannot travel through these cities or farmsteads without feeling it—but largely, the vernacular landscape is a testament to constant improvisation and a compulsive need to renew and reinvent. The past is not necessarily something to preserve wholesale, but something to strip down for parts. The inherent problem with such an improvisatory landscape is that once you begin anew, it's hard to not keep beginning anew over and over, until you've done it so many times you've lost sight of the things that might give that landscape substance.

The last time I was in Fargo, it happened to be the fifth anniversary of the demolition of the aforementioned Ralph's Corner Bar. Ralph's and its green-and-red buzzing neon "OFF/ON" sign was an old-man forties dive bar across the river in Moorhead, Minnesota. It boasted, apparently, the finest jukebox between Seattle and Minneapolis, and was the only real stop for any touring band that was traveling along that old Empire Builder route between the West and East. The weekend I was in town, it just so happened that there was a two-night concert memorializing the bar's demise, held at a venue just a mile or so from the old site. Most of the attendees were roughly my age, but it sounded like they were talking about events that had transpired back in the territorial days. Perhaps this is simply aging hipster nostalgia, but I think it's something more complex. For example, some kid hanging around the bar had on one of those ubiquitous CBGB t-shirts, and I was struck by how strangely contemporary and timeless that equally defunct punk rock venue seems, particularly when compared to Ralph's. CBGB was also destroyed to make way for new developments, but it also seems less absent, more of an eerie, malingering presence. It only feigns death, living on through merchandise and branding. Ralph's doesn't impart that sense—Ralph's isn't coming back, in any form. It's a memory, treasured by a few thousand North Dakotans and Minnesotans. Ralph's and its sputtering neon sign—the kind one could easily imagine appearing in any number of dry transfer color photographs of similar old-man-bar marquees anywhere between Bismarck, North Dakota, and Bloomington, Illinois, at any point in the last seventy-five years—never fell into decay, because it was not allowed to decay. Instead, it vanished almost overnight, leaving only a vague sense of collective guilt at the cruelty and violence of these endless cycles. The Carnegie libraries of the Midwest—those still standing—are full of picture books teeming with grainy, historic black-and-white photographs of whole city blocks that were built, lived in, used up, and then taken down again, all generations before you were born.
(Continues...)


Excerpted from POTLUCK SUPPER with MEETING to FOLLOW by ANDY STURDEVANT, Carrie Elizabeth Thompson. Copyright © 2013 Andy Sturdevant. Excerpted by permission of COFFEE HOUSE PRESS.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

YOU'RE NOT NOWHERE!....................          

The Artificial Heart: Visualizing the Midwest Vernacular...................     1     

TRADING POSSIBILITY FOR EXPERIENCE....................          

"Don't you think it's extremely arrogant to presume that because I enjoy
the music of Wayne County & the Electric Chairs I am somehow obligated to
share your worldview?"....................     11     

That Sense of Possibility....................     15     

The Fat Tears of Governor Paul Patton....................     20     

Airport Shoeshine: Point-Counterpoint....................     24     

At Matt's Bar, in a Blizzard....................     26     

REGULARS....................          

A Plentitude of Lumber: Chris Larson's Deep North....................     31     

On Paula McCartney's On Thin Ice, In a Blizzard....................     36     

"Have a seat, citizen, I'm here to help": The Completist's Guide to the
Thirty-Nine Gubernatorial Portraits of the Minnesota State Capitol.........     40     

On Alec Soth's Lester's Broken Manual....................     58     

Painting Falls to Tavern Walls: The Life of Minneapolis's Most Beloved
Artwork....................     62     

PUT UP DRYWALL, SEW, COOK, PLAY KEYBOARDS, MIX DRINKS, WRITE GRANTS........          

Scotch Tape, Letraset, White-Out, Rubber Cement, and Xeroxes...............     73     

A Field Guide to the Vacant Storefronts of East Lake Street................     78     

The User of This Material: In the Library Picture Files....................     82     

"First with mannequins, then with live models"....................     86     

Ghost Crawl: Twenty-One Shows, Twenty Years Later....................     88     

"What have we done during the time we lived?" Death Letters from Twin
Cities Print Media, 1943–2010....................     98     

INCREDIBLE TALES....................          

Dome Light: The Life and Art of Martin Woodrich....................     111     

Farm Accident on the Forty-Sixth Floor....................     116     

Maximum Bohemian....................     122     

UNDER THE BANNER OF THE MICROSCOPE....................          

America's Historic Flags: Which Have Been Co-opted?....................     129     

Public Buildings, Parades, and Protests: A Field Guide to the
Vexillological Highlights of Minneapolis and St. Paul....................     134     

MORE OF A MISQUOTE THAN AN OUTRIGHT HALLUCINATION....................          

The Blackout Years....................     141     

"Retiree from birth": A Short Personal History of the Trust-Fund Kid.......     143     

Put That, Put That, Put That on Your Wall....................     148     

151 Fictitious Times....................          

I LOVE LOVE POWER....................          

Making Diagonals: The City by Bus, Bike, and Foot....................     157     

Metrodomeland....................     162     

I Love Power....................     168     

Politics, Beer, Hockey, and Arena Rock: Saint Paul's Walls of Fame.........     173     

Neighborhood 2: A Trip to Jonathan....................     179     

Flyover Country....................     183     

Save the Economy, Send More Letters: A Trip to the Post Office.............     187     

House Numbers....................     192     

CIRCLE ME, BERT, IT'S MY BIRTHDAY....................          

The Next Conrail out of Town....................     197     

Triumph, Desire, Anxiety: Getting Circled down at Target Field.............     201     

"A good-naturedly smart-ass quality"....................     204     

Night Skies in Northern Towns....................     209     

THE WRY MYTHOLOGY....................          

"Snakker du norsk?"....................     217     

Golden Glow and Sickly Nasturtiums: Mary McCarthy's Whittier...............     222     

The Season and the Condition of the Viewer: A Trip to Minnehaha Falls......     227     

A Beacon for All Twin Citians....................     232     

Credits....................     239     


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