Monday, August 27, 2007

Funky Town

Hello from Minneapolis, MN, where I am on vacation until September 5th. This means I may be a little flaky about updating until September 6th or so, although hopefully you'll forgive me since I've faithfully posted 48 out of the 51 days that this blog has existed. But to make it up to you guys, I'm going to do one super-duper Minneapolis-themed post - well, that and because I never like to miss an opportunity to promote Minneapolis.

Minneapolis is, in my opinion, the most under-appreciated/underrated city in the United States. Everyone refers to the Midwest as the "fly over states," with maybe the exception of Chicago. Maybe. Otherwise it's New York and Los Angeles with nothing in between. And it's true that, besides the Mall of America (*gags*), we don't really have many blatant tourist attractions. But that's what's so great about the city. It's not a tourist trap (Mall of America isn't even technically in Minneapolis...).

First off, we have a really great arts scene. We have the reknowned Walker Art Center and Guthrie Theater (though they are no longer in the same building), among many other theaters and museums/galleries. We have the infamous First Avenue, which thank goodness didn't close a few years ago. Everyone who's anyone has played at First Avenue. Prince (or the artist formerly known as...) filmed Purple Rain there. We have Garison Keilor's "A Prairie Home Companion," upon which the movie was based. We have the largest Fringe festival in the country with 164 shows in 2006 (sorry I don't know the 2007 numbers, but I'm sure they weren't that different). We have tons of independent movie theaters and we are one of the few states with our own public radio (for the longest time when I moved to NY I thought NPR was New York Public Radio because I just assumed all states had their own public radio like we do) - in fact, we have multiple public radio stations and just a few years ago they came out with The Current, a public indie rock station which I highly recommend. They play a really great variety of old and new. And the song Funky Town? That song is about Minneapolis and the guy who wrote it is a MN native. That's right. Minneapolis is Funky Town.

In fact, lots of famous people come from MN: Bob Dylan, Jimmy Jam, Judy Garland, Prince, Al Franken, Josh Hartnett, Jason Behr, Garison Keilor, Sinclair Lewis, F. Scott Fitzgerald, August Wilson, Winona Rider, Charles Schultz (there are freaking Peanuts statues everywhere in the Twin Cities because they were painted by local artists and auctioned off for charity), Kirby Puckett, Mitch Hedberg, the Coen brothers, Terry Gilliam, T. R. Knight, David Hyde Pierce (well, he's not from Minnesota but he lived there for a while and worked at The Guthrie), Jessica Lange, Steve Zahn, The Hold Steady, The Honeydogs, Soul Asylum, The Replacements, Atmosphere, Tapes 'n' Tapes, The Trashmen, The Suburbs, Semisonic, and I'm sure there's even more that I don't know about.

A few years ago, we were named the top tech city by Popular Science magazine because of cool things like the skyways, the lightrail, the fact that you can use credit cards pretty much everywhere - including cabs (unlike stupid New York where you have to carry cash with you at all times for everything, especially if you need to take a cab), and the stop lights that change depending on traffic or for emergency vehicles (also unlike NY where it takes emergency vehicles forever to get anywhere because they get stuck in traffic). We have a pretty awesome Science Museum. Not to mention we are a very industrial city. Tons of huge companies are based out of Minneapolis - Best Buy, Target, 3M (that's right, the post-it was invented in MN), Aveda, General Mills, Pillsbury, Caribou Coffee (which is way better than Starbucks), Sun Country Airlines (who are awesome!), Northwest Airlines (who suck), Land O'Lakes, Magnetic Poetry (yup random), Old Dutch Foods and Xcel Energy.

We also have lots of pleasant nature. We are the "land of 10,000 lakes" and I live within walking distance of the "chain of lakes," which are a bunch of interconnected lakes in Minneapolis. They're really nice to bike around. And pretty much where ever you live in MN, you're not going to be too far from a lake.

Whenever I go home, I have a huge list of things I like to do (although it changes depending on the time of year). For this trip, the list is as follows:
~Walker Art Center
~The Guthrie (I doubt I'll make it there, but I still haven't seen the new building and now my friend Emilie works there so maybe I can get her to show me around)
~Salsa Dancing at Famous Dave's in Uptown (or Loring Pasta Bar if I wanted to go multiple times each week but I'm not that good so I don't)
~Minnesota State Fair (best state fair in the country. People from other states come to our state fair. I realize most of you big city folk won't understand this and will think it's quaint or dorky, but it's not a "small town" kind of thing. Practically everyone from MN goes to the state fair. And I mean everyone.)
~Minnesota Renaissance Festival (maybe... although I kind of doubt it. Everything's so overpriced and I am going to blow a lot of money on the state fair.)
~Caribou Coffee as often as possible since it doesn't exist in NY - I had one in the airport literally right after I picked up my bags.
~Convention Grill - a very very delicious 50s-style diner (best grilled triple decker-grilled cheese and milkshakes that I've ever had)
~Davanni's - their white pizza is the best pizza around, with no nutritional value whatsoever
~If it hadn't closed... Sydney's - one of my favorite restaurants (*tear*)
~Drive around the lakes or bike if it's warm enough (I actually really enjoy driving since I only get to do it a few weeks a year now... Especially when it's warm out and I can just roll my windows down and blast some music and cruise).

And now some songs by Minnesotan artists:

1999 [mp3] - Prince - "Prince: The Hits 1" (iTunes)

Funkytown [mp3] - Lipps, Inc. - "Funkytown (iTunes)

Somebody to Shove [mp3] - Soul Asylum - Grave Dancer's Union (iTunes)

Test Tube Kid [mp3] - Honeydogs - "10,000 Years" (iTunes)

Closing Time [mp3] - Semisonic - "Feeling Strangely Fine" (iTunes)

Can't Hardly Wait [mp3] - The Replacements - "Pleased to Meet Me" (iTunes)

Like a Rolling Stone [mp3] - Bob Dylan - "Highway 61 Revisited" (iTunes)

One Of A Kind [mp3] - Atmosphere - "God Loves Ugly" (iTunes)

Ok, and now my vacation officially begins. See you all after September 5th. Tata dahlings.

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1 comment:

shasha said...

Vincent Kartheiser is also from Minnesota. He's best known as Connor in Angel and Pete in Mad Men.