The weekend report

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P.O.S. performs at First Ave as part of The Current’s 5th birthday party. Photo by Kyle Matteson.

Some weekends go by without a second thought… others deserve further reflection. This was one of those.

First off, the weekend got started with what, by all accounts, was a rockin’ good party. The Current’s fifth birthday was marked by not just a great line-up (Solid Gold, Mason Jennings, P.O.S…) but also by appearances by both Twin Cities’ mayors AND the purple one himself, Prince.

Saturday, the Minnesota Book Awards Finalists were announced. Some of the more standout names: Kevin Kling (for his memoir Holiday Inn), N.M. Kelby (for her novel A Travel Guide for Restless Hearts), Dara Moskowitz-Grumdahl (for her guide to wine Drink This: Wine Made Simple), mystery writer John Sandford (for his thriller Rough Country), and Kate DiCamillo (for her novel for young readers, The Magician’s Elephant)…not to mention poets Dobby Gibson, Ray Gonzalez, Joanna Rawson and Jude Nutter.

Then Sunday was Grammy night, which brought some of its own Minnesotan delights. First off, Minneapolis born Sharon Isbin took home a Grammy for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance for her CD Journey to the New World. Then there was the t-shirt sighting. Twitter was all… well, atwitter with the news that Ringo (yes, THAT Ringo) was spotted wearing a t-shirt from local record store Electric Fetus. Evidently it was a gift from his nephew.

All of this creative and cultural activity over the course of a single weekend got me to thinking once again about this past month’s debate (hosted by MinnesotaPlaylist and MNArtists.org) about “the Minnesota style.” How to quantify something so diverse, and so healthy? Is it because, as Andy Sturdevant suggests, we are a cultural “outpost?”

And at this morning’s arts and culture confab, in response to the Ringo-t-shirt news, colleague Chris Roberts wondered “when are we (as a community) going to accept the fact that we’re cool? Why are we still so surprised when we get national attention? Why do we still need outside approval?”

Thoughts?

  • Randall Davidson

    What’s cool? If you pursue it, it slips through your fingers. At least this is what I tell myself was the lesson from my own adolescence.

    One of the ways to be cool is to be unself-consciously focused on your passions. There is nothing cooler than looking at someone who is authentically engaged with the work that brings them pleasure. When you pose for the camera, however, you are no longer cool. You’re a poseur.

    For Minnesotans to be cool we must keep making our work. This is where people come to find cool (or cold?). One of my matras is: keep getting better, others will let you know when you’re good.