Highlights and lowlights from ‘Northern Spark’

The reviews from this year’s cultural all-nighter are decidedly mixed. Here’s what people are saying:

Larry Miller:

The projection of the fish on an old Pillsbury building was pretty cool. Puppet show on the bridge jamming traffic, not cool.

Scott Pakudaitis:

I loved the projections on the walls of the Mill Ruins and on the Pillsbury A Mill. The various shanties were pretty sweet and I enjoyed a late-night shadow puppet show there. Aniccha Arts’ dancing was inspiring. I was deeply disappointed by the firefly bike ride. (I was one of the riders.) We bikers were cut off frequently by several drunk pedestrians and instead of a giant swarm of blinking lights, we rode in small packs thus diminishing the intended effect.

Matt Guidry:

The Black Pirate screening with music by the Poor Nobodys on the Greenway was great, and because it was the only thing going on at that sight made it a unique happening. Indeed the building projections on the river were very cool, especially the one on the A Mill.

Patricia Owen:

Highlights: Under Ice (projections of fish onto Pillsbury A Mill) accompanied by cello and didgeridoo); Mom’s Cookies, Ten Second Film Festival, Body Pong, Shin’m Pinata, Foshay Observation Deck and best of all Jim Campbells’s Material World. The latter should have gotten a lot more publicity. And even better was the double moonbow arching over the the sky at dusk, created by just the right conditions. Unfortunately there were many lowlights, primarily because the preceding buzz far outweighed the actual event or installation. Last year, in St. Paul, there were just a few events (Jim Campbell’s Scattered Light; sewer organ, and crazy car parade) which were really amazing. This year’s seemed amorphous and amateur.

Curt Lund:

Unfortunate lowlight: the regular construction on the East Bank campus, plus special and untimely temporary closures on River Road and all over campus/Dinkytown, making it next to impossible to get to the Weisman except by bike or foot. Heard from a handful of others who similarly tried to get anywhere close but ended up throwing in the towel.

Edward Vogel:

I think performances on the Stone Arch Bridge should be better monitored. A bridge is definitely not an artery you want clogged.

Mike Olson:

More of a State Fair vibe this year, (and not in a good way). Hung out around the Stone Arch Bridge, but in hindsight, I wish I had gone to the Walker instead. Still, a net positive.

Amy Salloway:

I’m a night-owl all year ’round, and as I did last year, I loved the feeling of the arts community getting to sort of “own” the city all night long. There’s nothing like running into a group of my friends in face makeup and glow in the dark accessories and having loud, laughter-filled conversations on the sidewalk at 3 and 4 am.

Susan Gillette:

Of what we saw, Under Ice was the most beautiful, 10 Second Films most surprising, and Sit and Spin Shanty most fun. So glad that we could all celebrate and enjoy creativity without mini-donuts in sight.

Jessica Lee DuRose Shimek

I was at MCBA all night doing photo documentation of the letterpress pieces being made – it was so amazing to get to talk to the participants who were so excited and proud of the artwork they had just created! I wish I could have seen more events, but seeing that awesome reaction from so many people made my night!!

Chuck Terhark:

Under Ice was mesmerizing! I could’ve stared at four-story fish all night.

Did you attend Northern Spark? If so, what did you think?