Ahh, the Minneapolis nightlife. I experienced it for the first time on Monday night and found it to be not as unpleasant as you might have imagined, except for the 1AM last call. Only hit two places:
830 Hennepin Avenue
I liked this one best. It’s fairly large and offers a club environment and a bar section. The music was maybe a little better than your average suburban queer bar, sort of on the techno side. There’s a terminal for “net” access which seems only to connect to a small BBS. Decent beer selection. I only got hit on once, but did get a few furtive glances. “New meat in town syndrome”, I guess. Polite and friendly staff.
The Gay 90’s
408 Hennepin Avenue
The home of DJ Lon. It is almost impossible to describe how huge this place is. Nine bars inside, all of them bigger than any single bar in San Francicso. I have to say I really didn’t like the place much, but they do mix a drink which is damn near lethal. Beer selection is non-existant; I had to settle for a Bud (blecch…) The place really gave me the creeps on Monday night but was better the following Sunday. Staff was a bit rude, as a rule, except for a really friendly and kinda cute bartender at the back bar on Sunday. DJLon was pretty upset to hear about my rude treatment; perhaps I’ve misjudged based on too few visits. Apparently, the Gay 90’s is becoming a bit of a heterosexual slumming joint as well.
A few more musings on Minneapolis:
- A couple of good radio stations: 770 Radio K is college radio and is great, but needs to go FM. Rev 105 is the commercial “modern rock” station, but it’s one of the best I’ve heard; they actually mix in older music where appropriate. What a novel idea; Led Zeppelin actually mixed in with music inspired by Led Zeppelin!
- Hennepin Avenue and the former Gateway District are possibly the best arguments going against urban renewal. What once must have been a really intense urban landscape now looks like it’s been in a fight and had most of its teeth knocked out, and the few which were replaced didn’t match really well.
- Hooray for restaurants with smoking sections. Actually, I ate at places other than White Castle and was particularly impressed with the Seward Cafe and Ruby’s.
- Found a really good used bookstore in the Uptown District. Wish I remembered the name. Also recommended: Dream Haven on Lake Street.
On Monday morning, after a drunken and stuffed up Sunday late night, Bil broke out the Subaru to take me on the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” tour, which starred Christopher Mika in the role of Mary, and may be a video soon. Keep checking for details.
So much for the credits…now here’s the house…
Afterwards, I was introduced to the Mall of America, which is almost unfathomable in its size and features an entire amusement park within. The last few weeks have been controversial there, due to a new requirement that all patrons under 18 years old must be accompanied by an adult on Friday and Saturday nights. I guess it’s more preferable for kids to hang out on the streets drinking and doing drugs.Somehow, I can also envision this policy being — shall we say — selectively enforced, as are most curfews. Oh well. The underwater attraction was really cool, if ridiculously expensive. Alas, however, there was no Chick-Fil-A in the mall…
We also visited a music store. I visited lots of guitar stores this week. Enough to last me for several years.I also did a little driving myself in scenic St. Paul and captured a bit of the roadside architecture I love, but not nearly enough.
Armed with knowlege gleaned from the Mary Tyler Moore Show and from Whip LeFever’s Walk on the Wild Side, I arrived in the home of Target Stores and Prince at about 8PM Friday night. American Airlines hadn’t fed me well at all and I was reassured by the first sight I saw on the road to Christopher’s house. Like a miraculous beacon, the White Castle called me from Lake Street. For those of you who don’t know, White Castle is the northern counterpart of Krystal in the south, serving 39-cent burgers which are basically an ounce of meat on a brown and serve roll. It’s an acquired taste. Anyway, I took this as a sign that this trip, which I’d had some reservations about taking, was gonna be just fine.
It was really great to see Christopher and Bil. Bil, who I went out with a few years ago, remains a good friend, and actually LEFT San Francisco, but is now forgiven. I took an immediate and intense liking to Christopher upon meeting him a few months ago in SF when he visited with Bil, and he offered me a temporary home. Together with a drum machine (temporary) and an occasional guest vocalist named Dawn, they form a queer metal band called Lucifag. Part of my trip’s timing stemmed from the fact that Lucifag was doing its first show while I was there.
I didn’t quite know what to expect, but they fucking ROCKED. One of the best and tightest sets I’ve seen in a while. And lest you ask, this is from my “former college radio music director” perspective, not my “friends with the band and infatuated with the guitar player” perspective. I think…
The show was Sunday night at District 202, a queer youth center, and was put on by Homocore Minneapolis. Also on the stage were Plain Jane, the Third Sex (love the Third Sex), and another band whose name I forget but they were pretty good too. The show was recommended in the Minnepolis’ City Pages and there was also press in the University of Minnesota Daily.
Later that night, I realized that I may be allergic to Minnesota, a condition which haunted me off and on throughout the trip.
Things look good in my insurance world (I was a touch worried) so I may have another car soon. And I finally got to see “Frisky Summer”. Johann Paulik gets fucked wearing his rollerblades. Love it; I’m thinking of blowing up a video capture to make all the “yuppie blader scum” really nervous.