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Today I had the awesome opportunity to go see The Buddha Prince, a walking play running at Powderhorn Park. It was a really wonderful, moving experience and I encourage anybody that has time this weekend to go see it - it will only run until Monday.
It begins here, at the southern end of Powderhorn Park.
Over the course of about an hour and a half the play moves around the lake as the story unfolds. The play follows the life of his holiness the Dalai Llama, which a story about humanity, community, compassion and loving kindness almost more than it is about anything else.
You won't feel the same when you come to the other side of the lake. It is a beautiful experience, and is a shining example of everything art and theatre can be in a community.
When: September 17-21, 2009: Weekdays 5:30pm, Weekends 2pm and 5:30pm
Tickets: FREE, with a suggested donation
Friends with little ones: The audience was completely diverse and there were lots of families there (and a few dogs, too.) The more the merrier was the general vibe, and the play took place along the walkway around the lake so strollers and wheelchairs were not a problem.
As of two weeks ago I had never been to the Minnesota state fair, even though I've lived here for almost six years now. In my own defense, it was only last year that I learned it was the "quintessential Minnesota experience." So, this year we went. And wow - it definitely is an experience. California friends, this post is also for you. None of the California county fairs come close in size or quality. If you ever visit me, come just before Labor day and I'll happily take you to experience the craziness that is the Minnesota State Fair.
I'm not going to talk about everything we did, just about a few things that stood out to me specifically.
It seems for a lot of people one of the biggest reasons to go to the State Fair is all the indulgent food. So, first and foremost, here's a list of what we tried:
CHOCOLATE COVERED BACON!
Though apparently there are 67 things available on a stick, not EVERYTHING comes on a stick. We spent a portion of our day looking for the above, which we found at Famous Dave's. Actually pretty good! Nick said he would have had like 5 of these... but we settled for one batch. Oh, and they call these Pig Lickers. No joke.
The. Best. Corndog. Ever. We got a footlong corndog from the stand attached to the horse barn, and it was awesome.
The cheese curds really are the best. Over the course of the day, we had two helpings.
I tried the "Hotdish on a stick." It was... not as fantastic as I hoped it would be, but I'm glad I tried it. It was a tater tot, a Swedish meatball, a tater tot and another Swedish meatball on a stick and breaded with the same batter they use for corn dogs. They serve it to you with some mushroom-soupy business on the side, and there you go. I definitely prefer regular hotdish - and the Bulldog's is the best, hands-down.
We also ate some awesome roasted corn, beef jerky, and root beer. We also both paid $1 for an all-you-can-drink cup of milk. The gentleman next to us had 9 cups of milk. NINE CUPS, and I know some people can drink way more than that. Where is it going? That's so much freakin' milk.
This may have been the highlight for me. We saw alpacas and so many llamas.
This guy was my fave, and he was a totally camera whore.
Can you believe there was a llama costume contest that just HAPPENED to be the day we were there? I think Nick secretly planned that. Way to go, Nick! I normally don't like dressing animals up in clothing but something about how absolutely off the top ridiculous this contest was made it a must-see. There were about 10 contestants with some rather elaborate get-ups.
This girl-and-llama set was one of my faves. I love clowns AND llamas. WIN!
I think the following photo might come back to haunt this boy facebook-style in a few years. Boy groom and llama bride? His first girlfriend has a pretty high bar to rise to, eh?
This last pair won the contest. That wee beast is wearing GLOVES AND SHOES! It was also the most well behaved, chill animal of the group. Gotta love alpacas!
I'll end my llama section with this absolutely adorable baby llama. So cute you almost forget he's sleeping on a blanket of dirt and poo.
There are a TON of rides at the fair, but we only went on a few.
We of course went on Ye Old Mill, a 96 year-old water ride. It as kind of what you'd expect in a old tunnel of love or something like that - mostly dark with occasional really awful displays and bright blue water. 100% awesome.
We also went on the Sky Ride from one end of the fairgrounds to the other, which gives one a really cool bird's eye picture of the event. In other words, you can really see just how many gobs of people there really are swarming around. 110,931 on the Wednesday we were there, to be precise.
The exhibitions may have been my favorite. Wait, weren't the llamas my favorite? No, the corn dog was. Ohhhh, I can't decide.
The exhibitions were absolutely fantastic, even for non artsy-folk. I will return each year if and only if to see the Art exhibit. Quite a few Ae artists had work on display and I was tickled to even see a few works we've shown at the gallery before. Minnesota in no way lacks for talent, creativity or expression. Lots of amazing artwork in the Fine Arts building and there was also some also amazing craftsmanship in the Creative Activities exhibit.
The Eco-experience was also pretty awesome, even if you're not a pinko commie liberal. We also got a free reusable grocery bag by posing for the following picture. You were supposed to write a little reason on the card. I wanted to write "I love bag" but Nick said I should add "& the earth." So I did.
The Great Minnesota Get Together
They call the State Fair "The Great Minnesota Get Together" and they are right when they say you cant go to the fair without running into at least a few folks you know. Even though there was over 100,000 people there we still saw quite a few friends out and about, also enjoying the craziness.
So... that about sums up my first State Fair experience. I had an awesome time and will probably go again.
You should come with me. We can share cheese curds.
The past few weeks have been pretty intense. I've been doing a lot of traveling, a lot of reading, a lot of thinking. (But not a lot of posting. Sorry.) I went to Chicago for the first real (more than a few hours) time. I saw Niagara Falls. I drove past Mystic but didn't stop for pizza. I slept in a creepy MOTEL in the middle of nowhere straight out of Psycho but didn't die. I ate 10 canisters of Pringles. The barbeque kind are the best.
I'm home now and even though I'm not working at a "real job," I'm busy all the time. School, gallery, family, house. Not in that order. But there's one less thing on my list, and it's keeping me sane for the most part.
(Other things are making me insane, but that's beside the point.)
Here's what I wanted to post about.
While sitting at the beach in Humarock, I had a small personal revelation.
Figuring out my employment situation has been a constant struggle over the past few years. I decided a long time ago that I would rather make less money doing something fulfilling than make more money doing something not congruous with my own personal ethics. In other words, I would rather make half as much doing the accounting for a small nonprofit with a mission I believe in than work at a large corporation at which I felt alienated and disengaged, or worse - felt like I was doing harm to my community and the global environment.
I want to help make the world a better place. That has been a primary goal.
When I was in Humarock, I spent a lot of time with my family. I also wrote a paper for school and took a lot of long walks along the beach. One afternoon I sat on the shore and watched the waves crash against the pebbles along the shore.
"What can I do to make the world a better place?" I thought to myself.
I thought about that for a very long time. I've been thinking about that for a very long time. As I sat on the beach, my toes in the sand, I realized something.
The world is a better place. The world is actually a pretty fantastic place. It isn't perfect, but the world is beautiful, and amazing, and overwhelming.
The world is a better place... but it's how we perceive, process and interact with it (and each other) that is flawed.
When Nick and I crossed the border into Canada, the lady at the station asked us what we do for a living. Recently unemployed, at first I didn't know how to respond, so I blurted the first thing that came to my head. "Um, He's a musician, and I'm an artist."
I can run a business. I'm a good accountant. I can office manage the bejeezus out of any small business. I can build walls. I can stucco. I know how to use power tools. I can't play football. I can write grants and create development plans. I can facilitate strategic planning. I can work hard and be on time and be a good employee.
but I am also an artist, and sometimes it is all to easy to set that part of me aside for more "practical" things.
I'll be turning 30 in about a week. One of the things I wanted to do this summer is to realign myself with the things that matter the most. Over the next few months, I'll be doing just that.
Today felt like one of the longest days ever, and it started last night. At about 7pm Nick and I heard the neighbor's dogs going crazy - not our immediate neighbor but an unidentifiable neighbor down the street. The dogs would chill out anytime somebody approached the house, but would bark like crazy otherwise. You may know what kind of barking I'm talking about - that frantic, stressed and anxious bark. It kept on until about 2am. I still have no idea what was going on - my best guess is they left the dogs out and were out until bar time, but who knows.
I woke up late but got to work on time, though I had hoped to arrive early as I planned to take a longer lunch. Nick was leaving today for tour again, and I had plans to drop him off at the studio space. Lunch wound up being longer than I expected though, for largely the wrong reasons. I came home from work about 12:45 and we left the house shortly after. As we approached the 94, turning left off of Broadway, a car sped past a red light, screaming toward us and clipping the back of our car, smashing the front right side of theirs. They didn't stop. Instead, they ran another red light and raced onto the 94 going in the other direction. (The other direction we were headed, not the opposite direction of traffic.) Several witnesses identified the car and a guy on a bike got the license plate number. It took over an hour for the cops to arrive, but we waited for them so we could file a report and get on our way. My back is a little bit sore but other than that, we're okay and uninjured. The car itself is a bit banged up - who knows how expensive that will be to fix. Thankfully we are INSURED and LICENSED so aside from our deductible, I think we'll be okay. (And I've yet to hear a good reason for anybody regularly driving while uninsured or unlicensed, so I'll go ahead and remain judgmental about that one.)
Wait - come back - don't you need these pieces of your light?
I dropped Nick off at the studio space and we were a bit surprised not to see the R.V., as we were over an hour late ourselves. (Thank you, Mrs. Hit-And-Run.) Apparently Daryl and Melanie were a bit delayed as well, so we unloaded Nick's gear to the studio and then I had to get back to work. It seemed (understandably) as though this departure was a lot less dramatic for the band. My goodbye to Nick was heartfelt, but my standard message to "drive safe" was a bit more meaningful.
Bicycle Theory was super understanding about me being late from the car accident, they've been pretty understanding about everything and super awesome and supportive in general. Crazy to think that my last day is Wednesday. (More on that later, I haven't announced that here I suppose.)
After work I met with Kristin and some of the curators for our fall shows. The meeting was long but incredibly productive, and I'm super excited about our shows for the rest of the year. A big concern of mine has been the quality of our exhibitions: I want to make sure we're keeping up the quality of our shows as we go through this next transition as an organization, developing our board and growing together. I have no doubt that the shows from August onward are going to be some of the best we've ever had.
On my way home, excited from the meeting but tired from a long day, I noticed what looked like a new record store on 13th. To my delight, it was - and a super awesome record store at that. Like, the kind of record store I would spend hours in throughout high school and college. They had the work of my artist-friend on the wall and that sparked a conversation; I talked to the owner and one of the store's designer's for about an hour. Super nice people, super awesome records, and they support artists too. Woot! There website is just a coming soon page for now, but in the meantime you can find them on facebook.
This is Adam, one of the owners. He had an 18 hour day and was super tired, just like me... You can see John's work on the wall - freaking fantastically talented, that guy is. If I wasn't going to be out of a job come Wednesday, I would totally buy some of his work. :) Until then, I'll just have to support artists the best I can through Ae... and my new friends in the district too. That's all for now. Time to cuddle with Molly and read a book.