Protest Music for the New Millenium

(Todd Smith already wrote this article) On stage, Steve Earle led the crowd in a sing-a-long of "Steve’s Hammer (for Pete)" – a song that picks up on that parenthetical Pete (Seeger)’s "If I Had a Hammer," from 1949. "I’m gonna say a line, and you’re gonna repeat it back to me," Earle said. "And […]

A Rakish Interview: Big Quarters

In the Jasmine Deli, Zach and Brandon Bagaason – the brothers that constitute the rapper/producer team Big Quarters – don’t mess with the menu. Regulars well-acquainted with the selection at this Vietnamese spot on Eat Street, they ordered without consulting the dual-language laminated pages. Regularity, it might be said, is what defines Big Quarters – […]

Hail to the Bus Driver

When I was in third grade, my school bus driver was named ‘Slice,’ and he was the coolest. His hair was blond and spiked, held in place by gravity-resistant gel. In the front seat – where not even the nerdiest of nerds dared sit – he kept a Styrofoam container filled with icepacks and cans […]

Corrections, Amendments, Omissions, Apologies, Get-Backs

So I’ve been at this blogging thing for a few months now, and judging from my comments sections, it would seem I’ve messed up kind of a lot. Which is to be expected, I suppose, as my personality is composed of equal parts naivety and ego — a mixture conducive to blanket statements that I […]

A Poem for Newlyweds

I was at a wedding this weekend, which reminded me that, at least in Minnesota, summer is the same as wedding season. I’d only met the bride and groom a few months ago, after they’d already sent out the invitations. They were carrying a couch out from a duplex in Kenwood, trying to figure out […]

Helter Skelter Advertising

So I have a friend who’s kind of a conspiracy theorist. Which is fine, because conspiracy theorists can sometimes help one see the broader picture. Global warming is a scam put on by Ben and Jerry’s to sell more ice cream, which in turn helps the Canadian GDP because – unbeknownst to anyone who isn’t […]

Doomtree by Doomtree

It seems sometimes like every debut rap album is long-awaited, highly anticipated. We heard the usual phrases a couple weeks ago on Muja Messiah‘s premier release ("They said this would never get done…I made it happen. I was part-time hustlin’, now I’m full-time rappin’ "). Likewise, in the liner notes to their new CD, the […]

Chris Adrian's New Collection of Short Stories

These angels are useless. The heavenly agents that populate Chris Adrian’s new story collection, A Better Angel, sit idly by their hapless wards, disappointed and impotent. Their existence, it seems, is incidental, and at times they are nothing more than a higher order of fuck-ups. Which somehow makes these angels strikingly believable. A trinity of […]

A Rakish Interview with Minnesotan(-by-Proxy) Author Bart Schneider

This is Minnesota. There’s Café Barbette, there’s Galactic Pizza, there’s the Armajani Bridge stretching from the Sculpture Garden to Loring Park. Except really it’s a month from now, the Republican National Convention is in town, and there’s a right-wing/neo-Nazi plot underway to kill three Jewish abortion doctors. This is the world of Bart Schneider’s new […]

Reading This Post is Not Really Reading

On the front page of yesterday’s New York Times is an article by Motoko Rich titled, "Literacy Debate: Online, R U Really Reading?" It’s the first in a series that will explore "how the Internet and other technological and social forces are changing the way people read." This installment focuses on the somewhat new debate […]