Northern Spark

Beltane                                                                       Waxing Garlic Moon

1:03 AM with a sickle moon, stars and a warmish night fallen over the Twin Cities.  Just back from Minneapolis and the Northern Spark Festival.

There were lots of people, mostly in their twenties and early thirties, but not all.  I was there, for one.  As the organizer said, folks from other parts of the country can’t believe we roll up the sidewalks at 9:00 PM.  This event, which spread folks over several venues, made each place but one feel safe and accessible.  The feeling of people out, just out to be out, made me feel glad, joyful.  Walking along the River Road behind the Guthrie and the Mill City Museum reminded me of an evening I spent in Savannah a couple of years ago.

With one exception.  We have no small shops, restaurants and candy makers along the river.  We preserve our riverfront in a solemn, Scandinavian manner.  The upside is that it has not given way to tourist kitsch as parts of the Savannah area has; the downside is that it has no color, no life, only ruins and water.  Except for tonight.

I went to three venues after I realized the free bus ride would take two hours to get me back to my car.  I drove first to the MIA, walked to MCAD, then drove to the Walker and finally the area around the stone arch bridge.

The night itself was perfection.  I can’t imagine a more perfect combination of humidity and temperature and clear skies.  Not to mention the moon.

I began at the MIA because the Battle of Everyouth was a 10:00 to midnight affair and I wanted to be sure to see it.  Unfortunately, the only venue where it did not feel totally safe was this one.  The Battle of Everyouth, though it projected large, interesting images on the Museum’s north facing facade, did not have a very big footprint in the park, so the bulk of the park was dark.  This project, which I visited with some eagerness, was a bit underwhelming.  Part of that came from the darkness of the setup in a dark park.  It got swallowed up as a big event by the bigger park.  It’s primary impact may well have been the prep work with the kids from Washington High.

MCAD had three different venues that I saw and a couple I didn’t.  I’ll talk more about those tomorrow, but one, projected on a white wall just to the right of main entrance of the class wall featured a machine programmed by an artist with an algorithm that draws flowing shapes.  It got me attention.

At the Walker I revisited the show about Voyeurism and Surveillance and the It Broke From Within show again, too.  I wandered around outside, watching folks make small art projects and sat on the terraced wall and looked at down town.

The Stone Arch bridge had lots of people, the most of the three places I visited.  An excellent projection lit up the four grain elevators silos next to the Mill City Museum.  On the bridge there was the sperm and egg ride, a moving illustration of the classic of mountains and seas and a laser set up that baffled me as to its intent and its result.  but no horse on the barge.  I don’t know whether the floating white horse was elsewhere, but it was one I wanted to see and that I missed.

It was a fun evening, giving me a sensation I enjoy, that of being a tourist in my environs.  I hope it happens again next year and becomes bigger.  Maybe I’ll take a room in downtown for the event.

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