Six days done, six to go. Today at the Lip Balm Revue I interviewed two lasses from the local beer-maker association, and they brought NINE examples of prime fine Minnesota beer for me to taste. On stage.

Yes, this is my job: I drink beer in front of people who have come to get free lip-balm. And I LOVE that this is my job, absolutely, completely; it’s a hoot and a half, even though the getting-and-going is an utter pain. In case you’re unfamiliar with the Fair, you can’t just . . . show up. You can trust there will be space in the parking lots by the Fair, which means fighting traffic to end up frustrated because there is never, ever any space in the parking lots, or you can take the bus. I do the latter, but that means driving to the University of Minnesota and finding a spot in the free lots.

There aren’t any spots in the free lots.

My secret? The meters in the abandoned cul-de-sacs of Industrial Minneapolis. Decades ago the trains sliced through the U, filling up at the great concrete elevators. It’s wild country - some new buildings presaging the development to come, but mostly barren land with elevators rising like monuments of a bygone civilization.


I usually find a spot in the crevasses somewhere, pay for the meter with my phone. BECAUSE I AM A MODERN PERSON WITH THE THINGS. Then I hike to the bus stop, wait, take the bus down the dedicated transit corridor, and hey presto, I’m there. It takes about 45 minutes a day. To get home it’s the same, except I’m fighting the traffic, which is slow because everyone’s reaction to a green light is “well, I suppose,” and consequently everything moves like an armadillo with ingrown toenails. It’s almost two hours a day commute for a 30 minute show, but by now it’s a routine and it feels normal.

But is it fun? I think I’ve had more fun at the Fair this year than any year before, for one reason: it doesn’t mean any of the things it used to mean. Like everything else: it’s suddenly, somehow new, and my old relationship to it doesn’t matter a whit.

Huh? Wha? That’s tomorrow. Who cares? Well, there’s that.

The banner image above is a reflection of a food stand on an old fortune-telling machine. The stand is one of those bright and shiny food stands that seems to be overestimating the charms of its offerings. Granny's, eh.

Let's zoom in:

I'm not sure the word applies to any of this, and I really don't want to think about Granny being excited.

But here's a question for you: From whom did they, ahem, borrow that old lady?






The end of our summer feature before we bring back . . . well, I'm loath to say, because it's ninety yards of bad, but that's next week's punishment. This could go another few weeks, I suppose - the Drive-Ins, diminished and threatened, stay open past the official end of summer. The latter nights with a definite chill were part of the experience.

Mmmm, voice-overs:

Shortish bleat, I know, but I warned you this week would be trying. Yet we will all get through it together.

The last of the Patriotica updates for the year. Something quite different coming up in September. See you around - or at the Fair, for the 3 PM Lip-Balm Review!



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